Dining around Kauai (mostly on the north shore) - long trip report!
We have recently returned from a 3 week holiday in Hawaii, where we visited Oahu, Hawaii and Kauai. We used chowhound a lot for our research on where to eat during our holiday (thank you chowhounds!) and so I wanted to report back on our dining experiences.
This is my summary of our dining highlights on the island of Kauai (we were there in early June)...
We stayed at the St Regis so we tried pretty much all the dining options at the resort.
Kauai Grill - Nice fine dining restaurant with interesting modern cuisine (pan asian / hawaiian). Excellent service. We had a nice corner (round) booth away from the windows (we'd seen enough sunsets by that stage anyhow) which meant we had a nice quiet booth to ourselves. We enjoyed mostly seafood items from the menu although the appetiser of crispy poached eggs was the standout. Tasty white choc & yuzu pavlova for dessert. Great pre-dinner cocktails, OK wine list.
St. Regis Bar - lovely view of Hanalei Bay, the mountains and sunsets. We visited a few times. Good drinks. OK food. Slow service.
Mailani Dinner Show - At the St Regis, on Makana Terrace (great views before it gets dark). Not quite a Luau. Nice hawaiian themed buffet followed by a polynesian show that included fire twirling, hula, live music and story telling. We tried poi here and decided it must be an acquired taste ;)
Lappart's Ice-cream - great, wish we could have tried more flavours!
We were a little disappointed with our dinners in Hanalei. Nothing to do with the food, we just found it difficult to get a table!? Most of the restaurants we'd picked out didn't take bookings (seemed to be the norm in town) and when we got to the restaurants there was either a really long wait (over 45 mins) or they just weren't taking anyone at all.
For example, we would have loved to have tried Postcards. They were either closed (private function) or too busy to accommodate us, even after we'd told them we'd tried previously and it was our last night in the area.
Another example, Bar Acuda took our names for a table at 7:45pm on a Tuesday night, saying that the wait was 20 - 25 minutes. We got a drink from their bar (great wine selection) and went to sit in their outdoor area to wait. We waited 30 minutes, I went in to check, they said another 10 minutes... that was when I'd noticed that people at a table near us had been waiting about 45 minutes for their food. We decided not to wait any longer.
Anyhow, enough grumbling, here is where we did eat...
The Dolphin - We ate here twice. The first time was in the diner (we tried their teriyaki ahi speciality). The other night in their sushi bar. We enjoyed cocktails before dinner outside by the river. The menu was full of fresh seafood. We enjoyed the chef's special sushi roll especially and thought that the sushi and sashimi options were far more successful than the entrees overall. Loved their mochi dessert. Friendly and efficient service too!
Tahiti Nui - Great atmosphere with live local music and nice drinks. Service is slow but we were expecting that (thanks chowhounds!) so we weren't bothered. Check out their website for performance times.
Neides - We ate here after the long wait at Bar Acuda. We both ate off the Brazilian menu. I had the coconut based fish stew which was very tasty. He had the NY strip steak with blackbeans and rice. Very nice food unfortunately the interior isn't very atmospheric (all the outdoor tables were gone, no surprise, they were much more pleasant).
Hanalei Pizza - Excellent pizza. Their base is quite unique, I can't recall all the interesting ingredients they use. There are a small number of tables inside and outside. You can also do takeaway. We popped in for lunch and tried a couple of pizzas by the slice. I could actually go a slice now.
Taro Truck - Nice taro smoothies and plate lunches. I didn't enjoy the taro mochi. Could it be an acquired taste?
L&L Hawaiian - We didn't realise this was such a chain when we tried it (I don't think we would have tried it, to be honest, had we known). Anyhow, we were hungry for a plate lunch and this spot did the trick. I enjoyed an item from their healthier options of garlic shrimp with rice and salad. It wasn't the best garlic shrimp I had in Hawaii but it was good.
Waimea - a good spot to stop on the way to / from the canyon. Both spots listed here are on the main road through town.
Island Tacos - try the Kalua Pork and Mahi Mahi Canjun tacos. The side of fried wonton strips was addictive.
Jo Jo's Shave Ice - Go for one of their recommended combos. Watch out for the nail on the door! It sadly ended the life of a brand new aloha shirt!
I've already posted our thoughts on the big island and I will try to post a summary of Honolulu soon.