2014 Kauai, HI Restaurant Reviews by ALEDM

NOTE: we practically always share our meals, typically ordering one starter, one main and one dessert for the two of us. That makes a big difference in the cost of our meals and the expansion of our waistlines. We don’t have the kitchen split the meals because ALE doesn’t eat as much as DM. We just ask for an extra plate and ALE takes what she thinks she should eat.

ALE and DM discussed adding ratings to our restaurant reviews and compromised on the following ratings:
HR: Highly recommended
R: Recommended
NR: Not recommended
A: Awful
Okay, now the reviews:

1.    Princeville, Hanalei and Kilawea Area

1.1.        HR: Postcards Cafe, 5 Kuhio Hwy, Hanalei, HI 96714, (808) 826-1191, http://postcardscafe.com/. We sat on the front porch under a fan and it was lovely. We had a very nice meal and had a very nice server. We chose the monchong fish (a delicate fish like halibut called sickle pomfret) grilled with a peppered pineapple sage sauce ($34). That came with rice, a grilled tomato, green beans and a dollop of squash. There was plenty of fish for the two of us and the sauce was very good too. We also ordered the Baked Portobello Mushroom ($10) which was a mushroom cap, marinated with aged balsamic vinegar, filled with vegetables, topped with parmesan cheese, and served with a silky tomato basil vinaigrette. It too was very good,  as was the vinaigrette. We each had a glass of the Italian pinot grigio ($9 x 2) and we enjoyed the meal. There was no dessert we wanted so we spent $69.29 plus tip.

The second time we went we also sat on the front porch under a fan and it was lovely. We had a very nice meal and had the same very nice server as we had the first time we went. We had one appetizer, one entrée, one dessert and one bottle of wine. It was just as good a meal as the first time we went. For our appetizer, we had the seared polenta cakes encrusted in hemp seed that came with a salsa, a pumpkin seed sauce and a cabbage salad pickled in a rice wine and sugar marinade ($10). Each had very good individual flavors; the cabbage salad was great. For our main we had the Sorrento fusilli pasta with the shrimp, fish, mushrooms, greens and garlic in a chardonnay, chevre sauce ($24). The fish and shrimp were cooked rare as we requested and had a delicious flavor and a tender texture. For our wine we had a Pinot from Alsace that was very good too ($30). For dessert we had the lilikoi (passion fruit) mousse and it too was delicious. We were very happy and happy that we had waited the 20 or so minutes for a table. We spent $66.67 plus tip.


1.2.        R: Neides Salsa & Samba, 5-5161 Kuhio Hwy., Hanalei, HI 96714. We sat outside on the covered porch and had a great view of Namolakama Mountain. We ordered too much but wanted to try two Brazilian dishes. We also ordered a bottle of Zolo Malbec 2012 ($34) that was good. We had one Muqueca ($28) a special stew made with ono, jumbo shrimp, Brazilian coconut sauce served with a side salad of local organic greens, tomatoes and house balsamic vinaigrette and Brazilian rice. The second dish we ordered was the Ensopado ($12.95) which was whole chicken parts (2 thighs), carrots, potatoes stewed in a tangy Brazilian sauce and served with Brazilian rice and black beans. Both dishes were good and we had enough leftovers for another meal at home. The service was good enough and friendly enough. We spent $80.10 plus tip. See a review of this restaurant at: http://www.thekauaivoice.com/food-review-neides-salsa-and-samba-brazilian-and-mexican-restaurant/

1.3.        R: The Hanalei Dolphin, Hanalei Dolphin Center 5-5016 Kuhio Highway, Hanalei, Kauai, Hawaii 96714, Phone: (808) 826-6113, web: http://www.hanaleidolphin.com/index.htm. We had a nice lunch on the porch. We shared one salad with ahi tuna, char-broiled. It was a good salad and enough for two. The piece of ahi was rare and actually tasted of the charcoal. It was very good. We chose the spicy vinaigrette and it was good and not too spicy. The service was okay. We spent $18.75 plus tip.

