Hip, gleaming Bar Acuda is a chef-run business in Hanalei that has taken the island by storm. Intent on creating stylish atmosphere and scrumptious food, the North Shore place is a great destination for dinner and drinks with friends or with a romantic interest. Diligently searching out top ingredients, chef Jim Moffat crafts them into dishes like lobster-stuffed squid with romesco sauce, roast chicken panzanella, slow-braised beef short ribs, and grilled pancetta-wrapped sea scallops. A carefully chosen wine list highlights vintages from western Europe and the western US, and a fantastic social scene is part and parcel of the goings-on.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: A lively yet romantic eatery in Hanalei, this is one of those fun but romantic places to dine.
Jade's expert tip: They're only open for dinner, so plan accordingly.
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 n 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 Romantic Dining because: Red Salt offers high end oceanfront dining in an elegant and quiet atmosphere.
Jade's expert tip: Ask your server for tips on what to order, they will guide you in the right direction.
If you're looking for an intimate, low-key place where you can enjoy good conversation and fabulous pastas, Pomodoro is ideal. Family-owned and operated by "real" New York Italians, this great restaurant offers well-prepared food at reasonable prices. The selection of pastas is substantial, whether you're looking for something dressed (fettuccine Alfredo) or stuffed (manicotti). If you're open to other possibilities, look to veal parmigiana, chicken saltimbocca, or one of the seafood dishes. The signature lasagne is also not-to-be-missed, and special requests can be accommodated as well. Although the restaurant is small and quiet, the owners welcome families and children with open arms.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Pomodoro is dimly lit, quiet, and small, all elements that add up to a romantic ambiance. Of course, the food is great too.
Jade's expert tip: Ask if there's a dessert special.
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.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Duke's is one of those fun and lively romantic places to dine with great food ocean side.
Jade's expert tip: Sit outside for a great view of the ocean.
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 Romantic Dining because: This is the perfect place for time alone. Take in ocean and sunset views while sipping delicious tropical cocktails.
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.
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.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Located right alongside the ocean, diners can watch the sunset over surfers riding the waves.
Jade's expert tip: Catch sunset over the surf spot.
Charm runs rampant at this delightful cafe, which brings a touch of Old Hawaii to guests via vintage photographs and island postcards. 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. Reservations are a must at Postcards, as it's a favorite of locals and visitors alike.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Postcards serves amazing locally sourced Pacific Rim dishes in a charming atmosphere.
Jade's expert tip: This is a can't miss on the North Shore.
The flavor of old Hawaii runs strong at this circa-1930 Tudor estate, which was once the home of a sugar plantation executive. These days, the mansion and its surrounding 35 acres have been opened to the public as a series of quaint shops and this delightful restaurant. The dining room affords wonderful views and also allows diners to indulge in such fare as fresh seafood, steaks, lamb, and kalua pork. Lunch adds in lighter dishes, including sandwiches and salads, and the courtyard makes an ideal place to relax with a cool drink and good company. As one of Kauai's more upscale eatery, Gaylord's is perfect for a date night or nice family dinner.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: In addition to locally sourced gourmet food, Gaylord's offers dancing under the stars.
Jade's expert tip: Dance on the outdoor dance floor under the stars.
The name says it all, the full bar and restaurant is truly a beach side Oasis. Breathtaking ocean views can be enjoyed, and both outdoor and indoor seating are available. 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. Offering tables right on the sand, it can't get more romantic than this.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Oasis is located right on the sand, and offers a nearly 100 percent locally sourced gourmet menu.
Jade's expert tip: The Sunday brunch is one of the best on the island.