What to expect with restaurants on Kauai? The thought that flashed through my mind is that there is a huge variety but that it’s also constantly changing. Kauai restaurants on the North Shore represents a different landscape to what was there 10, even 5 years ago. That’s a positive thing! There are few that have been open more than 10 years and it seems to me that island wide, not just on the north shore, the “landscape” of restaurants has changed in that food trucks have become huge, there are some excellent gourmet restaurants and in the middle there’s choice and variety. My Kauai Guide has a comprehensive list of restaurants island wide.
Bar Acuda has now been open for 14 years and has earned a national reputation, well deserved. Evenings only. They serve “tapas” sized portions. Very creative eclectic menu and reasonable. I do so appreciate that Jim Moffat, Owner and Executive Chef is still there most days…. and although he’s no longer popping over to the Hanalei Bread Co, which he sold, Ama, the new Ramen style place is literally almost a part of Bar Acuda, practically speaking….because it’s so close! I miss some of the original dishes but it’s still pretty amazing. The ambience is lovely and you can sit inside or out. Book.
Ama is a Japanese style Ramen and Cerviche restaurant owned by Jim Moffat, who owns Bar Acuda. It’s excellent food of course but many people find the ambience wonderful.. as I do because of the view at the back if you sit outside .. which most people do. Amazing views of waterfalls in the mountains above Hanalei. Back to the food; this is seriously authentic Japanese Ramen dishes so for Ramen enthusiasts, this is heaven. Creative, beautifully presented and as with Bar Acuda, the proof is in the taste.
Both Bar Acuda and Ama are top picks for Kauai Restaurants North Shore.
Da ‘Nui as the locals call it is a fabulous place to go for a drink. The food is also very good, but that’s not why people go to the Nui. This is the oldest restaurant in Hanalei .. Aunty Louise, the beautiful Tahitian girl who married American Bruce Marston and together they started and ran Tahiti Nui – the place for live music and good food in Hanalei. Their son Christian continues to run Tahiti Nui as it always was: Aloha Spirit, good music and great food.
Don’t miss it.
The Food Wagons Hanalei
The absolute best thing to have happened food wise in Hanalei over the last few years are the food trucks tucked away behind Hanalei Liquor store.
I am eternally grateful for Fresh Bite, which serves absolutely delicious salads and wraps using all locally sourced and organic produce. A couple of my favorites are the Chop Lee and the Kauaian…. yum. And very reasonably priced. The purple fries are terrific too as is the Organic Mint Tea (which I’m pretty sure they get from Kauai Farmacy) . Fresh bite is one of a collection of 5 food wagons in a lot to the right of Hanalei Liquor. Fresh Bite is a favorite of mine and my family’s. Open 11 – 4 every day except, curiously, Tuesday and Wednesday, sumptuous and inventive salads and wraps. Try the purple fries.. tasty! Very reasonably priced. Definitely a top pick for Kauai’s Restaurants North Shore.
Absolutely first class Indian food – best on the island. This is one of the food wagons next to Fresh Bite. Gorgeous Coconut curry, Fish curry, great menu. All dishes can be either mild, medium or spicy. Chicken curry, Fish curry. Organic ingredients, wonderful Lassa and Naan. Yum. The Chef is Indian and his wife American. They make a great team! Also, I love the color of the truck!
Serves Hawaiian inspired plate lunch including the very traditional Kailua Pork and cabbage and Poke bowls. Fresh ingredients, great food well prepared. Try the inspired Dragonfruit Limeaid by Chef Chloe. Closed Sun/Mon
All 3 of these trucks are so reasonably priced, it’s such value for money and in my humble opinion, some of the best food on Kauai.
For the juice crew amongst you, don’t miss Akamai Juice Co. Freshly made juice everyday… it’s something of a habit. Thank you Cas.
Hanalei Bay Pizzeria occupies the same space that used to be just Hanalei Pizza. Good pizza, You can also buy to bake at home.
Hanalei Bread Co
Jim Moffat of Bar Acuda fame opened this in 2015. It was an instant hit: artisan breads made on site, great coffee, juices, terrific breakfast menu. It sold around a year ago. Since I was away, it was only a couple of weeks ago I visited.
Still great coffee and drinks selection. Good croissants and selection of sweet stuff to go with a coffee or tea. My daughter had the chocolate banana bread and it was yummy. They also serve sandwiches, hot breakfasts including burritos and I had the “brekkie” with egg, salad and substituted avo for bacon. Delicious.
They’ve moved things around a bit; less seating and an extra shelf which splits up the area; personally I don’t think it was a good move (doesn’t feel as thriving) but you can still sit up at the bench and people watch people on the green.
I remember when this market used to be an ABC store… as if Kauai didn’t already have enough of those! (they are cool though). This is the organic store in Hanalei and they also have a deli, smoothie and salad bar. Good smoothies, pretty good salad bar and the soups are good also. Often have yummy cakes and desserts.
Been there forever, the Hanalei Gourmet serves reasonably priced cafe type food and drinks.
