Restaurants in Kalaheo have a satisfying range of dining styles, price points, and cuisines, making it fairly easy to find something to fit your tastes and mood. The roundup below includes an overview of menu options, atmosphere, which places are kid-friendly and casual, and the highlights of each.
The always-good Kalaheo Cafe (2-2560 Kaumuali‘i Hwy., 808/332-5858, 6:30am-2:30pm Mon.-Sat., 6:30am-2pm Sun., and dinner at 5pm Tues.-Sat., $13) is the south side’s answer to the cute, local, friendly café where you can relax reading the paper or have Sunday brunch with 10 friends. To speed along the large influx of customers, you order at the counter and then choose a table, but there’s no rush to get out of the spacious hardwood floor café, which is adorned with local art and music. Coffee is served in varied forms, along with eggs, breakfast burritos, waffles, pastries, and sides. Salads and off-the-grill specialty sandwiches are available for lunch, along with bottled beer. Vegetarians can find a decent array of meat-free options. Service is good, and the only downfall is that they charge extra for additional plates.
The name says it all, almost, at Kalaheo Steaks and Ribs (4444 Papalina Road., 808/332-4444, Tues.-Sun. 4-10pm, dinner 5-9:30pm, $17-36). For three decades the restaurant has been serving ribs, steaks, fresh fish, pastas, appetizers, and salads. As one would expect, there isn’t much for vegetarians here, but there is a nice array of salads and one vegetarian entrée of veggie stir-fry with soba noodles, so meat-free diners can enjoy a night here. A full bar, the Saloon, adds to the fun. The atmosphere also fits the name here—a knotty pine interior with the usual steakhouse theme. At the Saloon, happy hour is held 4pm-6pm daily with a menu of appetizers.
An island highlight, not just south side, is Pomodoro Ristorante (2-2514 Kaumuali‘i Hwy., 808/332-5945, 5:30-9:30pm daily), a small gem hidden in Kalaheo, and yes, it’s run by real Italians. Known for serving the best Italian food on the island, the owners have created a delightful environment as well as an upscale feel. A full bar is offered, and the ravioli is amazing, as are most dishes. The husband and wife owners are very friendly. If you have children don’t be deterred by the quiet and small eatery; the wife has expressed how much she loves kids. Pomodoro is on the second floor of a small shopping center with a very nice atmosphere including Italian music and dim lighting. Since it doesn’t take very long to get around Kaua‘i, Pomodoro is worth making the trip to even when you’re on another side of the island.
A local favorite is Brick Oven Pizza (2-2555 Kaumuali‘i Hwy., 808/332-8561, 11am-10pm Tues.-Sun., 4-10pm Mon.), and it’s a good place for a family night or a casual date. A very kid-friendly spot, it offers free dough for kids to play with during dinner. They offer a pretty big selection of pizza, beer, and wine, and you can get your crust in white or wheat dough as well as basted with garlic butter. The decor has a countryside feel, and the walls are covered in license plates from around the country that almost all say something Hawaii-related on them. All-you-can-eat buffets on Monday and Thursday nights are fun.
Ohana Cafe (2-2436 Kaumuali‘i Hwy., 808/332-7602, $8-13, 11am-2:30pm and 5pm-9pm) serves up a combo of American food like burgers and fries, along with local food like saimin, oxtail soup, teriyaki meats, and big and sweet desserts. The atmosphere is simple, service is friendly, and the prices are good. Not gourmet, but good, simple, local food with no frills.
Sunshine Farmers Market in the Kalaheo Neighborhood Center (3pm Tues.) offers fresh produce and fruits. You can also find an abundance of locally made crafts, some ready-to-eat food, and other locally made food. Bring your own shopping bag.