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Good eating on Kauai

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This has been a great thread.  We're on our way to Kauai this coming Sunday.  Going to stay a few days each at the Sheraton, the Princeville, and the Hyatt.  That should get us some good eats all over the island.

We're going to try to do some upscale dining but, with an 8 yr old, would like to stick to more casual, local fare.  I know seafood is excellent in Kauai but since neither my wife nor my daughter are into seafood, we're going to need to find other choices.

Do yourself a favor and don't miss Coconuts. It has some of the most progressive cooking on the island, and the setting is casual. You'll enjoy this better than any of the "fine dining" options.

Have fun!

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Where's Coconuts?

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Where's Coconuts?

Coconuts is on Kuhio Highway (4-919 Kuhio Highway) in Kapaa. As you pass the Kauai Village (Safeway) shopping center as you are heading north...on your right will be the Kapaa Shores condominiums, on your left will be Coconuts. It's right on the road with a sign, you cant miss it.

The phone number is 808-823-8777.

wabi

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First off let me say that Beach House was terrible for me. The food was passable but we had a very bad experience with the wait staff and management that had my party leaving very upset and unsatisfied. I also didn't like how people outside congregate right in front of our windows as we were eating and trying to watch the sunset. Pacific Cafe was quite good, but the location leaves something to be desired. Conversely, Cafe Hanalei has one of the world's most beautiful views but food cannot match the beautiful surroundings. All in all though, that was my most memorable meal because of the views. In general, dining in Hawai'i and on nearly any island anywhere is going to be more low key than dining in a major city like New York. Still, I would've liked to see more "polish" in the restaurants in general.

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First off let me say that Beach House was terrible for me.  The food was passable but we had a very bad experience with the wait staff and management that had my party leaving very upset and unsatisfied.  I also didn't like how people outside congregate right in front of our windows as we were eating and trying to watch the sunset.  Pacific Cafe was quite good, but the location leaves something to be desired.  Conversely, Cafe Hanalei has one of the world's most beautiful views but food cannot match the beautiful surroundings.  All in all though, that was my most memorable meal because of the views.  In general, dining in Hawai'i and on nearly any island anywhere is going to be more low key than dining in a major city like New York.  Still, I would've liked to see more "polish" in the restaurants in general.

I hate to sound like a broken record, but Coconuts offers the best dining experience on the whole island. Lots of restaurants have the "views," but who wants to spend $40 and eat lobster in Hawaii, even with a million dollar view? Coconuts is in a former Jack in the Box, but it's been redecorated into a classy, understated room with good lighting. What's more important, the food is top-notch, utilizing local ingredients, island flavor, and world-class cooking techniques. I cannot say enough good things about this place; it has culinary significance, polished service, and laid-back, island atmosphere. Have cocktails and pupus with your view, then head to Coconuts for real dining.


Edited by gmi3804 (log)

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my favorite cheap eat on Kauai is The Bull Shed in Wailuku near Coconut Grove.

Good steaks and the perfect ocean view

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Sad news for eaters here on Kauai.

A Pacific Cafe has closed.

This is only temporary as the place is relocated....but it will be several months down the line.

Valentines Day this year just wasnt the same for my  wife and I.........

I will keep everyone posted.

wabi

Is there any update as to where/when they'll reopen?

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I will post as soon as I know something.

Remember though......it's Kauai, everything takes a bit longer here......

wabi

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This is a great thread! My finace and I (finally!) booked our honeymoon for September. We'll be going to Kauai then Maui. We're staying at the Sheraton on Poipu Beach.

What does anyone think of Roy's? I know it's a chain, but I heard good things about them in general.

We will definitely try Coconuts, in addition to a number of the recommendations here.


Edited by I_call_the_duck (log)

Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

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This is a great thread!  My finace and I (finally!) booked our honeymoon for September.  We'll be going to Kauai then Maui.  We're staying at the Sheraton on Poipu Beach. 

What does anyone think of Roy's?  I know it's a chain, but I heard good things about them in general.

We will definitely try Coconuts, in addition to a number of the recommendations here. 

wabi, what type of food do they serve at Hamura's Saimin?

Roy's gets mixed reviews, mostly positive. I happen to like it a lot, despite its "corporate" background (there are dozens of Roy's throughout the world), as they do Hawaiian fusion very well.

