In the last year Kauai has opened some new cool spots to eat and hang out. Here is the round up of my new favorite spots in Kauai.
First up is Hanapepe Town. This is our third trip to Kauai, however we never stopped in Hanapepe. We always drove through and looked out of the car to see a very quiet town, but nothing drew us to stop the car and walk around. I was out looking for local ceramics (which is very hard to find by the way in Kauai) and a few people mentioned going to Hanapepe for the weekly Friday night art night. I might get lucky with a local artist selling wares there.
Japanese Grandma's Cafe
I have a noticed a shift in food in Hawaii. There is now a huge focus on local produce (making it cheaper and environmentally sound to access) and making food in smaller quantities with lots of flavor. Don't get me wrong, you can still find lots of mom and pop places around where you can get the 3 scoops of rice with macaroni salad, hamburger patties and gravy. BUT if you are looking to taste real healthy nutritious food made with lots of love go to Japanese Grandma Cafe.
During the Friday art night we walked around the food trucks, but it was either tacos or BBQ over and over again. Then we stopped at this shop called Blu Umi because the highly curated goods in the store front caught my eye. I didn't buy anything as the price range was too out of reach with my current stay at home mom situation. However we did look at the menu at the restaurant that was in the same space as the store and by same space I mean the restaurant is in the store. Very cool concept that you see all over Japan brought over to this small town in Kauai.
Everything we ate was just amazing and so fresh. It was so good we went back the next day for lunch. We had the Poke Bowl, Spider Roll, Tempura and Cold Soba noodles. It did not disappoint. The amazing thing about the restaurant is that there is just one chef cooking the hot food and one chef making sushi all day long. They close it for a few hours in between lunch and dinner so they can get a break.
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Please if you are in Kauai, it's worth making the drive to Hanapepe just to eat here.
Midnight Bear Breads
My one regret is not taking enough photos of this bakery. They make everything from pizza to croissants and everything in between from scratch. We did come back the next day, but they close the bakery on Saturdays and instead they are in two Farmers Markets around Kauai. Very important to check times before you go anywhere in Kauai as most shops/restaurants close as early as 3pm or are even closed on Sundays and Mondays. We had a slice of macadamia nut pesto pizza and an almond croissant when we went. So so good. Seek them out!!
Midnight Bear Breads (Facebook)
3830 Hanapepe Rd. Hanapepe, Hi 96716
Before you leave Hanapepe make sure you go and check out the swinging bridge. It connects the locals living in Hapapepe into town. It gets busy on Friday nights with the art night crowd so try to come during the day.
A great morning in Kauai is to spend the day at Poipu Beach and then drive to Lawai and stop at The Fresh Save and Warehouse 3540 to cool down before you tackle other parts of the island.
The Fresh Shave
Ah... The Fresh Shave. Where have you been all my life??? They have the best hands down shaved ice on the island. I am a shave ice fanatic and they do it so well. Again everything made from scratch and with love. It was so good we went back twice in one day and I'm glad we did because they were closed on Sunday and we couldn't come back.
I had the whiskers which was mint syrup with a hint of lime. The ice was so fine and the syrup was not sickly sweet as some can be. That mint sprig on top - they picked it from the pot outside the trailer. Yup, it's that fresh.
3540 Koloa Rd, Kalaheo, HI 96741
Okay, so Warehouse 3540 is this really cool space in the middle of nowhere that houses mini boutiques, art nights, markets and story time for the kids. I walked in and I felt like the whole space was curated for me, rustic, modern, tropical. That is my whole vibe.
They have events going on all the time, or just stop in to browse while you are waiting for your Fresh Shave.
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3540 Koloa, Rd Kalaheo, HI 96741
There are tons of touristy shops and restaurants in Kappa Town, but in the sea of kitsch you will find several gems tucked in the area.
Eat Healthy Cafe
If you are looking for some smoothie bowls, matcha lates and kale salads in town, the Eat Healthy Cafe is the place to go.
The menu is all organic and plant based and will keep you on track while on vacation. It's all healthy nutritious food in this cafe. They also have a small shop where you can buy tea, coco nibs and crystals.
Eat Healthy Cafe (Instagram)
4-369 Kuhio Hwy, Kapaa, Hi 96746
Oh my goodness this place. The food is what you imagine you will get in San Francisco. Full of flavor, with really fresh produce and a menu with vegan and gluten free options. Before I left for this trip, I thought I would have to go grocery shopping and buy all my food, but there are so many healthy places to eat now like The Local in Kappa.
We came for dinner on Saturday night and was really blown away by everything we had. At the end of the meal we decided to go back the next night so that we wouldn't taint our amazing food experiences by going to a bad restaurant at end of the trip.
We had the Seared Ahi Tuna, Braised Pork Belly, Coconut Shrimp, Kale Pizza and Tre Leches Cake. It was all so good, but the best we had was the coconut shrimp. When you order it you expect it to be covered in coconut shreds, but instead it's the most complex thing you have ever eaten. It's sweet, sour, salty, crispy all at the same time. The executive chef worked at Pok Pok in Portland and if you are a foodie and have been to Pok Pok, you know you are in for a treat.
The cocktail menu at The Local is also top notch. They mix Kauai Juice Co with alcohol, which by the way is just behind them if you wanted to load up on juice.
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The Local (Instagram)
4-1380 Kuhio HWY, Kapaa, Kauai, HI
We didn't just eat and shop, although it does seem like we did. We also fit in one hike along the coast of Poipu called the Maha'ulepu Trail. It's rugged and they recommend a two mile trek, but you can keep walking and walking until you get tired out and hot.
It's a beautiful trail to walk to get in touch with nature and to just tune out. It also gives you a great view of surfers in the ocean trying to catch a big wave.
Kauai is truly a special place and there are lots of places to explore no matter how many times you go. We can't wait to go back again already. We are even contemplating about buying a summer house there. Is anyone selling???
Go to Kauai and relax and tune out.
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