1.4.        R: Tikiiniki, Cocktails, Cuisine and Mele, 5-1280 Kuhio Hwy., A101, Princeville, HI 96722, tel. 808-431-4242. We sat on their porch overlooking the food court that had live music. The music was nice. Alessia was our server and was pleasant. We had one entrée and a side dish. The entrée Mac Nut Crusted Roasted Pork Loin with Hawaiian Lilikoi (passion fruit) Dijon sauce, roasted potatoes and sautéed onions and peppers ($21). The pork was juicy enough to please Dimitri and he was happy with the dish. We had one side of Vietnamese eggplant ($6) which was large but not Vietnamese. The eggplant was in a cheesy sauce with onions. It was good. We each had a glass of red wine from the Languedoc- Roussillon region of France ($8 x 2). We spent $44.79 and had enough to take home for lunch.

1.5.        R: Hanalei Gourmet, 5-5161 Kuhio Hwy., Hanalei, HI 96714, tel. 808-826-2524, web: http://www.hanaleigourmet.com/. Our meal was good. We sat outside so that we were prohibited from having wine. The band (playing until 9 p.m.) was very loud inside so we didn’t want to sit in there. We had one order of mussels that were good and in a very good sauce. We had one order of the pasta of the day with spicy sausage. It was huge. The mussels came with homemade baguette that was very good. The pasta came with homemade foccacia that was not good. There was no dessert we wanted. We spent $26.98 plus tip.

1.6.        R: Kilauea Bakery 2484 Keneke St, Kilauea, HI 96754  in the Historic Kong Lung Center, tel. (808) 828-2020, web: http://kilaueabakery.wordpress.com/. We had a couple of nice lunches there. One day we had the soup and salad special and it was good. We spent $10 for lunch. Dimitri liked the bread pudding and we got some to take away for his desserts.

1.7.        R: Bouchons, 5-5190 Kuhio Hwy, Hanalei, HI 96714, (808) 826-9701, web: http://www.bouchonshanalei.com/. Our server was good. Chicken and scallop entrée. It was good. We had 2 glasses of wine. The bill was $39.84 plus tip.

1.8.        R: Hanalei Taro and Juice,  5-5070A Kuhio Hwy, Hanalei, HI 96714, (808)826-1059, http://www.hanaleitaro.com/Home_Page.html. We sat at their picnic benches. We had one Lau Lau Plate ($9) with pork steamed in taro leaf served with poi, rice, taro mac salad. It was very good and a good change from restaurant food. We also had a watermelon juice ($3) that was good too. We spent $14.

The second time we had their food, we saw the truck at the Kapaa Wednesday Farmers Sunshine Market. We took a plate to go home. It was again very good.

1.9.        R: The Tavern at Princeville by Roy Yamaguchi, 5-3900 Kuhio Hwy, Princeville, HI 96722, tel. 808-826-8700. The setting is beautiful and the service was okay (by Tony). We shared one Grilled White Anchovy Caesar Flatbread ($14). It was like a pizza with salad on top. The flatbread was okay—a little too moist—with parmesan on top. The salad with its dressing and shaved cheese was good. There were four tiny anchovy segments on the salad. If it were not for the meager anchovy offering the flatbread salad would have been excellent. It was definitely enough for 2 people for a light lunch. We spent $14.58 plus tip.

1.10.     R: Lappert’s Ice Cream, Kuhio Hwy, Princeville Shopping Center, Princeville, Kauai, HI 96722, tel. 808-826-7393, http://www.lappertshawaii.com/. It was very pricy but Audre liked the Kona coffee in a waffle cone and Dimitri liked the mango in a cup (because it was not too sweet and actually tasted like mango). We think we spent about $10 for the two items. There was a long line and the only place to sit was in the food court. That was fine and there was live music there so it was nice.

1.11.     R:  The Garden Café at the Common Ground, 4900 Kuhio Rd., Kilauea, HI 96754, tel. 808-977-8371, www.cgkauai.net. It was a beautiful farm and community center type of place. One orders one’s food at the cashier and picks it up at the window. The place is very nice and the furniture is comfortable. We had one salad of the day ($18) and one cup of the soup of the day ($4). Both were good and the setting is lovely. We spent $22.92 plus tip—but what was the service that we left the tip for?

We had breakfast at the Garden Café the second time we went. We were disappointed and put off by the prices. We spent $32.29 for a breakfast which we ordered at the counter and picked up ourselves. We had one Huevos Rancheros  described as "Two Organic Eggs, Beans, Daily Grain, Kale, Corn & Wheat Tortillas, Pico de Gallo Add: Shredded Medeiros Grass Fed Beef or Kalua Pork, Sub: Gluten Free Corn Tortilla" and one Acai Pancakes, described as "wheat free Gluten-free acai pancakes, fresh compote 100% pure maple syrup". We had 2 coffees (unlimited refills) for $4 each. Everything was good and we appreciated the pure maple syrup but we will not return—too expensive for what it is. We forgot and left a tip again. We pissed ourselves off.

