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10 Best Restuarants in Lihue that Shouldn't be Missed



As the busiest town on the island of Kauai, Lihue is home to a delightful selection of wonderful restaurants. Here on the east side is where you'll find many upscale eateries, many in the large resorts. Lihue is were you'll find the majority of hotel buffets on the island, as well as several lovely eateries serving locally sourced produce and meats. There's great food all over Kauai, but Lihue is the central area for more formal eateries.

Newly revamped Gaylord's at Kilohana is one of the top restaurants for a romantic ambiance and locally sourced ingredients. With much of their produce grown on the on site farm, Gaylord's offers a fresh meal and dancing under the stars.

Resting on the beach with full ocean views is Duke's Canoe Club, a local staple serving Pacific Rim dishes and tropical cocktails. Named after the famous Hawaiian Olympic swimmer Duke Kahanamoku, Duke's is one of those places that a favorite with locals and visitors alike.

At Kauai Pasta you'll find a blend of top notch restaurant offering traditional Italian food with a bit of after nightlife fun. Two locations on the east side shows the restaurants popularity.

For a mix of tradition, history and fun, make reservations for the Grand Hyatt Luau. Entertainment and tons of food make this a great night, Hawaiian style.

So have fun with our guide to the ten best restaurants in Lihue, and enjoy your culinary tour of the island.


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Naupaka Terrace is nestled inside of the Aqua Kauai Beach Resort, and is a naturally bright venue offering local cuisine and gorgeous Hawaiian scenery. The plantation-style restaurant features creative Hawaiian and Pan Pacific cuisine, Asian inspired dishes, fresh island catch, aged beef, salads, and pastas. Sitting on the terrace offers views of waterfalls, fish ponds and native foliage. Breakfast is served daily 6:30 to 11 a.m. and offers an all-you-can-eat buffet or and a la carte menu. Dinner is served daily 6 to 9 p.m and features steak and seafood entrees and local favorites with a Polynesian, Hawaiian and Asian touch. On Saturday evenings guests can enjoy our popular seafood buffet.

Recommended for Lihue's Best Restaurants because: The Naupaka Terrace offers two buffets in one beautiful restaurant, the Asian dinner buffet and the breakfast buffet.

Jade's expert tip: Try the homemade ice cream.

Read more about Naupaka Terrace Breakfast Buffet →




Naupaka Terrace is nestled inside of the Aqua Kauai Beach Resort, and is a naturally bright venue offering local cuisine and gorgeous Hawaiian scenery. The plantation-style restaurant features creative Hawaiian and Pan Pacific cuisine, Asian inspired dishes, fresh island catch, aged beef, salads, and pastas. Sitting on the terrace offers views of waterfalls, fish ponds and native foliage. Breakfast is served daily 6:30 to 11 a.m. and offers an all-you-can-eat buffet or and a la carte menu. Dinner is served daily 6 to 9 p.m and features steak and seafood entrees and local favorites with a Polynesian, Hawaiian and Asian touch. On Saturday evenings guests can enjoy our popular seafood buffet.

Recommended for Lihue's Best Restaurants because: The Asian buffet at the Naupaka Terrace serves a wide array of tasty Asian dishes that are unique from other restaurants in the area.

Jade's expert tip: This buffet is Saturday nights only.

Read more about Naupaka Terrace Asian Dinner Buffet →




Awarded for creating some of the island's best cuisine, Cafe Portofino also graces diners with an open air setting and soothing views of Kalapaki Bay and the Kauai landscape. The menu focuses on northern Italian dishes, and you'll find sweetbreads, rabbit, osso bucco, and fresh seafood to tempt your palate. The range of pastas is also satisfying, as is the substantial antipasti selection. An outdoor deck affords the best vantage point for the beautiful scenery, and live music adds a pleasant detail to a terrific dinner. The owner and chef is a genuine Italian, which shines through on the quality of food.

Recommended for Lihue's Best Restaurants because: With an amazing wine selection and pairing recommendations for the wonderful food, this shouldn't be missed.

Jade's expert tip: Try the filet mignon and a homemade gelato.

