One of the things that Chris and I love the most about traveling is getting to experience the culture of the country or the feel of the city through it’s food. While we definitely will occasionally eat at restaurants that we have at home, our motto on trips is usually that we eat at places that we can’t visit at home.
The only problem with that is if you visit somewhere a little more remote, you might not be able to find those outstanding restaurants that you hoped for. Luckily for us, we ate at some pretty fantastic restaurants while we were visiting Kauai, and today I’ll be breaking them all down for you! For the most part everything was a hit, but there was a miss in the bunch. I’m going to go on ahead and apologize now if you all of a sudden are craving some fish or shaved ice after reading this post!
When I was doing research for Hawaii one of the blog posts that I first stumbled upon was this one from The Brave Little Cheesehead, which was must try food on Kauai. The very first restaurant that they talked about immediately caught my eye because it sounded like another noodle soup dish that I needed try, especially since I was obsessing over Pho at the time. The name of the restaurant was Hamura Saimin, which is known for their Saimin dishes, which is a spin off of ramen. So we made plans to stop by Hamura Saimin the day that we landed on Kauai, since it was located close to the airport in Lihue.
Driving up to Hamura Saimin, you definitely have no idea what in the world to expect because it really does look like a “dodgy” part of town, but we couldn’t say no to a bowl of noodle soup so we went into the restaurant and immediately sat down. We each ordered a bowl of Regular Saimin and were blown away by how delicious it was! It might have been hot and humid outside, but that Saimin was perfect for us. If you’re in the mood for noodle soup, definitely make plans to stop by Hamura Saimin, and don’t let the neighborhood scare you away!
2956 Kress St
Lihue HI 96766
The Hanalei Gourmet
One of the things that I’ve probably talked way too much about during these Hawaii recaps is how much I loved the Na’Pali Coast. It’s seriously one of the most beautiful areas I’ve seen, and I could literally just stare at it for hours! One of the reasons that it’s so beautiful is because of how rugged the mountains are. In fact, the mountains are so rugged that you can only access the Na’Pali Coast by air, by boat, or by foot.
After our amazing helicopter ride, Chris and I tried as hard as we could to make it over to the Na’Pali Coast for a hike, but unfortunately we just didn’t have the time before our luau to make the full hike and appreciate it, so we had to just enjoy our packed lunches and the beautiful beach literally at the end of the road! And that’s where Hanalei Gourmet comes in.
If you have plans to hike the Na’Pali Coast during your stay on Kauai, you’ll want to make sure that you go prepared with lunch for your trip since it’s a long hike. The perfect place to stop before your trip to take a lunch to go is Hanalei Gourmet. They have a great selection of sandwiches, chips and drinks that you can grab before you go, and they’ll even package them up for you for your trip. The best part is that the deli opens up early, so you won’t have any issues with having to delay your hike.
5-5161 Kuhio Hwy, Space 5
Hanalei, HI 96714
$10-$15/person for lunch or picnics
$15-$25/person for dinner
Brennecke’s Beachfront Restaurant
After our morning spent checking out Waimea Canyon we were hungry and wanted to grab a quick bite to eat before our zip lining excursion. A place that kept on popping up when I was doing my research was Brennecke’s Beachfront Restaurant, and with it’s close proximity to where we’d be meeting up for zip lining we figured that it’d be our best bet for lunch.
Unfortunately for us, this was our least favorite while we were in Kauai. Maybe we just hit it at the wrong time, but the fish tacos that we ordered didn’t overly impress us, especially after having great fish tacos in Maui. It is a very family friendly restaurant, so there’s that, but I just felt like your money could be better spent elsewhere.
Although the food wasn’t our favorite, the location of this restaurant is perfect, since it’s right on Poipu Beach. We ended up going back there one night to walk around and actually had a sea turtle sighting, which was so incredible! I really wish that I would have been able to take a picture, but because the turtle’s eyes are so sensitive to light I didn’t.
