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BIg Island/Kauai Help

Hello!
My new husband and I will be visiting The Big Island and Kauai for our honeymoon in September. We are both "moderate" foodies and are looking for some must hit spots while we are there. While on The Big Island we will be staying at the Fairmont Orchid on the Kohola Coast, and while on Kauai we will be at the Grand Hyatt. We will be on The Big Island for 5 days, and in Kauai for 5 days.
I have visited Kauai several times, and have heard good things about The Beach House, and The Plantation House, but have never been. I have never been to the Big Island before.
We will be looking for both upscale fine dining options, as well as more casual affordable options.
I appreciate any help or guidence you can give.

Thanks so much!

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Plantation House Restaurant
2000 Plantation Club Dr., Kapalua, HI 96761

Beach House Restaurant
5022 Lawai Rd, Koloa, HI 96756

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  1. Not THAT long ago, I did a full Kaua`i report, and the Grand Hyatt was featured.

    The Big Island reviews are all pretty old now, so might not be of much use.

    Enjoy,

    Hunt

    1. The Plantation House is on Maui, not Kauai, but is owned by the ppl who own Beach House. I'm not sure if you were thinking of Plantation Gardens.

      One restaurant that I just went to here on Kauai that I highly recommend is 22 North. It is where Gaylord's was and is a locavore menu. Many of the food items are grown on property with the rest being from other islands. The menu items are creative and sustainable and I was very impressed.

      New restaurants in the Poipu area are Merriman's, which has gotten some mixed reviews, and Josselin's Tapas bar, which has gotten great reviews. Both are in the Kukui'ula shopping center. If you do a search for Kauai, you can learn about other restaurants as well.

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      Plantation Gardens Restaurant
      2253 Poipu Road, Koloa, HI 96756

      Plantation House Restaurant
      2000 Plantation Club Dr., Kapalua, HI 96761

      Beach House Restaurant
      5022 Lawai Rd, Koloa, HI 96756

      6 Replies
      1. re: Mag454

        Had not picked up on that Plantation "House." You are absolutely correct. On Kaua`i, it is Plantation Garden. Beach House was excellent for us, though others have offered mixed reviews. Plantation Gardens was OK, but with several mis-steps, and a very limited, and highly priced wine list.

        I'd do the Beach House on any trip (hoping to "catch lightening in a bottle again"), but might think about the Plantation Garden. Just did not do it for us, and on several levels.

        Hunt

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        Plantation Gardens Restaurant
        2253 Poipu Road, Koloa, HI 96756

        Beach House Restaurant
        5022 Lawai Rd, Koloa, HI 96756

        1. re: Bill Hunt

          We had a mixed experience at the Beach House. I loved the setting and the beautiful sunset but we had very mediocre service and just average food. I got the feeling that they do not cater to repeat business as it seemed almost everyone there was a tourist and they can coast on their beautiful location.

          We still had a great time as it was a special occasion and the excellent wine took the edge of the less than stellar service. I would give it another try just for the lovely setting and hope that we just hit an off night the first time.

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          Beach House Restaurant
          5022 Lawai Rd, Koloa, HI 96756

          1. re: baseballfan

            This has been a common theme on The Beach House. The reviews seem to be split 50-50, just like Mama's Fish House, on Maui. You either love it, or you do not.

            Our meal, service and the ambiance could not have been better. We even had some specialized wine service requests (Burg balloons for an older white Burg, in lieu of the normal white wine glasses), and they did not blink.

            As it turned out, the sommelier was the husband of our waitress the next night at Dondero's, and he had obviously shared the large glasses request from the night before, as when we started with a Montrachet, and requested the larger "red wine" glasses, she said, "oh, you dined at The Beach House last night, didn't you?" Her entrée rec. for me was absolutely one of the best beef tenderloins that I have ever had, including several Wagyu and Kobe offerings. [Unfortunately, wife's osso buco did not pass muster, and at a high-end Italian restaurant, that is not right.]

            I do not know if they are just very spotty, if half the patrons are very lucky, and half not so much, or what the deal is. Luckily, for us anyway, things were perfect.

            It has been the same for us at Mama's. All meals were excellent, the service was excellent, and the ambiance was to match. Yes, they are not cheap, but I knew that from their Web site, and the great reviews on CH. After that first jaunt, just to see how half loved it, and half hated it, we even gave up free nights at the Ritz Carlton to pay to stay there (Inn at Mama's Fish House), and were pleased to dine there most nights, plus a couple of lunches. All were great - lucky? I do not know.

