Similar to most people, I LOVE FOOD. Vacationing isn’t only for your soul but for your palate. I’m not knocking Olive Garden, but chances are you’re not traveling all the way to Kauai to eat at Olive Garden, Applebees or any of our other favorite chains. Locals and other travelers are always willing to share their best and worst dining experiences with you but just in case you don’t run into anyone who cares to share, I’ll share a few of my absolute favorites with you!
I can’t remember if this place was suggested to us, if we went looking for it or what but let me tell you, it was worth it! Mark’s Place is not a fancy, sit down dinner type of eatery; it’s a bangin’ lunch joint in Lihue. If you want authentic Hawaiian food, this is the place for you. Think of a typical Chinese take-out place you may find on the continental United States and supplement typical with delicious and Chinese with Hawaiian. A DELICIOUS HAWAIIAN TAKEOUT JOINT. Everything is served in a take-out, bento style, box which you can choose to take for the road or right outside to one of three, shaded picnic tables.
If there’s one more thing I could suggest about Mark’s, grab a few “packed to fly” items for family and friends upon your return. “Pack to Fly” is often heard in Kauai restaurants and stores and refers to the Japanese tradition of omiyage (o-mee-yah-gay). Omiyage is bringing gifts home from your trip and in Kauai, this most often means food. Mark’s Place has a large selection of authentic goodies that are perfect gifts for your loved ones back home!
Chalupa’s Mexican Food
If I’m not mistaken, this stop was predetermined by a tripadvisor review. It’s an authentic Mexican food truck that is to die for. The truck is open from 10AM to 7PM daily in two locations, Old Koloa or Lihue Town. My family and I made our stop at Chalupa’s in Koloa on our way to the beach. We ate a variety of foods including burritos, quesadillas and their famous fresh fish tacos. This is not a dirt cheap food truck by any means but the quality of the food you are receiving is phenomenal and in my opinion. Compared to the generally high cost of Kauai, you will enjoy a very low cost, delicious meal.
Super Duper Two
I know I have mentioned Super Duper Two and its fabulous owner on my Kauai Destinations page but the ice cream and Lisa herself are just too good to not mention a second time. If you are in the Waimea area and suddenly feel the urge for something cold and creamy this is the place to stop! The ice cream is good but quite honestly, the service is great. If you’re in need of a laugh, Lisa is the woman to speak to.
Another great, quick lunch stop is Puka Dog. While in Koloa, doing a little bit of shopping we stumbled upon Puka Dog and walked in for a quick snack. First, you have a choice between a polish sausage or veggie dog (options for all!) which will sit snuggly inside their homemade, sweet Hawaiian bun; second, you pick from one of four secret sauces; third, you choose your relish from a list of 6 different homemade flavors such as mango or coconut; and finally, you choose mustard, ketchup or both, a beverage and you’re on your way with a high-end hot dog for less than $8.00. Puka Shave Ices are also available here and are a must have before the end of your vacation. Puka Dog’s island feel along with their quick, friendly service make them a great stop for a quick munch.
If you’re looking for a high-end dinner, in a beautiful restaurant with stunning views and don’t mind spending money on a good meal, RumFire Poipu Beach is the dinner destination for you. It is buried within the Sheraton Resort so don’t be confused when you feel like you’re walking through an entire hotel to reach your destination. I suggest going right before sunset to enjoy the islands beauty during your meal. There is a beautiful area where you may choose to enjoy cocktails, such as a Mai Tai, or simply good conversation, around a fire pit while waiting for your table.
The gorgeous views don’t end here; once you are seated the stunning landscape becomes framed by large glass windows. RumFire has a fairly large menu with many land and sea options, including a separate four course prix fixe menu. We enjoyed a delicious meal, with beautiful views and lots of laughter. I would suggest RumFire for a special occasion or simply, a nice night to treat yourself!
Duke’s is attached to the Marriott resort we stayed at in Lihue. We ate a Dukes more than once on our stay due to the convenience; it was located right off the beach we spent a lot of our time at. It had an elaborate tropical theme with very attentive waitstaff and a menu with an island variety. My most memorable Duke’s meal was when I enjoyed Kimo’s Original Hula Pie for for my 20th birthday. Now, be warned, this is a $10.00 dessert consisting of chocolate cookie crust, macadamia nut ice cream, hot fudge, toasted mac nuts, and whipped cream that I simply would not pass up (it even comes out on it very own, personalized, Hula Pie plate).
We ate at many other venues and enjoyed all of our meals, however, these places stood out most to me! Please check them out if you’re ever in town and savor every bite.