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Fresh Island Fare: Farm to Table Restaurants on Kauai



The locovore movement is hot in Hawaii, and has rapidly gained momentum over the years leading to new farm to table restaurants to be established all over Kauai. All around the island restaurants that feature a menu with locally grown fruits and vegetables, and locally raised fish and meats can be found. While several offer local food at the casual level, many restaurants combine gourmet cooking with locally grown foods. From the lush North Shore to the sunny south side, farm to table restaurants decorate the island.

Out in Lihue, the busiest part of the island, is Gaylord's at Kilohana. A lovely farm to table restaurant offering dancing under the stars on a historic plantation, Gaylord's is a long standing eatery that has evolved with Kauai's sustainable needs. Nearby on the South Side is Merriman's. Making a home across from the ocean on the sunny and dry side of the island, this is another eatery that focuses on locally sourced ingredients.

The lush North Shore is home to farm to table restaurants including the Kilauea Fish market as well as the Hanalei Dolphin, both offering an abundance of fresh local fish.

Enjoy the abundance of the island with our guide to the ten best farm to table restaurants on the island, and eat healthy and delicious.


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Hanalei Dolphin Restaurant and Fish Market
Photo courtesy of restaurant


With a fish market next door, it's no surprise that impeccably fresh seafood is the house specialty. Diners indulge in their favorite preparations along the shores of the adjacent river, savoring baked shrimp, ceviche, crab, and incredible fish cooked to perfection by the skilled kitchen. A selection of steaks and chicken dishes will also satisfy. While you wait for entrees (which can be pricey but are well-portioned), nibble on an order of stuffed mushrooms. The nautical themed restaurant as located right after the Hanalei bridge as you descend into Hanalei Valley. It's a great place to dress up for a date or family time, or come in casual.

Recommended for Farm to Table because: Hanalei Dolphin is renowned as the best seafood on Kauai, much of it made with a local twist.

Jade's expert tip: Choose an outdoor table to enjoy the magical views of Hanalei.

Read more about Hanalei Dolphin Restaurant and Fish Market →




This is a local style spot that serves up fresh fish and seafood to take home and cook as well as eat there and take out dishes. Very local and Hawaiian food like lau lau, kalua pig, and other local favorites that can be pretty darn good. There's a good chance you'll be the only visitors in line here, but there's nothing wrong with that. You know the the quality of the seafood is good for locals, it must be good. A great place for a plate lunch to eat on site or take home a slab of fish if you have a kitchenette at the hotel.

Recommended for Farm to Table because: Koloa Fish Markets offers a wide variety of fresh local fish and other lcoal foods.

Jade's expert tip: Try the kalua pig, it's really good and always a great idea to try truly local dishes.

Read more about Koloa Fish Market →




A hit with locals and visitors, the Hanalei Taro & Juice Co. is a spot that all visitors need to stop at and enjoy. Very local style, the restaurant is a local style lunch wagon resting roadside in Hanalei. Serving traditional Hawaiian food, but with a modern twist, this is your best bet to fill up on taro, the root crop that sustained Hawaiians for generations. Here you can find taro and many other healthy ingredients prepared with a modern twist, such as a taro smoothie, Hawaiian plate lunches, taro hummus, taro veggie burgers, and even taro acai bowls- the list goes on. A perfect place for those who enjoy a traditional diet and vegetarians too, the wagon will give you a taste of Hawaii's unique array of food.

Recommended for Farm to Table because: Hanalei Taro & Juice Co. offers an abundance of healthy food made with local ingredients.

Jade's expert tip: Try the taro smoothie.

Read more about Hanalei Taro & Juice Co. →


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Kilauea Fish Market
Photo courtesy of facebook


There's a whole lot more than fish in store is the market's motto, and they're right! In addition to fresh local fish, they have an ahi fajita burrito, fish tacos, salads, plate lunches and great specials, along with local grass fed beef. Seating is outdoor picnic table style in beautiful Kilauea Town, and you'll find a mix of locals and visitors enjoying fish. Price can vary depending on market price, but you can get a great meal for a generally affordable price. Very casual and ideal for lunch or to pick up a fresh slab of fish to cook back at the condo.

Recommended for Farm to Table because: Located in lush Kilauea, the fish market serves fresh local fish in a number of healthy ways.

