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the 20 best Places to Eat in Kapaa Kauai
Kapaa is a charming town located on the eastern shores of Kauai and is my personal favorite town on Kauai! With a diverse range of restaurants offering a mix of traditional Hawaiian cuisine and international flavors, Kapaa has become a must-visit destination for those seeking a memorable dining experience.
From upscale eateries to casual beachside cafes, the food scene in Kapaa has something to offer for every taste bud. In this blog post, we’ll explore the best places to eat in Kapaa Kauai that will satisfy your cravings and leave you with a happy belly.
Do I need a rental car in Kauai?
Before we get started with this list of the best places to eat in Kapaa Kauai, let’s talk rental cars. A common misconception is that public transportation is available in Hawaii, but that isn’t necessarily the case outside of Oahu.
You’ll definitely need a rental car in Kauai. Again, I recommend Discount Hawaii Car Rental. You’ll find the best prices on rental cars, and you can reserve now and pay at the Lihue airport!
There are too many things to do in Kauai to limit yourself to staying at a resort the entire time; I can’t imagine doing that.
The best places to eat in Kapaa Kauai
Here are some of the best places to eat in Kapaa Kauai, listed in no particular order.
It might sound weird to go to Hawaii for tacos, but hear me out. This taco specialty shop is Mexican food with a Hawaiian flair.
They have organic, vegetarian, vegan options, and gluten-free options.
Kountry Kitchen can be found in downtown Kapaa. This has been a local brunch restaurant since 1975. This restaurant is known for using the freshest ingredients in all their dishes.
The locals always order the Kalua pork eggs benedict or the plate-sized macadamia nut pancakes. The pancakes are served with house-made coconut syrup. The giant stuffed omelets are also excellent at this brunch spot.
If you can’t stay to eat, you can always do a takeout order.
Bubba Burgers has been serving authentic burgers to the locals in Kapaa since 1936. They offer multiple-sized burgers. So you can always order what you know you will eat.
The kids can always order a hot dog if they don’t want a burger.
Great service is what you will receive every time you dine at Hukilau Lanai. This is a good place to order a few cocktails as well as a meal.
Speaking of meals, start with an order of lobster and goat cheese wontons. The Hukilau mixed grill includes 3 pieces of local fish, grilled. Try that or Wally’s steak crown royal.
Hang around for dessert. The coconut cheesecake will taste scrumptious while live music plays in the background.
One of the best coffee shops in Kauai is Java Kai. They are open for breakfast and lunch. And you can order your favorite drinks all the time.
While their menu is full of coffee, you do have options. They also serve delicious smoothies, juices, and chai lattes.
For breakfast, I recommend ordering the lemon ricotta pancakes or the sunrise brekkie. At lunch, it is all about the Caprese sandwich, BBQ taro burger, or Mediterranean falafel salad.
First Light Coffee and Juice Bar
First Light Coffee can be found on Aleka Loop in Kapaa. It is a great spot for grabbing a cold brew coffee or your favorite drink. There is plenty of parking in the parking lot. Although, you can order ahead and have it delivered. All you need to do is provide your delivery address and one of your credit cards.
Fast food? Yes. I am trying to make Google happy, and it seemed to think this needed to be on here, so here you are, Google.
Panda Express has multiple locations around the Hawaiian Islands. You can find Panda Express in Kapaa, Kauai. They also have a Big Island location and many locations on Oahu.
You will find all types of American Chinese cuisine at Panda Express. Their bowls, plates, and bigger plates are all great ways to try something new.
Bull Shed Restaurant
The Bull Shed Restaurant is another restaurant located on the Coconut Coast. This restaurant opened back in 1973 and has been one of the fan favorites ever since. They are especially known for their seafood and steak.
Their New York steak is topped with blue cheese. The scallops are baked in a white wine sauce. And if you need more than a meal, you can always order from the a la carte options.
The Bull Shed is located at one of my favorite inexpensive boutique hotels in Hawaii, the ISO.
Sam’s Ocean View
A favorite spot on the island of Kauai is Sam’s Ocean View, especially during the winter months when the whales migrate to the islands. It is possible to see the whales right from your table.
Sam’s is known for its fish and chips, as well as their other comfort food on the menu. Their Wagyu steak, which is a seared flank steak, is also a local favorite. It is served with roasted red bliss potatoes and chimichurri sauce.
Order one of their signature cocktails to go with your meal. The Hawaiian kiss is quite good.
Bar Acuda is right on the Kuhio Highway. This is a full bar with friendly service. You can order a wide variety of wine, beer, and specialty cocktails.
While this is a bar, they do offer quite a few small plate options on their menu. Fresh food is available every day. I recommend ordering a few extra small plates, so you can try more of the local cuisine.
The grilled filet mignon, grilled lamb riblets, and the North Shore honeycomb are all excellent dishes to begin with. If you don’t want to stay for dessert, you don’t have to. However, you should order a salted caramel pot de creme to go.
This bar is one of the local favorites due to what can be played on any of the televisions. If you are going to be dining at Bar Acuda, you should make a reservation well in advance. They book quickly.
Coconut’s Fish Cafe
One of the best restaurants to eat wild-caught fish in Kapaa, Kauai, is Coconut’s Fish Cafe. Family recipes were passed down through the generations. Those recipes are used to create the Hawaiian flavors you will come to love.
