By Doug Porter
The Beach House Restaurant: (808) 742-1424 Right next door to Kuhio Shores!
Serving Pacific Rim cuisine and in our opinion, the best restaurant in the Poipu area. If you
enjoy fine dining with a wonderful, romantic atmosphere, the Beach House is not to be missed.
It is located on Kolopa point right on the ocean. As you sit and enjoy an excellent dinner,
you hear the sounds of the waves, feel the fresh ocean air, and if dining at sunset, have a
beautiful view of the setting sun. Seating for sunset begins at 5:30 and the kitchen opens at
6:00. Make your reservations well in advance for this is a busy place (call before leaving
the mainland). If you are planning on a sunset dinner, we suggest arriving about 5:15
because, although you have reservations, seating for sunset is on a first come first served
basis. Thus, the best tables for viewing go fast. For those who enjoy wine, you can take your
own bottle, as long as the bottle is not on the restaurant wine list. The corking fee is $15.
They are not very sophisticated about wine. If they happen to have the same wine but a
different vintage, they will tell you not to bring yours. However, if you talk to them about
the differences in vintages, they usually will allow you to take your bottle.
Casa di Amici: (808) 742-1555 This restaurant is located on Nalo Road past Brennecke's
heading toward the Hyatt.
Enjoy grand piano music and great food at this Poipu restaurant. Small and intimate, the food
is delightful and portions are large. When you call for reservations, you may want to ask for
a table on the lanai (only tables for 2). Very nice!! They have a good, reasonably priced
wine list, but if you want to take your own wine, the corking fee is $10.
Roy's: (808) 742-5000 Poipu Shopping Village.
Roy's is Euro/Asian cuisine at its best. Some say this is the best food on Poipu; although,
we happen to prefer both the Beach House Restaurant and Casa di Amici's over this one.
Reservations recommended if you don't want to wait. Roy's does not allow you to take your own
bottle of wine. If you are into wines, this is disappointing, especially considering the
quality of their wine list.
Top of Page
(Moderate to Inexpensive)
Tortilla Republic - Modern Mexican Grill & Margarita Bar (808) 742-8884 - located at The Shops at Kukui'ula
This is a nice place to enjoy lunch or dinner at Kukui'ula shopping center. They also have a location in West Hollywood and this place feels more like a California than Hawaii. It's a bit pricey but good. Open air seating and live entertainment. Loved the fish tacos. Reservations Recommended. (menu).
Merriman's Downstairs Café 808-742-8385 - Located on ground level (their fine dining restaurant is upstairs).
This has a sports bar feel and is a nice place for burgers, fish tacos, pizzas. The Beet and Blue Cheese Salad is good. I wasn't that in love with the Spinach & Red Quinoa Salad.
Brennecke's Beach Broiler: (808) 742-7588 - across from Poipu Beach Park.
We have had enjoyable meals at Brennecke's.
They are not cheap, but they are less expensive than the fine dining restaurants. To save a
little cash, try their early dinner specials. The views of Poipu Beach are excellent. Not
fine dining but worth the trip.
Koloa Fish Market: (808)742-6799 Take out only. Located in Old Koloa Town across from
the Post Office.
We highly recommend this place for their fresh fish (prepare your own quiet meal at
home), sashimi, California rolls, pupus (appetizers), plate lunches, and much more. You find
mostly locals ordering at this take out market. Hours are from 10am to 6pm, Mon-Fri. 10am to
5pm, Sat. If you are out and about but want something for the evening, call them and they
will hold your order for you. This is especially important if you want the sashimi or
California rolls. These are prepared fresh daily, and they sell fast.
Keoki's Paradise: (808) 742-7534 Keoki's Paradise in Poipu Village Shopping
This place has tropical decor with waterfalls and greenery. The main dining room is good, but
the more informal seafood and taco bar is outstanding in both quality and quantity. Bargains
are available like fish tacos for under $5.00. If you take along a coupon (usually on the
counter at the nearby Whalers store), they will give you a large free ice cream "mud pie"
dessert, which itself has a $4.00 value. Enjoy local live entertainment in the lounge
Thursday and Friday evening, and Sunday afternoon.
