If you're vacationing on island and are wondering which Kauai restaurants to visit to find some good local food (or are simply wondering where to go out at night to have a good time), consider going out to dine on some fresh Kauai sushi. There aren't many places in the world where you can go and enjoy freshly caught fish up to Kauai's standards, freshness we like to call "from ocean to table."
There's just something about eating fresh - never frozen - fish caught from Hawaii's waters. It not only tastes amazing, it makes you feel connected to the islands and it's an experience that shouldn't be passed up - especially if you're only visiting Kauai. If you have tried sushi on the mainland, or somewhere that isn't supplied with fresh fish, be sure to experience what sushi is supposed to taste like while on Kauai.
Most Kauai sushi restaurants offer additional menu options (yes, some that are cooked) besides sushi, such as steak, teriyaki chicken, and tempura, so if there's someone in your group that just can't wrap their head around eating this Hawaiian delicacy, they'll be happy to know there are other options prepared just as well - and that taste just as good - as the sushi.
Here we recommend what we believe to currently be the 3 best Kauai sushi restaurants and sushi bars on the east side and north shore of the island:
1. Kintaro Japanese Restaurant
Kintaro's is definitely a Kauai restaurant hot spot for locals, and is equally popular with visitors. A highly recommended east side Kauai sushi restaurant to visit. As of right now, they don't even have a company website. (Doesn't every business have one these days?!) They're doing just fine without one.
Photo of Kintaro Japanese Restaurant
This Kapaa sushi restaurant and bar has a great atmosphere with traditional Japanese influences seen in the decor and the architecture itself. The friendly staff, the excellent food, and the unique ambiance are combining factors that successfully immerse you in the Japanese culture while you enjoy your dinner - a nice touch.
While we encourage you to try whatever catches your eye and appeals to you, sushi-wise we highly recommend the Bali Hai Bomb and Supa Dupe maki rolls, as they are proven crowd pleasers. The hand rolls are also delicious, but should probably be reserved for the more daring or experienced sushi eater, as they are not shy about fish portions in the rolls.
Photo of Kintaro's Supa Dupe maki roll
The following are Restaurant Kintaro's dining options for guests:
- Traditional Bar - Perfect for if you only want cocktails & pupus (appetizers)
- Sushi Bar - Watch skilled sushi chefs prepare your sushi right in front of you while you wait!
- Teppan Yaki - Great for groups or special occasions (3 tables w/8 seats each)
- Private Dinner Party Room - Japanese style (sunken table with floor pillows for seating), you need reservations & a group of 15+
- Traditional Family Style Seating - Perfect for everyone: couples, families, large groups, events, and celebrations
Please Note: Of the three listed sushi restaurants, Kintaro Japanese Restaurant is the closest sushi restaurant to the Waipouli Beach Resort. When leaving the resort's parking lot, turn left and follow the Hwy. until you see the restaurant on your left hand side (about 1 mile).
2. Sushi Bushido Restaurant
This is a great Kauai sushi restaurant with a story. Bushido means Military-Knight-Ways and is the Japanese warrior code (including a system of moral principals), which can be both felt in the ambiance and seen in the food presentation at Sushi Bushido Restaurant. This clean and contemporary Kapaa sushi restaurant is a locally owned family business and currently offers both lunch and dinner service, offering several specialty rolls found only at Sushi Bushido.
Photo courtesy of Sushi Bushido Restaurant
Amazing flavor is packed into these beautiful Kauai sushi creations, uniquely made to order. With 25 years of experience behind him, trained head sushi chef Victor Heresa, Jr. has been masterfully creating popular and delicious Kauai sushi rolls (well known for the Golden Roll, the Bushido Roll, and the Lava Roll) that are both contemporary and unique to the island in large part because of the locally produced, fresh ingredients, but without a doubt in addition to pure passion and obvious skill.
Photo courtesy of Sushi Bushido Restaurant
Sushi Bushido Restaurant is located in Downtown Kapaa in the green Dragon Building right by the ABC store, and is a well known east side sushi restaurant, just recently relocating from Lihue to Kapaa due to the need for a bigger restaurant space. Sushi Bushido's is open daily, but the times vary and are subject to change, so it's best to call ahead of time. The Sushi Bushido phone number is 808.822.0664.
3. Hanalei Dolphin Restaurant & Fish Market
If you're planning to vacation on or visit the north shore of Kauai, the Hanalei Dolphin Restaurant & Fish Market is worth stopping at. This north shore Kauai restaurant, fish market, and sushi lounge is located in Hanalei, the heart of Kauai's north shore, and is the first business you'll see after crossing Hanalei Bridge on your right hand side.
This Kauai sushi restaurant is also riverfront to Hanalei River and offers outdoor Kauai dining with covered tables, allowing you to enjoy the enchanting mountain and waterfall Hanalei setting while you dine on some of Kauai's best sushi, steak, and seafood - an extraordinary Kauai dining experience.
Hanalei Dolphin Restaurant & Sushi Lounge Business Hours:
- Cocktails & Appetizers: 11:30 am to 9:00 pm
- Lunch: 11:30 am to 3:00 pm (Lanai & Riverside Tables)
- Dinner: 5:30 pm to 9:00 pm (Open Air Dining Area)
- Open Daily from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm (Excellent sushi sold here, too!)
One of the nice things about the Hanalei Dolphin is that you can order your food to go, which can then be enjoyed at several north shore beaches close by, such as world famous Hanalei Bay, or taken to your north shore Kauai vacation rental and enjoyed in the privacy and comfort of your 'own' space (perfect for that surprise romantic dinner).
So, when visiting the north shore, be sure to make your first - or last - stop in Hanalei at the popular Hanalei Dolphin Restaurant & Fish Market. You won't leave disappointed and will be treated to some of Kauai's best seafood, ambiance, and service on the north shore.
What's Your Favorite Sushi Restaurant on Kauai?
Kauai offers many excellent choices when it comes to restaurants and oceanfront dining, but our three recommended Kauai sushi restaurants will either allow you to discover something new, or will impressively satisfy your sushi and sake cravings - leaving you with a full, happy stomach and a memorable Kauai dining experience. Go ahead and think "outside of the box" when visiting the island - it's part of what makes Kauai so special - and part of what keeps visitors returning year after year, hungry for more.
Sushi Tip: When is the best time of the year to eat sushi on Kauai? While you can order sushi year-round, the summer months (mid-May through early October) are the best - especially if you like Ahi (Yellow Fin Tuna)!
Posted by Moana Britt on November 6, 2013 3:30 PM, Updated April 21, 2014.