10 Best steakhouses on Kauai bring great steaks and ambiance to all sides of the island
By Jade Eckardt
Sometimes a craving for a great steak hits and you've got to find one. So here at 10 Best we've compiled a list of the top ten steakhouses on the island. Each side of Kauai offers at least one amazing steakhouse, and the menus, styles, and ambiance at each eater vary greatly so you may want to try more than one. From local style lunch wagons to elegant dining, amazing steaks are easy to find on the Garden Island.
To experience sustainability with gourmet steaks and seafood, make reservations for an amazing time at Merriman's Fish House in sunny Poipu. Tasty local steaks are served up with pairings of wonderful wines and other locally sourced dishes for one of the nicest nights out on the South Side. Also in Poipu is Keoki's Paradise, where a tropical and natural ambiance created by a fish pond, huge trees and stone work is a wonderful back drop to steaks, a full bar and often live music.
On the East Side in Lihue don't Miss JJ's Broiler, offering delicious steaks, seafood and a gorgeous view of Kalapaki Bay. The decor of sailboats and fish create a true chart house feeling, but they're well known for their steaks. On the North Shore CJ's Steaks and Seafood offer an extensive menu and full bar near lush Hanalei, and are known for the best steaks in the area.
Remember that where ever you are on Kauai 10 Best has you covered, and you can find a delicious steak.
Owned and operated by two local friends who have a knack for making a great steak, Killah Steaks quickly became a local favorite as soon as the road side steak wagon opened. Very casual, and pretty quick, this eatery is a low key, low priced option for a great steak. They have expanded from a simple two item menu and now offer fresh local fish, shrimp, and multiple steak plates. Enjoy at the onsite and road side picnic table or take to eat at a nearby beach. Each plate comes with local side staples such as mac salad, a simple green salad, or rice. Sometimes they sell out and close early. ((808) 631-1935)
Merriman's Fish House
Merriman's Poipu has quickly become a favorite for locals and visitors alike since it made a home in a new shopping center in sunny Poipu. Combining gourmet food with sustainability, the restaurants serves up amazing steaks, seafood and other dishes made with 90 percent local ingredients. They purchase produce daily, and used locally grown beer and locally caught seafood. Adjacent to it is Merriman's Downstairs Cafe, offers a casual lunch alternative to the slightly more formal dinner spot. Both are centrally located in Poipu, just a short drive from all of the gorgeous white sand beaches in the area. Great for a date night. (808-742-8385)
Roy's Po'ipu Bar & Grill
Under the masterful tutelage of chef Roy Yamaguchi, who skillfully fuses European and Asian cuisines, this establishment has earned a reputation for lively ambiance, attentive service, and incredible food. A devotion to impeccably fresh ingredients and a penchant for artistic presentation characterizes the menu, whose temptations include steamed steak, Hawaiian onaga, tri-peppercorn-crusted ahi, and ginger-steamed Chinese chicken. There's also lamb, pasta, pork, and duck. Nightly specials make an appearance too, and the signature chocolate souffle is absolutely sinful. This is a fun place to dress up for, but you can also attend slightly casual, but a button up shirt for men is always appropriate. (808-742-5000)
Brennecke's Beach Broiler
Long-lived and comfortable, Brennecke's attracts a wide variety of folks, from those who step in off the beach for a snack to those who come for a family dinner. Their signature kiawe-wood broiler imparts great flavor to steaks, burgers, chicken and fresh fish, and the salad bar offers fresh, crisp makings for light eaters. A good selection of sandwiches and appetizers makes for terrific munching, and kids are welcome in the busy, amiable establishment. Next door is Brennecke's Beach Deli, for made to order sandwiches and burgers to quickly take to go across the street to the beach. Clean, charming, and delicious. (808-742-7588, 888-384-8810)