Lappert's Ice Cream: (808) 742-1272 - at the shops at Kukui'ula.
They serve super-premium ice-creams, gourmet Hawaiian coffees and delicious homemade
pastries. Hours: Mon-Sun 6am to 10pm.
Pattaya Asian Cafe - Poipu Shopping Village.
A Thai restaurant with excellent and imaginative curries, spicy or mild, salads; Thai iced
tea, and a variety of other Eastern-inspired dishes is very good!
TomKats Grill (808) 742-8887 Old Koloa Town.
This might be an okay place to grab a hamburger, but if you're tempted to buy a New York
Steak with mushrooms like I was, you're in for a disappointment no matter how hungry you are.
Ambiance is a bunch of stray cats lying around. What was I thinking? ... there are several
good restaurants within a 5 minute drive in Poipu.
Pizzetta (808) 742-8881 Old Koloa Town.
If you're strolling around the shops in Koloa, this is an okay place for lunch. Mostly pizza
and pasta with an outdoor sports bar feel and you can get a chicken Caesar salad too.
Top of Page
(Moderate to Inexpensive)
Brick Oven Pizza: (808) 332-8561 Closed Mondays. On the right as you enter Kalaheo
(1.2 miles from highway 530:50 intersection).
What a spot! They have outstanding pizza. Stop in after a day on the west side or head over
any time, lunch or dinner. We never miss eating here. The twenty minute drive is worth
Camp House Grill: (808) 332-9755 On right 1.4 miles from the highway 530:50
They serve up great hamburgers and have the best onion rings on the island. Save room for
pie, they the best on the island. You might even want to take a pie home for enjoyment during
Top of Page
Kauai Pasta - Italian Café & Take Out (808) 822-7447 Located at 4-939B
Don't let this unassuming location fool you, this restaurant is exceptional. The service is
delightful and prices affordable. We enjoyed Lasagna, Italian Herb Grilled Shrimp, and
Chicken Parmesan. Their homemade pasta is superb with pesto and Italian sausage &
mushroom sauces. I couldn't stop eating the homemade garlic bread! Don't leave without trying
their Tiramisu Cheesecake or their Chocolate Créme Brule desert; both are light and
delicious. From appetizer to desert this place does everything right. It's going to be hard
to find an available table so it's a good thing they offer take-out.
Monico's Taqueria (808) 822-4300 Kinipopo Shopping Center / 4-356 Kuhio Highway (just north of Wailua River)
This place is popular with locals and is the most authentic Mexican Food I've found on the island. The dining area is small, crowded, and busy inside, but there is also an outdoor courtyard where you'll likely end up sharing a table with a few other folks. Although there were a lot of people waiting for a seat, we didn't have to wait long for a seat and the service was surprisingly good considering all the people the waitress was watching. The food is served with chips and salsa of course, and is good. The menu includes all the normal expected Mexican dishes. The fish tacos were delicious. We weren't disappointed. We found parking around back.
Kintaro Japanese Restaurant (808) 822-3341 / 4-370 Kuhio Highway - located next to Kinipopo Shopping Center (just north of the Wailua River)
This place is huge, popular, and apparently very good, because we couldn't get in. After being told there would be a 40 minute wait, we ate next door at Monico's. We'll make reservations next time.
The Olympic Cafe Restaurant & Bar: (808) 822-5828 Located at 1354 Kuhio
This restaurant is upstairs directly across the street from the ABC store. From tables along
the open front of this restaurant, you can keep an eye on the procession of cars and people
passing along the street directly below. The atmosphere large and open... not fancy. The
prices are reasonable and portions are large. Once famous only for breakfast and lunch, this
restaurant now has a full dinner menu with something for everyone. Recommended items are
Macadamia-Papaya Fresh Fish, Thai Pasta, or one of their steaks. We opted instead for
Sizzling Fajitas and the Tostada Salad. We weren't disappointed, it was probably the best
Mexican food we've had in Kauai. Both items came with black beans, fresh avocado and salsa.