But I still think Coconuts does it better! :biggrin:

Hammura's Saimin serves, well, Saimin - and little else. The atmosphere is really basic, but the Saimin (noodle soups) are wonderful, and very inexpensive. They also do a mean shave ice.

Do stop at Camp House Grill in Kalaheo for lunch (and some of their wonderful pies) one day.

Post a report when you get back so I can dream from Chicago!

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Roy's gets mixed reviews, mostly positive.  I happen to like it a lot, despite its "corporate" background (there are dozens of Roy's throughout the world), as they do Hawaiian fusion very well.

But I still think Coconuts does it better!  :biggrin:

Hammura's Saimin serves, well, Saimin - and little else.  The atmosphere is really basic, but the Saimin (noodle soups) are wonderful, and very inexpensive.  They also do a mean shave ice.

Do stop at Camp House Grill in Kalaheo for lunch (and some of their wonderful pies) one day.

Post a report when you get back so I can dream from Chicago!

Thanks. I looked up Saimin after I posted (should have done it before, duh :wink:) .

We do have a Roy's here in Philly, which we have yet to try--but there's only so much money and time, right?

Camp House Grill is now on my list!

I'll keep you all posted!


Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

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Any news about The Pacific Cafe? Are they moving to nicer digs? Building a New Place?

Thanks for any info...

Narcissus


Taco Truck or Per Se - No matter as long as passion drives the food

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First off let me say that Beach House was terrible for me.  The food was passable but we had a very bad experience with the wait staff and management that had my party leaving very upset and unsatisfied.  I also didn't like how people outside congregate right in front of our windows as we were eating and trying to watch the sunset.  Pacific Cafe was quite good, but the location leaves something to be desired.  Conversely, Cafe Hanalei has one of the world's most beautiful views but food cannot match the beautiful surroundings.  All in all though, that was my most memorable meal because of the views.  In general, dining in Hawai'i and on nearly any island anywhere is going to be more low key than dining in a major city like New York.  Still, I would've liked to see more "polish" in the restaurants in general.

I'm so sorry to read this. I had such a fantastic experience at the Beach House, as they excelled in both food and service. There were no people congregating by the windows either.

I've heard from a two other couples that their experience at this restaurant wasn't exceptional, however, none of them are big seafood fans, so I'm not 100% sure of what to make of their reviews.

Amazing how my wife and I had such a top notch experience there, yet others have been disappointed. Perhaps we got lucky.


Blessed are those who engage in lively conversation with the helplessly mute, for they shall be called, "Dentists." (anonymous)

Life is too short for bad Caesar Salad. (Me)

Why would you poison yourself by eating a non-organic apple? (HL)

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I am so glad that I stumbled onto this thread tonight. My husband and another couple are heading to Kauai in November and I'll print Wabi's recommendations. Coconuts sounds great. Is there "street food" ?

Thank you to all who reported in.

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We just got back from Kauai, and here's my report on our dining adventures. Our premise was:

1. Try to eat at some places where the locals eat.

2. Go by recommendations from eGullet.org and Kauai Revealed.

3. Shyed away from the really expensive places - we didn't go to The Beach House, Roy's, any places in Princeville or the really fancy hotels (Sheraton, Hyatt, etc.).

Bubba's in Hanalei - okay burgers - go there if you're dying for a burger; otherwise, go across the street to Hanalei Mixed Plate. The other burger places might be better, but I don't know, we didn't try them.

Hanalei Mixed Plate in Hanalei - had a really good fresh fish (marlin) sandwich there.

Hukilau Lanai in the Kauai Coast Resort in Kapaa - I think we had our best "upscale" meal there. Nothing super fancy, but the execution was more refined than Coconuts. We had the mixed seafood plate and the meatloaf. The seafood plate had two different kinds of fish and a sugar cane skewered shrimp with orzo "risotto" and a delicate coconut sauce. The meatloaf (2 slices) came with a nice brown sauce and mashed potatoes.

Coconuts in Kapaa - creative and generous portions (of fish), but not as refined as the Hukilau Lanai. One of our dishes, the tempura ono, came with this huge puck of fried rice. The fish and sauce were good, but the rice was just soy sauce with diced carrots (like something from Panda Express), and it looked like it was placed sloppily on the plate. I had the grilled opah with garlic mashed potatoes. Again, the potatoes were in a huge dense puck.

