Hidden Foodie Gems on Kauai

Savor these local best-kept secret spots for breakfast, snacks and dessert.
art cafe hemingway

Breakfast at Art Café Hemingway

In plain sight on the main drag of Kapaa, a large, blue building spells out everything you’ll find inside: coffee, breakfast, deli and art. Sometimes overshadowed by the crowded American diner next door, Art Café Hemingway has more to offer than what meets the eye and proves to be a calm breakfast respite before the start of a busy day. Two separate owners and chefs operate the restaurant on different days of the week, so Monday through Thursday will have a different menu from Friday through Sunday. The common denominator for both is their appreciation for farm-to-table, and use of some ingredients sourced from the owners’ farm, Mint Kauai. Brunch features dishes named after Hemingway books, such as “The Sun Also Rises” and “The Old Man and the Sea,” served European-style, with scrambled eggs, ham or salmon and baguettes, and tastes-so-fresh squeezed orange juice on the side. Open daily from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. 64-1495 Kuhio Hwy., Kapaa, artcafehemingingway.com.

Ishihara Market poke

Poke from Ishihara Market.
Photo: David Croxford

At Ishihara Market’s lunch counter, Hawaii’s quintessential meal of cubed raw fish is served in an unassuming plastic tub. Don’t be discouraged by the no-frills delivery; when it comes to poke, it’s all about flavor and freshness. In those departments, nobody beats Ishihara’s. This 80-year-old, family-owned mom-and-pop market in the red-dusted rodeo town of Waimea is known island-wide for its expansive selection of freshly caught, marinated poke. Be prepared: Long lines are almost a guarantee during the midday lunch rush, which is prime time to enjoy Hawaii’s favorite street food. 9894 Kaumualii Hwy, Waimea.

The Fresh Shave’s secret shave ice menu

fresh shave
The Dirt McGirt off The Fresh Shave’s secret menu – more delicious than its name implies.
Photo: Mallory Francks Photography

The all-natural and delicious shave ice being produced by The Fresh Shave isn’t a secret any longer, but once you’ve finished trying all the flavors off its menu, you might want to order one of three shave ice off its secret menu at $7 each: First, there’s The Imperial, which has strawberry and coconut syrup swirled together, freshly cut pineapple in the middle, and drizzled with coconut cream. Next, is the Dirt McGirt with cold-brewed coffee syrup, layered with Ghirardelli chocolate cream, coconut cream and topped with organic Oreo crumbles. And, lastly, the Dali, with coconut syrup, layered in Ghirardelli chocolate cream and topped with chopped macadamia nuts. 3540 Koloa Rd., Kalaheo, (808) 631-2222, thefreshshave.com.

Categories: Food, Kaua’i Where To Eat, Kauaʻi, Restaurants