Aloha! If you have been a long time reader of our blog it should come as no surprise to you that Ashley and I love Kauai. In fact, Ashley is there right now sans kids (and I may be a little jealous of that). Why do we love Kauai? Honestly, if you’ve ever been there you wouldn’t need to ask us this question! Kauai is heaven! Drive from one side of the island to the other and you will see a wide variety of vegetation, waterfalls, and wildlife. Ashley and I both love the beauty of the island (it is actually the oldest of the Hawaiian Islands), the laid back atmosphere and all the amazing things you can do and see there. It also doesn’t hurt that one of our favorite movies, Jurassic Park, was filmed there (among others including South Pacific, The Descendants, and Blue Hawaii).
I decided to put together a small list of some of our favorite places we love to frequent when we are on the island of Kauai. We think these establishments have “Ono Grindz*”….and we hope you will agree!
(*Ono Grindz is Hawaiian slang for ‘Good Food’).
For our full Plantation Gardens Restaurant review click here. The restaurant was once the location of the Koloa Plantation; Hawaii’s first sugar plantation. As you walk through the entrance, the grounds are lined with many varieties of orchids, trees, and other Hawaiian foliage. We were stunned to find cacti blooming in the garden as well. Plantation Gardens is a great place to visit for special occasions such as Anniversary, Weddings and Birthdays.
Mention Puka Dog and I guarantee you will have mouths watering. What is a Puka Dog? They are slow-roasted Polish sausages (veggie dogs are also available) that are jammed into freshly baked buns. The relishes and sauce of your choice are then inserted down into the bun to give you a flavor explosion like no other. We personally recommend the original secret sauce with coconut relish! Puka Dog also features hand-squeezed lemonade that is the perfect antidote to quench your thirst. Puka Dog was chosen by the Travel Channel as one of the top 10 Hotdog Stands in America. It was also featured on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations. In our humble opinion, it is a MUST when you are visiting Kauai.
Hamura Saimin has been operating since 1951 and has been a staple on Kauai ever since. A favorite among local residents, Hamura Saimin is a hole in the wall restaurant that serves great food with no frills. The menu consists of various sized bowls of noodles; saimin (a classic Hawaiian noodle soup), regular or special; wonton mein or soup and fried noodles on weekdays. Island favorites such as shrimp tempura, BBQ meat sticks and fried wontons are also on the menu as is their lilikoi chiffon pie. All noodles are made fresh daily, while wontons are made up twice a week in 140-pound batches. In 2006 Hamura Saimin was honored as one of “America’s Classics” in 2006 by the James Beard Foundation (basically the highest prize you can receive for food). Just a FYI Humura Saimin only accepts cash.
Eating House 1849 by Roy Yamaguchi
Formally known as Roy’s, Eating House 1849 pays homage to Hawaii’s vibrant culinary heritage. This restaurant run by Roy Yamaguchi, the creator of Hawaiian fusion cuisine, is modern and beautiful. While I haven’t eaten any main dishes here (yet) I can definitely recommend the desserts. Actually, I can recommend one dessert; the Melting Hot Chocolate Soufflé A la Mode. This delicious creation is unlike any dessert I have ever tasted. It’s a mix between a molten chocolate cake and a popover. Crisp on the outside and gooey on the inside. If you are looking for a sweet treat I definitely recommending stopping by for a Soufflé.
The Fresh Shave
Hawaii is well known for its Shave Ice and while delicious it’s not the healthiest treat. High fructose corn syrup and artificial coloring are sadly in much of the shave ice offered on the islands. The Fresh Shave has set out to change that. Their motto is to serve the best all–natural and delicious shave ice. Fresh Shave strives to use organic ingredients and local farm fresh produce in all of their products. Their ice is hand cranked and their syrups are homemade, so each shave ice treat is truly handcrafted. Their fun barbershop theme is woven together with fun mustache stickers atop straws and shave ice flavors named after different mustache styles. Our whole family tried most of the Fresh Shaved menu and loved everything. We especially loved how fresh and pure everything tasted. The Fresh Shave is definitely a spot we recommend.
We stopped at La Spezia for breakfast which consisted of; Brie Stuffed French Toast, Eggs Benedict, Benny Italiano and more. While customer service was lacking the breakfast was a hit with everyone. My recommendation? Order the Blueberry French Toast (Hawaiian sweet bread stuffed with a blueberry mascarpone, served with real maple syrup) it is definitely worth the calories.
When I first visited the island of Kauai in 2002 I remember visiting Lappert’s (then located in Old Town Koloa). Their ice cream is still as creamy and delicious today as the ice cream I remembered having years ago. My favorite flavor is still Kauai Pie-the perfect taste of the Garden Isle. For those of you unable to have dairy, Lappert’s also offers coffee and pastries.
Grilled Cheese topped with Kalua Pork? How about a Hot Dog with Kalua Pork? Porky’s serves traditional American favorites with a Hawaiian twist. We had Porky’s on New Year’s Eve at Poipu Beach and everything was finger lickin’ good. Head on down to their food truck and tell them the gals at Cherry Blossoms The Blog sent you!
Follow their Facebook Page to see their location and times.
Chicken in a Barrel BBQ
Family owned and operated Chicken in a Barrel is a great place to stop and get some chow after a surf lesson. The Teriyaki Cheeseburger was a favorite of ours. To read our full review click here.
(Next to Hanalei Liquor Store)
Open Tuesday -Saturday 11am-4pm
Trucking Delicious is an eclectic Food Truck specializing in local style plate lunches and fried rice plates.
I had the BEST Kalua Pork here. Every person in our group loved each menu item that they ordered. In fact, we all agreed that if we weren’t staying on the South Shore we would have eaten here every single day. SO GOOD!
We hope that our small guide to our favorite places to eat in Kauai, Hawaii helps you on your next trip to Paradise!
Mahalo for reading!