Barbecue Inn in Lihue - very good kalua pork (and at a good price). Very extensive fish menu. I got "Da Asian" - creative and good presentation-unexpected from such a casual restaurant. The ono was a little charred, unfortunately.

Hamura's Saimin in Lihue - went there right after we landed. Great noodles. Went with Kauai Revealed's recommendation and got the "special". Worth it. The lilikoi pie was also very good.

Pomodoro's in Kalaheo - contrary to Kauai Revealed's recommendation, the place was not that upscale. The decor reminded me more of a casual breakfast/lunch cafe. The food was alright--Italian American dishes. We ordered the lasagna and the veal pizzaiola. The lasagna was rich but had decent flavor. The veal was pretty good.

Keoki's Paradise in Poipu - the decor was fun, but the food was very mediocre. The ribs were decent, but the opah was pretty bland and also served with mashed potatoes; why do they like to pair fish with mashed potatoes? That just doesn't seem to work. It was more of a bar scene, good place to party at.

Pattaya Asian Cafe in Poipu - basically, a Thai restaurant. The menu was pretty extensive, and any type of sauce/preparation can be done with vegetables, meat or seafood. Nice casual place.

Sueoka's Snack Shop in Koloa - great deals for plate lunches. If they have the Hawaiian Plate Lunch, get it--the pork lau lau was delicious.

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Tekna - thank you for your report. I downloaded it to take with me. A few weeks from tonight, I'll be sitting and sipping and looking at the sunset. Any other highlights from the trip?

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We got back from Hawaii a couple of days ago and had a great time! Thanks to everyone for their recommendations.

We had six glorious days in paradise, in which we snorkeled, basked in the sun, did a helicopter ride, and of course, ate wonderful meals. Wabi, I love your island. We plan to return someday.

We stayed at the Sheraton on Poipu Beach, which we found very nice. The Sheraton’s “resort fees” included a full buffet breakfast, so we never made it to any of the breakfast places. We hardly did any of the lunch places either, since we had leftovers and fruit we obtained at breakfast. (Also, we were trying to save a little money when we could.) We did however, go to Hamura’s Saimin, which I loved. We went there twice. The first time we each ordered a medium bowl of the regular saimin, and the next time we went, we ordered one deluxe and one shrimp. For dessert, we had a shave ice. Very good, very affordable.

Since we were staying on the South Shore, we stayed in that general neck of the woods and only ventured to the North Shore once. I made some notes on what we ate when we got back to our hotel. They weren’t as detailed as I intended (I was on my honeymoon), so I tried to piece my notes together with what is listed on the restaurants’ websites. So here goes (and I’m sorry if I’m overusing my superlatives—I guess I’ll never make it as a restaurant reviewer):

Our first night, jet-lagged, we went to The Plantation Gardens. The setting was really beautiful and the service was fine. I had grilled ono with soba noodles, and my husband had the Hawaiian Hot Pot (shrimp, scallops and ono simmered in ginger coconut broth, Asian noodles and peanut oil). The food was fresh and tasty. We were off to a good start.

Roy’s. Not the prettiest setting (we had a view of the shops across the courtyard), but a nice restaurant nonetheless. Our server was nice and funny. I had the ahi-ono combo, and my husband had the sampling menu, which included crab cakes (which he said surpasses K Paul’s in New Orleans as the best crab cakes ever—I think partly because of the panko coating), salmon skin salad in a ginger vinaigrette, scallops in some truffle sauce, grilled rib-eye, and butterfish. Interestingly enough, I can’t remember what we had for dessert, but it wasn’t the molten lava cake. Now I originally didn’t want to go to Roy’s since a) it’s a chain, and b) we have one here in Philly, but my husband really wanted to go, and I’m glad we did. The food was great. Everything was fresh and well prepared. I loved the butterfish—it was well, was “like buttah.” This rated as my husband’s favorite. Speaking of New Orleans, my heart goes out to the city and its residents. It’s one of my favorite dining cities.

