As with our first impressions of Kauai, our first meal on Kauai was a family dinner of hard pork quesadillas courtesy of the hotel pool bar and disappointment all around.
But the rest of my week-long stay was all about culinary delights.
If you’re in the mood for a snack, head to Kilauea Bakery & Pizzeria. You’ll know you’re on the island when you see pastries featuring tropical flavors like chocolate coconut cream eclairs, lilikoi cream puffs, and guava coconut ulu (breadfruit) muffins. I had the Guava Dark Chocolate Macaron, which is a heavenly pink confection that tastes like a rich coconut cake.
Want something to cool you down? Sometimes the frozen dessert drink, which combines foodie darlings Filipino flavors with Mexican rice milk and cinnamon drinks, is gone.
Not really a dessert, but the dragon fruit cocktail I had at the Lava Lava Beach Club was sweet. Evening he couldn’t hear the rest of the ingredients the waitress mentioned when explaining the drink specials.
Located on the second floor overlooking downtown Kapaa, Olympic Cafe has an extensive menu that rivals Guam’s favorite breakfast spots. My bangers and eggs were cooked perfectly and the mash was not to be missed. My husband liked that the coffee mug was twice the size of a regular Kappa Joe.
Do you leave early? Stop by Island Craves, down the street from the Olympic Café, for a latte and Grab and Go breakfast burrito. Open daily at 5:30am, just 15 minutes north of the airport.
lunch or dinner
If you’re a fan of craft beer, the island has two local breweries. Kauai Beer Company in Lihue and his company Kauai Island Brewing in Elelee in the south of the island.
Dined at Kauai Beer Company. A friend who lives on the island told me I had to try the Brussels sprouts. It was a great phone. Kung pao sauce and peanuts made for a tangy and flavorful appetizer.
I had a meal with freshly fried chicharron. Both portions are hearty and enough for 3 people as an appetizer.
I don’t drink, so my husband recommends Kauai Island Brewing beers, especially Captain’s Cook’s Ale.
For a serious bar and good food, head to Verde (try the new Mahi Mahi Furikake Tacos and Ube Horchata) or Lava Lava Beach Club (the pineapple fried rice is Instagrammable and delicious to boot).
But once you’ve booked your ticket to Kauai, the next thing you want to do is book dinner at Gaylord’s Plantation House.
Located in the courtyard of the elegant Kilohana Plantation Home, the restaurant is extremely popular with locals and visitors alike thanks to its surprisingly reasonable prices and well-executed menu.
If you can’t afford the dinner reggie, just grab lunch, or hop on the train and try a lunch tour package to experience more of the plantation.
Here are some final tips for finding the best places to eat on Kauai. Don’t rely on online reviews, ask locals.