We walked the Wai Koa Loop Trail for about 2 hours before lunch at the Garden Café. The trail is well marked and very nice, with lovely mountain views. We stopped at the Stone Dam Lookout and took photos. The loop (without the portion to the Kauai Mini Golf and Botanical Gardens) was almost 4 miles. It was made possible by the generosity of Bill and Joan Porter and it was great. The Garden Café was very inviting after our hike and we had the daily special of swordfish on a bed of roasted vegetables in a tasty sauce. The swordfish was marinated and tasty, although a little dry. We were happy we stayed for lunch. We spent $18.75 and this time did not leave a tip since we did all of the ordering and serving and clearing ourselves.

We had a very nice but expensive breakfast at The Garden Café just before we left Kauai. We shared everything and had one acai pancakes that came with maple syrup and a delicious fruit compote ($14). We liked everything. We had one coffee ($) and one juice ($6). The total was $25—no tip—we did all of the work.

1.11.     R sort of: Bar Acuda, 5-5161 Kuhio Hwy, Hanalei, HI 96714, tel. 808-826-7081, http://restaurantbaracuda.com/.We went with another couple and we had a reservation. We were given a nice booth in the corner of the front room. Unfortunately that corner was hot and still. Our server, Lynn, was good but a little brusque. Fortunately none of the four of us were big eaters because the bill would have been much higher if we continued to order. We were brought good bread which everyone liked. We had one Kailana Farms salad with goat cheese that had a very small dollop of cheese on some salad greens for $12. We had one shrimp dish that, fortunately, came with four shrimp ($13). We had the daily special of quail that was very good and one more dish that we can’t remember. We also had two beers. The total bill came to $61 plus tip (ridiculous for that small amount of food).

1.12.     NR sort of: Mediterranean Gourmet, 5-7132 Kuhio Hwy., Haena, HI 96714, tel. 808-826-9875, www.kauaimedgourmet.com. Everyone recommends this restaurant. We do not and maybe it is because Dimitri is an expert on Mediterranean food. The place was lovely and Imad Beydoun, the owner and chef, was nice enough. The view is special. The food was not authentic and was not particularly good. We had one cup of asparagus soup that was in a coffee cup and was like water ($4.99) with no asparagus taste. We had one falafel sandwich wrap. The falafel  were mushy, not crisp and not tasty. The quinoa salad inside the pita wrap was good and the French fries that came with the wrap were crisp the way we asked for them. We spent $17.60 plus tip and vowed not to return. (See our review of the Little Greek Town food truck.)

1.13.     NR sort of: Lei Petite Bakery in the Princeville Shopping Center Food Court. We had one waffle ($10).  It was very expensive and not that good. But if you want a waffle and don’t have a waffle maker…

1.14.     NR sort of:  Kalypso, 5-5156 Kuhio Hwy G4, Hanalei, HI 96714, (808) 826-9700, www.kalypsokauai.com. Our server, Wyatt S, was inattentive and plain poor. We had the Staker poke ($15.95) and the ratatouille pasta ($16.95) as well as a side order of garlic bread for $3.95 (which we didn’t need because the pasta came with 2 slices of garlic bread). The portions were large and there was plenty of food for the 2 of us to share. Dimitri thought it was good. Audre thought it was average. We spent $38.39 plus tip.

1.15.     NR: Shave Ice Paradise, 5-5183 Kuhio Hwy, Hanalei, HI 9671, (808) 826-6659. It was a snow cone and too sweet. We chose what Kauai Revealed suggested: rainbow with mango, pineapple, guava and watermelon over macadamia nut ice cream. The flavors had no taste—no flavor at all. The ice cream had tiny pieces of nuts but no macadamia nut flavor. For $6 it was a waste of calories and disappointing. We had wanted to go to the other “best one” in the food truck called Wishing Well in Hanalei but we got there after he had closed for the day. We wouldn’t have liked the shave ice there either. It’s not our kind of thing.

