Best breakfast

Living Foods

Drop into Living Foods Market & Café at The Shops at Kukuiula for a fortifying start to the day. Most of the meals, including lemon ricotta pancakes and a hearty breakfast burrito with housemade chorizo, are made with local organic produce. Browse the barn-like store afterwards for gourmet groceries and fresh fruit and vegetables to go.

Best poke

Don’t be fooled by the exterior – Koloa Fish Market (5482 Koloa Rd Koloa; +1 808 742 6199) is a hole-in-the-wall shop that’s nothing flash but it’s home to probably the best poke on the island. There’s no seating, no cards accepted and you’ll probably have to stand in line but the super-fresh poke is great value and worth the wait. 

Best restaurant for kids

You can spend half a day at Kilohana Plantation, a stately old mansion with shops, a bar and Gaylord’s restaurant. Relax in the shady courtyard over a leisurely lunch as your offspring chase chickens on the lawns. Afterwards, ride the Plantation Railway, do a rum tasting or see a luau (Tuesday and Friday evenings) – all on the same property.

Best coffee

Trilogy Coffee

The rich, Italian-style coffee Australians love is hard to find on Kauai but Trilogy Coffee at Kilauea is the place to go when you need your fix. A double shot is standard so order a latte to go and be tempted by the raw, vegan sweets, such as gluten-free lilikoi (passionfruit) cheesecake.

Best shave ice

Enjoy fresh toppings made from local fruit rather than sugary syrups at Wailua Shave Ice. Seasonal specials may include mango, guava and strawberry or even purple yam with coconut flakes. Most visitors, however, can’t go past the passionfruit-spiked lilikoi cream, a much-requested house specialty.

Best cheeseburger

If you don’t mind eating beside bowsers, North Shore General Store at the Princeville 76 Gas Station (5-4280 Kuhio Highway, Princeville; +1 808 826 7992) dishes up a full menu of excellent fast food, including burgers packed with grass-fed Kauai beef and locally grown salad ingredients on a taro-spiked brioche bun. A side of shoestring fries is a must.

Best food truck

Taro is intertwined with Hawaiian culture and few places do it better than Hanalei Taro & Juice Co., a six-generation family business. At this modest food stop you can order the pounded root in a smoothie, as poi with pulled pork and lomi-lomi salmon (kalua bowl) or as a delicious hommus with crunchy taro chips.    

Best sunset bar

With plans for a multi-million-dollar renovation, the Princeville Resort commands perhaps the most priceless view on the island. Grab a spot on the terrace and order a refreshing Going Green cocktail as the sun sets over Hanalei Bay. In spring and summer, the otherwise calm waters add to the show with large waves rolling in.

Best Japanese

The only restaurant open for dinner service in Hanapepe, Japanese Grandma’s Café sources the finest local ingredients and has family connections to the Japanese fishing industry. Owner Keiko Napier dishes up an extensive menu of rolls, bento bowls, sushi and sashimi. On a fine day, sit in the garden and toast your luck with a sparkling saké.

Best fine dining

Red Salt

Seafood is a must-order at Red Salt in the elegant Koa Kea Resort, Poipu Beach. From fat Japanese scallops with Portuguese sausage to miso butterfish with shimeji mushrooms or the to-die-for Kona lobster gnocchi, Kauai-born chef Noelani Planas’s fusion menu is a flavour-packed delight. If you must eat meat, the Red Salt burger is about as indulgent as they come.

SEE ALSO: Where to Go For Great Food on Oahu

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