The menu at this Kapaa restaurant is filled with tacos, fish sandwiches, and other Kama’aina favorites. I happen to love their grilled mahi mahi sandwich. There is also a keiki menu for younger diners. So the whole family can enjoy a great meal.
Lava Lava Beach Club
Views of the Coconut Beach coastline can be seen from the Lava Lava Beach Club. In fact, many of the seats are in an open-air setting directly on the beach. I recommend arriving early if you want outdoor seating. This restaurant does not take reservations despite being one of the most popular restaurants on the island.
You can eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner here. Many of the menu items are available if you want to place an online order for breakfast or lunch.
Start your main meal with an order of poke nachos or another one of the poke bowls. Save some room for the rib teaser, Chinese spiced rubbed ahi or coconut shrimp. If you have time to keep listening to the live music, order the Kauai coffee cheesecake or Kauai lime pie. Both are excellent.
El Rey Del Mar
You may be surprised at how much Mexican food can be eaten while on vacation in Kauai. El Rey Del Mar is one of the many food trucks in Kauai. It is a great place to go when you want great food and ocean views.
You will find this food truck on the east side of the island. Simply place your order and then wait at the picnic tables for it to be prepared. Everything is made fresh to order.
If you arrive for breakfast, I recommend the breakfast burrito. It is stuffed with eggs, veggies, beans, and rice. The fish tacos are great for lunch. They may be the best fish tacos on the island.
The owner makes his own hot sauces. Try them all before choosing one for your meal.
Lemongrass Grill and Seafood and Sushi Bar
This charming restaurant is located within an old homestead in Kauai. While many of the menu items include fish and seafood, there are other options. The chicken, lamb, and pork are all skillfully prepared. You will definitely get a delicious meal when you dine here.
Try the crab cakes or calamari fritters to start. Then dive into the drunken duck, guava BBQ ribs, or scampi pasta.
It is worth it to make a reservation at the Lemongrass Grill, especially if you plan to dine here on the weekend.
Oasis on the Beach
You will find Oasis on the Beach at the Outrigger Waipouli Beach Resort in Kapaa, Kauai. You do not need to be a guest at this resort to dine here. That is a wonderful thing because no one would be able to resist the ocean views. Or the delicious food!
The menu at this Kapaa restaurant features around 85% local ingredients. The owners work closely with the local farmers. You can easily pair many of those fresh foods with the happy hour drink specials. They have the best mai tai on the island.
The Oasis poke bowls are yummy. Start with one before ordering a Mauka burger, the seared catch of the day, or the Sakura pork chop. For dessert, order the Oasis terrine. Even if you must take it to go, trust me that you’re going to want to try it!
One of the restaurants you will find on Kuhio Highway is Mermaid’s Cafe. It is one of those local restaurants you may walk right past without really knowing it is there.
You really must stop in while driving along Kuhio Hwy because the food is that good. The menu is full of both healthy and vegan options. Plan on eating lots of veggies with whatever you decide to order.
And don’t forget the hibiscus lemonade. It is a great drink for your island vacation.
You can eat your meal at one of the tables outside. Or take it to go and head to the beach.
If you are searching for one of the best places to eat in Kapaa, Kauai, with large portions, head to Olympic Cafe. Early in the day, you can enjoy your morning coffee as well as fresh pastries. Other breakfast items include omelets and French toast.
If you are dining later in the day, it will be all about burgers, tacos, and Kalua pork. This is one of the best places to eat while in Kapaa Town. Especially since you always get hearty portions of good food.
Restaurant Kintaro is one of the best places to eat sushi rolls in Kapaa. You can eat your sushi, as well as miso soup at a table or a tatami.
It is best to make reservations for this Asian restaurant. It is always crowded. But that only shows you have chosen the right place to order tempura, sushi, and sashimi.
It isn’t too difficult to find authentic Italian cuisine when you are on vacation in Kapaa, Kauai. All you need to do is head over to Kauai Pasta. Olive oil is used in many of the dishes on the menu. They also include great seafood in many of their dishes.
Start with a little bit of the spinach artichoke dip or the Kilauea tomato bruschetta. For a main course, try the house pasta, fresh clam linguini, or the fettuccine alfredo. Pair your meal with your favorite wine or one of their specialty cocktails.
Smith’s Tropical Paradise Luau or Luau kalamaku
Sometimes, you won’t be going to a traditional restaurant for a meal in Kauai. Instead, you may enter beautiful gardens and enjoy a meal as part of a luau. You will have a great time at this open-air dining experience.
A full bar is available at Smith’s. Indulge a little as you enjoy all the different foods on the buffet. Just make sure you pay attention to the dancing and music as you are enjoying your meal.
You might also enjoy Luau Kalamaku, one of the best luaus in Hawaii. It’s certainly a great way to spend one of your evenings in Kauai.
The 20 best places to eat in Kapaa Kauai
I hope this list of the 20 best places to eat in Kapaa Kauai helps you figure out where to eat in Kapaa. If you were looking for the best restaurants in Kapaa, this should have you off to a good start!
Did your favorite Kapaa restaurant make the list? If not, let me know in the comments so I can add it!
More things to do in Kauai
Want even more Kauai vacation ideas? Check out some of my most popular posts.
- The 16 best beaches in Kauai for swimming
- The best things to do in Hanalei
- 50 things to do on Kauai
- The best island to visit in Hawaii in December
- 10 best adventure activities on Kauai
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