Visitors and residents have a wealth of choices for spots to eat on Kauai that aren’t just local but are sustainably minded and doing good for the community and the planet. So taste your way around the island, and enjoy flavors fresh from volcanic soil and the deep ocean. Here are a few favorite spots to try on your next visit to the Garden Isle.
When it comes to serving the community, Jojo’s Shave Ice hits a high note. All of the profits from each of the three JoJo’s locations on the island go to fund free camps for Hawaiian kids who wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to go. And it doesn’t hurt that the flavoring for these icy treats comes from house-made syrups made from cane sugar, with no high fructose corn syrup in sight.
The Hawaiian islands are certainly known for multiethnic cuisine, with flavors from all over Asia, the South Pacific, and beyond. Influences from France, Japan, and traditional island dishes take over at JO2 Natural Cuisine. Heirloom veggies grown on Kauai flavor the plates, along with the freshest seafood on the market. Taste your way through the seasonal menu and enjoy a fine dining experience, island style.
Taro donuts made to order from Holey Grail Donuts get a chef’s kiss without needing to say more. But when you add in the extras of a “movement of sustainable indulgence” that their local ingredients and considered ecological impact bring, well, it’s an even bigger story. See what flavors they’re serving up out of the little red trailer.
Since 2013, Kauai Beer Company has been the neighborhood microbrewery that quenches thirsty evenings with craft beer. But their menu doesn’t begin and end with the kegs. It’s worth a bite, too. Hearty pub eats, with plenty of vegetarian options, are the name of the game here. Find items like a seared ahi steak sandwich and a world-famous ruben, including house-made kraut and house-cured pastrami rounding out the menu.
Kauai Coconuts serves hard-hitting Vietnamese favorites out of a cheery sky-blue food truck. Savor local flavor incorporated into the banh mi, fresh coconuts, mochi donuts, pho, spring rolls, and other dishes. Find them at the Warehouse 3540 shops, a food truck nucleus of tastiness.
If you’re only going to go to one place on the island for plate lunch, make it Mark’s Place. There just isn’t room to describe all the awards and accolades Mark and Wendy Oyama have been recognized with: you’ll have to experience it for yourself. You’ll find local products on the menu, supporting farmers, vendors, and fishers around Kauai. Beyond plate lunch, enjoy bento, salads, wraps, and specialty cakes made at their in-house bake shop.
Snappy white tablecloths and an inventive wine list aren’t the only elements that establish Hukilau Lanai as a force in the local dining scene. It comes back to their long list of locally sourced ingredients and partnership with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program that supports healthy oceans. And then, when you add an original menu with lots of gluten-free options, you know you have a winner.
Make time for more sustainable local dining, and cozy up in accommodation that keeps regenerative tourism top of mind. Find your spot at a Starry Night Lodging vacation rental,and explore Kauai.