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Christmas In Kauai

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Our Chicago family with t(w)een daughters will be escaping the snow and cold for a Christmas week at the Hyatt in Kauai this year. We were hoping to find a recommondation to enjoy a Chrismas eve meal as well as dinner on Christmas day (not neccessarily at the Hyatt).

My wife has always prepared a feast of traditional Polish fish dishes on Christmas eve that was customary when she was growing up in Warsaw. So this year we'd hoped to find a special seafood establishment to enjoy the seafood offerings of Kuaui that would be open for business for the holiday as well as something special for Christmas day.

Any and all suggestions are appreciated.

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  1. Just got back from the Grand Hyatt in Kauai and Tidepools the seafood restaurant was closed for renovations but will reopen by mid October.
    It used to be an average seafood restaurant but maybe with the redo that they will step it up on the food end.
    Dondero's at the hotel was exquisite and I highly recommend it.
    You can try Roy's or Beach House down in Poipu..Red Salt at the Koa Kea Hotel too.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Beach Chick

      I was in Kauai/stayed at Hyatt in June and Tidepools was not very good -- actually the worst of all the restaurants we dined at on this trip. Absolutely LOVED Red Salt and would definitely recommend it. We also really enjoyed Plantation Gardens.

    2. Merriman's just opened this past weekend to rave reviews. It is down the street from the Hyatt and will be open those days.

      2 Replies
      1. re: peepswang

        Is it the same Merriman's that's in Maui? If so, that was a definite highlight when we were in Maui.

        1. re: Obessed

          Yes all Merriman's are owned by Peter Merriman

          Almost all major restaurants are open both Christmas Eve and Christmas day (Keoki's, PGs, Beach House...etc etc). This is the high season for hotels, so tourist focused restaurants would be foolish to close.

      2. Over the past four years for a major holiday-Thanksgiving-we have dined at the Beach House, Gaylords, and most recently Roy's. They all price out about the same, they all have fish on the menu-either ahi or an encrusted white fish-and are pleasant places to dine. Of the three, we much preferred Roy's because of the creativity of the dishes and the service.

        1. Thank you to all for the terrific suggestions. We're looking forward to visiting Merriman's, Beach house, Red Salt and others.
          Are there any recommendations for our band of four for can't miss spots on the North Shore after a day of hiking and beach going?
          Thanks Again

          1. Mahalo to all for the great recommendations here and on other Kauai strings posted on Chowhound.
            We chose Merriman's for our Chistmas Eve dinner and had a lot of fun picking Hawaiian dishes to replace the Polish cuisine we traditiionally enjoy for our annual Wigilia. A delicious roasted beet salad stood in for the beet borscht that starts the meal, and we got creative with an Ahi Poke in place of the pickled herring that normally follows. The entrees were great and included Mahi Mahi and a fantastic seared Ahi, duck (roasted and confit) for our daughter who unfortunatly alergic to fish and a kid's offerring for our twelve year old. A non traditional bannanas foster topped off the meal.

            Christmas day dinner was spent watching the sunset at the Beach House. The meal began with a lovely house civiche and a surprisingly delicious fried calamari. We enjoyed another exceptional seared Ahi, a very tastey Macadmia Crusted local fish (forgot which one), Chicken for our fish adverse daughter and a 1/2 order of seafood pasta for the youngest.
            Next up was Red Salt which proved to be a challenge for the Kids. The limited menu didn't provide a great selection beyond seafood and a couple of pricey beef and lamb selections. The waiter tried his best to find options, so we settled on a Kobe burger for the youngest and after some arm twisting conviced our 15 year old that it was OK to splurge and order the $44 prime NY steak. Once it was served she was thrilled with her selection (and we all assisted her in finishing) of one of the most delicious steaks we'd ever eaten, served with three unique dipping sauces. Once again we chose the seared Ahi with a 7 spice crust, a seared Mahi with salad and poke for starters.
            Sunday night was a luau at the Hyatt. The food was nothing exceptional, but better than we'd expected.
            On Monday we adventured on the north shore and stoipped into a sushi spot in Kapa'a called Kintaro on the way back to Po'ipu. This place had been suggested by a number of folks we'd met on the island, and it seemed to be more of a locals joint. The quality of the food was excellent, however the service was pretty lousy. So bad in fact that we made a point to complain to the proprietor.
            Our last big meal was at Tidepools in the Hyatt. I was a bit concerned because of mixed reviews from posters here on the Chowhoud board, but I must report that the it was an exceptional dining experience. The wait staff was top notch, the atmosphere was out of this world and the food was super! The waiter worked with our non-fish eating daughter to put together a meal of appetizers that she loved, our youngest had a special kids three course meal while we enjoyed an amazing poke comprised of spicy ahi, tako (octopus) with miso and lobster in a rice paper peasant's purse followed by another helping of a great seared ahi and an amazingly prepared Opah topped off with thier ultra decadent chocolate lava cake. Wow!
            Other intersting stops included lunch at Bubba' Burgers (who thought a 1/6 lb. burger could be so good), Hamura's Saimin ( a real local treat), Keoki's Paradise (nice casual spot) and various shave ice huts.
            We can't wait to return to Kauai and revisit some of the places we loved and try some of the spots we missed on this trip.
            Thanks agian for all the great tips!
            Mark