High up in the cool climate of Koke'e State Park is the Koke'e Lodge, a restaurant open for breakfast and lunch. Their soups are a nice accent to the cool weather and their known for their homemade corn bread and banana bread. The Koke'e Lodge is pretty heavy on local style food, such as loco moco and kalua pork dishes. However, you'll find no shortage of tradition dishes too such as burgers and salads. Wine, beer and cocktails are also on the menu. It's ideal to grab a bite to eat at the lodge if you're already up in the park, where several must see sights are popular attractions.
Recommended for Best of Kauai's West Side because: Koke'e Lodge serves good food, but it's the only restaurant for about 15 miles if you're up in the park.
Jade's expert tip: Don't drive all the up to the park just to eat here, but it's worth sitting down and enjoying a meal if you're up there.
If you're looking for an intimate, low-key place where you can enjoy good conversation and fabulous pastas, Pomodoro is ideal. Family-owned and operated by "real" New York Italians, this great restaurant offers well-prepared food at reasonable prices. The selection of pastas is substantial, whether you're looking for something dressed (fettuccine Alfredo) or stuffed (manicotti). If you're open to other possibilities, look to veal parmigiana, chicken saltimbocca, or one of the seafood dishes. The signature lasagne is also not-to-be-missed, and special requests can be accommodated as well. Although the restaurant is small and quiet, the owners welcome families and children with open arms.
Recommended for Best of Kauai's West Side because: Traditional Italian food served with friendly service in an intimate atmosphere makes Pomodoro the best Italian on the island.
Jade's expert tip: Ask if there's a dessert special.
Jo-JO's is famous for offering a whopping 60 flavors of very finely shaved, shaved ice. What's commonly called a snow cone in the continental U.S. is called ice shave or shaved ice in Hawaii. At Jo-Jo's you'll likely find a line, but it shows how much people like the product here. Make sure to try local flavors like lilikoi (passion fruit), coconut or melona (melon). A drizzle of heavy cream on top takes shaved ice to a new level. Shaved ice is a classic Hawaiian treat, and the locals still enjoy it on a regular basis. It's refreshing without being heavy, and they offer traditional as well as tropical flavors.
Recommended for Best of Kauai's West Side because: Jo-Jo's is known for offering 60 delicious flavors and finely shaved ice.
Jade's expert tip: Don't get it confused with another shaved ice vendor down the street that also has Jojo's in its name.
To peel or not to peel, that is the question at the Shrimp Station. Some dishes come with peeled shrimp, while others, like the coconut shrimp come peeled. Either way, all of the food is great and worth getting your hands a little messy for. You'll find a selection of shrimp dishes here that will remind you of Bubba Gump and his endless ways of serving shrimp. Very casual, road side spot with meals enjoyed as take out or at picnic tables under a tent roof. The Shrimp Station is a great option for lunch on the west side, or last stop before heading out to Polihale Beach or inland to Waimea Canyon.
Recommended for Best of Kauai's West Side because: The Shrimp Station serves up delicious shrimp dishes cooked in seemingly endless different ways.
Jade's expert tip: Try the sweet chili garlic shrimp.
Hawaii's favorite ice cream, Lappert's is the brainchild of Walter Lappert, who retired only to build this frozen business almost as an afterthought. Insisting on premium ingredients (including practically all of Kauai's island fruits, along with nuts, chocolate, and even coffee), Lappert's also packs in nearly double the butterfat that other competitors use. This renders the ice cream absolutely decadent and irresistible. Also available at the island's four locations are sorbets (for calorie counters), coffee drinks, and baked items. You can find Lappert's all around the island at various locations. This is perfect for an after dinner treat or for a break during a hot Hawaiian day.
Big portions of tasty food is what you'll get at Island Taco. The roadside eatery is simple, and resembles a Mexico taco stand, but totally clean, safe and awesome! It's order at the counter, where you can get a tiny peak into the kitchen, and enjoy at one of the roadside tables or take it to go. You can take it to go and enjoy at a nearby white sand beach, but with the big portions that can get a little messy. Vegetarians will fare very well here while meat eaters will find fresh fish, beef and chicken. All of the food is great, but tacos are a highlight. They add of unique elements such as cabbage and wasabi aioli sauce. A must stop while on the west side.
Recommended for Best of Kauai's West Side because: Island Taco puts a unique twist on their delicious tacos, and serve large portions.
Jade's expert tip: Two people can share the double taco plate because it's so big.
The Kaua'i Island Brewing Co. is a microbrewery and brewpub that incorporates nightlife with great food and beer. Featuring 10 house beers on tap plus several rotating guest beers both on tap and in bottles, the brewery pours some of the best beers on the island. Pub-fare menu includes a choice of pupus, salads, burgers as well as a variety of fresh fish and mouth-watering entrees. A keiki menu for the little ones is also offered. The full bar serves wine, mixed drinks, and cocktails. There are five 55" flat screen HDTVs throughout the pub to watch all the games. Brewery tours are available upon request. You can also pick up a growler of beer to go or rent kegs for parties.
Recommended for Best of Kauai's West Side because: This brewery serves a wide array of locally brewed beer and great food.
Jade's expert tip: Happy hour is daily from 3:30 to 5:30.
The allure of the Old West runs strong at Wrangler's, at least as it was interpreted by the cattle ranchers of the North Pacific! The establishment features a cowboy-themed decor, letting you know that the food is going to be both rustic and authentic. Steaks of all sorts satisfy most folks; try a T-bone or a sirloin, sizzling hot and flavored with herbs and spices. If that's not your style, opt for a fresh fish special, a local specialty, or even a Southwestern-styled treat. Outdoor seating is available, and the place is especially convenient for travelers to Kauai's west coast.
Recommended for Best of Kauai's West Side because: Wrangler's serves perfectly cooked steaks and other great dishes.
Jade's expert tip: Stop in after a day exploring the West Side before heading back to your hotel.