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Looking for Kauai recs - traveling with a fairly adventurous 2.5 year old

Headed to Kauai in a week, and I'm looking for kid-friendly recommendations. My son is pretty well-behaved in reataurants, so some nicer place recs that allow kids would also work. Would love to check out hole in the wall places too! Not looking for places with a children's menu, as we often order other stuff for him anyhow. We will have a car and are always happy to seek yummy food! Thanks!!

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  1. Where on the Island will you be staying?

    That could help others pick some spots for you.

    Never having been with children (only older M-I-L and her sister), I cannot help directly, but with some geography, others probably can.

    Aloha, and travel safely - enjoy!

    Hunt

    1. E, sheitoon, Aloha Kaua:

      E 'olu'olu, please use the search function for Kaua'i nei; many good recommendations there.

      No place on the Garden Isle is worth going to does not welcome keiki.

      Aloha,
      Kaleo

      1. How did your trip work out? We're heading to Kauai with our 3yo in March, he's far from picky and will eat his weight in fresh pineapple.

        Any outstanding recs? Horrible experiences?

        16 Replies
        1. re: Scrapironchef

          And where are YOU staying Scrappy?? :)

          1. re: scottca075

            Narrowing it down to a few rentals either Poipu or Kapaa.

            1. re: Scrapironchef

              Do NOT go to Kapa'a, it is Kra'apy. Poipu or the North are the best places.

              There isn't anyplace in Poipu/Koloa I wouldn't take a kid except maybe Red Salt.

              For cool local places we the Koloa Fish Market, take out only, but different plate lunches every day plus great bentos (lunch boxes), the poke bento is my favorite and a great deal to boot. Sueoka Store Snack Shop, also take out only, very inexpensive with lots of local specialties in addition to regular burgers, fries, etc.

              Savage Shrimp in the Kukui'ula Shopping Center is very good, assuming you like shrimp. Also in Kukui'ula is Bubba's Burgers, fun with decent burgers and onion rings and Dude Dogs for good local dogs.

              Keoki's Paradise has good lunches in the bar, kids are welcome, and they have nightly specials and a great Happy Hour.

              The top, high end places in Poipu are Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine, Merriman’s Kauai, The Beach House, Josselin’s, Plantation Garden, Tortilla Republic, Red Salt and Tidepools and Dondero's at the Hyatt Regency.

              Our favorites are Roy's and Merriman's for the quality, The Beach House has the view, Plantation Garden has the old school feel and Josselin’s and Tortilla Republic are the newbies in Kukui'ula, good tapas and good, upscale Mexican. Red Salt is a great place too, very chic, hip NYC feel about it.

              Down in and towards Lihue are Hamura Saimin on Kress St., it has great, incredibly inexpensive home made saimin (Hawaiian version of Japanese noodle soup) plus teriyaki sticks and if they have it still, lilikoi chiffon pie. It is a Kauai institution.

              We also love Mark’s Place for great plate lunches and local food and especially their Pau Hana Specials to go that can feed four. On the way to Mark's Place is Mama Lucy's Filipino Food, our go to place for Filipino take out. Love their pancit, fried chicken, and great lechon.

              If you need info south of Poipu (Hanapepe and Waimea) or North (Hanalei and Princeville) just say so :)

              1. re: scottca075

                Kapa'a is certainly not crappy and can be the perfect central location for exploring the island.

                1. re: Bellachefa

                  E Bellachefa, Aloha: "Kapa'a is certainly not crappy..."

                  LOL, it's Waipouli and Hanama'ulu you have to watch out for... (just kidding)
                  Wherever keiki are not welcome, sort of defines 'crappy', hiki no?

                  Kaleo

              2. re: Scrapironchef

                Poipu hands down..
                Hamura Saimin's is fab and they have the best thrift store on the corner of Kress street that I always score on Reyn Spooners and old school Hawaiian shirts..

                1. re: Beach Chick

                  I don't understand why two posters are giving and authoratative opinion whithout knowing which two properties you are choosing from. All areas of Kauai have their certain charm. The only area I haven't stayed is Waimea because it is too far from our beloved north shore.

