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Kauai restaurants

Part of what makes Kauai so special is that it's not as developed as Maui or Oahu. Unfortunately, that means the dining scene is somewhat limited by comparison, but a slew of very welcome new restaurants, both high-end and low, have emerged since 2009. Of course, there are several excellent restaurants in the resort areas of Poipu, Kapaa, and Hanalei. And because nothing on the island is farther than a two-hour drive apart, having dinner in Kapaa when you're staying in Poipu is not out of the question.

The main town of Lihue is sort of a culinary wasteland, with the notable exceptions of 22° North at the Kilohana Sugar Plantation and Hamura Saimin, a James Beard Award–winning hole-in-the-wall lunch spot. Kapaa, where you'll find the casual Mermaids café, is a 20-minute drive up the coast. The surfer town on the north side of the island, Hanalei, is home to Jean-Georges Vongerichten's Kauai Grill inside the St. Regis Princeville resort. And you certainly won't go hungry in Poipu, with Josselin's Tapas Bar & Grill. When heading west to Waimea Canyon or the Napali Coast, stop for lunch at Hanapepe Café and pick up local-style shave ice for dessert at Jo-Jo's Anuenue (the original Jo-Jo's is back!).

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22° North, Lihue

The old Gaylord's restaurant at the Kilohana Plantation is no more, but the beautiful patio-style space with an open-air courtyard has been reborn as 22°...more

Editors' Pick
Hamura Saimin, Lihue

The first thing you will notice about this hole-in-the-wall lunch shop, honored in 2006 by the James Beard Foundation in the America's Classics category, is...more

Editors' Pick
Hanapepe Café, Hanapepe

This humble hole-in-the-wall in Hanapepe, a little plantation town just west of glitzy Poipu Beach, promotes a purposefully healthy take on food—which is...more

Editors' Pick
Jo-Jo's Anuenue, Waimea

There are two shave ice (Hawaiian snow cone) places in Waimea called Jo-Jo's. And, oddly, the bright yellow Jo-Jo's Clubhouse on the main highway isn't the real...more

Editors' Pick
Josselin's Tapas Bar & Grill, Poipu

Chef Jean Marie Josselin isn't as well known as some of the other founders of Hawaii regional cuisine, but his food is still entirely worth seeking out....more

Editors' Pick
Kauai Chocolate Company, Eleele

One of the newer discoveries in Hawaiian agriculture is that cacao grows well on Kauai. The outcome is this mom-and-pop chocolate shop in Port Allen (where boat...more

Editors' Pick
The Mediterranean Gourmet, Haena

Fresh hummus, tabouli, and baba ghanoush are a bit unexpected in the Hanalei Colony Resort's remote corner of Hawaii. Yet you won't be disappointed with the...more

Editors' Pick
Mermaids, Kapaa

Wraps don't usually inspire passionate praise, but not all wraps contain seared tuna, nutty brown rice, cucumber slices, and pickled ginger doused in a heavenly...more

Editors' Pick
Nanea Restaurant & Bar, Princeville

While the condos of the Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas are generic and too far from the ocean for us to recommend, the property's unpretentious...more

Editors' Pick
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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.



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