The awesome presence of the ocean is a constant at this lovely restaurant, which features a multi-level dining room with doors thrown open to the vista and the breezes. The menu boasts a contemporary island flair, thanks to a focus on local seafood and an Asian culinary sensibility. Kiawe-grilled entrees include fire-roasted ahi, lamb marinated in mint and coriander, and Cajun-spiced ono. Crab-stuffed pork medallions are succulent, as are Chinese-style roasted duck and delicate sea scallops. Local Boy Paella, tinged with saffron and savory Chinese sausage, is a perennial favorite, and Molten Chocolate Desire is a foray into gooey decadence that can't be side-stepped.
Local Expert tip: Catch sunset over the surf spot.
With a fish market next door, it's no surprise that impeccably fresh seafood is the house specialty. The oudoor dining area exposes you to the tranquil feeling of Hanalei, and when the waves are up you can hear them crashing in the distance. Diners indulge in their favorite preparations along the shores of the adjacent river, savoring baked shrimp, ceviche, crab, and incredible fish cooked to perfection by the skilled kitchen. A selection of steaks and chicken dishes will also satisfy. While you wait for entrees (which can be pricey but are well-portioned), nibble on an order of stuffed mushrooms. Nautical themed.
Recommended for Outdoor Dining because: Hanalei Dolphin is renowned as the best seafood on Kauai.
Local Expert tip: Choose an outdoor table to enjoy the magical views of Hanalei.
From their position along the shores of Hanalei Bay, visitors give themselves over to the charm of this delightful luau. This is perhaps the ultimate outdoor dining experience because you enjoy everything under the stars. Festivities begin with the call of the conch, at which point the kalua pig is premiered in ceremonial style. It headlines the buffet, which also features grilled fish and chicken, fresh salads, local vegetables and fruits, and great desserts like pineapple cake and coconut pudding. The Polynesian review that succeeds it includes fire dancing, along with music and spectacle based on a variety of Hawaiian traditions.
Local Expert tip: Bring a camera for the fire dancing.
Big portions of tasty food is what you'll get at Island Taco. The roadside eatery is simple, and resembles a Mexico taco stand, but totally clean, safe and awesome! It's order at the counter, where you can get a tiny peak into the kitchen, and enjoy at one of the roadside tables or take it to go. You can take it to go and enjoy at a nearby white sand beach, but with the big portions that can get a little messy. Vegetarians will fare very well here while meat eaters will find fresh fish, beef and chicken. All of the food is great, but tacos are a highlight. They add of unique elements such as cabbage and wasabi aioli sauce. A must stop while on the west side.
Local Expert tip: Two people can share the double taco plate.
Charm runs rampant at this delightful cafe, which brings a touch of Old Hawaii to guests via vintage photographs and island postcards. The porch offers outdoor dining in the warmth of Kaua`i and a view of the stars. The menu does wonders with the local bounty, mixing fresh produce and seafood to great effect. In the evenings, vegetarian fare that does the genre proud is certain to convert even diehard carnivores. Make sure to try taro fritters and grilled fish, but don't neglect crisp salads, pastas, fish tacos, and quesadillas. Accompanying sauces are inventive complements, and desserts are worth sampling, especially given their use of fresh island fruits.
Recommended for Outdoor Dining because: Postcards Cafe is always delicious, and made with locally grown vegetables and fresh fish.
Local Expert tip: This is a can't miss on the North Shore.
Illuminated by tiki torches and surrounded by trickling streams and tropical vegetation, this lively, open-air establishment proves irresistible to patrons. Under the canopy of a huge banyan tree, fish swim around a pond just feet from your table. A waterfall out front sets the tone. 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. 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.
Local Expert tip: They're famous hula pie is a must.
The name essentially tells the story of this place, which includes a historic home and tropical gardens that once belonged to a sugar cane plantation manager. While dining outdoors on the porch you'll be in full view of the historic garden the eatery is named after, along with the well manicured acreage surrounding the restaurant. These days, diners have access to the estate, with its exotic wood detailing and gracious verandah. The cuisine offers fare such as island stir fry and sugarcane skewered pork tenderloin. Seafood also makes a terrific option at the celebrated establishment, which is perfect for a romantic rendezvous.
Local Expert tip: Make reservations.
Outdoor dining at its finest and truest. Catering to couples or small groups looking to dine anywhere, but usually beach side, the small company uses only natural and organic ingredients in it's exquisite meals. Featuring an array of exotic foods with a Pacific flare, Heavenly Creations serves up glazes made of lilikoi, salads with edible flowers, and entrees with tofu or free range chicken and grass fed beef. Desserts are also exotic and you can have tiki torches, fires, and hula dances to the ambiance.
Local Expert tip: Dress warm if you choose an evening dinner.
The name says it all, the full bar and restaurant is truly a beach side Oasis. Breathtaking ocean views can be enjoyed, and sitting in the outdoor area brings you just steps to the long white sand beach. A unique and positive aspect at Oasis is that they serve a menu that features 85 percent locally produced food. Sea food is all prepared wonderfully wit a Pacific twist, meats are served in unique forms such as lamb pot pie and ox tail bao bun. For dessert, don't miss the white chocolate chiffon cake or the haupia, a classic local coconut dessert.
Local Expert tip: The Sunday brunch is one of the best on the island.