                  That said I love Hamura Saimin's and their lilikoi chiffon pie is a must. Keoki's is always fun, especially planned when there is entertainment. Tahiti Nui in Hanalei when they have early evening hawaiian entertainment could be a perfect ending to a north shore visit. What type of lodging are you considering? Farmers markets are excellent, and I still never enjoy a salad as much on the mainland as the lettuces I have eaten in Hawaii. Great soil and great variety.

                  1. re: Bellachefa

                    We're looking at 3-4 bedroom houses in/near Poipu. It will be wifey and I, 3yo son, 10 month old daughter, wifey's parents and my mom. We'll have a car so we can go anywhere. I'll do most of the marketing and cooking, from what I hear the big farmers market is Saturday at the community college, any other recs?

                    1. re: Scrapironchef

                      There are so many great farmers markets, so google the schedule. I love white pineapple, greens, choc covered frozen bananas and there is a wonderful goat farm that makes the most delicious lilikoi(passionfruit) goat cheese. Oh and the meyer lemons to make drinks, squeeze on fish, endless possibilities.

                      If you make it to HamSaiman have them pack up a frozen pie for you to enjoy at home.

                      At the grocer, sign up for discount card. Notice that often the produce that you are used to seeing priced by product is often priced by pound. Costco, if you are a member, as I recall has a fish day once or twice a week. Foodland makes great ahi poke - we like it spicy.

                      That's quite a group!

                      1. re: Bellachefa

                        I'm lucky enough to have a very productive Meyer lemon in my back yard so I'm pretty spoiled by that.

                        We're arriving on Friday afternoon so I'm going to try and hit the big market Saturday morning and fill in after that.

                        The group isn't bad, we've all traveled together before except for the littlest one, my mom will be seeing her for the first time so I don't imagine her feet will touch the ground for the week. Both kids are really social and love to go places so they are easy to travel with. All the adults are adventurous so it all works out.

                        What's the deal with the discount card? My in-laws have a Costco card so we're covered there.

                        1. re: Scrapironchef

                          If you give Foodland your phone number, they will give you a discount card. We didn't get a physical card but just needed to give our number when we shopped there to get the discount.

                          If you go to Waimea, you should definitely stop by Ishihara Market. They have an amazing selection of poke. Pono Market in Kapa'a has good poke as well, but not very extensive in terms of variety. They do have a good plate lunch though!

                          By the way, Lydgate Park has an amazing playground for the little one!

                          1. re: dkme

                            Foodland is no where near Poipu or Lihue. In Lihue you have Times Supermarket and across the street is Costco.

                            In Poipu/Koloa you have Big Save, Sueoka Store and Kukui'ula. Sueoka and Kukui'ula are two small local stores. You also have the Koloa Fish Market for fresh fish and poke. When we are in Poipu it is usually for two weeks or longer. We do our "big" shopping at Costco & Times and supplement from Big Save and Sueoka. We usually have to go to Costco twice, once on arrival and once during our stay.

                        1. re: Scrapironchef

                          You'll be able to find a farmer's market almost any day of the week on Kauai. If you're staying in Poipu, the one in Koloa/Poipu has a great selection.

                          Lots of great recommendations for restaurants and "hole in the wall" places already mentioned. But don't forgot to stop for shave ice. My favorite is JoJo's Anuenue Shave Ice (it's NOT the one on the main road in Waimea). Be sure to get the vanilla mac ice cream on the bottom. Well worth the trip!!

                          http://www.yelp.com/biz/original-jo-j...

                      2. re: Beach Chick

                        Aha! Another vacation thrift shopper. I love hitting resale shops while traveling, I always manage to pick up something useful for next to nothing. My weapons grade stainless steel teapot from England, pastry molds from France etc.

                        1. re: Scrapironchef

                          Thrift shopping Kaua'i can be challenging. Not much in the way of vintage cookware or Hawai'iana. A few decent antique places, but most thrift places focus on bare necessities to help poe survive. You might try the small shop across from the Shell station in Kilauea, and the big one on the makai side in Hanapepe.