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Mar 19, 2013 11:46 PM

Aloha Hawaii! Please Critique SF Chowhounds' Visit to Kauai and Maui for Next Week!

Aloha Everyone!

My family of passionate diners and I will be visiting Kauai next week for the entire week (been coming now each year for two decades), followed by three nights on the west side of Maui (haven't been there in over a decade).

Kauai is pretty set, where we usually have four dinners out and three dinners at home. Roy's and Josselin's are our favorites, while we still go to the Beach House for tradition's sake despite multiple years in a row now of below satisfactory experiences. Hopefully THIS is the year they get their act together. Lunch at Puka Dog, ice cream at Lappert's, many mornings at the new Living Foods Market are required...

Last year Bar Acuda underwhelmed. I've enjoyed Plantation Gardens in the past. Any favorite new spots? Maybe Kauai Grill in Princeville or Red Salt? Any favorite cocktail spots? We will certainly be visiting the new Port Allen Brewery.

I'm much less experienced with Maui-- staying near Kapalua. We have three dinners and 2 lunches. Right now I'm thinking about Pacific 'O, Lahaina Grill, and Sansei for dinners. Lunch at Star Noodle and Mala Ocean Tavern. But, I'm considering a trip up to Mama's Fish House, or switching a lunch to Honu or Aloha Mixed Place. Then, there's the question of I'o or Pacific 'O, if either of them? Any places I'm missing?

We'll stay right by the Maui Brewery, so that's a must. I'm hoping to visit Surfing Goat Dairy and Kula Farms, along with the winery on Maui and some coffee farms. I'd love to hear more about favorite coffee shops and bakeries, and all other fantastic, delicious finds!

Mahalo nui loa for your help! I'm beyond excited to return to the Islands in just a few days!

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  1. Aloha..
    In Kauai, I would add.
    Tiki Iniki that just opened in Princeville..Todd & Michele Rungrens new bar.
    Dolphins for drinks and apps.
    St. Regis for drinks and apps.
    Hamura Saimin in Lihue..divey best James Beard nom. For their Saimin and Lilikoi pie.
    Red Salt is awesome..pricey
    Keoki's Paradise happy hour..same center as Roys.

    Plantation House for breakfast at deal..view, food and no wait.
    Gazebo in Napili for b/l.
    Bev's General Store
    Hula Grill/ Duke's happy hour..

    Have a blast and report back!

    5 Replies
      1. re: kathryn

        thanks for the update. . . I didn't think they were ready to open next week, but assumed my info was outdated. I hope their venture is successful.

        1. re: Bellachefa

          That's a bummer Tiki Iniki isn't open yet! I was so excited to try it...I read Julie Reiner is involved...I really enjoyed her now closed tiki bar in Manhattan, Lani Kai.

          Sounds like Red Salt will take the last open dinner spot for Kauai...seems like a consensus over Kauai Grill or Plantation Gardens. Maybe the St. Regis for some cocktails...but I do love the mai tais nearby at Tahiti Nui!

          I really want to try the Haliimali General Store, but don't want to drive the hour there to Kapalua after dinner...and they're not oopen for lunch weekends...and we're only on Maui a Saturday and Sunday for lunches. Scheduling issues!

        2. re: kathryn

          My bad..
          Had a first week of March opening..

          Wishing them tons of Aloha.

          1. re: Beach Chick

            Just called Tiki Iniki...said they're not opening until May

      2. Sansei underwhelms me.
        Plantation House for breakfast is great. Amasia in Gr Wailea is worth the schlep though its pricey.

        1 Reply
        1. re: sal_acid

          Especially if you are from SF, Sansei will be disappointing. It's really great for half priced fusion-y sushi rolls. The positive reviews are more for the value/price than pristine fish or level of craft.

        2. What fun, to be honest, I haven't been a fan of Roys for years. I think they overextended the brand. Back in the olden days it was the perfect trifecta to go to Josselins Pacific Cafe in Kapaa, Roys and Josselin managed Beach House. It was only with his food that I could get past the sunset paparrazi flashbulbs going off with diner's who didn't have a window seat practically sitting on your lap for a photo shoot at your table.

          That same experience was only heightened at The Princeville/St Regis. You are having a lovely cocktail and pupus, and dropping a couple of hundred and are suddenly swarmed by non paying tourists pushing and shoving their fanny packs into your pupu's while directing their cinimatographer to get the shot, while yelling into our faces, "we're losing the light, we're losing the light!" A picnic of poke and some Kauai Kunana
          lillikoi goat cheese from the farmers market and a couple of red cup beverages on the adjacent grassy knoll is what we prefer now.

          Good call on checking out Tiki Iniki, and we always enjoy a stop at Keoki's bar for entertainment and some pupus.

          When on Maui, and visiting upcountry, perhaps a stop at Haili'imaile General Store for Sashimi Neopolean.

          If you love Lappert's keep your eye out for Tropical Dreams. It's mo bettah!

          Aloha, and safe journey!

          2 Replies
          1. re: Bellachefa

            oh and a trip to that side of Maui requires a sunset trip to Hula grill sandbar for crab/mac wontons and an adult beverage and some hula!

            1. re: Bellachefa

              Actually speaking of Kauai Kunana goat cheese-- has anybody visited their dairy? Is it a tour worth doing? Loved their cheeses at a farmers market last year.

              Bellachef, I am completely with you about the "old trifecta" days. They were the golden years with Josselin's at Pacific Cafe and Beach House, and Roy's. Roy's is more or less the same to me still. Josselin's food and service are fine, but not as polished as A Pacific Cafe. Beach House...not even close now. Nothing beat the duo of the Beach House atmosphere with Josselin's cooking, the rare masterful view restaurant with food to match.

              Yet we still go to the Beach House each year out of tradition (been going since 1981)...not sure what it will take to get them to get my family to surrender, but they sure seem to try. Last year was a mess. Almost as poor as Merriman's...

          2. I assume you mean Maui Brewing Company???? Just curious but have you eaten there before? I found their food the worst we've had on Maui. I definitely wouldn't "waste" a lunch there. IMHO there are much better options.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Mimi

              Their pizza wasn't bad, but I agree on the rest of the food - pub standard. I do like their beer, though: the last time I was at Aloha Mixed Plate they carried it.

              1. re: tardigrade

                I'm not a big beer drinker but I do like their IPA out of the can.

                1. re: Bellachefa

                  Yes, yes--- meant the Maui Brewing Company. Are they the only brewer on the island? I never planned on eating at the brewpub-- too little time and too many more worthwhile restaurants to try when on Maui. :)

                  I learned my lesson "wasting" a lunch recently at Full Sail's Brewpub in Oregon...don't need to go that route again! I have enjoyed the Coconut Porter and Big Swell IPA in cans before on Kauai...tasted better there than on draft once here in SF. I see that their pub draft list has some intriguing options, including coffee stout on nitro and a collaboration with Dogfish Head. They're in the big leagues now!

            2. I recommend the Ahi pizza at Honu, just amazing!

              4 Replies
              1. re: manomin

                Manomin, was it a special ahi pizza? I only see an ahi bruschetta on their menu...everything looks great there!

                1. re: pats38sox

                  Oh yes. It was just added to the menu in January. The kitchen sent one out for us to try.

                  1. re: manomin

                    Beautiful, I hope they're still making that pizza! Looks like grapes with the ahi?

                    1. re: pats38sox

                      No, that is Kalamata olives. It was Mediterranean in focus. It was being added to the menu, I think it was supposed to be $26.00.