I was so excited when my boyfriend surprised me with a trip to Kauai – especially since it meant I could indulge in some of the best sushi on the island! As a food lover, I knew I would be in for a treat.
After spending 10 days researching, I compiled a list of the best sushi restaurants on the island. I’ve asked online communities and local people, and let me tell you, narrowing it down was tough because there were so many amazing restaurants to choose from!
We visited eight different sushi restaurants during our trip, but in the end, the five restaurants on my list were the best sushi restaurants on Kauai.
So if you’re looking for some of the best sushi on Kauai, then check out any of these five restaurants! You won’t be disappointed!
#1. Red Salt at Koa’ Kea – Best Sushi Restaurant in Kauai
Red Salt is a beautiful modern restaurant in the Koa’ Kea resort. The restaurant is elegant, with large glass windows looking out onto the swimming pool and ocean. The menu has creative seafood and beef dishes to keep your mouth watering. We came because of the award-winning sushi bar!
I booked our dinner table online. We started with sashimi – Tobiko (Flying Fish Roe) and Hamachi (Yellowtail). The fish was tender, and the flavor was clean. I would say the freshest fish I tasted on the trip. We then shared the spicy tuna roll and the White Coral roll (made with Ahi, Yellowtail, Salmon, Avocado, Cucumber, Sea Asparagus, and Tobiko). Everything was delicious and beautifully plated. The fish proportion in each bite was exactly right.
I tried the Mango Margarita for drinks, and my boyfriend had Japanese whiskey (Suntory Toki). They do have a nice wine card as well. The prices were reasonable, and the portions were plentiful.
The service was great, and everything was on time. The waiter was not pushy, and we did not feel rushed (vacation pace!).
This sushi place was my favorite on Kauai because:
- The restaurant is elegant with elegant round tables, and the view is of the pool and ocean.
- The sushi is extremely well prepared and fresh, with many different options.
- The restaurant offers a full surf and turf menu for picky eaters.
- Service is fast, professional, and knowledgeable about the menu.
#2. Stevenson’s Library (Stevenson’s Sushi & Spirits) – Best Sushi in Poipu
This beautiful restaurant is in the Grand/Hyatt hotel. It’s a high-end hotel bar with a huge wooden bar area and plenty of seating inside and out. The terrace has a breathtaking beach and ocean view. The inside is decorated in modern wood with a significant distance between tables. This restaurant is suitable for families and couples.
The food is well prepared and elegantly served, and there is something for everyone. We had the Maki tuna and the Maki eel and avocado. We also split the bluefin tuna sashimi (the most delicious I have ever had!) The portions are substantial, and the fresh fish is well cut.
They have an ala carte sushi dinner option that is worth checking out. There is also a generous kids’ menu. For dessert, I had the Kauai cream puffs, which are chocolaty and delightful (my boyfriend agrees).
You can also enjoy a drink at the bar. I suggest trying the War and Peach cocktail or the Gin Eyre. They also have a good selection of draft beers and Napa Valley reds!
Note: The restaurant only uses sustainably caught fish! So feel happy about your choices!
It’s a close second choice for me because:
- The sushi is well prepared, fresh, and perfectly seasoned.
- You can enjoy some great cocktails and specialty beers at their bar.
- The menu has a lot of choices for all tastes and ages.
- The restaurant uses sustainably caught fish.
#3. Big Monster Sushi & Thai – Best Sushi in Lihue
This is a simple, no-frills restaurant that can accommodate big families. The servers are super friendly, and there is a family vibe throughout. A much less touristy and more local feel here.
The menu had a bunch of creative and new-wave sushi rolls. They also had my favorite section (the traditional and basic section). I had the Ahi tuna roll and spicy Hamachi roll.
My boyfriend experimented with the Hot Mama Roll (tuna, Hamachi, cilantro, jalapeno, avocado, hot sauce, and lime).
The people next to us had Monster Donburi (assorted sashimi with rice and salad), which looked delicious!
All the food was of very high quality, fresh, and presented nicely. The portions were large, and the prices were very reasonable (great value for your money). There are a lot of vegetarian and gluten-free options.
