COVID UPDATE Aloha! This post — Where to Find the Best Dinner on Kauai — was updated in March 2021. However, as we have all learned, things can change overnight, so please check with each restaurant before visiting. We’ve included phone numbers and links to websites below. Mahalo!
You’ve spent the day exploring the beauty of the Garden Isle and there’s one last thing to do before calling it a day — eat a delicious dinner. We’ve hand-collected a list of the best places to enjoy a lovely meal on Kauai.
Ama’s motto is “you’re in paradise, try the noodles” and we heartily agree! They use only local ingredients for their delicious house-made noodles and ramen mazeman dishes. Enjoy your meal on their gorgeous patio. Ama’s sister restaurant is Bar Acuda, also in Hanalei. During Covid times, Ama is open for patio dining Wednesday to Saturday 5pm to 9pm. amahanalei.com
For 15 years, Bar Acuda has been offering an amazing tapas-style menu designed to be shared among friends — but there’s no shame in ordering to your heart’s content if dining solo. The ingredients are locally sourced, the wine list is extensive and the creative cocktails set the tone for one great meal on Kauai’s north shore. During Covid times, Bar Acuda is open Tuesday through Saturday from 5:30pm to 9pm. Closed Sunday and Monday. restaurantbaracuda.com
Eating House 1849
Well-renowned local chef Roy Yamaguchi is behind Eating House 1849. The menu features dishes both from mauka (the mountains) and makai (the sea). Start with your own appetizer, the Kamuela Farms Tomato & Mozzarella Cheese Salad, and then share an delicious entree like the Slow Braised Honey Mustard Grilled Beef Short Ribs or the Tiger Shrimp Pasta. During Covid times, Eating House is open for dine-in and takeout every day 4pm to 8pm. royyamaguchi.com
The Hukilau Lanai has fresh, local seafood with Island influenced flavors and nightly entertainment. As part of The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch, they’re committed to sourcing only sustainably caught fish. There’s a separate gluten-free dinner menu and every Sunday there’s a five-course tasting menu for $50. Reservations required. During Covid times, Hukilau Lanai is open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday 5pm to 8:30pm. Closed Monday and Tuesday. hukilaukauai.com
Jo2 Natural Cuisine
Chef Jean-Marie Josselin has created a menu that merges the culinary influences of his native France, the clean flavors of Japanese cooking, and Hawaii’s multi-ethnic community. Jo2 focuses on using local organic produce and freshly caught fish. Our recommended dishes include ono ceviche with coconut water foam, tempura lobster tail ramen, and sake cured steelhead salmon. During Covid times, Jo2 is open daily for dinner 5pm to 9pm and would be happy to serve you. jotwo.com
Kauai native and award-winning chef Noelani Planas is in the kitchen of Red Salt, located inside the Koa Kea Hotel & Resort in Poipu. Voted #1 Restaurant in Kauai by Honolulu Magazine, Red Salt offers delectable dishes like Madagascar Vanilla Bean Seared Mahi Mahi. During Covid times, dinner is every day 5:30pm to 9:30pm (limited menu). Breakfast is served daily 6:30am to 11am. meritagecollection.com
Family-owned and -operated for over 20 years, this place is serving seriously “ono-licious” (really tasty) food. The vibe is hip, the fish is as fresh as it gets, and the menu has got something for everyone, including all you plant-loving folk. thedolphinpoipu.comi
Chef Peter Merriman has made quite a name for himself in Hawaii, and his namesake restaurant sources ingredients locally, in order to get the freshest from local farmers, fisherman and ranchers. The cocktails are flowing and the local beers are in abundance. Of course, the food is nothing short of delicious. merrimanshawaii.com