The salads mixed organic greens were blended with fresh papaya, chicken cooked to perfection,
and a tasty lime cilantro dressing. Desert was a very rich and delicious "Kauai Pie" made
with Lappert's ice-cream. We can't wait to come back for lunch or breakfast.
The Hukilau Lanai: (808) 822-0600 Located behind the Coconut Marketplace in
One of our new favorites, this upscale restaurant has a beautiful garden lanai that is
landscaped down to a distant beach view. The food and service is excellent. We had 4 adults
and several children in our party and every meal was delightful. The children's meals
included an ice-cream desert. Call ahead for reservations and if during one of Kauai's busy
tourist's seasons, be prepared for ridiculous bumper to bumper slow traffic driving through
Kapa'a. (This isn't as much of a problem if coming from Lihue, because the traffic speeds up
again just south of the Coconut Marketplace but if coming from Princeville, this gridlock can
add 40 minutes to your trip during busy hours.)
Kauai Hula Girl: (808) 822-4422 Located in the Coconut Marketplace.
I've walked passed this place dozens of times and finally decided to try it out. I was more
than pleasantly surprised. The pan seared macadamia nut encrusted Mahi Mahi was superb. The
service was friendly and fast, and the live entertainment was relaxing and quaint. Try this
The Bull Shed: (808) 822-3791 Open 5:30 - 10:00 PM. Located on the beach this place is
a little hard to find. The entrance is just across from Safeway and once you see the sign
you've driven past it.
If you do manage to get inside, you'll find it's a popular steakhouse with a wonderful
location next to the ocean. If the windows are clean, you'll see sea turtles from your table,
but I've yet to be able to see through them. The service was good, the steak was tender and
the fresh Ono fish was tasty. Entrées come with a large helping of white rice and a
trip to the salad bar, but the salad bar was marginal to poor (the best item being bread). I
suppose that if you aren't into vegetables, and don't mind a total lack of decoration and
ambiance, you'll like this place.
Top of Page
Hanamaulu Restaurant and Teahouse: (808) 245-2511 Lunch Tue.-Fri. 11 am-1 pm; dinner
Tue-Sat 4:30-9 pm. Closed Sunday and Monday. Located inland just a little north of Lihue in
Hanamaulu (Located on Highway. 56), it looks like a nondescript Chinese restaurant
What a super find this is. When you first walk in the front door; however, ask to be seated
in a teahouse (Actually, it is BEST to call ahead and reserve one). You'll be led to the back
garden where teahouse rooms flank two sides of a beautifully groomed Japanese garden complete
with koi pond. Very traditional and beautiful, with shoji screens, low tables and straw floor
mats. You must remove your shoes before entering a teahouse. Try either the special Japanese
Feast or the Chinese Feast ($15). Either of these is a great choice on your first visit.
Numerous selections of both Chinese and Japanese food are listed on the menu. Lunch is a
bargain where you can get a complete plate lunch for $7, but sushi is not served at lunch (at
least on our last visit in July 2001). We highly recommend this restaurant.
Top of Page
Directions: Drive to Kalaheo and continue on highway 50 for another 6.3 miles. At the Y
take a right to downtown Hanapepe.
Hanapepe Cafe and Espresso Bar: (808)335-5011
This is a nice place with excellent food that we recommend for dinner or dessert associated
with a visit to the Friday night Art night in Hanapepe. There are 12 open galleries that have
interesting island art and antiques. It is a relaxing way to spend a Friday evening. The art
galleries close at 9:00 PM, a perfect time for coffee and dessert at the Cafe. The Cafe stops
seating patrons at 9:00 PM so we always head over about 8:50.
Top of Page
Hamuras: (808-) 245-3271
Island famous saimin (noodle) shop. You will be the only tourists there. With many excellent
items on the menu, this place is wonderful!!
Gaylord's Restaurant:(808)245-9593 Conveniently located in Lihue.