Note: large sushi platters can feed 4 to 6 people, so call ahead or get for pick-up.
Visit this sushi spot because:
- The menu is large with creative new sushi options but has traditional dishes.
- The fish is fresh and tastes buttery, just like it should.
- The service was fast, and the portions were large.
- There are a lot of gluten-free and vegetarian options.
#4. Sushi Bushido – Best Sushi in Kapaa Kauai
This restaurant won me over with its funky seating and modern artwork. This small urban restaurant has a large bar and inside and outside seating. The vibe is similar to my favorite local sports bar. It is the perfect place for a delicious lunch and drinks (as a couple or with friends).
We made lunch reservations just in case, so no waiting. I tried the Hotategai – scallop Sashimi and the Sunrise Roll (Yellowfin tuna, yellowtail, flying fish eggs, cucumber, and papaya.) The flavors were great, and the fish was fresh. My boyfriend loved the Bushido Roll with tuna marinated in a sweet ginger soy sauce.
I appreciated that the menu had both traditional and contemporary options. Interestingly, they had rolls with teriyaki chicken, smoked salmon, and even squash (for the non-experimental eaters!) There are even kid options.
This is a worthwhile place to visit because:
- The menu is creative; you can try some sushi options not found in traditional restaurants.
- There are classics made with fresh and well-cut fish.
- There is a sports bar vibe, which makes it fun for families and friends.
- The menu offers many options for those who do not eat raw fish.
#5. Kauai Sushi Station – Must Try this Food Truck
Have you ever tried sushi from a food truck? Me neither! Still, this was a delicious experience!
The atmosphere here is fun, local, and very simple. You pick up your food, take a seat at the picnic tables, or get it to takeaway. If you mind a little dust or no air conditioning, skip this place.
We had our food at the truck, which allowed me to see what the other customers were ordering (and getting!) Honestly, everything looked yummy.
The people working were so welcoming and happy. Well-informed about the food, so feel free to ask questions. Nothing pretentious here.
The fish was fresh and premium grade, and the rice was well-cooked and seasoned. The highlight of our meal was the Sashimi salad (Fresh tuna, Organic Salmon, Yellowtail) and Ginger crazy roll (Tuna, Salmon, Avocado, Cucumber, Shredded Ginger, Tempura Crunch, Spicy mayo). The rolls are a nice size for the price, and you get 10 pieces.
Here’s why I loved this sushi place:
- The fish is high quality, fresh, and professionally prepared.
- The atmosphere is fun and local, without many tourist accommodations.
- The menu is varied and creative. Suited for vegetarians.
- There are large party trays available if you call ahead.
Kauai is a very popular culinary travel destination. Many foodies will find their perfect meal here among all the local fresh ingredients. For me, the best part was all the delicious sushi.
Whether you are looking for the family feeling, high-end dining, or just a friendly food truck, Kauai has it – with sushi!
I hope you enjoyed my picks because we enjoyed eating the food! Any or all of these picks will make your trip unforgettable!
Safe travels, and send us feedback!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
What food is Kauai known for?
Kauai is known for fresh ocean fish. Their specialty is fish foods such as poke bowls (raw fish or octopus dish), Lomi Lomi (smoked fish dish), and even sushi. If you ask the locals, they would also add: Spam musubi (spam sushi with teriyaki sauce rice and nori) and Huli Huli chicken (traditional Hawaiian roast)
What is the most famous sushi?
In the U.S., the most famous cooked sushi roll is the California roll (made with crab meat) and the Dragon Roll (made with shrimp). The most famous raw fish roll is the spicy tuna (raw tuna and hot sauce). These cooked sushi options are mostly nonexistent in Japan.
Japan’s most famous sushi combinations are made of salmon, lean or fatty tuna slices. Raw squid sushi is also among the favorites.
What is the crunchy stuff in sushi?
Most of the time, the crunchy crumbs on sushi are Panko bread crumbs. This is a traditional Japanese bread crumb. More modern sushi roles include a deep-fried or battered ingredient such as shrimp or a crispy vegetable for crunch.
Last Updated on January 10, 2023 by Brigitte