#Kaua’i: Eating Out in Kapaa

The view from our table at the Olympic Cafe

About a week and a half before we moved out of our house we found ourselves sick to death of microwave-heated processed food. The microwave needed to be sold anyway, it was obvious the oven door wasn’t going to be repaired before we moved out, and the stove top needed to be cleaned, so we decided the time had come to eat out until we got into the condo with its functional kitchen. It would also be a great time to try out a few new-to-us places and rate them for affordability and flavor (and/or see what we had or hadn’t been missing).

Paco’s Tacos make look unassuming, but they serve some tasty Mexican food. Al fresco dining is also available (tables are over on the right, out of the shot).

We started our dining adventures at Paco’s Tacos, a little restaurant located between the Bank of Hawaii and the Deja Vu surf shop in Old Town Kapaa. Paco’s Tacos has been one of YaYu’s favorite places for a long time, but Brett and I had never been before. Hawaii has a reputation for not having good Mexican restaurants, but Brett and I thought our dinners at Paco’s were very good and authentic. YaYu ordered a big carne asada quesadilla, Brett had an absolutely huge carnitas burrito, and I had the chili rellenos platter (chili rellenos are one of those things that if they’re on the menu, I have to order). Brett also ordered a Jarritos lime soda, and we got an order of churros to share for dessert. We were served a lot of food, spent less than we expected, and left happy and full. We all came home with leftovers too. We would go back, and give Paco’s Tacos four out of five stars for taste and affordability.

Sorry for a picture of half-eaten chili rellenos, but I didn’t wait to take a picture because I was overwhelmed by finally being able to eat something that had not been heated in the microwave.
The Olympic Cafe served us a great tuna melt (with sweet potato waffle fries) and some very tasty coconut shrimp.

For our second night out we headed over to the Olympic Cafe, where YaYu is working this summer. The Olympic is located upstairs in one of the original Old Town Kapaa buildings, and there are several tables at the front of the restaurant that overlook the highway and shops. YaYu was working that evening so Brett and I decided to keep dinner simple: we shared a plate of coconut shrimp (one of their happy hour specials) and split a tuna melt. We came prepared though to indulge in the Olympic’s signature dessert: a slice of Kauai Pie (chocolate ice cream surrounded by coffee-macadamia-toasted coconut ice cream which is then surrounded by more chocolate ice cream, with the whole slice topped with chocolate sauce and whipped cream). The shrimp and sandwich were both great, but our eyeballs popped out of our heads when we saw the piece of Kauai Pie. It was MASSIVE, probably more than a quart of ice cream. The pie was absolutely delicious though, and I’m almost ashamed to admit that Brett and I managed to finish it (but continued to feel full for most of the next day). We left the Olympic Cafe full and happy so we gave it all five stars!

I still can’t believe we ate this whole thing!
The Scorpacciata trailer contains a stone pizza oven!

We’d been wanting to check out the pizzas at the Scorpacciata food truck for a while because the truck is owned and operated by the parent of one of the girls’ swim team members, and it has also gotten good reviews for its made-to-order pizzas. Scorpacciata is also located in Old Town Kapaa, in a small vacant lot right next to the Wailua Shave Ice trailer. YaYu was dining with us this time so we ordered two pizzas: sausage & pepper and margherita (typically my favorite pizza). We thought the sausage pizza was quite good, but all of us thought the margherita was just “meh.” Still, there were no leftovers. We finished our meal with shave ice from Wailua, a mango-pineapple one for YaYu, and Brett and I shared a “lava flow” (strawberry and pineapple with a haupia foam topping). It was another affordable, relaxed evening out, and another place we would return to if we had the time. While both YaYu and I gave Scorpacciata four stars for taste and affordability (we deducted a star for the weak margherita pizza), Brett gave them only three – he said he wasn’t bowled over by either pizza. Wailua Shave Ice gets a solid five stars from all of us though!