2100 Hoone Rd, Poipu Beach
Koloa HI 96756
$15-$25/person for lunch
$25-$25/person for dinner
Eating House 1849
Towards the end of our trip, we were kind of running out of places to try out that had been on my initial list, so we tried another tactic that can sometimes be hit or miss, we asked the locals what they would recommend. Our guide for our kayaking adventure suggested a new restaurant that had just opened up in the shopping center close to our resort in Poipu Beach called Eating House 1849. Since it was close, we decided that we’d give it a try, and we were so happy that we did!
Now two years ago, this was a relatively new restaurant that had opened, so we had to wait for a table, but I think that it’d still be safe to say that you’d probably end up having to wait because of it’s location in the shopping center that’s close to a lot of resorts. If it’s just two of you, I’d try my luck at the bar, which is exactly where Chris and I ended up.
The theme of the restaurant was “plantation cuisine inspired by Hawaii’s past” and pretty much whatever you could want, you will be able to find at Eating House 1849. Hawaii is a melting pot of many Pacific Island and Asian nations, and Eating House 1849 does a good job of highlighting those different countries, and also Hawaii itself. Like I said, we were obsessing over noodle soups at the time, so we had to go for the Spicy Ramen bowl, and Chris couldn’t bypass the fried chicken. Everything was delicious, and I would definitely recommend a stop here, especially if you’re staying in the Poipu Beach area!
2829 Ala Kalanikaumaka Road, #A-201
Koloa HI 96756
Our trip to Hawaii was a celebration trip for us because it was our 5 year wedding anniversary, so we knew that we wanted to treat ourselves to some fancier dinners out. When I started researching for our trip, Plantation Gardens was a restaurant that kept popping up, and when I looked into it, I found out that it was right across the street, within walking distance, from our hotel. I obviously immediately booked our reservations!
Like most places in Hawaii, Plantation Gardens is a great mix of indoor and outdoor dining, which makes for a relaxing and beautiful setting for your dinner. To be honest, I can’t remember what exactly we had for dinner that night, but I know that we loved it! I can’t recommend a trip to Plantation Gardens enough, especially if you’re celebrating a special occasion! If you visit for dinner, I would recommend going back sometime during the daytime for a short visit to walk around the gardens. Literally the entire restaurant is surrounded by beautiful flowers, and Chris and I loved getting to play with our cameras while taking in all the beautiful scenery!
2253 Poipu Road
Koloa HI 96756
$30-$50/person (depending on how many appetizers or drinks are ordered)
Besides trying to see as much as we could during our stay in Hawaii, one of my other main goals was to see as many sunsets as we could, because let’s face it, with the beautiful setting a sunset was just going to make everything more perfect! During my many research settings, one place that kept on popping up as a great restaurant, but also a great place to see a Kauai sunset was The Beach House in Poipu. The day that we arrived on Kauai, we decided that would be the perfect place for us to go for a relaxing dinner, so we left everything at the hotel and drove the quick couple of miles to The Beach House.
The restaurant itself is directly on the water and all of the tables and even the bar area faces out to the ocean so you don’t miss out on those incredible views! Chris and I had arrived a little early for dinner, but not quite in enough time for lunch, so ended up sitting at the bar and having some cocktails before ordering our dinner. Another advantage to us arriving early was that all of the surfers were still out, which means that Chris got some incredible pictures while we were waiting. I’m definitely not one to say no to Lobster Mac & Cheese or Ahi Tuna, so those two items were definitely ordered, along with the Argula & Goat Cheese Salad with Macadamia Nuts.
We enjoyed a quiet evening at The Beach House, ate at our leisure before paying our bill and heading outside to watch the sunset. The area around this restaurant is well known for being a wonderful place to watch the sunsets, so be prepared for crowds of people, although it definitely didn’t feel too overwhelming. The sunset was incredible, needless to say, and we loved it so much that we drove back another night so we could watch another incredible Hawaiian sunset!
