Top 5 Locals-Only Restaurants on Kauaʻi

If you’ve had enough of luxury restaurant fare (or else can’t really afford it), you’ll be looking for some other interesting places to eat. Check out these local favorites for a true Kauaʻi experience! Find out for yourself  what are the top restaurants in Kauai

Ishihara Store – Waimea

Okay, it’s not a restaurant, it’s more of a grocery store. But it is the spot for poke on the south side, according to locals in the area. Get your food and sit outside at the picnic table, or take it over to Waimea Pier to look over the ocean. Keep your eyes peeled when you’re at the checkout counter: you might get lucky and spot some kulolo for sale. It’s a classic Hawaiian dessert, sort of a little cake made with taro, and Ishihara’s has the best anywhere!

Kīlauea Bakery – Kīlauea

This little bakery in the historic Kong Lung Center is renowned island-wide for its great bread, pastries, and especially pizza. They also have a great selection for vegetarians, vegans, and gluten-free diners. Come early if you want breakfast, as breakfast pastries start selling out by 10 am. For lunch and dinner, choose from one of four daily soups, delicious salads, pizzas, and calzones. Yum!

Porky’s – Waimea

If you like pork, this is the place for you! Pork is a very traditional Hawaiian food, as the early Hawaiians relied on pigs to provide protein for important feasts and celebrations. Porky’s is just a roadside food truck, but if you like pulled pork sandwiches, don’t miss it! They only serve 3 menu options (don’t come here looking for a salad), but do them so well, you won’t miss the variety. Stop here for a great quick lunch before or after visiting the Waimea Valley overlook!

Wailua Shave Ice – Kapaʻa

Okay, it’s not a restaurant either, it’s a shave ice truck. But please take the advice of this lifelong shave ice aficionado: it’s the best you’ll get anywhere. Walk up to Wailua’s red truck, and ponder your options (all locally made with real sugar from fresh island fruits in season). The staff are friendly and helpful, and if you eat your shave ice there instead of taking it to go, you can have it in a real bowl (no messy paper cone drips!). Try the triple coconut: coconut syrup with haupia topping and shaved toasted coconut on top. One word: amazing.

Pono Market – Kapaʻa

As with so many other great local dining spots, it’s not really a sit-down type of place. No matter: grab your lunch there to go, and walk a block to the beach to eat it. This is a great spot to try local delicacies such as laulau, squid poke, and kalua pork. And wouldn’t you know it, they also have great espresso. A true local gem!

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