The Hanalei Taro and Juice Company is a stand-alone food trailer, come as you are, order at the window, chow at picnic tables, watch the world (and chickens) go by.
They are know for lau lau, pork or chicken wrapped in taro leaves and then steamed on a stove or done traditionally and placed in an underground oven called an imu.
A sushi and fish market restaurant, The Dolphin is riverfront in Hanalei and perpetually packed with tourists. An afternoon downpour brings The Monster in to sample a little bite and try to stay dry.
It’s a lively place on the edge of town, more a place to come for a great time than a great meal. One look at the menu and you see a place catering to the masses.
St. Regis, Kauai Grill by Jean-Georges. The property itself is the nicest on the island but that ain’t saying much because it feels like a nicified airport Marriott (albeit with great service and a stunning Hanalei Bay view).
The room is pretty atrocious. Loud, great view, good service. But the room is just horrible. However the menu reads pretty amazingly. Let’s dive in…
Shrimp burgers, garlic…
shrimp, coconut shrimp, Cajun…
shrimp, shrimp tacos, shrimp…
Set in a charming house on the edge of Hanalei, Postcards is a casually elegant and romantic spot for some of the better food on the North Shore.
You’ll find couples on honeymoon, families with their kids and locals alike digging into a menu featuring seafood and vegetarian options.
When visiting the lighthouse or nearby botanical gardens (yawn) stop off at Kilauea Fish Market, a tiny counter order with a limited menu of fish specialties.
With a few tables outside you can picnic with a quick snack ordering their famed ahi tuna wrap.
Silly name aside, Bar Acuda is the most accomplished restaurant Hanalei has to offer. With an atmosphere that would be at home in LA or SF, this tapas restaurant from Jim Moffat has serious pedigree and is renowned for innovative and delicious food.
Sitting outside doesn’t offer the lively ambiance of inside and our waitress is a wet noodle but The Monster is jazzed to give this spot a try.
When in Hawaii you owe it to yourself to have one true island lunch plate. A messy mass of fried goodness that is cheap, filling and altogether delicious.
Enter Bobbie’s in Hanapepe for what some say is the best of the bunch on Kauai.
Tahiti Nui/Tiki Man Pizza. A+ vibe, Hawaiian (Don Ho forever) music and tiki bar scene along with the island’s (reputed) best Mai Tai’s. For cinephiles, The Descendants shot here. So there you go. A ton of good reasons to hang out on the North Shore of Kauai.
The pizza, #3, essentially BBQ’d chix (the waitress fave) is not so great with its rock hard crust. Reminds of the crap you would get at 3 am in college and not complain. Difference now is it is 9 pm, you have had one drink and you want it to taste good, not just fill up your stomach in hopes of thwarting mega-hangover-city.
Need shave ice right now.
We don’t want Leonard to die.*
*See pics below…