10 Best Restaurants to Eat, Drink & be Merry in Oceanside Poipu

Kauai may be the smallest Hawaiian Islands, but it's loaded with places to dine. Sunny and dry, Poipu is also known as the resort area of the island, is full of gourmet, hip and modern places to eat. Atmosphere and cuisines options in this area are as varied as the island's terrain itself, but the majority of restaurants out here are gourmet, elegant and modern, offering a unique culinary experience. Take breakfast to go enjoy on a beach, end a day in the sun with music and fresh fish, or have a romantic date at a high end restaurant.

For date night or a fun night out with the crew, Josselin's can't be beat. A chef run bar and restaurant, the hip place is perfect for group fun sharing tapas. Nearby is Merriman's, another fresh fish joint that utilizes locally sourced proteins and produce to create their gourmet menu.

For something a bit more low key, but with an exotic atmosphere of waterfalls and koi ponds, Keoki's Paradise is a local style hang out with delicious food and live music. Lava's on Poipu Beach is the go-to place in Poipu for a bit of nightlife, that includes beach side dining and exotic cocktails. 

Poipu's best restaurants will be able to fulfill any craving, so enjoy your food tour of Kaua'i in between the sights and things to do.


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.

Recommended for Poipu's Best Restaurants because: Brennecke's is on the beach and easily accessible after a day in the sun.

Jade's expert tip: Dine here after the beach, otherwise you'll be extremely full while swimming.

Read more about Brennecke's Beach Broiler →

Illuminated by tiki torches and surrounded by trickling streams and tropical vegetation, this lively, open-air establishment proves irresistible to patrons. The welcoming ambiance compliments the menu, which boasts a wealth of fresh fish and steaks. Keoki's is fit for fun family dinners with main courses such as burgers and fish plates, and it's also a great place for date night. 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.

Recommended for Poipu's Best Restaurants because: Keoki's is laid back and local style, but boasts good food in an exotic atmosphere.

Jade's expert tip: Their famous hula pie is a must.

Read more about Keoki's Paradise →

Ilima Terrace
Photo courtesy of great vacations

A lovely setting comprised of lush foliage, water features, and graceful swans invites patrons to appreciate the hotel's natural beauty while they enjoy an array of delicious fare. The open-air venue is a perfect destination for breakfast or lunch, when you can opt for something light like a wrap, Cobb salad, or club sandwich. At the celebrated Sunday brunch, which is a gourmand's dream, you can feast on crepes, hot entrees, quiche, omelets, and much more. This is one of the most gourmet places for brunch around the island, and an ideal locale for family time or a romantic honeymoon breakfast.

Recommended for Poipu's Best Restaurants because: Gourmet food and a gorgeous setting make the Ilima Terrace a worthy restaurant.

Jade's expert tip: Bring you're parking lot ticket in to be validated and parking will be free.

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Elegance is paramount at this refined restaurant, which pays tribute to its Italian culinary inspiration via beautifully detailed murals and exquisite tiles. The food itself is spectacular – everything is homemade, composed of impeccably fresh ingredients, and artistically presented. Delicate, lightly-dressed pastas and ocean-fresh seafood pave the way for lush desserts, and service is second to none. For true island ambiance, dine on the outdoor terrace and drink in the surrounding beauty. Known as one of the more elegant restaurants on the island, this is the spot for a rather fancy night out, whether you're looking for Italian food or not.

Recommended for Poipu's Best Restaurants because: Offering elegance and delicious food, Dondero's is a replica of a restaurant you'd find in Italy.

Jade's expert tip: Always make reservations at Dondero's.

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At Lava's inside of the Sheraton Kauai, you can enjoy views of the sunset on Poipu Beach along with handcrafted and unique tropical drinks. Because it's located inside the Sheraton, there's a Sheraton dink of the day that changes daily. Happy hour happens daily from 3 to 5 p.m. and a late night happy hour from 9 to 11 p.m. Located near the resort's Ocean Pool and just steps from the beach, Lava's put's a Hawaiian style twist on the traditional bar and grill. Signature cocktails include the mai tai, lava flow, frozen coco mojito, and the kama'aina mango rita. Evening pupus (appetizers) include light fare such as salads, nachos and a hummus plate.

Recommended for Poipu's Best Restaurants because: The ocean side setting and wonderful appetizers and cocktails make Lava's an ideal place to relax and eat.

Jade's expert tip: There's two happy hours here. One from 3 to 5 p.m. and later from 9 to 11 p.m.

Read more about Lava's on Poipu Beach →

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.

Recommended for Poipu's Best Restaurants because: Merriman's combines gourmet food with sustainability, and is known for exquisite dishes.

Jade's expert tip: Try one of their signature cocktails.

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Luaus are Hawaiian tradition, combining a big meal with all around celebration and festivities. This hotel-sponsored luau provides a healthy dose of spectacle, music, and authentic Hawaiian foods. The evening show, Havaiki Nui, begins with a torch-lighting ceremony on the edge of the ocean, heralded by the call of the conch shell. As it progresses, the luau showcases native crafts and costume, along with music and dance performances from cultures throughout the Pacific. The menu includes traditional fare like kalua pig, fresh fish, lomi salmon, and haupia (coconut pudding). It's a great place to bring the family to peer into Hawaiian culture.

Recommended for Poipu's Best Restaurants because: The Grand Hyatt Kauai Luau goes all out with food and festivities.

Jade's expert tip: Come hungry, because you'll leave very full.

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Located at the Koa Kea Hotel & Resort in Poipu, Red Salt combines elegant island style with the natural environment to offer the ideal dining setting. Located righto on the ocean, the contemporary open design brings a sense of modernity to tropical ambiance. Ocean and pool views are offered through large picture windows and the diverse menu fuses together the fresh seafood and produce available in Hawaii. Red Salt offers amazing meals throughout the day. A daily breakfast buffet combines traditional American fare with fresh tropical fruit, breakfast bakery selections, various juices and an omelet station. At dinner time the menu offers contemporary upscale cuisine. Enjoy lunch casually by the pool, or order any time through room service.

Recommended for Poipu's Best Restaurants because: Red Salt blends gourmet food with elegant island style, making it one of the most elegant and beautiful restaurants on the island.

Jade's expert tip: Ask your server for tips on what to order, they will guide you in the right direction.

Read more about Red Salt →


Meet 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...  More About Jade