Let’s face it, airfare to the Hawaiian islands ain’t cheap (most of the time). So once you’ve paid what was very possibly a pretty penny to get to Kaua`i, how does a visitor save a few bucks? By eating at Kaua`i’s best places for an affordable meal. Lucky for us, this doesn’t have to mean giving up a great meal or losing points in quality and flavors.
So here’s a list of some great spots on Kaua`i to eat affordable food, which may just turn out to me the best meal you will have on the Garden Island. I’ve listed one great place for each side of the island, and a few places for a tasty treat.
In Waimea on the west side of Kaua`i, Island Tacos offers huge portions of Mexican food with a Pacific twist. The road side stand is reminiscent of a true Mexico taco stand, but it serves out unique heaping portions. And yes, they’re affordable. I’d like to mention again that the portions are large. I can eat a lot of food, but whenever I try to order two tofu tacos here, I never finish the second one. A single taco will fill most people’s belly’s, and at only about five to six dollars depending on whether you get tofu, beans, shrimp, pork, mahi or ahi. But it’s not just the tacos. The burritos, quesadillas, and taco salads all come in huge portions. For those traveling with children, there’s also a keiki (kids) menu. You can enjoy the meal right there at their road side outdoor tables or take it on the road but I’ll warn you – because of the size that usually leads to a mess. Oh yeah, they make their own tortillas. Located at 9643 Kaumuali`i Hwy.
On the south side in Koloa, Sueoka Store hands down offers some of the most affordable food in the area. There aren’t any frills here, it’s very “local style” but it’s affordable, down to earth, and can fulfill most of your basic needs, from beer to food to snacks and even Asian cook wear. On the refrigerated shelves in the front you’ll find packaged and cut fruit, sort of like in New York City delis, along with meat sandwiches, fried chicken, curries, edamame, and other local and Asian foods. It’s perfect to eat the food while browsing historic Koloa town, or to put it in the back pack for a south side hike or beach day.
Over on the east side in Kapa`a, locally owned and operated Killah Steaks is known for serving up great steaks at amazingly low prices. The two friends turned business owners offer two steak options – a Hawaiian salt and pepper steak or a mushroom onion gravy steak. Both come with rice and the closest thing to a vegetable option is the side salad which is pretty much a few leaves of lettuce. The important thing is that everyone seems to love the steaks and they’re quite affordable – only $6.50! Don’t expect anything fancy here, it’s a road side trailer on the ocean side of Kuhio Highway, and when the sell out early they leave and go surf. Stop in for a super affordable and ono (delicious) meal! Located at 4788 Kuhio Hwy.
Out on the North Shore past Hanalei, Red Hot Mama’s will surely get you the most bang for your buck. A true hole in the wall in Wainiha towards the very end of the road, Red Hot Mama’s serves up pretty darn big burritos for seven to nine dollars. They come with fresh fish caught daily by locals, or tofu or avocado. And I mean it when I say they’re big! A burrito from Mama’s will no doubt fill you up so they make a great pre-beach option before disappearing at the end of the road for the day. They’re isn’t much else out here, but Mama’s food is awesome. Located at 5-6607 Kuhio Hwy., 808/826-7266