10 Best Restaurants to Experience on Kauai's Lush North Shore

Kauai may be the smallest Hawaiian Islands and the North Shore is a small area nestled in a valley, but it's loaded with places to dine. Atmosphere and cuisine options on the North Shore are as varied as the island's terrain itself, from on the go quick eats to hot and trendy places for group dinners, the North Shore offers a unique culinary experience. Take breakfast to go enjoy on a beach, end a day in the sun with music and fresh fish, or have a romantic date at one of the North Shore's delicious eateries.

For date night or a fun night out with the crew, Bar Acuda in Hanalei can't be beat. A chef run bar and restaurant, the hip restaurant is a lively place to hang out that is highlighted with great food and drinks. It's the most modern eatery on the North Shore.

Just across the street is Bouchon's Hanalei, another fresh fish joint that serves up sushi and just about all other forms of fish. On top of that, it's a hot nightlife spot with different live music and dancing most nights of the week.

A true hole-in-the-wall, Red Hot Mama's is located down the winding road towards beautiful Ha'ena Beach, and serves up Mexican food made with freshly caught fish. This is one of those places that easy to miss, but shouldn't  be.

The best restaurants on the North Shore will be able to fulfill any craving, so enjoy your food tour of Kaua'i in between the sights and things to do.


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 North Shore's Best Restaurants because: Harvest Market offers organic and delicious to be taken to nearby beaches.

Jade's expert tip: Bring a reusable bag.

Read more about Harvest Market Natural Foods and Cafe →

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. Make reservations, and make sure not to miss at least one meal here.

Recommended for North Shore's Best Restaurants because: Postcards Cafe is always delicious, and made with locally grown vegetables and fresh fish.

Jade's expert tip: This is a can't miss on the North Shore.

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Kilauea Bakery & Pau Hana Pizza

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. The food can be enjoyed as take out or at one of the outdoor tables in the shopping center.

Recommended for North Shore's Best Restaurants because: Kilauea Bakery is a perfect stop for a quick and healthy breakfast, or pizza for lunch.

Jade's expert tip: Lovely array of sweet and savory pastries and great local coffee in the morning.

Read more about Kilauea Bakery & Pau Hana Pizza →


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.

Recommended for North Shore's Best Restaurants because: This lunch wagon eatery serves fresh and tasty food that puts a unique twist on healthy.

Jade's expert tip: Try the taro smoothie.

Read more about Hanalei Taro & Juice Co. →

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. Nautical themed. Dine outdoors along the river and in nature, and enjoy the serenity that Hanalei is known for. The fish is caught by local fisherman daily, so you can't go wrong.

Recommended for North Shore's Best Restaurants because: Hanalei Dolphin has a reputation for serving the absolute freshest and best fish on the island.

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

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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 grass fed beef. Seating is outdoor picnic table style, 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. This place should be enjoyed at least once on a vacation.

Recommended for North Shore's Best Restaurants because: Kilauea Fish Market is a quick and easy stop for fresh and delicious food.

Jade's expert tip: Try the ahi wrap.

Read more about Kilauea Fish Market →

Bar Acuda Tapas & Wine
Photo courtesy of tanksalot

Hip, gleaming Bar Acuda is a chef-run business that has taken the island by storm. Intent on creating stylish atmosphere and scrumptious food, the North Shore place is a great destination for dinner and drinks with friends or with a romantic interest. Diligently searching out top ingredients, chef Jim Moffat crafts them into dishes like lobster-stuffed squid with romesco sauce, roast chicken panzanella, slow-braised beef short ribs, and grilled pancetta-wrapped sea scallops. A carefully chosen wine list highlights vintages from western Europe and the western US, and a fantastic social scene is part and parcel of the goings-on. It's a perfect blend of great food with a fun social scene.

Recommended for North Shore's Best Restaurants because: Hip, fun, modern and they serve great food. What more could a person want?

Jade's expert tip: They're only open for dinner and are closed on Mondays, so plan accordingly.

Read more about Bar Acuda Tapas & Wine →


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