Jade's expert tip: Try the ahi wrap.

Read more about Kilauea Fish Market →


Harvest Market Natural Foods and Cafe
Photo courtesy of Martin Cathrae


Find healthy food in Hanalei at Harvest Market Natural Foods and Cafe. If you're looking for healthy groceries, this is the spot. And, if you're looking for a healthy deli and salad bar, this is also the place to go. It's a great resource for natural and organic groceries to bring back to your hotel, vacation rental, or the beach. The hot bar, deli items, salad bar, and pre-made and packaged food can be enjoyed on site or taken to a nearby beach for a picnic. Everything is organic and natural, and the by far the healthiest on the go meal to find in Hanalei.

Recommended for Farm to Table because: Harvest Market offers organic and delicious locally grown produce to be enjoyed on nearby beaches.

Jade's expert tip: Bring a reusable bag.

Read more about Harvest Market Natural Foods and Cafe →


Merriman's Fish House


Merriman's Poipu has quickly become a favorite for locals and visitors alike since it made a home in a new shopping center in sunny Poipu. Combining gourmet food with sustainability, the restaurants serves up amazing steaks, seafood and other dishes made with 90 percent local ingredients. They purchase produce daily, and used locally grown beer and locally caught seafood. Adjacent to it is Merriman's Downstairs Cafe, offers a casual lunch alternative to the slightly more formal dinner spot. Both are centrally located in Poipu, just a short drive from all of the gorgeous white sand beaches in the area. Great for a date night.

Recommended for Farm to Table because: Merriman's is known for putting a focus on using locally sourced ingredients.

Jade's expert tip: Try one of their signature cocktails.

Read more about Merriman's Fish House →


Postcards Cafe
Photo courtesy of spoon


Charm runs rampant at this delightful cafe, which brings a touch of Old Hawaii to guests via vintage photographs and island postcards. The menu does wonders with the local bounty, mixing fresh produce and seafood to great effect. In the evenings, vegetarian fare that does the genre proud is certain to convert even diehard carnivores. Make sure to try taro fritters and grilled fish, but don't neglect crisp salads, pastas, fish tacos, and quesadillas. Accompanying sauces are inventive complements, and desserts are worth sampling, especially given their use of fresh island fruits. Dinner reservations are necessary, while walk ins for lunch is usually sufficient.

Recommended for Farm to Table because: Postcards Cafe is always delicious, and made with locally grown vegetables and fresh fish.

Jade's expert tip: They offer several vegan and gluten free options.

Read more about Postcards Cafe →




The name says it all, the full bar and restaurant is truly a beach side Oasis. Breathtaking ocean views can be enjoyed, and both outdoor and indoor seating are available. A unique and positive aspect at Oasis is that they serve a menu that features 85 percent locally produced food, making Oasis one of the purest farm to table restaurants on Kauai. Sea food is all prepared wonderfully wit a Pacific twist, meats are served in unique forms such as lamb pot pie and ox tail bao bun. For dessert, don't miss the white chocolate chiffon cake or the haupia, a classic local coconut dessert.

Recommended for Farm to Table because: Oasis offers a menu that uses over 85 percent locally sourced ingredients.

Jade's expert tip: The Sunday brunch is one of the best on the island.

Read more about Oasis →


Gaylord's at Kilohana


The flavor of old Hawaii runs strong at this circa-1930 Tudor estate, which was once the home of a sugar plantation executive. These days, the mansion and its surrounding 35 acres have been opened to the public as a series of quaint shops and this delightful restaurant. The dining room affords wonderful views and also allows diners to indulge in such fare as fresh seafood, steaks, lamb, and kalua pork. Lunch adds in lighter dishes, including sandwiches and salads, and the courtyard makes an ideal place to relax with a cool drink and good company. As one of Kauai's more upscale eatery, Gaylord's is perfect for a date night or nice family dinner.

Recommended for Farm to Table because: Gaylord's uses locally sourced produce, meats and seafood to create exquisite gourmet dishes.

Jade's expert tip: Dance on the outdoor dance floor under the stars.

Read more about Gaylord's at Kilohana →


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Meet Jade Eckardt

Raised on the Big Island of Hawaii, Jade has traveled the world and doesn't intend to stop, yet the Hawaiian Islands are still her favorite place. She spent seven years living on Oahu and...  More About Jade

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