            Sorry that your visit to The Beach House was not up to ours, but that does happen. We have a half-dozen higher-end restaurants in PHX, that the CH board loves. We have dined at each several times, and have most often been guests, so have not even paid. Nothing about any was acceptable, by my standards, and i would not go again, unless I could not talk a host into moving to better locations. In those cases, I'd attend, but have later reservations for dinner elsewhere.

            Thanks for the comments. They are what makes CH what it is.

            Hunt

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            Mama's Fish House
            Paia HI, Paia, HI

            Ritz Carlton
            Maui, HI, Maui, HI

            Beach House Restaurant
            5022 Lawai Rd, Koloa, HI 96756

            1. re: Bill Hunt

              We will definitely give the Beach House another try. I am always interested to hear of differing experiences at a restaurant. There are so many things that factor into the overall experience.

              We did like Dondero's and coincidentally both had beef as well. Mama's is on our list for our next for the next trip to Maui. I am anxious to try it for myself and see what the fuss is about.

              I love the differing opinions and all of the great reviews on CH. It makes the whole restaurant roulette much more interesting.

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              Beach House Restaurant
              5022 Lawai Rd, Koloa, HI 96756

              1. re: baseballfan

                I try to go back, especially when many trusted "hounds" pick a place, and praise it.

                As for Dondero's, if you read my review, you'd expect to love it. Had my poor wife written one, it would have been horrible, just because of the osso bucco., and I would have had to agree with her. That entire review was titled, "The Tale of Two Entrées," and that was the way that the entire trip went. I had some great food, but wife had much less, and that was nearly for the entire two Island trip!

                Hope that The Beach House comes through this time. Trust me, you are not alone. The consensus seems to be split about 50-50, so at best, it appears that they can be uneven.

                Good luck,

                Hunt

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                Beach House Restaurant
                5022 Lawai Rd, Koloa, HI 96756

          2. re: Bill Hunt

            I believe that The Plantation House and Plantation Gardens are owned by the same people. At least that's what the waiter said a few years ago.

            FYI, I thought that they were both overpriced for the quality. There was no WOW factor in the meal at all. The atmosphere is great, but the food just didn't live up to expectations.

            As far as the Beach House goes, the big problem here is that they haven't changed their menu in 10 years, which is why I haven't gone back in the last few. The atmosphere and view are second to none on Kauai though.

            -----
            Plantation Gardens Restaurant
            2253 Poipu Road, Koloa, HI 96756

            Plantation House Restaurant
            2000 Plantation Club Dr., Kapalua, HI 96761

            Beach House Restaurant
            5022 Lawai Rd, Koloa, HI 96756

        2. Where you want to go is Josselin's Tapas Bar & Grill. The owner is used to have a restaurant on Kauai called A Pacific Cafe, which was amazing. He went to make a small fortune in Las Vegas for a bit, but is now back. This place can't be missed.

          1 Reply
          1. re: greenofrls

            Missme, I've stayed at both hotels and I think you'll have a nice time. My hotel-related tip is that you might want to check with each hotel to see if a convention will be at the hotel when you're there, and if so, plan your hotel days accordingly.

            As for dining, on Big we always go to Brown's Beachhouse at the Fairmont one night for the convenience factor. Its pretty decent (but not the best food ever) with a pretty location and live music and they had been running an early-bird special. I've had good meals at the Canoe House at the next resort over. Merriman's Market Cafe at the Kings Shops has good lunch options. I would suggest skipping Hualalai Grill - it used to be our favorite restaurant on Big but has really gone down hill lately. If you venture to Hilo, we loved Sombat's Thai. It doesn't have great ambiance but the food was great for the prices.

            We didn't have a lot of dining success on Kauai so I don't have much to suggest there, except that you skip Tidepools at the resort. I did not find Kauai to have the same quality fresh produce as the other islands, but from other posts I think we had an off experience. The breakfast buffet at the Hyatt is pretty good if its included in your package - very friendly staff.

          2. The original comment has been removed
            1. Also, you'll find that Jackie Rey's, Bangkok House, The Coffee Shack (lunch), and Nasturium in Kailua area will offer you a fine dining experience.

              Don't miss the best saimin in the world at Hamura's in Lihue, Kauai.