The Hawaiian island of Kauai is an amazing destination for health-conscious foodies. I was looking forward to the abundant fresh fruits and fish, farmers markets, fruit stands, fish markets and natural food stores from reading guidebooks and travel articles. I was still surprised, however, by the awareness of gluten sensitivity and the ready availability of gluten-free options. Researching before the trip, I had come up with a list of restaurants that had GF items clearly marked. When visiting a new place, I always search for blog posts about gluten-free restaurants in the area, so I am adding my list and hope that it helps you. I was pleasantly surprised that even places that didn’t have GF items on the menu were more than happy to sub out a bun or noodles for some rice or lettuce. In addition to Seattle and Portland, Kauai was one of the easiest places to eat gluten-free with confidence. Of course, my list is not comprehensive but I hope that if you are traveling to Kauai, you can travel without worrying about the dreaded “I got gluten-ed” feeling.
Eastside of Kauai
If you like Chipotle, you will like this slightly upscale version. We both enjoyed the fun vibe and fresh ahi tacos/tostadas.
Great for coffee or fresh juice. With GF English muffins and tortillas, their breakfast and lunch menu has a lot of options.
With three locations you are bound to run into Bubba Burgers. They will serve their locally raised, grass-fed patties on rice or lettuce for no extra charge. FYI the chili has beer in it so it isn’t GF.
This is the place to go when you are feeling deprived of vegetables. While nothing on their current menu was gluten-free, they quickly offered to make one of the stir fries with rice instead of noodles and that was great.
With two locations and a food truck, you don’t have an excuse to miss Chicken in a Barrel. It was so good, we had to stop twice. The Kapaa location is very cleverly stationed right out side of a cross-fit operation, so I wasn’t too surprised that the staff was very knowledgeable about the GF options (avoid the hot sauce because it contains soy sauce).
We didn’t make it to Cafe Coco, but their mission is to serve healthy food with many gluten-free and vegan options, so it is a good one to have on the list. Maybe next time.
We went for the “happy hour tasting menu”. Reservations 5-5:45. Five courses 40$ including wine or 28$ without. The tasting menu is generally gluten-free anyway, but they bring out fresh-baked gf bread which was awesome. All of the dishes featured local produce and were very tasty.
We ended up taking picnics on our trips to the south and west sides of the island, but here are a few places I had found before the trip.
Cool plantation setting, recommended for lunch if you are on a budget.
Plate lunches and GF poke.
Menu emphasizes fresh, local ingredients. Still on my list for our next visit.
There is a Bubba Burgers and Chicken in a Barrel in Hanalei – both good for a quick meal.
Good place to pick up a picnic
Nice dinner kind of place. Lots of GF options.
Food truck Serving: Taro Smoothies, Taro Hummus, Hanalei Taro Veggie Burgers, Taro Mochi Cake, Kulolo, Hawaiian Plate Lunches & more!
Local fruit stand, not a restaurant but they do have smoothies.