The first impression of Monico’s Taqueria Kauai might not be the best. Parking. Because the spaces in the parking lot are for more than one business and are more for compact cars than larger vehicles, it can be a tight squeeze, and some SUV drivers find that annoying. They might even give up and leave.
On any given weekday during the lunchtime hour, you’ll find a small, hole in the wall restaurant nestled between the Kauai Bowling Center and another eatery on Rice Street, packed with county and state workers filling their empty stomachs with warm bowls of golden, silky broth.
Carol Wood and LaMont Fisher are stoked about their first-year anniversary at Coconuts Fish Cafe in Waipouli’s Kauai Village shopping center — so excited that they want to spread the aloha. They’re raffling off a surfboard, tacos and a helicopter ride in a month-long fundraiser, with all proceeds going to the Kauai United Way.
Most people make the mistake of ordering just one, said Arisara Khamsuk, owner of South East Asia (S E A) Kauai, located on the second level of Harbor Mall shopping center. She was referring to hot ‘n cheese, one of the appetizer offerings from the restaurant that opened its doors about two weeks ago behind the Lilikoi Bar and Grill.
Ed Kawamura Sr. of Veterans Helping Veterans liked the ribs during the Battle of the Food Trucks presented Sunday evening by Parking Lot Paina at the Kauai Veterans Center parking lot in Lihue. “The ribs are really good,” Kawamura said. “I don’t know about anything else.”
Scotch eggs, pub steak and a smattering of beer-battered bites line the menu at one of Kauai’s newest restaurants, and the island’s first gastropub. Avalon Gastropub in Kapaa also boasts burgers and fried brussel sprouts, fried mac ‘n’ cheese and a quinoa salad with roasted Okinawan sweet potato, piquillo peppers, red onion, kale and roasted butternut squash.
Joe Kali drove his family from Lihue to the Plantations BBQ & Bar Sunday in Waimea. “We had friends visiting from California, and they had breakfast here,” said Lisa Kali. “We didn’t even know this place was open, so we’re just checking it out because our friends said it was pretty good.” The Plantations BBQ & Bar is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the building adjacent to Waimea Plantation Cottages.