Fathom Favorites : Kauai

1. Tropical Taco

A casual little joint on the North Shore serves everyone's favorite beach food — tacos! — and they are excellent. Crispy tostadas piled high with the fresh catch are also totally tubular. Get everything with a side of taro.

5-5088 Kuhio Hwy.
Hanalei, HI 96714

2. Yamato's Kitchen

Yamato's Kitchen

This former ice-cream food truck operation has expanded into a permanent restaurant serving up some of the island's best Japanese home-cooked favorites —but don't worry, ice cream is still on the menu.  

4385 Pahee St.
Lihue, HI 96766

3. The Fresh Shave

The Fresh Shave

There are plenty of sugar-laden, overhyped ices around. They are no match for the smooth, cool joy found in a fresh shaved ice with organic fruit juice combos like The Handle Bar (pineapple topped with shredded coconut), The Lip Luggage (chai tea topped with sweet cream), or The Professor (local honey, apples, bananas, and acaÍ).

3540 Koloa Rd.
Kalaheo, HI 96741

4. Bar Acuda

Bar Acuda

Classy, locally sourced small plates (inspired by France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal) are the name of the game (be sure to order the honeycomb). Make reservations by phone a month in advance.

5-5161 Kuhio Hwy.
Hanalei, HI 96714

5. Makai Sushi

Makai Sushi

Sushi in a hut inside Inside Kukuiula Market (look for the yellow submarine). You're here, so you better order the gorilla bowl: ahi, ono, salmon, cucumber, and sweet Maui onion.

2827 Poipu Rd.
Koloa, HI 96756

6. Tiki Tacos

Tiki Tacos

It's a Mexican fiesta with a Hawaiian flair. This somewhat secret taco spot wraps its spicy steak and fire-roased veggies in handmade, blue corn tortillas — hot and fresh. Tamales are also made daily and should not be missed.

4-971 Kuhio Hwy.
Kapaa, HI 96746

7. Da Crack

Da Crack

Delicous, quick-serve burritos are hearty and happening at this notable local hole-in-the-wall. The staff is friendly and the portions are very generous (good thing you spent all morning paddling waves).

2827 Poipu Rd.
Koloa, HI 96756

8. Koloa Fish Market

It's poke time! Wasabi-infused, Korean-style, eaten with rice or an ocean salad. It's pure Hawaii in your lunch bowl.

5482 Koloa Rd.
Koloa, HI 96756

9. Fehring Family Farm

Fehring Family Farm

Drop by the bright farm stand on the way to Kahili Bay Beach for organic popsicles (mango tango, soursop coconut, piña colada) or fresh smoothies. You can also find them every Saturday at the morning Kilauea Farmers Market.

4320 Wailapa Rd.
Kilauea, HI 96754

10. St. Regis Princeville

St. Regis Princeville

Five miles from Hanalei Bay and a mile from Queen's Bath are comfortable, luxe rooms with all the amenities expected from a big hotel. Pick from mountain, garden, or ocean views — rooms cascade down a cliff toward the Bay with panoramic views (top-floor rooms) or direct beach access (first floor). There is a great special occasion restaurant, a world-class spa, and a front desk that can arrange just about any activity you can conjure.

5520 Ka Haku Rd.
Princeville, HI 96722

11. Koa Kea Hotel and Resort

Koa Kea Hotel and Resort

Just off popular Poipu Beach, Koa Kea manages to be both high-end luxe and surprisingly cozy at the same time. Contemporary accents in the lobby and rooms are a welcome contrast from the usual beachy-chic aesthetics. Dinner at the oceanfront restaurant makes for a delicious end to the day.

2251 Poipu Rd.
Koloa, HI 96756

12. The Hanalei Surfboard House

The Hanalei Surfboard House

In the sleepy surf town of Hanalei, just minutes away from the picturesque bay, is an equally sleepy guesthouse where rooms are filled with eclectic vintage Americana furnishings. Shop farmers markets and prepare snacks in your kitchenette; the private lanai is a fun space to end the night with friends.

5459 Weke Rd.
Hanalei, HI 96714

13. The Palmwood

The Palmwood

Expect Ryokan-style hospitality in a cozy guesthouse located in the rolling Moloa’a Hills. Choose from three rooms, some with a personal lanai (patio) and outdoor showers. Optimal afternoon plan: Make your way to the hammocks and deck chairs dotted around the private five-acre estate.

6867 Koolau Rd.
Kilauea, HI 96754

14. Koral and Moku's Ohana Shop

Koral and Moku's Ohana Shop

On Kuhio Highway, hidden behind Chocolat Hanalei, a local couple has assembled the best the community has to offer in terms of art, handmade wares, and specialty gifts, and the kind of souvenirs you will not regret bringing home. 

5-5190 Kuhio Hwy
Hanalei, HI 96714

15. The Hanalei Bread Co.

The Hanalei Bread Co.

"First we bake, then we surf" is the motto at this cute little bakery on the North Shore. Artisan breads and gluten-free bakeds goods are sold behind a tidy wooden counter, along with great coffee by the cup. Pick up a few snacks en route for an impromptu beach breakfast picnic.

5-5161 Kuhio Hwy. #4
Hanalei, HI 96714

16. Banana Joe

As you drive toward the North Shore, look out for the very yellow, somewhat makeshift-looking hut, an old-fashioned fruit stand selling tropical and exotic fruits — everything from rambutan to good, old-fashioned mango.

5-2719 Kuhio Hwy.
Kilauea, HI 96754

17. The Ukulele Store

Those looking to plink, plink, plink to their heart's desire can get a quick education from the guys running this shop (a.k.a. Larry's). From beginner models to real-deal custom strummers, there is no instrument and sound more closely tied to an island nation.

5330 Koloa Rd.
Koloa HI 96756

18. Hanapepe Art Walk

Hanapepe Art Walk

Bright Side, Blu Umi, and Island Art galleries keep their doors open late on Fridays to showcase the work of up-and-coming and established local artists who paint in the great outdoors, make handicrafts, or sculpt abstractions. Vendors selling Hawaiian barbecue set up on the streets to give the otherwise very sleepy town a festive vibe.

Hanapepe Rd.
Hanapepe, HI 96716

19. Talk Story Bookstore

Talk Story Bookstore

Besides stacks and stacks of new, used, rare, and out-of-print books, locally made gifts and ephemera, they also carry pretty much the only selection of vintage Hawaiiana vinyl on the island. The spot feels old-timey and charming on a sleepy little retail stretch in Hanapepe.

3785 Hanapepe Rd.
Hanapepe, HI 96716