Memorable by day and unforgettable by night, Gaylord's Restaurant is a "Best of Kauai" award
winning culinary institution located on the historic grounds of the legendary Kilohana
Estate. The menu features a delectable array of tropical island flavors with fresh caught
Hawaiian island fish, locally grown Kauai Produce, and juicy beef, lamb, and venison from
Australia and New Zealand. By day, Gaylord's will entice you appetite for breakfast or lunch
on their courtyard lanai with stunning mountain views and gentle breezes with Won ton Wrapped
Prawns, Local Catch of the Day, Grilled Chicken Wasabi Salad and a fabulous Au Ku with Crab
Crust delight of Hawaiian broad bill swordfish with sesame and rock crab crust, finished with
oyster butter sauce and accompanied by stir-fried vegetables. As the sun sets, Gaylord's
truly shines, warmed by torchlight elegance and unmatched cuisine of House smoked Salmon,
Pork Osso buco, Eggplant Manicotti with Pesto and Marinara, Filet Mignon and Broiled Lobster,
and a Seafood Rhapsody of tiger prawns, Candian Scallops, fresh local fish and lobster tail
garnished with fruit salad all served on one plate with red bliss basil potatoes and fresh
garden vegetables. Don't miss the tempting dessert treats and selection of fine wines,
liquors and Kauai coffees. Reservations are recommended. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Sunday
Kalapaki Joe's (808) 245-6266 in the Harbor Mall, Nawiliwili / 3501 Rice Street #208.
This is a sports bar restaurant with several TVs in strategic locations. It's a good place for Happy Hour from 3-6. The Harbor Mall isn't on the beach, in fact it's across the road, but from the second story location you have nice views from wrap-around open-air lanai seating and can see the surf. The menu is typical island fare. We had a pretty good chicken lettuce wrap appetizer and enjoyed blackened ahi tuna salad. Others enjoyed HUGE appetizers of nachos. Fish tacos are also popular. There are other restaurants in the mall, but this one had the biggest crowd. Nawiliwili is only a few minutes from the airport so this is a good place to wait for a flight and parking is easy.
Top of Page
Restaurants at St. Regis Princeville Resort 808.826.9644
"5 star restaurants are dens of masterful culinary creativity-utilizing ingredients farmed or
produced on Kaua'i to create meals of striking originality. Whether you prefer candlelit
private dining or the understated elegance of five dining venues, every meal becomes a
memorable occasion." (Interpretation: good & Expensive.)
The Kauai Grill with French and Asian influenced cuisine.
St. Regis Bar with Sunday Afternoon Jazz.
Makana Terrace - The menus blends the best of Asian cultures with fresh Hawaiian
Nanea Restaurant & Bar 808-827-8700
Located in The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas, I enjoyed this restaurant. Self
parking in front of the hotel and a great atmosphere with ocean views over the pool and
CJ's Steak & Seafood: (808) 826-6211 In the Princeville Shopping Center.
Formerly Chuck's Steakhouse, you'd have to look close to see if anything has changed. Even
the help looks the same. Still a good place for mahi mahi, or steak, plus it has a good salad
Immediately behind CJ's, are several small restaurants; Mexican, Thai, and a couple
of others that share an outdoor food court. These are okay in a pinch and there is usually
some very talented singer/guitar player in the evenings. It's perfectly fine to show up at
these in beach attire.
Restaurant: -- Sorry, the Bali Hai is Closed Until Further Notice
Top of Page
Mediterranean Gourmet Restaurant (808) 826-9875 - located at Hanalei Colony Resort. I
enjoyed this slightly upper end restaurant. Nice atmosphere spectacular ocean views and a
talented guitarist/singer in the evening. It was a little pricey. Call for reservations. They
are closed on Sundays.