Illuminated by tiki torches and surrounded by trickling streams and tropical vegetation, this lively, open-air establishment proves irresistible to patrons. The welcoming ambiance complements the menu, which boasts a wealth of fresh fish and steaks. Plus, Keoki's bar is a fantastic hangout for those who want to drink, socialize, and munch on appetizers and light fare. Wonderful steaks, nachos, burgers, salads, and a delicious dessert menu are all available here. Centrally located in Poipu and easily accessible from any of the lovely beaches in the area. On weekends (usually Thursday to Sunday evenings), you'll catch live bands playing terrific Hawaiian tunes and folks dancing to the catchy rhythms. Fun and beautiful. (808-742-7534)
Kalaheo Steak and Ribs
Steak and ribs is what you can expect at Kalaheo Steak and Ribs, where the extensive menu offers a multitude of variations to those dishes. You get a bit more with events like karaoke, and live music. Other foods such as fresh sea food, pastas, and salads area also offered. Even vegetarians can find a meat free meal or two here, although the steaks dominate. They bring nightlife to the south side with a full bar aptly named The Saloon. The decor fits the name, and it's quite heavy on the western theme throughout the entire place. A good stop when headed back from the west side. ((808) 332-4444)
Duke's Canoe Club
In tribute to Duke Kahanamoku, Hawaii's renowned swimmer, surfer, and Olympic athlete, this casual restaurant offers patrons a bit of island culture. An indoor waterfall, live Hawaiian music, and fresh local seafood are among the attractions that have folks returning again and again. Lunchtime brings quesadillas, burgers, pizza, and sandwiches, while dinner offers steaks and an abundance of just-caught fish, prepared to your specifications. An incredible salad bar also pulls in patrons, and the hula pie, a house special, is not-to-be-missed. Lunch here is amazing, but if you're looking for nightlife this is a great spot too, live music and dancing after dark. (808-246-9599, 808-246-5166)
The allure of the Old West runs strong at Wrangler's, at least as it was interpreted by the cattle ranchers of the North Pacific! The establishment features a cowboy-themed decor, letting you know that the food is going to be both rustic and authentic. Steaks of all sorts satisfy most folks; try a T-bone or a sirloin, sizzling hot and flavored with herbs and spices. If that's not your style, opt for a fresh fish special, a local specialty, or even a Southwestern-styled treat. Outdoor seating is available, and the place is especially convenient for travelers to Kauai's west coast. (808-338-1218, 808-338-0031)
CJ's Steak & Seafood
Well-known for serving fantastic steaks, Chuck's is a North Shore institution, thanks to its savory selection of Black Angus beef. Prime rib and top sirloin, carefully trimmed and perfectly cooked, are favorites, although broiled chicken, roasted rack of lamb, and rich, barbecued pork ribs are also succulent. Fresh seafood is superb as well and ranges from sweet lobster tail to sauteed shrimp, crab legs, and the fresh catch of the day. Rolls, rice, and the salad bar are included with meals, which (although pricey) are nevertheless delicious. The bar can get a solid crowd going, and is a good place for chatting with locals. (808-826-6211)
Kalapaki Bay makes a stunning backdrop for this lively restaurant, which is popular with visitors to eastern Kauai. The outdoor deck offers terrific ambiance, although the maritime-themed interior is inviting on its own. Ocean-fresh seafood is a delicious standard and includes ahi and crab napoleon, baked lobster tail, sauteed scallops, and coconut shrimp. Pastas also find a ready audience, as does the signature slavonic steak, thinly sliced and dressed with a sauce of wine, butter, and garlic. Other possibilities include lamb chops, beef medallions, pork ribs, and cold-smoked Cornish hen. JJ's has a pure chart house feeling with sailboats hanging from the ceiling and fish everywhere. (808-246-4422)
About Jade Eckardt
Raised on the Big Island of Hawaii, Jade has traveled the world and doesn't intend to stop, yet the Hawaiian Islands are still her favorite place. She spent seven years living on Oahu and exploring the island. A regular visitor to Kauai, Jade recently authored a full-length Kauai guide book. She is a writer and photographer, whose work has been published in numerous regional and national magazines. When she's not writing, Jade enjoys a good beer, a good surf, and time in her garden with her son.
Read more about Jade Eckardt here.
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