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From Kaua`i's east to its west, the island's vegetarian food is the best



The Garden Island is home to a vast array of food, and there's no shortage of vegetarian and health conscious restaurants, residents and visitors. That's good news for those spending time from the island looking for healthy food to support energy for exploring the island. On the east side of the island historic towns are home to several eateries that offer a mix of vegetarian food along with other non-veggie dishes. In Hanalei you'll find one of the best nearly all vegetarian restaurants on the island. In Kapa`a, a tried and true nearly historic health food stores offers the opportunity to shop healthy and bring it home to cook. All over Kaua`i, vegetarians will have full bellies and big smiles.

If you're beach hopping on the west side, Island Taco is a must stop for awesome Mexican food. They do have non-veggie dishes on the menu, but they cater greatly to vegetarians with huge tofu tacos, burritos and other Mexican fare. If tofu isn't your thing, you can go all beans in the meal. In Kapa`a, Papaya's Natural Foods is a health food store that has been around a long time. Here you can find food to go or enjoy it outside on the garden side tables, fresh off of their hot bar, salad bar or deli. There's an abundance of healthy and all vegetarian groceries here to take home. At the recently reopened Gaylord's at Kilohana, diners can enjoy gourmet vegetarian dishes made with locally grown produce. Don't forget to enjoy a dance on the under-the-stars dance floor too.

Vegetarian visitors to Kaua`i can rest assured knowing that 10 Best is here to guide you to the best vegetarian restaurants island wide.


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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.

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

Local Expert tip: Dance on the outdoor dance floor under the stars.

Read more about Gaylord's at Kilohana →




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. The lunch wagon run by the same family who runs the historical Haraguchi rice mill and their farms, and the taro and other ingredients are locally grown. Coming into Hanalei, look for it on the right.

Recommended for Vegetarian because: Hanalei Taro & Juice Co. is well known for serving up quick yet healthy meals.

Local Expert tip: Try the taro smoothie.

Read more about Hanalei Taro & Juice Co. →


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.

Local Expert tip: Lovely array of sweet and savory pastries and great local coffee in the morning.

Read more about Kilauea Bakery & Pau Hana Pizza →


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Healthy is the goal here with unique meals such as fish or tofu wraps, tacos, salads, satays and sandwiches. You'll find lots of veggies mixed in with the vegetarian options or the fresh local fish. They also make really great unique drinks such as hibiscus lemonade, as well as a regular and really good lemonade. It's pretty simple, order at the counter and take out or enjoy at one of the few sidewalk tables or tiny bar in the back. Great, healthy food that is quite different than anywhere else.

Recommended for Vegetarian because: Mermaid's Cafe serves up unique and healthy dishes utilizing vegetables and fresh seafood.

Local Expert tip: Try the ahi wrap and check out the specials.

Read more about Mermaids Cafe →


Papaya's Natural Food Market
Photo courtesy of papayas


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.

Recommended for Vegetarian 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.

Read more about Papaya's Natural Food Market →


Kalaheo Coffee Co. & Cafe
Photo courtesy of kalaheo coffee


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 Vegetarian because: Kalaheo Coffe Co. is Kauai's quintessential breakfast cafe, offering simple yet delicious meals and local coffee.

Local Expert tip: Breakfasts here may be more well known, but they do dinner to, and it's darn good.

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Island Taco
Photo courtesy of trip


Big portions of tasty food is what you'll get at Island Taco. The roadside eatery is simple, and resembles a Mexico taco stand, but totally clean, safe and awesome! It's order at the counter, where you can get a tiny peak into the kitchen, and enjoy at one of the roadside tables or take it to go. You can take it to go and enjoy at a nearby white sand beach, but with the big portions that can get a little messy. Vegetarians will fare very well here while meat eaters will find fresh fish, beef and chicken. All of the food is great, but tacos are a highlight. They add of unique elements such as cabbage and wasabi aioli sauce. A must stop while on the west side.

Local Expert tip: Two people can share the double taco plate.

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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.

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

Local Expert tip: This is a can't miss on the North Shore.

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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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