If you're looking for an inexpensive, yet delicious place to dine in Kauai, look no further than Verde, a New Mexican-Hawaiian fusion restaurant in Kapa'a (think: Ahi Tostadas and you get the idea). It may look like a typical taco stand, but it's about as far from Taco Bell as Hawaii is from the North Pole.
Chef-Owner Josh Stevens moved to Kaua'i after stints as chef in some of Oahu and Maui's best hotel restaurants. A native of New Mexico, Chef Josh imports in chiles and flavors from the region and blends it with the best of local ingredients to make tasty, creative concoctions like the Cali Burrito I had (pictured), or the Chile Seared Ahi tacos. He also features flavorful vegan and gluten-free meals, so there is something for just about every palate. The chile spice can be either mild or hot, red or green, and seasoned to your liking.
I'm not a huge fan of hot food, but the burrito I had was flavorful without being overpowering. It was a good size, but not the gigantic football size that you get in some restaurants that you can't possible eat, or if you do, immediately feel ill. We also shared chips lightly dusted with chile powder served with some excellent guacamole.
Located in a fairly nondescript stripmall in Kapa'a, I was surprised that such good food was being served up in such humble surroundings. This was probably our best food find on this trip, thanks to our friends, locals Donn and Nancy Forbes, who are dedicated regulars. Verde had not yet opened when we were in Kauai in 2007, so this was a new place for us. Thanks, Donn & Nancy!
This is a great place to go if you've had enough kalua pork sandwiches, poi, and spam musubi, and want something a little different. Verde is located at 4 Kuhio Highway, Kapa'a, Kauai.