Not to be Missed on Kauai

Return to Experience Kauai
Where do we go for a nice dinner, quick plate lunch, poke? Here are a few of our ‘must try foods’ on Kauai. (Did you know we have an awesome aquaponics garden started at the office? Come check it out!)

First, a few things you might not see anywhere but Hawaii:

Shave Ice is similar to a snow cone but the ice is shaved flat for a snow like consistency. A VERY popular treat in Hawaii.
The Fresh Shave in Lawai
Wailua Shave Ice in Kapaa
Jo Jo’s in Waimea – an original.

Poke is a staple in Hawaii. Traditionally made of diced raw fish, Hawaiian salt, seaweed and kukui nut oil. Today poke comes in an array of delicious variations.
Pono Market in Kapaa
Fish Express in Lihue
Koloa Fish Market
Ishihara Market in Waimea

Musabi is a popular breakfast, lunch or snack food in Hawaii. Typically made with rice topped with grilled spam (Yes, SPAM!) wrapped in nori (seaweed).  Please don’t judge it until you try it. Many variations are now found at stores all over the island. Convenience stores and liquor stores are popular places to grab a  musabi…
Salt Pond Country Store in Hanapepe
Sueoka’s Market in Koloa 
Hanalei Liquor Store
Pono Market

Plate Lunch is the ‘to go’ lunch for locals. Plate lunch is served quickly and usually includes one or two meat options (kalua pork, chicken katsu, lau lau, etc.), mac salad, and rice. 
Po’s in Lihue by Ace Hardware
Koloa Fish Market
Fish Express in Lihue
Smileys in Lihue by Ace Hardware (Kind of wishing our office was by the hardware store)

Saimin is the ultimate comfort food or meal on a budget.  Saimin is practically the same as ramen, noodles and broth usually topped with different protein and garnishes.
Hamura’s Saimin in Lihue (won a James Beard award, it’s that good)
Anahola Café (some of the best on island and profits go to Anahola Youth Programs)
Tip Top Café in Lihue (also known for their Oxtail Soup)
Kauai Ramen in Ele’ele

Fish Markets are a known for more than just fish in Hawaii. They serve amazing plate lunches; poke bento and other local specialties. Since we already wrote about plate lunch, we are going to focus on the fish. Usually Cash Only.
Hanalei Dolphin Fish Market (the original in Hanalei, get the sushi and take home fish for the grill)
Koloa Fish Market (the wasabi sauce is great on everything, even eggs, trust us)
Fish Express in Lihue (pepper ahi jerky, try it, but have them chop it up for you)
Kilauea Fish Market 
Big Save, Foodland, Ishihara Markets have great selections of poke.

Farmers Markets Who doesn’t love fresh produce, local specialty products and amazing food. Kauai Farmer’s Markets are a treat for your senses. You must visit at least one while you are on island. Sip on an ice-cold coconut while you browse local goat cheese, beef, honey, amazing tropical fruits and vegetables. Vendors are so helpful and will gladly give samples of anything that you haven’t tried before. Please visit the Experience Kauai page on our website to view all island markets. Kauai is known for mangos, pineapple, lilikoi, lychee, rambatan, apple banana, mountain apple, avocado the size of your head and papaya, just to name a few.

Now, a few of our favorite ‘You have to try this while you are here!’ places (did you know we are big foodies at GVR, we make and eat lunch together as an office every Tuesday HINT: we are a little sleepy on Tuesday afternoons)

DISCLAIMER: We can’t list everything we love or this list would be 40 pages long. There are MANY great places that aren’t on this list. These are just a few of the places that are so amazing or different that you really have to take the time to visit! Need suggestions for a special occasion, send us a note and we will send you a list.

North Shore:
Kilauea Bakery (biali please, and pizza, and salad, gluten free fabulousness, etc…)
Kilauea Fish Market (salsa…yes, salsa, fish tacos and ahi wrap)
St. Regis Bar (champagne at sunset)
Pat’s Taqueria at the Hanalei Pier (uh, tacos)
Bar Acuda (make reservations, you’ll thank us later)
Hanalei Bread Company (try everything)
Banana Joes (banana smoothies and fresh produce)
Tahiti Nui (legendary) 

East Side & Lihue:
Pono Market (poke, poke, poke)
JO2 (everything, make a reservation)
Aloha Aina Juice Café (fresh tropical juice, more please!)
Duane’s Ono Char Burger 
Mermaids Café (ahi wrap)
Nana’s Snack Shack (frozen bananas, Kauai bananas are better than regular bananas)
Gaylord’s (weekend brunch, lunch or dinner, it’s about the setting, go to rum tasting before)

South Shore:
Koloa Fish Market (anything with wasabi cream sauce, lau lau, seared ahi)
Sueoka’s Snack Shop (its so cheap, try everything, live like a local)
Honu Bar, Marriott Waiohai (views, sports, people watching and great happy hours – yes there are more than one = Happy Place)
Red Salt, Koa Kea Hotel  (breakfast and dinner)
Lappert's Ice Cream (coffee, they have amazing ice cream and treats, but the coffee, so ono.
The Wine Shop (marriage license, and great wine)

Taro Ko Factory (taro chips)
Midnight Bear Breads (We ‘heart’ this bread and everything else)
Hanapepe Café (she makes the soup at the Wed Farmers market in Koloa)
Friday Art night in Hanapepe (eat at every food truck)
Kauai Coffee Company
Ishihira Market (ask around, you will see why this made