2.    Kapaa and Anahola

2.1.        HR: We had a very good meal and lovely service at Mema Thai and Chinese Cuisine (4-369 Kuhio Hwy., Kapaa, HI 96746, tel. 808-823-0899, https://www.google.com/#q=mema+thai+kauai+menu). The room is nicely decorated with rosewood furniture. We sat in the back near the window (and away from the air conditioners). We were surprised that there was no highway noise inside. We BYOB’ed and there was no corkage charge. Yeah! We started with one Thai Ginger Coconut Soup (Tom Kha) with chicken ($10.25) that was delicious. It is described as “coconut milk, Thai ginger, kaffir lime leaves, mushrooms, green onions and parsley” and it indeed had all of those ingredients. We shared it and still there was plenty to take home for a lunch. For our main we shared the Mema’s Curry with fish described as: “kaffir lime leaves, ground lemon grass, garlic, coconut milk, potatoes and mild seasoning” ($13.50). It was great! With it we had one order of sticky rice ($2.25). For dessert we had a Thai Tapioca with coconut milk ($2.50) that was also delicious. We spent $29.69 plus tip and were very happy.

We had the same server as the first time we visited and she remembered us too. Very nice. We ordered on Spicy Lemongrass soup (Tom yum) with lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, green onions, Thai parsley and spices in a clear broth, with chicken ($10.25). The soup, with all of the listed ingredients was very good; the texture of the chicken was not good. It was kind of like paper. We also ordered one Green Curry cooked with coconut milk, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, eggplant and fresh basil, made with fish ($13.50). It was scrumptious. The fish was tender and tasty and there was lots of eggplant. Didn’t taste the kaffir or the lemongrass but that was okay; the dish was superb. We had one sticky rice ($2.25). We didn’t have any dessert because they hadn’t made any that day. We spent $27.40 plus tip and were very happy.

2.2.        HR: Restaurant Kintaro, 4370 Kuhio Hwy., Kapaa, HI 96746, tel. 808-822-3341. This was a very good restaurant with very good service. We ordered too much and had enough to take home for another entire meal. We were each brought a small plate with pickled cabbage and turnip—we liked it! We ordered one Sukiyaki Dinner ($19.95) and one Nabeyaki noodles ($11.95). The Sukiyaki Dinner came with Sunamono Salad and Miso soup. Our server brought us 2 of these; how nice. The soup was very tasty and so was the salad—very flavorful with tiny shrimp and crab and other interesting ingredients. The Sunamono Salad was described as “an Oriental classic with a variety of seafood on island cucumber with a light vinaigrette dressing.” We had a lot that we couldn’t finish and took that home too. We ended up taking all of the Sukiyaki entrée  home. It was described as “tender beef, bamboo shoots, yam noodles, mushrooms, tofu, fresh island vegetables cooked in a sweet soy sauce, accompanied by a raw egg and served in a traditional iron pot.” We ate all of the Nabeyaki noodles which were described as a “traditional Japanese iron pot filled with udon noodles and fresh island vegetables, topped with shrimp tempura and egg, simmered in a clear Japanese bouillabaisse broth.” It was excellent. With our Nabeyaki noodles we had one large hot sake ($8.50). We were happy and spent $42.08 plus tip.

We had another very good meal at Kintaro. We were brought a small plate of picked diakon and pickled cabbage. We like an amuse bouche like that. We ordered a mixed sashimi plate that came with ahi (yellow fin) tuna, hamachi (yellow tail) tuna and Atlantic salmon (about $18.95). The hamachi was unusual for us and we really liked it. It is denser than ahi yellow fin and just as tasty. The salmon was good too. The dish was garnished with shredded diakon and ginger. We had 1 ½ hot sakes (about $15) that evening too. For our entrée we ordered one Nabemono of YoseNabe ($18.95) that was so much food we took a lot of it home. It was described as having clams, crab, mussels, scallops, shrimp, fish cake, island fish, and island vegetables of zucchini, carrots, shitake mushrooms, wonbok and bokchoy. It had all of those things in it; they were tender and the broth was delicious too. We were glad we went again.

