Eating Abroad:

- Kauai, HI -

Java Kai


Matias and I visited the beautiful garden island paradise of Kauai four years ago. And now we are back again! Of course one major thing happened since our last visit: I became vegan. So, it’s been quite interesting trying to navigate my way around. Another minor detail worth noting is that we are staying in Princeville this time rather than Kapaa. So we’ve been driving quite a bit. That being said, however - I have yet to be disappointed! Tourism to Kauai has grown and with that more options have become available for non-traditional eaters, such as myself.


So, the first restaurant we decided to visit was Java Kai. This restaurant is located in the heart of downtown Kapaa inside a bright turquoise building with indoor and outdoor seating. Funnily enough, Matias and I had a really difficult time finding the restaurant (if you can imagine) because we didn’t see any signs with “Java Kai” anywhere. Once we were inside, we were told that the sign actually blew away from strong northern winds a few weeks back and it’s been gone ever since! The ambience of Java Kai embodies the “Kauai vibe” well: it’s relaxed and lively at the same time. Now disclaimer here - the restaurant is not a vegan restaurant. In fact, it’s actually a specialty coffee house and cafe that serves traditional, vegan, and vegetarian options. But if you would like to modify an entree - which is what I ended up doing - that is totally fine. The staff are very friendly and open to whatever dietary restrictions or preferences you have. 


I ordered the Falafel wrap and Matias ordered the Açaí bowl. Both were amazing! The falafel wrap comes with locally grown lettuce, tomato, red onions and cucumber, falafel, tahini, hummus, and tzatziki wrapped in a gluten-free spinach tortilla. The wrap also comes with the option of a side salad, chips, or potato salad. As I mentioned earlier, I ended up asking for the wrap without the tzatziki, since it is a yogurt sauce - and I got it with a side salad since I the potato salad also isn’t vegan. I must say - it was really delicious! The wrap was very refreshing and not too heavy; it was just what I was looking for for my first meal of the day. And in case you’re wondering - I totally shared Matias’s açaí bowl. I couldn’t resist. The açaí bowl came with açaí sorbet, fresh coconut sorbet and coconut shavings, homemade granola, and fresh seasonal fruit. It was probably the best açaí bowl I’ve had in ages, so I would definitely recommend it! 


If you ever find yourself in Kauai and you’re like me - traveling while vegan - and you’re with somebody who is not, or you’re alone - whatever the case may be, Java Kai is a great spot that offers options for everyone. One final disclosure: this restaurant is on the touristy side so beware! If you’ve been to Kauai and you have any recommendations on local restaurants, let me know in the comment section below! Aloha!