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Kauai may not be known for its culinary scene, but there are a few food gems on the island that should be on your must-try list. Here are Forbes Travel Guide’s suggestions for the best places to eat in Kauai.
1. Plantation Gardens. Housed in a charming historic plantation manor that’s surrounded by lush orchid gardens, this relaxed, upscale restaurant in Poipu serves upscale Hawaiian-influenced cuisine that’s made using fresh seafood and locally-sourced produce. Since this is hands down the most romantic spot on the island, we suggest sharing the signature Baked Hawaiian (chocolate and macadamia nut ice cream on a brownie crust topped with meringue) to share.
2. Duke’s Kauai. Located at the Kauai Marriott Resort & Beach Club, Duke’s Kauai is a a casual beachside restaurant (the views of the charming Kalapaki Beach on which it sits are appealingly palm-tree lined), with a menu loaded with fresh fish dishes, the classic Huli Huli chicken and the can’t-miss Kimo’s Original Hula Pie for dessert. The restaurant also has live nightly entertainment at its Barefoot Bar.
3. Bar Acuda. This is a great place to unwind, share small plates and sip wine with friends. Located in charming Hanalei, the restaurant’s tapas-focused menu features dishes like house-made chorizo, whole-roasted tomato bruschetta, a crock of roasted beets with goat cheese, and slow-braised pork shoulder with soft polenta and an apple cider reduction.
4. Hanalei Gourmet. It’s hard to find, but Hanalei Gourmet is worth plugging into your GPS. This little gourmet shop — with a focus on organic, natural and healthy foods — serves lunch and dinner. Expect menu items like Asian-style crab cakes, macadamia nut-and-panko-crusted fried chicken, homemade soups, and a burger topped with avocado, bacon and pepperjack cheese. It also serves locally made ice creams, refreshing frozen fruit smoothies and assorted desserts baked in Hanalei.
5. Living Food Market & Cafe. Opened in 2010 in the Kukuiula Village, this market features organic and locally grown produce, freshly made breads and pastries, and a variety of island-made goods. The café-style restaurant is open daily and serves simple European-style dishes like grilled panini sandwiches, pizzettas and crepes.
6. Kaua'i Grill- Sprawled across a terraced cliffside above Hanalei Bay on Kauai’s North Shore, The St. Regis Princeville Resort attracts honeymooners, movie stars and hedonists, ordinary vacationers, and foodies who come here just to experience this Forbes Travel Guide Recommended eatery, an outpost of star chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s global culinary empire.