The Kitchen at Papaya’s

KAPAA — A pair of tacos from The Kitchen at Papaya’s Natural Foods is a perfect way to grind after a salty day in the sunshine.

But that’s not the only thing on the menu at The Kitchen, grab-and-go options like potato salad, turkey sandwiches and ahi wraps are available from a refrigerator in the corner.

And along the back wall, a salad bar boasts traditional salad fixings and with some premade dishes like basmati rice with eggplant, noodle salads, and housemade soups.

The versatile eatery is nestled in the back of Papaya’s, which recently relocated down the street Kauai Village Shopping Center to 4-831 Kuhio Highway.

Combining the convenience of the grocery store with a full-service kitchen and buffet-style option, Papaya’s has something for everyone.

The Kitchen uses fresh island fish for dishes like the blackened fish wrap, and the fish tacos; which combine the catch of the day with kale and cabbage slaw and a choice of creamy buttermilk, cilantro or spicy chipotle aioli sauce.

The Papaya’s Famous Taro Burger and The Classic Portabella Burger are both served on whole-wheat buns from Passion Bakery and condiments include things like pineapple saw, and house-made chipotle sauce, marigold mayonnaise and dandelion mustard.

If the goal is to find something different, the Not Your Daddy’s Ruben Wrap and its Ruben-Style Tempeh Taco both put a vegan spin on the traditional ruben sandwich.

The wrap is made from ruben-style braised tempeh with melted Chao cheese, wrapped with red cabbage, caraway kraut and topped with Thousand Island dressing. It’s a lot of food and could be shared between two people if you’re not too hungry.

The Hawaiian Taro Hash taco was a smoky delight with local taro, brown rice and veggies crumbled over fresh lettuce and pineapple slaw. The whole thing is covered in a spicy chipotle aioli that adds another layer of depth to the dish.

It’s the housemade coco-loco coconut sauce that stands out in the Island Style Black Bean taco, which is combined with a yam and corn medley on fresh lettuce with kale and cabbage slaw for a sassy mix.

Tacos are served on either flour or corn tortillas and can be ordered as singles or as a combo of two different tacos. Singles range from $4.99 each to $7.99 each for the fish tacos. A pair of tacos will cost between $9.50 and $14.99. The cost for wraps and burgers range from $9.99 to $16.99.

Lighter fare includes 16-ounce smoothies with fresh fruit and rice, almond and soy milks, and other natural options. The Papaya Princess, for instance, combines fresh-squeezed orange juice with apple juice, carrot, papaya, bee pollen and coconut milk.

It’s an easy spot for a quick stop and if it isn’t too crowded, two tables outside in the shade provide an excellent place to enjoy the fare from The Kitchen at Papaya’s.

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