2.3.        HR: Eastside Cafe, 4-1380 Kuhio Hwy, Kapaa, HI 96746, tel. (808) 823-9500, https://www.facebook.com/theeastsiderestaurant. We were delighted with our meal at the Eastside. It was surprising because it looks more like a bar and when the music begins at 7 p.m., it’s like a bar with music. Our server, Alicia, was personable and professional and we liked her. We were brought pickled glass noodles with seaweed and 2 pairs of chopsticks. Very good. We shared everything and only had one entrée and one dessert. Bread isn’t ordinarily served and we asked for some ($2); it was good enough. We didn’t have a glass of wine because we think $11 is too expensive for a glass of red wine. We had one of the daily specials—the rack of lamb ($36). Instead of mashed potatoes that came with the dish we asked for the roasted red potatoes. The dish also came with mixed vegetables. They were cubed and sautéed and very good—particularly with the cubes of mangos in it. The lamb came rare and was tasty with it’s hoisin marinade. It was a very good dish. For dessert we had the bread pudding. It was served warm in a half papaya shell. It had tiny cubes of Granny Smith apple in it with raisins and was very good. It came with vanilla bean ice cream and a guava strawberry sauce. The dish was delicious. We spent $47.92 plus tip and we were happy and full.

We had another good meal, which we shared. We had the ahi special of the day, blackened with a tomato, ginger butter. It came with rice and a small salad ($36). The dish was very good and the fish was prepared the way we asked for it—rare. We had a glass of Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc ($7) with it. We had the bread pudding baked in a papaya again and enjoyed it too ($8).
2.4.        R: We liked this Sushi Bushido (4504 Kukui St., Suite 5, Kapaa, HI 96746, tel. 808-822-0664, http://www.sushibushido.com/). The décor was simple and pleasing. While the menu is mostly sushi (which we didn’t want), we found entrées we did want. We had on udon soup ($12.95) that Dimitri liked. We were brought a miso soup with our other entrée that was very good. Our other entrée was Teriyaki Beef ($15.95) and it came with rice. The beef was tough but the taste was good. With our meal with had a large, warm sake ($10) and the complimentary tea (that was tasteless). We spent $40.62 plus tip for Kimi (who was pleasant).

We went for dinner a second time and had a very good meal. We started with a salad of lots of lettuce and crispy tempura soft shell crab on top ($15.95). It was huge with lots of crab pieces. The crab wasn’t crispy but was good nonetheless. So was the salad dressing. We had one and one-half carafe of hot sake ($18) with our meal. For our main we had grilled ono ($28.95) that came with rice. We asked for it rare and it was. It was juicy and good. There were 3 pieces of ono and we could only eat 2 of them. So we took one home for lunch. Nicolette was our server and she was pleasant, professional and good. We had a nice meal and spent $65.70 plus tip.

2.5.        R: In spite of its name, we went to Bull Shed Restaurant (4-796 Kuhio Hwy, Kapaa, HI 96746, tel. 808-822-3791, www.bullshedrestauarnt.com). It was very good too. We were very careful with our ordering. It could have gotten very expensive. We had one Prime Rib Bull Shed Cut ($37) and it was a gargantuan piece of 24 oz. on the bone. With that came one trip to the salad bar (one plate was enough for the two of us), bread and steamed white rice. We ordered a side dish of one baked potato ($5) that came with all of the fixin’s. The prime was served as we requested-rare and was delicious and tender, like butter. The horseradish sauce was well made and the au jus was good too. We were happy with the food and the $43.75 bill (plus tip) too.

2.6.        R: Hukilau Lanai, 520 Aleka Loop, Kapaa, HI, tel. 808-822-0600, hukilaukauai.com  is and looks like a typical hotel restaurant in the tropics. We liked our meal and Joe, our server, was pleasant. Jill, the assistant manager, pitched in when Joe was busy so we got our wine and had a nice conversation with her. We had one entrée that came with either soup or salad. We chose the seafood gumbo soup and it was very good. For our main we chose the Ono (Pacific Waho) marinated in a soy emulsion and then char grilled and served in a coconut, tamarind, lilikoi curry sauce with jasmine rice and a pineapple salsa. It was delicious and plenty of food for 2 people. We also ordered a bottle of Sustainable White from Mendocino (a blend of 5 grapes) for $22. It was a good wine. We didn’t want any dessert so our bill was $54.17 plus tip. We were happy.

