Go local and try some ono (delicious) Hawaiian food while on the Garden Island

Hawaiians know how to eat. From the celebratory luau dinner to a heaping plate lunch, Hawaiians sure do enjoy a good meal. From a quick appetizer of fresh poke, to a slow cooked underground oven called an imu where whole pigs are cooked, there's an abundance of Hawaiian food to try on Kaua`i. And you know the old cliche, when in Rome... The same goes for when on Kaua`i, try some Hawaiian food!

It's not hard to find. Each side of the island has somewhere you can find local style food. You have probably heard of a luau dinner. This is where family and friends gather to eat A LOT of food. There's usually a buffet style set up where multiple tables have loads of different dishes. Plate lunches usually come out of small shops or lunch wagons and often consist of a scoop of rice, some macaroni salad, and some meat and/or fish. Poke is a local classic. It's an appetizer made of fresh ahi with various seasonings like soy sauce and fresh onion, among others.

Purple sweet potato is another Hawaiian staple. You'll usually find it steamed in chunks or simmered in coconut milk. Taro of course is another famous part of a Hawaiian meal. A starchy staple that sustained the culture for generations, taro can be served in chunk or as poi, a pudding like dish. Kalua pig is a whole pig cooked underground and very flavorful. While in Hawaii you'll hear the term ono very often. It's a Hawaiian term for delicious, and there's no shortage of ono Hawaiian food on Kauai.

Surf to Sunset Oceanfront Luau

Partaking of a luau is de rigueur for first-time Hawaii visitors, and this oceanfront extravaganza on Poipu Beach is an ideal introduction to traditional Polynesian food and culture. As guests arrive, they're presented a lei and invited to view...  Read More

Smith's Tropical Paradise Luau

The beautiful gardens surrounding this luau make for a magical setting, and one that you'll want to explore before the night kicks in. When the conch is blown and the roasted pig set out, the feast begins. The buffet ensures that you won't go...  Read More

Pa'ina o Hanalei

From their position along the shores of Hanalei Bay, visitors give themselves over to the charm of this delightful luau. Festivities begin with the call of the conch, at which point the kalua pig is premiered in ceremonial style. It headlines...  Read More

Grand Hyatt Kaua'i Luau

This hotel-sponsored luau provides a healthy dose of spectacle, music, and authentic Hawaiian foods. The evening show, Havaiki Nui, begins with a torch-lighting ceremony on the edge of the ocean, heralded by the call of the conch shell. As it...  Read More

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....  Read More

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 grass fed beef. Seating...  Read More

Delectable cuisine, mingling the flavors of Thailand and Hawaii, awaits at this charming establishment, sheltered in an old homestead. Fresh ingredients figure prominently on the menu, and fish and seafood are especially appealing, whether in...  Read More

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...  Read More

Dani's Restaurant

Simple, utilitarian decor greets diners at this casual cafe and local hangout. However, the lack of material style only serves to highlight the place's yummy fare. At lunch, a menu of American foods (pork chops or beef stew, for instance) takes...  Read More

The awesome presence of the ocean is a constant at this lovely restaurant, which features a multi-level dining room with doors thrown open to the vista and the breezes. The menu boasts a contemporary island flair, thanks to a focus on local...  Read More


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