Dining on Kauai is a seafood lovers dream! The freshness is topnotch and the variety is endless. Below are some of the most delicious fish dishes encountered all over the island.
The Fish Express – 3343 Kuhio Hwy, Lihue, HI 96766
This is a local spot that is completely abuzz during the lunch hour. I wanted to grab everything on the shelves and put it in my belly, poke bowls, bentos, local snacks! Everything looks amazing. You know that life is great when you’re hardest decision of the day is – poke or hot off the grill?? Normally I’m a sucker for the poke, but with a unique option like “blackened Ono fish with Cajun spices and guava basil sauce” I was sold, and it was on of my favorite meals on the trip.
Jeff went with the sautéed garlic and herbs preparation, another excellent choice. Both meals came with your choice of brown or white rice and fresh greens lightly dressed. This is a take out joint so plan on heading somewhere nice with your food. The air-conditioned car seemed nice to us, the food didn’t make it out of the parking lot!
Mermaid Café – 4-1384 Kuhio Hwy B1, Kapaa, HI 96746
The main strip of Kapaa on the east shore of Kauai is idyllically filled with little mom and pop shops. It’s the lovely street for strolling on a beautiful Hawaiian day. When you get to the brightly colored trendy little boho café, you’ll want to take a break if you’re hungry.
The menu is filled with homemade wraps, burritos, and tacos which use local ingredients. Along with seafood options, the menu also caters to vegans and vegetarians. I didn’t have to go past number one on the menu, the ahi nori wrap was the one for me.
A hefty amount of seared ahi, brown rice, cucumber, nori, wasabi cream, and shoyu rolled up into a spinach wrap. Oh so spicy, creamy, and delicious! These bad boys are excellent to split for lunch if you aren’t starving, seeing as it’s a huge portion. There is a tap of complimentary water, but the drink selection sounded too refreshing to pass up.
Thai and hibiscus iced teas were perfection. You can take your meal to go and walk it to the beach a block away, or have it at a booth or table and people watch.
Da Crack – 2827 Poipu Rd, Koloa, HI 96756
A popular walk up, grab, and go counter – so get there early!
We stopped by just after opening and watched a huge line form behind us. Ordering is simple, you follow a series of steps. What form do you want your meal, what protein, which rice or beans, salsa, and toppings would you like? I went for a bowl, with fresh fish, Mexican brown rice and black beans, mild jalapeno salsa, all of the toppings and guac!
It was a huge portion filled with simple clean and tasty ingredients. I loved digging up all of the layers of goodness in the bowl which complimented the well seasoned fish wonderfully. We made it to nearby Poipu Beach and ate in the air-conditioned car watching the waves, though we could have sat out by the picnic tables. Da Crack works in any atmosphere, it’s addictively delicious!
Poke is probably my favorite fish dish of all! If you are a raw fish lover, don’t leave Hawaii without trying poke! On the east shore of Kauai try the avocado poke at Koloa Fish Market and on the west the spicy ahi Ishikara Market!