Postcards has been there over 20 years. Eclectic evening menu including seafood & vegetarian Good fish and vegetarian dishes. I do bemoan the fact that they used to be open serving fabulous breakfasts and stopped doing that years ago.
Almost an institution on the north shore. Right by the River so great location and ambience especially sitting outside. Food is so-so. Fish is usually pretty good.
Perhaps go for lunch and sit outside by the river. Great fish which you can also buy to cook at home.
Northside Grill and Sushi
Gosh, this place just changed names – again. For years it was Sushi Blues, then it was “Bouchons”, a curious name for a restaurant and now it’s changed again to Northside Grill and Sushi. Open lunch and dinner, closed Sundays.
Pat’s Taqueria at Hanalei Bay
Mexican food and used to be a bit of an institution down at the Pier but now located next to Big Save in the Ching Young Shopping village.
Hanalei is often referred to as the cutest or most chic or best town on the island, here’s my post on famous Hanalei.
For a view:
This is the place to go for the best view. The restaurant was refurbished a couple of years ago and the food offered is a wide selection; everything from Fish Tacos to Kauai grown rib and Poke. Extensive and cool cocktails. Book and arrive at 5pm to get a place on the Lanai Live music most nights.
Makana Terrace at the St. Regis
Also has the great view and you can likewise go for drinks here too. It has live entertainment every night from 6 – 9pm.
Nanea Restaurant at the Westin
Nanea restaurant at the Westin is very good, though you don’t get the views you have at HBR or the Regis.
Relatively new (in the last two years). Italian and billed as “upscale”. Pasta and Mozzarella made on site (impressive) and a great selection of pasta, antipasti, Pizza and main dishes. Italian sodas naturally. Wine, beer and cocktails. Usually busy but you don’t need to book.
This simple Polynesian inspired Tiki bar is owned and managed by Todd & Michele Rundgren who moved to Kauai just after Iniki (hence the name). Lots of cocktails and music.
Love this place. Amazing for breakfast : smoothies are terrific, croissants with egg, cheese and a variety of other ingredients. Acai bowls, yoghurt bowls, the “Maca Macnut” is great. Always a line as it’s so good but it moves fast and you can sit in the little outside seating area there. Wonderful food and very reasonably priced, especially for Princeville! Their main place is in Kapa’a above “The Local” opposite the ABC store.
There is also Hideaways Pizza at the Pali Ke Kua Resort.
The Coffee Bean is at Foodland if you just want to grab a cup of great coffee or tea.
Kauai Juice Co
In the stone building on the left hand side of the road, around the front. Fresh juices made daily, fresh nut milks, some interesting and healthy food (limited). Has become a Kauai Institution after a few short years. Locations also in Kapa’a and Poipu. Healthy & delicious.
Palate Wine Bar
Great wine selection and some wonderful tapas. The Mac Nut Pesto flatbread is particularly good, as is the cheese plate. Interesting selection of wines.
Healthy Hut Juice Bar & Deli
The Healthy Hut originally opened as a little cupboard with a few organic products and bulk food, then moved to the stone building on the left hand side of the road (where the Hunter Gatherer shop is now) and came to Kilauea Crossings about 8 years ago now I believe with expanded produce and a juice bar and deli. It has quickly become a favourite with locals. Good smoothies and “shots” of Olena (tumeric) and other good stuff. I regularly knock down a “turbo” shot (fantastic concoction with Olena, black pepper, garlic, ginger & more!) Coffee and tea all day. The deli has a consistently good salad bar and there are daily offerings of hot food and soup. These vary a little depending on who is cooking. Top Pick for Kauai’s Restaurants North Shore.
The Fish Market
In the stone building….great for both lunch and dinner. Fish wraps, fish sandwich, Ahi Fajita burrito, Ahi Stir fry, Chicken Teriaki….. buy fresh Mahi Mahi, Ahi, Ono.
Trilogy Coffee shop
Great coffee and some even more fantastic raw food desserts created by Ramaya. Seating is great when it’s not raining but no indoor or covered seating area. Why is that owners?
Pau Hana Pizza & Coffee
Decent Pizza which you can order and pick up, coffee, chai, pastries in the morning. The main reason to frequent the Pau Hana is the lovely seating area outside surrounded by boutique shops.
Reasonable fare, not as good as it used to be.
is in the wagon at Kilauea Crossings. Pretty good Mexican food. Guacamole is very good.
Sunrise Fruit Stand
The peachy building that is visible from the road in Moloa’a at about mm. 17, this place has great smoothies. They have quite an extensive breakfast and lunch menu catering to vegans, vegetarians. Some interesting dishes . You can buy fresh fruit and items like Guacamole and Hummus to take away. Open seating area which is pleasant, though of course they are next to the highway. Reasonably priced. Closed Sundays.
Well that’s it for Kauai Restaurants North Shore. If you would like more general info on Kauai’s North Shore, take a look at my post on that here.
I’ll be doing Kauai’s East Side, South Shore and West Side restaurants soon.