2.7.        R: Art Cafe Hemingway, 4-1495 Kuhio Hwy, Kapaa, HI 96746 , tel. (808) 822-2250, http://www.art-cafe-hemingway.com/. The place looks lovely. We sat on the banquette and a chair in a corner and it was comfortable with the fan. The service was annoyingly slow. There was only one server but we don’t think that was the problem. We think that the kitchen was slow. Because the soup that Audre wanted (pea, ginger) was not available, our orders did not come out at the same time. Dimitri got his croissant sandwich with Gouda and ham ($4.50) way before Audre got her small salad ($4.50). Dimitri liked his sandwich and Audre liked her salad with Thai peanut dressing. We had one Affogato (Affogato is a typically Italian way to enjoy ice cream — it's literally "drowned" in espresso or another liquid topping.) Dimitri really liked it. We spent $14.48 plus tip.

For our next lunch, we arrived at 1:43 p.m. and the kitchen was closed already. Fortunately we had telephoned and reserved a slice of quiche and told them we would be late—but would arrive before the 2 p.m. bewitching hour when they close. They had the reserved piece of quiche for Dimitri but since the kitchen was closed, the only thing Audre could have was yogurt. However there was a second small piece of quiche which Audre ate. Each came on a large plate with no garnish. It looked lonely. We were only charged for 1 quiche because the second piece was so small. The bill was $6 plus tip.

We went for dinner and were glad we did. We were the only ones there at 6:30 p.m. but it got busier later. We shared everything as usual and had the duckbreast and mango tartelette ($7) to start. It came with a small salad sprinkled with flower pedals. It was good and tasty. We had a glass of the Rioja ($8) and a glass of the Tempranillo ($7). Both were good. For our main, we had the Moroccan lamb with basmati rice ($17). We were worried that it would not be enough food for the two of us but it was. The flavors were very good and the sauce was yummy. For dessert we had the Valrhona chocolate soufflé ($8) that was delicious if a tiny bit too runny. It was a very good meal and we recommend the restaurant. We spent $56.25 plus tip.

2.8.        R: Anahola Cafe at the Anahola Marketplace, located at Mile Marker 12 at the entrance of Anahola, Mauka of the Highway, Anahola, Kauai, HI 96703, tel. 808-631-4134, www.anaholacafe.org . We had a very good dinner. Our server was a delight! We were staying for dinner and she made sure that we had a table cloth, a flower and an ice bucket for the wine we brought. She brought us glasses and made us feel welcome. While we were the only ones eating there at the time, people came to pick up items for take away. We shared one Roast Pork plate ($12) which the kitchen split for us. It came with rice and potato-mac salad. It was delicious. We ordered a cobbler for dessert with ice cream ($6) which Dimitri didn’t like. There was plenty of food for the two of us and we enjoyed it. We spent $18 plus tip. The second time we went we had the ono plate. It was dry and tough and basically inedible. Don’t have that if you go! Dimitri liked the saimin soup very much.

2.9.        R: Huli Huli Chicken at Hale O Kanaka Maoli at Anahola Marketpalce, Mile Marker 12 at the entrance of Anahola, Mauka of the Highway, Anahola, Kauai, HI 96703, call Susanne 808-268-6087 or Keo 808-639-2163 to order (only open on weekends). They were very nice and gave us the most undercooked chicken on the barbeque, as we requested. The plate had a delicious salad from Susanne’s garden with a lovely vinaigrette dressing and rice. One plate was enough for the two of us; the chicken was a bit dry to our taste. We spent $12.

2.10.     R: Anahola Farmers Market, Cnr. Hokualele Road and Kuhio Hwy., Kauai, HI. It’s open Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The BBQ chicken and BBQ pork plates were both delicious. The roasted potatoes pleased Dimitri, the roasted potato expert, pronounced these very good. The corn was not—too much like horse corn and not sweet enough. The mangos sold at the Anahola Farmers Market are the most intensely flavored we’ve had on the island. They are Hadens and reminded us of Alfonsos from India they were so good, intensely flavorful and non-stringy.

2.11.     R: Duane's Ono Char Burger, 4-4350 Kuhio Hwy, Anahola, HI 96703, (808) 822-9181. We shared one ono char teriyaki burger ($5.15). This was the description: “All Burgers Are 14 Pound Served With Lettuce, Tomato, And Mayonnaise On A Sesame Seed Bun. This Is Not Fish.” We only have a burger once every 5 or so years. For us this was a good, not great burger. We also shared one order of French fries ($2.50). They were good. Dimitri bought a Kona Brewing beer at the Whaler’s Market next door. We enjoyed our lunch by the noisy highway, even though it took a very long time for our order to be prepared (we had been warned and it was no problem). We shared a table in the shade and talked to our table-mates. It wasn’t overly expensive.

