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5 Best Dinner Restaurants on Kauai

a close up of a plate of food on a table

5 Best Dinner Restaurants on Kauai


Although it is one of the smaller Hawaiian islands, Kauai, also known as the garden island, contains some of the best dining experiences anywhere in the Hawaiian archipelago. Kauai food is renowned for its fresh heirloom produce and local seafood. From Poipu to Hanalei, here are five of the best dinner restaurants to be found on the island of Kauai.

1. Hukilau Lanai


Located just north of Lihue in Wailua, Hukilau Lanai specializes in using fresh produce and seafood from local farmers. Consistently rated as one of the top restaurants on Kauai, guests consistently rave about the mixture of local Hawaiian ingredients into American classics like meatloaf and prime rib. After entering through a seemingly nondescript hotel lobby, guests enter the heart of the restaurant, where a plethora of local ingredients will meet them. Each ingredient used in the dishes is traceable to their Hawaiian farm of origin right on the menu.


2. Ama


Ama restaurant is situated in the dreamy north-shore town of Hanalei and specializes in authentic Japanese noodle dishes with views to match served in a more casual setting. The stars dishes on the menu are the nearly ten scratch-made ramen and donburi dishes with locally sourced ingredients. Beverage lovers will rejoice in Ama’s extensive cocktail and wine menu, including hard-to-find Japanese rice wines. Sit outdoors to enjoy a picturesque view of Hanalei’s undisturbed beauty on the covered porch. Don’t miss the homemade donuts with fresh ginger ice cream and ginger syrup for dessert. 

3. JO2


JO2 is truly a unique fine-dining experience — executive chef Jean Marie Josselin’s French culinary heritage is beautifully juxtaposed with light Japanese flavors and fresh Hawaiian ingredients. Located in a strip mall in Kapaa, J02’s seasonal menu revolves around the freshest Kauai produce. J02 isn’t afraid to push traditional culinary boundaries out the window, as evidenced through bold and different dishes like their live jicama lasagna. Here, the local produce really is the star. This is most evident through dishes like the Fresh Summer Tomato Sampler, designed to do nothing more than highlight Kauai’s bounties. JO2’s $35/person prefix three-course menu special from 5-6 pm daily is a great way for those looking to experience haute cuisine at a reasonable price.

4. Keoki’s Paradise


Keoki’s Paradise creates a family-friendly tropical experience in a laid-back Hawaiian atmosphere. The dining area is set amongst lush and manicured plant life. Located in Poipu near Kauai’s southernmost tip, Keoki’s Paradise is a favorite for bigger parties and those with children. The extensive menu is very accessible for a range of diners — offering everything from guava BBQ chicken, to burgers, to seafood risotto. Keoki’s Paradise is a great choice for those who desire a more casual dining experience while still dining on produce grown by local Kauai farmers. Don’t miss the hula pie for dessert. It is easily big enough for three people to share!

5. Tidepools


Views are the name of the game at Tidepools. Business Insider listed this fine-dining seafood restaurant as one of the 100 most scenic restaurants in the United States, and for a good reason. The dining areas are set in large, thatched-roof bungalows literally on top of the water in a beautiful tropical lagoon filled with fish at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa. The menu seeks to serve modern Hawaiian food, which takes the form of seafood, steaks, and Asian-inspired items. Although many guests come for the views, Tidepools’ fresh seafood classics are what cause people to keep coming back. Don’t miss the Opah with volcano candied spice!