Top of Page
Bouchons (808) 826-9701 - located in Ching Young Village in Hanalei
This place is upstairs and has a row of tables with window seats looking down on the main road of Hanalei and the gorgeous mountains beyond. We were treated to a beautiful rainbow on the mountains (not sure if they do that for everybody but it was a nice touch). Nice atmosphere and the service was very good with a lot of attention from hostess and waitress (Cheyenne). We loved the seared ahi tuna in sweet ginger sauce served with fresh vegetables and garlic mashed potatoes, but the sushi was out of this world. We wished we'd skipped the meal and saved room for a third roll. Try the Tsunami Roll and the Dragon Roll. (website & menu
Hanalei Dolphin (808) 826-6113
Wonderful fresh fish and a great salad. They open for dinner at 5:30. Arrive a little early
and enjoy the setting by the Hanalei River. The sushi was great and considerably cheaper than
at the St. Regis.
Postcards (808) 826-1191
This is another spot we really enjoy but it can be hit or miss on the service and atmosphere.
One night it's top of the world, next time it's aloof and indifferent.
Bubba's (808) 826-7839
- Great hamburgers and fun. Don't pass up a big plate of fries with your kids. Other menu
items include fish burgers and a pretty good chicken Caesar salad. They are also located in
Kapaa and Poipu.
The Hanalei Gourmet Cafe(808) 826-2524 Located in the Old School Building at Hanalei
We've never tried their dinners but this is a great place for specialty sandwiches,
hamburgers, and fries. Inside is an island sports bar type atmosphere. Outside it's fun to
eat on the two or three tables on the deck and watch the goings on of Hanalei.
Kalypso Island Bar and Grill (808) 826-9700 / 5-5156 Kuhio Highway.
Perhaps the best thing about this place is that it's easy to find on the main road through Hanalei. It's also casual enough that we felt okay coming straight from the beach. We enjoyed sitting on the lanai in the front of the building and watching the town and the mountains beyond. The mahi mahi with shrimp, was all right but it was buried under some mild sauce that seemed blasé and certainly wasn't helping. It came with rice and vegetables, which were the best part of the meal. We also had an artichoke dip appetizer that came with chips and toasted bread ... not too bad. The deserts looked wonderful, perhaps we'll try again just for desert.
Neide's Mexican & Brazilian Foods (808) 826-1851 Located behind the Sand People
We'd recommend the Brazilian dishes, especially vegetable or chicken Panqueca. This is a
tasty dish wrapped in a light crepe and covered with a mild red tomato sauce.
Shave Ice Paradise - Next door to Bubba's.
You may wait forever but it's worth it.
Top of Page
Kilaua Bakery and Pau Hana Pizza (808) 828-2020 (On the road to the lighthouse, it is immediately behind Kilauea Bistro)
This is a great option for lunch. They offer pizzas of all sizes, sandwiches, and wonderful deserts. Seating is outdoors under umbrellas. Also on the menu, they have confections with macadamia nuts, lilikoi, and other flavors, as well as fresh breads. The Hawaiian sourdough gets good reviews. Sandwiches, homemade soups, salads, and calzones round out the lunch and dinner menus, but the pizzas are the main attraction. Order at the counter and they holler at you when it's ready.
Top of Page
Shrimp Station (808)338-1242 11:00AM - 5:00PM 9652 Kaumualii Highway, Waimea, Kauai,
HI 96796 Open Breakfast and Lunch.
If you love shrimp, you will love the Shrimp Station! For a tasty lunch, snack or a to go
picnic in Waimea Canyon, be sure to stop by Shrimp Station on Highway 50 for bountiful shrimp
treats. The Shrimp Station is a casual diner with good servings of shrimp prepared in several
ways. The star attraction is their shrimp plates (choice of garlic shrimp, Cajun, Thai, or
sweet chili garlic). One of the most popular items here is the Coconut Shrimp (touted as the
best on the planet!) crusted with coconut and deep-fried until golden and crispy, with a side
of fries. Other items on the menu include Shrimp Scampi, Shrimp Tacos and Shrimp Burger. Some
of the dishes require you to peel the skins off, so be prepared to get your fingers dirty for
a good licking! There's lots of other stuff like; Chips & Salsa, French Fries, Hot Dogs,
Soda, Juice and Tea. The Shrimp Station also has a variety of Ice Cream from Haagen Dazs,
Nestle and Dryers to perfectly finish your meal. www.shrimpstation.com
Top of Page