2.12.     R: We wanted pancakes and Island Palm ((Breakfast and Lunch only), 4-885A Kuhio Hwy., Kapaa, HI 96746, (808) 823-8828) has them! We had been driving by this building, noticing it was open for breakfast and lunch but had never tried it. We were happy we went for breakfast. We had one order of their (3) buttermilk pancakes with a mixture of fresh fruit ($9.95), 1 sausage link ($1.50) and one coffee ($2.50) with refills. The room is nice with lots of fresh flowers around. The service was good and the pancakes were light enough to please us too. The syrup wasn’t real maple but the whole dish was good. There was so much food we couldn’t finish the pancakes. We spent $16 plus tip. Why isn’t Island Palm open for dinner?

2.13.     R: Pono Market, 4-1300 Kuhio Hwy., Kapaa, HI 96746, tel. 808-822-4581. (owned by Bob and Lynn Kubota). We brought Kalau Pig Plate to take home. It was delicious and enough for the two of us. We also bought some of their poke and rice pudding.  The poke was very good but the rice pudding didn’t meet Dimitri’s standards. We spent $17.48. From the café, we tried the “Dirty Chai” made with a shot of espresso. It was excellent and addictive ($5.75).

2.14.     R: Verde Restaurant (4-1101 Kuhio Hwy., A3, Kapaa, HI 96746, tel. 808-821-1400, http://www.verdehawaii.com/Verde_Hawaii/Welcome.html). We went for lunch and were brought chips and salsa (which could have had more taste). Dimitri liked his Stacked Enchilada with pork. He ordered it medium spicy and it was just right. Audre ordered a side of guacamole ($1.95) and was disappointed with the absence of any taste. The service was okay and because it was not busy, the restaurant was not noisy. We spent $17.60 plus tip.

2.15.     R: Pho Kapa'a, Kauai Shopping Center, 4-831 Kuhio, Hwy., Suite 440, Kapaa, HI 96746, tel. 808-823-6868. The man and woman running the place were very pleasant. The place is simple and just fine. We ordered one summer roll shrimp and pork with lettuce and cucumber ($6.99). They were okay but had no basil, mint or cilantro or anything particularly tasty in them. The peanut sauce was okay too. We had one combination pho ($10.99) and that came with basil, bean sprouts and lemon. Audre used some of the basil in her summer roll and that was good. The pho was good enough. The meal was fine and we spent $21.65, including tip.

2.16.     R: Kauai Family Cafe, Filipino and Local Delicacies,Wailua Shopping Plaza, 4-361 Kuhio Hwy, Kapaa, HI 96746, tel. 808-822-3288. We had a very good meal in a pleasant room. Our server was very good and handled all of the tables in the restaurant. There was a good number of people eating in and more came in for take-out orders. We ordered too much and had enough for another meal to take home. We started with the appetizer of Lumpiang Sariwa (Fresh Lumpia), a traditional Filipino dish which is folded into soft, crepe-like wrapper made with eggs. They contain a mixture of stir-fried ingredients heavy on the veggies and pork and served with sauce ($6.99). For our main we had the sinigang na Bangus which was milkfish with tamarind soup base with ginger, onion, tomatoes and local vegetables ($13.50). It was delicious and the broth excellent. We also had the Sweet & Spicy tofu with Eggplant ($8.50) which was good but a little too sweet and too oily. For dessert we had one Halo Halo (very good) for $5 and one honey dew bubble drink ($4). We were happy and we spent $39.58.

We went again for lunch and had 2 selections from the buffet—vegetables and the vermicelli noodles. Dimitri liked it. We also took home two items for a dinner: an eggplant and green bean stir fry and a pork dish with two scoops of rice. We spent $16.67 plus tip. We were happy.

2.17.     R: Al Pastor Food Truck, in Kapaa near the furniture store. We had a fish taco there and it was good and enough for the two of us for lunch. It cost a pricy $13.

2.18.     R: Little Greek Town, food truck that moves around, we found it near the furniture store in Kapaa, phone: 808-631-9807, e-mail: littlegreektown@gmail.com.  We sat on the benches, under umbrellas, at this food truck. We had one Falafel Plate (with 6 falafel), pita bread, rice, horiatiki salad ($12). Dimitri, the Greek from Egypt, pronounced the falafel very good. We were happy with this lunch.

