By Léo Azambuja

From left to right, aunty, daughter and mother, Gina Avella, Stephanie Aladin and Eden Aladin.

If you are looking for bona-fide, honest Filipino food on the island, Kaua‘i Family Café is the place. Check out Yelp, Trip Advisor and Menupix. Based solely on customer reviews, each of these sites lists this unassuming Wailua diner as the best Filipino restaurant on Kaua‘i.

Frequented by locals and visitors, Kaua‘i Family Café is a small restaurant in Wailua. Its ambiance is simple and clean, with modest furniture, nothing fancy. The large fresh-water aquarium against the wall, full of exotic and scary-looking fish, adds to the atmosphere of a genuine ma-and-pa restaurant.

And this is exactly what Kaua‘i Family Café is, a family-owned and operated diner, where you are instantly treated like family by their warm welcome and aloha. Owners Gina Avella and Eden Aladin are two sisters who came from the Philippines. Eden has been here for 18 years, and opened the restaurant six years ago. Gina arrived here five years ago, and has since helped with the restaurant.

Chicken Papaya Soup is a must have when you go to Kaua‘i Family Restaurant. It’s big enough as a meal, or share it with someone else as an appetizer.

But Kaua‘i Family Café also shines where it really matters, in their food. Choosing only the best ingredients, including fresh vegetables bought at local farmers markets, the food really tastes like it is homemade. Additionally, they don’t use any monosodium glutamate, also known as MSG, a controversial flavor-enhancing chemical linked to adverse reactions.

A lot of their plates are straight out of the Filipino cuisine, such as Pansit, Pinakbet, Pork Guisantes, Kare Kare, Adobo and Chicken Papaya. They also have local dishes, including Loco Moco, Chicken Stir Fry, Kalua Pork and Lau Lau. Or try their breakfast menu, with Marinated Bangus (fish), Tortang Talong (eggplant omelet), Adobo Omelet and many others. The favorite Filipino desserts are Banana Lumpia and Halo Halo.

Eden said a lot of her customers are visitors looking to experience ethnic foods. And they don’t leave disappointed, many of them come back to try other tasty items on the menu.

Kaua‘i Family Café is open Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Find them at 4-361 Kuhio Hwy, in that same shopping complex where Brick Oven Pizza is.

Visit or call 822-3288 for more information.