Café Hanalei. Beautiful sunset. Nice service. Great food. We started off with Oil-Blasted Sashimi (ahi and hamachi). My husband had the Kaua’i Coffee Rack of Lamb (two things he loves—coffee and lamb) with fingerling potato-kilauea corn hash, braised kai choy and mint shiitake jus, and I had the Hawaiian Spice Rubbed Ribeye Steak with Kunana Goat Cheese Flan, Roasted Hamakua Mushrooms and Wagarashi Demi Glace and Charred Kula Onion Marmalade. Everything was very good, but my steak was a little more done than I prefer. The sides were very tasty. For dessert I think we had a pineapple-mango crisp. Then again, that could be from someplace else (maybe Roy's), but wherever we ate it, it was yummy.

Keoki’s. Probably my least favorite restaurant in which we’ve dined. Since we were there on a weekend, there was a band playing, and they were LOUD, despite the fact that we were pretty far away from the bar. (We could even hear them from our hotel.) My husband had the ribs, and I had Orange Ginger baked fish (I think it was opah). But the decor was cute, the service was fine, and the food was good, but nothing incredible or memorable.

Kintaro. My husband was in the mood for sushi, and this restaurant was recommended by the concierge. Since it was Monday (and Labor Day), many places were closed. It was some of the best sushi we’ve ever eaten, and a great bargain. We started with fried wontons (they ran out of the gyoza dumplings), which were good, but not fantastic. I had a mixed tempura-sushi combo dinner. Dinner included salad and a flavorful miso soup. My husband had a mixed sushi dinner, which arrived not in separate pieces but in a bowl of rice with the fish layered on top. The ahi was oh-so-tender, as was the rest of the fish.

The Beach House. My favorite of all. The food was amazing. We started off with the Thai Curry Shrimp & Scallop Wonton. My husband had the Macadamia Nut Crusted Mahimahi in a citrus aka miso sauce, and I had the Chinese-style Roasted Duck with lemon orange Grand Marnier demi, porcini mushroom risotto cake, pickled vegetables, pesto. Everything was expertly prepared and very delicious. There were noticeable chunks of shrimp and scallops in the wonton, the mahimahi was not overcooked, and the duck was one of the best I’ve eaten. The servers were friendly and accommodating. Though it was crowded, the servers were very understanding when the second they showed us to our table, we excused ourselves to catch the last brilliant colors of the sunset.

We never made it to Coconuts. Or the Camp House Grill. :sad: Ironically, they were top on my list. Coconuts was closed the Monday we planned to go. We’ll have to go next time. Hopefully by then, A Pacific Café will be open again.

Betts, have a great time. I miss Kauai already.


Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

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Did you have shrimp from the truck on the road to Spouting Horn, Call_the_Duck? That was my favorite meal when I was in Kaua'i... :biggrin:


"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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Did you have shrimp from the truck on the road to Spouting Horn, Call_the_Duck?  That was my favorite meal when I was in Kaua'i...  :biggrin:

There was shrimp from a truck?! :shock: I never noticed a truck anywhere along the road to Spouting Horn. Darn. Sounds like I missed something great. I guess I'll have to add it to my list for our next visit.


Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

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Did you have shrimp from the truck on the road to Spouting Horn, Call_the_Duck?  That was my favorite meal when I was in Kaua'i...  :biggrin:

There was shrimp from a truck?! :shock: I never noticed a truck anywhere along the road to Spouting Horn. Darn. Sounds like I missed something great. I guess I'll have to add it to my list for our next visit.

Yes!!!! Oh, sooo good. I guess the truck was really more at the fork in the road, where you can either go to Poipu or Spouting Horn. Here's a link to an earlier thread about it: click!

Definitely try it the next time you're there.


"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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The Beach House.  My favorite of all.  The food was amazing.  We started off with the Thai Curry Shrimp & Scallop Wonton.  My husband had the Macadamia Nut Crusted Mahimahi in a citrus aka miso sauce, and I had the Chinese-style Roasted Duck with lemon orange Grand Marnier demi, porcini mushroom risotto cake, pickled vegetables, pesto.  Everything was expertly prepared and very delicious.  There were noticeable chunks of shrimp and scallops in the wonton, the mahimahi was not overcooked, and the duck was one of the best I’ve eaten.  The servers were friendly and accommodating.  Though it was crowded, the servers were very understanding when the second they showed us to our table, we excused ourselves to catch the last brilliant colors of the sunset. 

This really is a great place. (I think we made reservations a week ahead to get a window table, last summer.) :rolleyes:

Elegant but not fussy food; Hawaiian but not razzle-dazzle Hawaiian; tasty!

Ah, and the view... :wub:

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