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The Grand Hyatt Kauai is notable for its excellent restaurants, which differ widely in their settings and cuisine. This one is definitely the most tropical and campy, sure to appeal to folks seeking a bit of island-style romance and adventure. Private grass-thatch huts seem to float on a koi-filled pond beneath starry skies while torches flicker in the lushly landscaped grounds nearby. The equally distinctive food has an island flavor that comes from the chef's advocacy of Hawaii Regional Cuisine and extensive use of Kauai-grown products including fresh herbs from the resort's organic garden. You won't go wrong ordering one of the signature dishes, such as the volcano spiced opah, macadamia-nut crusted mahimahi, or the Hawaiian-salt and garlic-rubbed prime rib. Start with jumbo lump crab cakes or wasabi-crusted calamari to wake up your taste buds. If you're still hungry at the end of the meal, the molten chocolate lava cake is sure to satisfy. Credit cards accepted. No lunch.
This recently-opened eatery provides a refreshing alternative to the typical fish and seafood offerings at most of Kauai's upscale restaurants. Boasting no particular Indian regional style, this small-plaza hideaway with a tandoor oven has delicious curried vegetables, chicken dishes, and naan. Their samosas are especially noteworthy. The lunch buffet is a bargain at $14. www.shivalikindiancuisine.com.
Roy Yamaguchi's tasteful restaurant overlooking the beautiful Prince Golf Course offers a convivial, lively atmosphere to dine in. Though it lacks ambience after the sun goes down, the food is high-quality, with specialties like Parmesan-crusted ono, ahi poke spiked with a kukui nut base, an excellent onion soup gratin, plus steak, burger, and chicken choices. Kid- and small-group friendly, the Tavern lends itself to a casual come-and-go vibe. www.tavernbyroy.com.
Ribs and other succulent smoked meats are the stars at this casual upstairs restaurant that has a large, often noisy dining room and lovely ocean view. While the BBQ is best here, the menu also has shrimp, chicken, and burgers. You can choose your BBQ sauce and two side dishes; the coleslaw and baked beans are noteworthy. If you still have room for dessert, try the make-your-own s'mores. www.scottysbbq.com. Credit cards accepted. Closed Sun.
If you want to eat at a hip restaurant that's a favorite with locals, visit Kintaro. But be prepared to wait on weekends, because the dining room and sushi bar are always busy. Try the soft-shell crab roll or the unbeatable Bali Hai bomb, a roll of crab and smoked salmon, baked and topped with wasabi mayonnaise. For a traditional Japanese meal, ask for the tempura combination, complete with fish, shrimp, and vegetables. Teppanyaki dinners are meat, seafood, and vegetables flash-cooked on tabletop grills in an entertaining display. Tatami-mat seating is available behind shoji screens that provide privacy for groups. The purple haze, a delicious mix of warm sake and framboise liqueur, is a must-have cocktail. Credit cards accepted. No lunch. Closed Sun.
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Oahu: Ocean House Restaurant
Kauai: Plantation Gardens