Kauai: The Good Eats and Yummy Treats

Kauai is our family's favorite place to get away during Seattle's cold and rainy months.  After our last trip in November 2018, I realized I needed to share the local spots we like to frequent and also tell you about the new places we checked out! We always stay on the south side of the island on Poipu in Koloa. Most of the places I mention are located in or near Koloa but we do have some favorites on other parts of the island. In this post I will give you a brief description of each place but will be doing a full review of a couple of them in the future.

Keeping It Casual

We have our usual spots that we visit on every trip and our experience with the food and service is consistently good or gets better with each visit and I KNOW we will always leave with our bellies satisfied.

Puka Dog: What is a Puka Dog you ask? It is a Polish sausage or veggie hot dog in a toasted Hawaiian sweet roll with your choice of a garlic lemon sauce in mild, spicy, hot or lava.  Then you pick one of several sweet relishes made out of a Hawaiian fruit and then it's finished off with a mustard of your choice.  I like the Polish sausage with the spicy garlic sauce, pineapple relish and lilikoi mustard.

My Puka dog!  Polish sausage, spicy garlic lemon sauce, pinapple relish and lilikoi mustard!

Koloa Fish Market: This is a local seafood market that offers daily Hawaiian plates and fresh poke.  This is strictly a take-out establishment with no tables or chairs inside and the store front is very small.  My favorite poke here is the Avocado Ahi Poke.  The combination of the fresh Ahi and avocado is so smooth and savory, you won't ever forget that first bite.

Fresh Poke at Koloa Fish Market

Keoki's Paradise: Dinner here is usually our first meal when we arrive on the island. I typically order prime rib (end cut) and it always hits the spot especially after a long flight from the mainland.  My kids usually find something on the Kieki (kids) menu and have never been disappointed.  Something to note, there are two parts to the restaurant, the bar and dining room. The two areas offer different vibes with similar menus with minor differences.  When you make a reservation, you will automatically be seated in the dining room which is not as loud and cramped as in the bar.   If you have never had Hula Pie, you must try it when you come here!


Fish Express: This is another take-out only seafood market but located in Lihue.  I initially went to check out the poke, however I was intrigued by their Hawaiian plates.  The Kalua Pork Hawaiian Plate is a MUST try!  BEST Kalua Pork I have ever had! It is so good, you will want to eat it in the parking lot to savor the flavors while it's still hot. The poke is always very fresh with my personal favorites being the spicy lobster salad and Maui onion Ahi poke with crab.

Fish Express's Kalua Pig Hawaiian Plate.

Kalaheo Cafe and Coffee Company:  After reading the Yelp reviews, I HAD to check this place out.  It located off a quite road on the way to Waimea Canyon. Parking is limited, so try to get there early! Their menu has numerous sweet and savory options and there is something for everyone.  Each person in our party ordered something different and I was able to get a little sample off of each plate.  The hash browns had just the right amount of crispiness and the eggs were cooked just right.  Everything was perfection.

A little bit of everything.

Fine Dining

Tidepools: At the end of any vacation, we always end it with a nice dinner.  Every visit to Kauai ends with a meal at Tidepools at the Grand Hyatt. This meal is definitely in the fine dining category and is a total splurge but totally worth it. The restaurant is surrounded by the huge Koi pond on the resort.  The crab cakes are the BEST! The crab is so sweet and succulent.  The Keiki (kids) menu is on the smaller side but does offer at least one fish, beef, chicken and mac and cheese option.

Tidepools Mai Tai 

Tidepools Crab Cakes (My favorite!)

Satisfying the Sweet Tooth

Vacation is never complete without sweet local treats!  We have three favorite sweet treat spots and two are in Koloa!

Waikomo Shave Ice: I love this place because all ingredients are natural and they use organic cane sugar!  No artificial colors or flavors!

Excited for our Waikomo Shave Ice!

Papalani Gelato: This decedent shop is conveniently located near our resort. They offer a variety of flavors and you will NEVER get bored with the options!  It's our favorite sweet treat spot if we didn't grab desert after dinner.

Wishing Well Shave Ice: This gem is located in Hanalei and offers a variety of organic and traditional shave ice and Acai bowls!

Wishing Well Shave Ice

First Time Trying

Eating House 1849: This is one of Chef Roy Yamaguchi's restaurants and is located at the Shops at Kukuiula in Koloa.  We ordered a lot of food that night but two standouts were the Pork and Shrimp Potstickers and the Hapa Burger.

Pork and Shrimp Potstickers

Hapa Burger

Pizzetta: We found this gem while on a casual stroll through Old Koloa Town. The Italian flavors in the pizzas and pasta were all on point.  After talking to the waitress, we found out the owner has another restaurant near us in Seattle called Lucia.  We are excited to check it out one of these days!

Perfect place to grab a slice!

Honorable Mention:

Gaylords at Kilohana: We took the train tour at Kilohana and ended the adventure at Gaylords, the restaurant on the property.  The menu isn't large but all the dishes were fresh and done well.  I ordered the Caprese Salad it was perfect for a light lunch. They also have some shops and a Luau on the property. Be sure to check out their website for additional events.

Fresh Caprese Salad

Stay tuned for a full review on some of these places!


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