This functional, no-frills place doesn't put its money on pretense; rather, it offers good, solid fare and warm, efficient service. Morning fare will make you smile, especially if you love savory standards like perfectly fried bacon, yummy egg dishes, and fluffy pancakes, tinged with tropical fruits and nuts. If you're in the mood for something a bit more exotic, try a bowl of oxtail soup. It's fragrant, steaming, and a great diversion from run-of-the-mill dishes. Relaxing and delicious.
Local Expert tip: Perfect for those in the mood for comfort food.
If you're the sort who likes to ease into the morning, this North Shore cafe is just the ticket. Cozy ambience and friendly service ensure that you're well provided for, and the wonderful coffee capitalizes on rich beans of the Hawaiian islands. Regulars often sit on the lanai, sipping blends from Maui, Molokai, Kauai, and the Big Island while they munch on aloha bars, a house specialty that combines coconut, macadamia nuts, and chocolate chips. Other options include cakes, pies, cheesecakes, cookies, and even bagels, along with standard breakfast dishes.
Local Expert tip: Try the Kauai waffle.
A gorgeous panorama of land and sea graces diners who make the wise decision to frequent Cafe Hanalei. Morning and evening, the scenery enhances the kitchen's well-conceived dishes, which include a host of Asian-themed appetizers (ahi sashimi, Thai spring rolls) and entrees ranging from broiled freshwater eel to steamed snapper and a rich Black Angus ribeye. For added value and spectacle, try to catch Friday night's seafood buffet and Sunday's elegant champagne brunch. And whether you dine inside or out, the views remain.
Local Expert tip: Check out the adjacent shops after enjoying a full breakfast.
Renowned for its baked goods, this enterprise crafts top-quality ingredients into an array of sweet and savory temptations. If you're going for a cup of espresso or chai tea, combine it with a scone, macadamia nut cookie, or danish. If you're looking for meal-like items, you can't go wrong with their innovative gourmet pizzas, topped with everything from prawns to gorgonzola. You'll also want to try the selection of sourdough breads and maybe even pick up a lush smoothie, laden with fruit, for a cool pick-me-up.
Local Expert tip: Make sure to try some baked goods.
Known for its selection of organic, vegetarian, and health-food fare, this market and gourmet deli is as good for eating as it is for shopping. Dining is available inside, but the best tables are outdoors, shaded by market umbrellas. Salads and soups are crafted from fresh ingredients and make terrific light snacks. A variety of daily specials ups the ante, offering chicken, fish, pastas, garden burgers, pizza, and an array of ethnic dishes. Smoothies and desserts also make yummy treats. Papaya's is one of the best places in Kapa`a for grab and go lunch to take to a nearby beach or attraction.
Recommended for Breakfast because: Papaya's is the only true natural and organic place to eat in Kapa'a, and they do well with their hot bar and deli selection.
Local Expert tip: Get a fresh juice from the deli to go with lunch.
This small, friendly place opens early and pulls in crowds of locals, who enjoy its uncomplicated atmosphere and laid-back clientele. Adorned with surf-themed artwork and photographs, the bright eatery serves up all sorts of breakfast foods, from healthy to just plain good. Coconut-custard French toast is terrific, and the omelets are filled with all sorts of tasty ingredients, a perfect preface to a day on the beach. Fresh fruit and yogurt will satisfy light eaters.
Local Expert tip: They don't take credit cards.
Great coffee, breakfast bagels, and an array of pastries can be found in the quaint Kapaa coffee house. The tasty coffee is organically grown and they open bright and early at 5:30 a.m. to serve it to you. There seems to be a tattoo theme going on with all of the workers, and it adds to the hip coffee house feeling. Bring a computer and get comfortable or run in and out to get back on the road for a day of exploring.
Local Expert tip: Free wi-fi can be found here along with one computer you can pay to go on.
Simple, unaffected fare is the name of the game at this easy-going spot. There's nothing fancy about the place, and that's a big part of its appeal. If you like being in control of things, create your own omelet from their selection of fillings. If you just like being served, order up eggs, French toast, pancakes, and the sort of dishes that come complete and without much diner input. Make it a point to try the Portuguese sausage, a local favorite. Sandwiches and burgers can be had for lunch.
Local Expert tip: Check the board for specials.
Down in southern Kauai, this wonderful cafe makes for a terrific respite any time of day. Coffee options are legion and feature blends from South and Central America, Africa, Indonesia, and the islands of Hawaii themselves. Hot or chilled, undiluted or laced with cream and sugar, the java is fantastic. To accompany it, go for a muffin or fresh pastry, or indulge in a slice of cake, pie, or cheesecake. Creative breakfast and lunch fare consists of burritos, omelets, sandwiches, burgers, and salads, perfect sustenance when hunger pangs strike.
Recommended for Breakfast because: Kalaheo Coffe Co. is Kauai's quintessential breakfast cafe, offering simple yet delicious meals and local coffee.
Local Expert tip: Worth a drive if you're staying on the east, south, or west side of Kaua`i.