Read more about Cafe Portofino →


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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 progresses, the luau showcases native crafts and costume, along with music and dance performances from cultures throughout the Pacific. The menu includes traditional fare like kalua pig, fresh fish, lomi salmon, and haupia (coconut pudding). Huge luaus are a traditional Hawaiian celebration that locals still practice. Luaus are commonly held for first birthdays, weddings, anniversaries and often for graduation parties.

Recommended for Lihue's Best Restaurants because: The Grand Hyatt Kauai'i Luau mixes fun, entertainment, tradition and delicious food together.

Jade's expert tip: Come hungry, because you'll leave very full.

Read more about Grand Hyatt Kaua'i Luau →




Italian favorites served at reasonable prices make this caterer-run restaurant an enticing choice. Friendly servers start you off with delicious homemade garlic bread; after that, select from generously-sized pastas with rustic sauces, classics like chicken parmesan, and even fresh shrimp, given a smoky allure on the grill. The ambiance is sleek and modern, but not over the top. Take-home fare is a great convenience, and whether you dine in or out, don't neglect the chocolate cr�me br�l�e � a just-right indulgence. Kauai Pasta has two locations on the east side of the island, in both Kapa'a and Lihue. You can go casual or dress up for fun.

Recommended for Lihue's Best Restaurants because: Kauai Pasta is part restaurant, part nightlife hot spot and with both they do beautifully.

Jade's expert tip: Try the chocolate creme brulee.

Read more about Kauai Pasta →


Kukui's Poolside Restaurant and Bar
Photo courtesy of kukuis


A relaxed, poolside setting characterizes this hotel restaurant, favored by guests and frequented by other diners, too. Located at the Marriott in Lihue, the comfortable place features a menu whose inspiration is culled from Polynesian and Asian culinary traditions, with a few other sparks as well. Breakfast and dinner maintain the theme of delicious food and attentive service. Just a few short minutes from the cruise port, Kukui's is easily accessible for those spending the day on land, and taking a break from the cruise ship. Enjoy the sun and ocean while sipping on a cocktail and explore the luxurious grounds of the hotel.

Recommended for Lihue's Best Restaurants because: Kukui's has a lovely outdoor atmosphere, and offers both a breakfast and dinner buffet.

Jade's expert tip: Drop by for a drink before walking the beach and taking a swim.

Read more about Kukui's Poolside Restaurant and Bar →




Kalapaki Bay makes a stunning backdrop for this lively restaurant, which is popular with visitors to eastern Kauai. The outdoor deck offers terrific ambiance, although the maritime-themed interior is inviting on its own. Ocean-fresh seafood is a delicious standard and includes ahi and crab napoleon, baked lobster tail, sauteed scallops, and coconut shrimp. Pastas also find a ready audience, as does the signature slavonic steak, thinly sliced and dressed with a sauce of wine, butter, and garlic. Other possibilities include lamb chops, beef medallions, pork ribs, and cold-smoked Cornish hen. JJ's has a pure chart house feeling with sailboats hanging from the ceiling and fish everywhere.

Recommended for Lihue's Best Restaurants because: Their extensive menu and great views make it a can't miss restaurant.

Jade's expert tip: Order the Slavonic Steak.

Read more about JJ's Broiler →




In tribute to Duke Kahanamoku, Hawaii's renowned swimmer, surfer, and Olympic athlete, this casual restaurant offers patrons a bit of island culture. An indoor waterfall, live Hawaiian music, and fresh local seafood are among the attractions that have folks returning again and again. Lunchtime brings quesadillas, burgers, pizza, and sandwiches, while dinner offers steaks and an abundance of just-caught fish, prepared to your specifications. An incredible salad bar also pulls in patrons, and the hula pie, a house special, is not-to-be-missed. Lunch here is amazing, but if you're looking for nightlife this is a great spot too, live music and dancing after dark.

Recommended for Lihue's Best Restaurants because: With classic Hawaiian food and drinks, Duke's is a can't miss Hawaii staple.

Jade's expert tip: Sit outside for a great view of the ocean.

Read more about Duke's Canoe Club →


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 Lihue's Best Restaurants 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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