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Mar 15, 2013 04:04 PM

First night dinner in Poipu, Kauai with travel-weary young kids?

We are heading to Kauai for the first time next month, with our children (3 and 5). We arrive about 3:30 pm, after a long day of travel and won't grocery shop until the next morning... what's a good place to take them for dinner? I was wondering about Brennecke's, since it's near our resort (Poipu Kai) and we might get to catch our first Hawaiian sunset. They'll be going through a 4-hour time change, so I'm guessing dinner will be ASAP once we check in. Thanks for any tips, including whether reservations are recommended.

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  1. Aloha, a_s_:

    Not a bad choice. You'd get to watch all the beach action in the park while decompressing from da plane...

    If you're going after 5, I'd get a reservation.

    I also like Casa di Amici. Kinda outta the way, but close. No real view. They're good with keiki (kids).


    7 Replies
    1. re: kaleokahu

      Thanks, Kaleo. Casa di Amici looks delicious and we may try it later in our stay, but I think for the first night after a loooong day, we'll go for the beach vibe, easy food for the kids and the view! I'll probably make a reservation for 5 pm and hope we don't have any flight delays.
      Aloha (can't wait to say that on the island!),

      1. re: a_s_mackay

        Kaleokahu is right on with his recs...For the sake of completeness, I would add Keoki's. Visitor friendly and close.
        Make sure you go to Josselin's Tapas Bar and Grill while you are there. It is my favorite, and his place is the one to beat.

        1. re: a_s_mackay

          Aloha, a_s_:

          A'ole pilikia (You're welcome).

          I wanted to follow up on the suggestions of places banshee recc'd (Merriman's Burgers and Josselins). Both are in the relatively new Kukui'ula Villiage Mall. Both restaurants are good, but there is very little Hawai'i in this mall. It's as if the developer found a design done for a small faux Cape Cod stripmall somewhere and had it plunked down on Kaua'i. Po'ipu in general kinda suffers from this, but Kukui'ula lowered the bar even further.

          I also wanted to expand a bit on honu's rec about Nawiliwili. Duke's is actually on Kalapaki Beach, and its less-formal "Barefoot Bar" would be a great & safe place to let the keiki run off some nervous energy between bites. Of course the beach park across from Brennekke's serves the same purpose if you let them cross the street...

          I hope you have a lot of fun on your trip.


          1. re: kaleokahu

            Kaleo has a good point.

            One other suggestion that doesn't quite fit your requirements - Koloa Fish Market is on the way to the rental. It's not a sitdown restaurant, but they do good takeout. Pork dishes I had from there were tasty.

            1. re: banshee10

              Hi, banshee:

              Yeah, Koloa Fish does dakine smoked marlin. Their plate lunches are good too--OP could do that and go straight to Gillins Beach/Maha'ulepu, too.


            2. re: kaleokahu

              Thank you for the extra info... we will do our best to see some genuine Kauai while we're there. We are SO looking forward to leaving in just under a week. Especially as it's currently snowing here at home!

              1. re: a_s_mackay

                Hi, a_s_:

                You're very welcome.

                Suggestion: Buy Chipper Wichman's "Placenames of Kaua'i", and share the stories with your keiki while you move about. One reason Hawai'i is such a magical place is because of the history and legends associated with very specific locales. Like almost nowhere else on the planet, the placenames in Hawai'i (if they are pre-contact) are steeped in meaning and high drama. It's because all the traditions and history were chanted, not written down.

                If you are staying at Po'ipu, you are very close to a momentous battle site, Maha'ulepu. There, long ago, the moi of Kaua'i fought and won a great battle that, had he lost to the invaders, would have consolidated the entire chain and enslaved his people. And, having won, Kukona could have easily taken the entire chain, centuries before Kamehameha. That he didn't--and the *way* in which he didn't--is a key to really understanding my Kaua'i and its unconquerable aloha.

                You are going at a beautiful time of the year. Treat yourself and get a lei pikake.

                Have Fun,

        2. With the four hour time difference, maybe you should consider eating in or around Lihue before you start the drive to Poipu. Nawiliwili Harbor is a couple of miles from the airport and has a pretty dramatic view. There is a small shopiing center there at the harbor (I think there's a pizza place, but I'm not sure) and the nearby Marriott has eating places with a view of the harbor if you want something more formal. And after you eat you can drive past the Menehune Fish Pond to connect to highway that goes to Poipu.

          1. Saw your request just as we were trying to figure out where to go for dinner here in Poipu. I'll post when we get back.

            <delay delay delay...>

            We just got back from dinner at Merriman's Pizza & Burgers in Poipu. It's in an open-air mall with a couple good choices for you, I think: Merriman's (downstairs - the upstairs is a very different deal), Bubba's, and Savage Shrimp.

            We liked the pizza and burgers at Merriman's. I wouldn't make a special trip there, but it's reasonably priced (for Kauai) decent food.

            We did Savage Shrimp for our first night dinner and liked it too; nothing fancy at all, but a decent plate of shrimp for $10.

            Another option is the (upscale, small) grocery in the same mall. They do takeout food, so you could just pick it up and eat where you're staying.

            I think the attraction of all of these places over Brennecke's (and we've never eaten there) is the physical layout for people with kids. It's easy for them to run around after the long flight. Lots of people were taking advantage of that at Merriman's.

            These aren't video reviews of the food, but it gives you an idea of the layout of the place.




            1. Well, a_s_, how was it--Friday dinner--I mean? Where did you go? By my thinking, you are just now starting to decompress...

              If it is your first time to my Kaua'i, you *must* get the lay of the land. IGNORE the rental car company's warning about leaving the pavement. Drive wherever there is ground clearance and there are no "kapu" signs or gates. I usually tell first-time visitors to plan on logging 500-800 miles on the first 2-3 days to find what you like. This has the added benefit of forcing you to realize that Kaua'i really is a big little island.

              In a way, I hope you have left CH and 4G stuff back on the mainland. But let us know how you enjoyed hele'ing to Kaua'i.