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Eat an open-air breakfast or lunch with an expansive vista of Poipu. Located on the Kiahuna Golf Course, this restaurant boasts such favorites as eggs Benedict, tofu scramble, and banana-macadamia-nut pancakes. For lunch, try the Reuben sandwich or ribs, or build your own salad. The small plates menu and happy-hour drink specials are available from 3 to 7, including favorites such as herb and garlic chicken skewers, seared fish tacos, and homemade chili nachos, all accompanied by live Hawaiian music. With a casual atmosphere and generous portions, Joe's is a refreshing alternative to the pricier hotel brunch venues in this area. www.joesonthegreen.com. Credit cards accepted. No dinner.
Relying heavily on super-fresh island fish and locally grown vegetables, this restaurant offers quality food that is competently and creatively prepared. The fish—grilled, steamed, or sautéed, and served with succulent sauces—shines here. Other sound choices are the savory meat loaf and prime rib. Mac-nut crusted chicken and a few pasta dishes round out the menu. The ahi nachos appetizer is not to be missed, nor is the warm chocolate cake. The spacious dining room looks out to the ocean, and it's lovely to eat at the outdoor tables when the weather is nice. Overall, it's a solid choice on the East Side. www.hukilaukauai.com. Credit cards accepted. No lunch. Closed Mon.
Folks just love this funky old plantation-style diner. Locals and tourists stream in and out all day long, and neighbor islanders stop in on their way to the airport to pick up take-out orders for friends and family back home. Saimin is the big draw, and each day the Hiraoka family dishes up about 1,000 bowls of steaming broth and homemade noodles, topped with a variety of garnishes. The barbecued chicken and meat sticks adopt a smoky flavor during grilling. The landmark eatery is also famous for its lilikoi (passion fruit) chiffon pie. As one of the few island restaurants open late, until 8:30 pm on weeknights and midnight on Friday and Saturday, it's favored by night owls. No credit cards.
This spot in Hanalei's restored old schoolhouse offers dolphin-safe tuna, low-sodium meats, fresh-baked breads, and homemade desserts as well as a casual atmosphere where both families and the sports-watching crowds can feel equally comfortable. Early birds can order coffee and toast or a hearty breakfast. Lunch and dinner menus feature sandwiches, burgers, filling salads, and nightly specials of fresh local fish. They also will prepare a picnic and give it to you in an insulated backpack. A full bar and frequent live entertainment keep things hopping even after the kitchen closes. Thursday evenings fill up for fish taco night, which begins at 6. www.hanaleigourmet.com. Credit cards accepted.
Housed within the Waimea Plantation Cottages, this old-time restaurant is spacious, with hardwood floors and open-air decks. Dine indoors amid rattan furnishings or at a bar decorated with petroglyphs and colored with Kauai red dirt. Local-style dishes such as Korean garlic chicken, beef short ribs, and fresh fish are highlights. It has live contemporary Hawaiian-style music on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights. It's a good place to stop while traveling to or from Waimea Canyon, and the island-made microbrews are worth a try. Credit cards accepted.
This restaurant recently received a welcome overhaul. Located in what was at one time Kauai's most expensive plantation estate, Gaylord's pays tribute to the elegant dining rooms of 1930s high society. Tables with candlelight sit on a cobblestone patio surrounding a fountain and overlooking a wide lawn. The sustainability-minded menu features classic American cooking with a focus on locally produced ingredients. Try the quiche ceviche with avocado and citrus, followed with a Wailua lamb chop, stuffed eggplant or Aakukui Ranch beef tenderloin with gorgonzola-stuffed potato cake. Lunches feature the tasty (grilled eggplant and peppers with pickled vegetables, rouille, and smoked provolone) and the daily burger, the chef's "whimsical preparation" of ground local meat. The lavish Sunday brunch includes a variety of eggs Benedict offerings in addition to standard omelets with farm-fresh eggs and a pancake station. Before or after dining you can wander around the estate grounds. www.gaylordskauai.com. Credit cards accepted.
If you're big on breakfasts, try Eggbert's, which serves breakfast items until 2 pm daily. This traditional favorite has moved to the north end of the Coconut Marketplace but still welcomes families. It's a great spot for omelets, banana pancakes, and eggs Benedict in two sizes. Lunch selections include sandwiches, burgers, a pork and cabbage plate, and fresh fish. Take-out orders are also available. And if you'd like a bloody mary with those pancakes, Eggbert's bar can oblige. Credit cards accepted.
Surfing legend Duke Kahanamoku is immortalized at this casual bi-level restaurant set on Kalapaki Bay. Guests can admire surfboards, photos, and other memorabilia marking the Duke's long tenure as a waterman. It's an interesting collection, and an indoor garden and waterfall add to the pleasing sights. You'll find simple fare ranging from fish tacos and stir-fried cashew chicken to hamburgers, served 11 am to 11 pm. At dinner, fresh fish prepared in a variety of styles is the best choice. Duke's claims to have the biggest salad bar on the island, though given the lack of competition, that isn't saying much. A happy-hour drink and appetizer is a less expensive way to enjoy the moonrises and ocean views here—though it can get pretty crowded. The Barefoot Bar is a hot spot for after-dinner drinks, too. www.dukeskauai.com. Credit cards accepted.
The inlaid marble floors, ornate tile work, and Italianate murals that compose the elegant interior at this restaurant compete with a stunning ocean view. In addition to the beautiful setting, Dondero's offers outstanding food, a remarkable wine list, and impeccable service, making this one of Kauai's best restaurants. Chef Patrick Shimada's elegant tasting menu features Italian dishes, including homemade pastas, risotto, and flatbread pizza. Try the four-cheese risotto with Kauai cherry tomatoes, or the grilled Pacific swordfish filet, served with oregeno, lemon, olive oil, and baby bell pepper relish. The waitstaff deserves special praise for its thoughtful, discrete service. Credit cards accepted. No lunch.
Outdoor dining in a pleasant garden setting and consistently good food make this restaurant at the Kiahuna Swim and Tennis Club worth a visit. The fresh fish of the day and the beef filet with porcini truffle sauce are noteworthy, or try the fresh mozzarella wrapped in prosciutto and served with poached figs in a distinctive pork-fig sauce. A tapas menu rounds out the offerings. www.casablancakauai.com. Credit cards accepted. No dinner Mon.
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