5022 Lawai Rd
Koloa HI 96756
$25-$40/person for lunch
$50-$60/person for dinner
Lappert’s Hawaii Ice Cream & Coffee
There’s nothing like the heat and humidity of a beautiful tropical island to make you start craving a cool and refreshing dessert like ice cream. Luckily for us, in that shopping center near our hotel, there was a Lappert’s Ice Cream located there so we could cool down with an ice cream cone!
Lappert’s was actually founded in Kauai, when the owners dreamed of one day not just vacationing on the island, but actually living there full time. In all of their ice cream, coffee, and baked goods, they use premium ingredients, so that you receive the best ice cream cone or cup of coffee that you could want. There are a wide variety of flavors to choose from at Lappert’s, from the traditional flavors like Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough to some more Hawaiian like flavors like Nene Tracks, everybody in your group is sure to find something that they’d enjoy. Definitely don’t pass up the opportunity to try out Lappert’s while you visiting Kauai, especially since they have multiple locations!
2829 Ala Kalanikaumaka, Suite K-160
Koloa, HI 96756
1-3555 Kaumualii Highway
Hanapepe, HI 96716
5-4280A Kuhio Highway
Princeville, HI 96722
Uncle’s Shaved Ice and Smoothies
Now if you’re looking for a more traditional Hawaiian treat to cool yourself down while in Kauai, look no further than Uncle’s Shaved Ice. We had some amazing shaved ice when we were on Maui, and Uncle’s definitely lived up to those expectations. What made it even better, was that a location was in that same Poipu Beach shopping center, so grabbing a quick dessert after our zip lining adventure was super easy!
Like with most shaved ice locations in Hawaii, you’d better expect to wait in line, but don’t worry the line goes quick, plus it’ll give you more time to decide out of their tons of flavors which flavors you have to try! We loved Uncle’s and definitely recommend that you stop by one of their locations before you leave Kauai!
2829 Ala Kalanikaumaka, K158B
Koloa, HI 96756
4454 Nuhou Street, Ste 419
Lihue HI 96766
And there you have it, all of the places that we tried during our time on Kauai, while we did have a miss, for the most part the food was actually pretty good! Like I said in my Maui post, expect to pay a lot of money for food while you’re on the island. It is an island after all, which means that they’re having to ship all of this in from the mainland, so naturally prices are going to be high.
You might have noticed in this guide and my Maui guide that I didn’t list out any breakfast locations for you to try, and that’s because we didn’t eat out for breakfast during our trip, well except for McDonald’s one time on our way to our helicopter ride.
In my opinion, breakfast is the most expensive meal to eat out, and you really don’t get that much for it. Plus if I’m being completely honest, I’m more of a lunch person anyways, so if I had to choose, I’d always opt for a light breakfast and heavier lunch. Chris and I packed protein bars with us for the trip and would eat that for breakfast before setting out on our adventures for the day. In my opinion, that’s the best option, especially if you’re looking to save some money.
Anyways, I hope that this is helpful if you’re planning a trip to Kauai sometime in the near future. And if you are, I’m definitely jealous of you! Writing these posts has definitely started to give me the itch to make another trip out there soon! I’m linking up with these Wanderful Women from some Wanderful Wednesday- Lauren of Lauren on Location, Van of Snow in Tromso, Isabel of The Sunny Side of This and Marcella of What a Wonderful World!
Have you ever visited Kauai? Are there restaurants on this list that you’d want to check out?
Other Hawaii Posts
My First Trip To Hawaii- Maui
My First Trip To Hawaii- The Big Island
10 Things I Learned While Visiting Hawaii
Hawaii In Instagram Photos
Which Hawaiian Islands Should You Visit?
How To Spend 9 Days Exploring Maui and Kauai
What To Expect When Biking Down Haleakala
A Guided Tour Of The Road To Hana
Where To Eat On Maui
An Early Morning Hike In Waimea Canyon
Zipline Kauai with Skyline Eco-Adventures
Exploring Kauai From The Air
Why You Should Luau at the Sheraton Poipu on Kauai
Kayaking The Wailua River In Kauai
A Sunset Cruise Around The Na’Pali Coast