A margherita and a sausage and pepper pizza from Scorpacciata.
Shave ice from the Wailua Shave Ice trailer.

We also ate at a couple of restaurants we’d eaten at before and wanted to try again (Sam’s Ocean View and Bubba’s Burgers) and tried two new-to-us Italian restaurants: Kauai Pasta and Bobby V’s. They were very different from each other, but both had good food – we especially liked the cannoli at Bobby V’s! All the restaurants we ate at fell within the “affordable dining” range in our opinion. Although I’m glad to be able to cook again, it was sort of fun eating out every day, trying new places and going back to old favorites, almost like we were on vacation versus trying to escape what was going on back at the house. If you’re ever visiting Kaua’i, any one of these restaurants (or food truck) is worth a stop, in our opinion. We are leaving Kaua’i happy that we had the chance to them all.


12 thoughts on “#Kaua’i: Eating Out in Kapaa

  1. If you like Pho, you should try out the Kapaa Pho place in the Safeway shopping center. Very unassuming place, but we often use it as the benchmark for Pho we get anywhere else and its one of the places we miss the most since moving off island.


    1. I forgot about this place! I knew it was there, but we rarely came down to the Safeway shopping center. But, now that we’re here it’s the perfect time to go over there to eat. Thank you for the reminder!!


    1. It was fun eating out for a while but I’m glad to be able to cook again. All that microwaved stuff and eating out actually got boring pretty quickly. We had fun choosing affordable places, and are happy we got to try some of these places before we leave. The food was always good!


  2. Pizza is such a personal taste thing. My favourite pizza is the one I make myself but it took years of experimentation to get here. 😉

    When you are in Australia I do suggest you try the “Australian” which has egg on it, if you get a chance. The Australian Heritage Hotel in the rocks area makes a couple of good ones – the crispy bacon and the Australian.


    They also make some pizzas with kangaroo, emu, crocodile, if you are a bit more adventurous and willing to eat some of our local creatures. I note they have pavlova for dessert which is a bit of a national treasure here.

    I cannot eat pizza without an egg now. 🙂 Sometimes two, if they are small ones!


    1. First, thank you so much for the GREAT tip. We are keeping track of all of them and this sounds like a very tasty place to check out. I have had egg on pizza and like it, so the Australian version sounds very delicious to me.

      We are planning to eat lots of pizza in Italy. Pizza is my all-time favorite food, so even if I eat it every day I doubt I would get tired of it.


      1. Just so you know, pizza in Italy is nothing like it is in the US. When I was there recently, I tried it in about 5 different restaurants and only one was decent. They tend to undercook it and it’s very doughy.


      2. Brett made several trips to Naples when he was in the navy and said the pizza there was unbelievably good. I hope by doughy that you mean you get a nice chewy crust because that’s my favorite kind! But, undercooked – no, so thanks for the advice about what to expect. I still can’t wait to try it.


      3. I wasn’t in Naples, but maybe it’s better there. I like a crispy crust, but I felt it was undercooked at every place we went to. The friend I was traveling with agreed, but we live near NYC and are used to a NY style pizza.


  3. We loved the pizza we had in Italy, but I also like a chewy crust, so that could be the issue.

    That ice cream pie looks AMAZING. We had a restaurant near us that had a huge Snickers pie dessert, and when someone new bought it, they got rid of it. DH hasn’t gotten over it yet. Ha!


    1. OK, that seems unclear. Someone new bought the restaurant and got rid of the pie. Unclear antecedents. LOL


    2. Brett and I both prefer chewy crust, so think we’ll be OK in Italy. There was a restaurant in Portland that did authentic Italian pizza (Apizza Scholls) and their crust was divine. I’ll eat any kind of pizza though – it’s still my favorite food no matter how it’s prepared.

      We wish we had known before we ordered how BIG that piece was going to be – we would have thought twice about ordering it if we had. We were so full when we finished we both thought we would burst! Other places on the island do the big ice cream pie thing, but nothing like this.


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