We went back for another Falafel Plate lunch and it was just as good as the first one. We definitely recommend this place.

2.19.     R: We noticed Caffe Coco (4-369 Kuhio Hwy, Kapaa, HI 96746, Phone:(808) 822-7990, http://www.caffecocokauai.com/) near Wailua, on our way to Lihue one day and decided to go for dinner. Instead of eating early we took food home. We had one Charmoula Platter composed of Moroccan Spiced Ahi, cucumber yogurt and served with a sweet potato samosa, jasmine rice and a green salad ($25). We also got a bowl of Thai Curried Pumpkin Soup ($7) and a slice of passion fruit cake with a passion fruit sauce. Unfortunately the ahi was a thin slice and even though it was seared quickly, it was dry (as we were warned it would be). There were two sauces, one the yogurt for the fish and one for the samosa. The samosa was good—in a croissant! The sweet potato was purple and very good. The soup was also very good, as was the salad. The dessert too was very good and enough to slice into 2 slices. So the only thing that wasn’t good was the main: the fish. The menu is very limited. One platter was enough for us to share. We spent $41.14 for our takeaway.

Another night we went to have dinner there. Coco (from Venezuela) was our server and she is quite personable. Coco had a helper when she got busy which was good. The garden was nice. We had been warned about mosquitoes so Audre sprayed herself and had no problem. The small pieces of glass being used on the floor (for decoration?) that we also had been warned about were still there and still dangerous. We shared everything as usual and bought a bottle of wine from the Shell Station diagonally across the street (there was $5 corkage at Caffe Coco). Coco brought us an ice bucket and glasses. We started with Potstickers, filled with banana chutney and tofu, with a mango sauce ($8.50). The sauce did not resemble mango and was too sweet and kind of like a barbeque sauce. The potstickers were a little soggy. They were sitting on a bed of cabbage and the sauce went well with that. For our main we shared the Jamaican Jerk Organic Chicken with purple sweet potatoes, coconut creamed spinach, pineapple salsa and served with a salad ($24). It was a good dish with good components but the chicken was a little dry, even though we asked for it rare and juicy. For dessert we had the mango puff pastry with mango sauce. The puff pastry was good and the homemade ice cream was good too but it tasted of coconut milk rather than mango. The explanation was that it was made with coconut milk in order to be vegan. Thus the mango flavor was drowned out. We had a nice meal and our total was $56.77 plus tip.

2.20.     R: Shivalik, 4-771 Kuhio Hwy., Kapaa, HI 96746, tel. 808-821-2333. We had a very nice meal at Shivalik. Our server, from Calcutta, was good. His helper, a young woman from Jordan, was delightful. The place is nicely decorated so it was pleasant. We shared everything and started with Mulligatawny soup ($4.50). It was good but kind of thin. We ordered one lamb sag cooked with spinach and pepper and garnished with ginger ($19.50). It was served with rice. We also had one Peshawari Naan stuffed with finely ground nuts and raisins ($4.25). The meal was good. We probably should have ordered another dish because we were a little hungry. Each dish on the menu seemed a little pricy and, to order a vegetable dish for $15.95, seemed excessive. For dessert we had one Kheer (rice pudding) costing $5.50 that Dimitri did not like—too mushy. Our total bill was $40.36 plus tip—not too expensive.

One day, we took home two lunch special thalis to have for dinner and both were very good. They both came with basmati rice, yellow dal, vegetable curry of the day, achar, half naan and salad. There was also a small dessert in the thalis. One thali was the lamb curry ($12.95) and the other was the Dal Makhani ($9.99). There was plenty of food and it was tasty. By taking away the special lunch thali for dinner we saved money and we enjoyed having at home with wine. We spent $23.90. We also had one (expensive) mango lassi for $5 (which Dimitri didn’t drink with dinner because he was too full!)

2.21.     R: Korean BBQ Restaurant, Kinipopo Shopping Village, 4-356 Kuhio Hwy., #E, Kapaa, HI 96746, tel. 808-823-6744. The staff was friendly and pleasant. There were a goodly number of people and a nice buzz in the restaurant. We had the Steamed Mandoo dinner served with potato-mac salad, vegetable and rice ($9.50)--the 10 steamed dumplings which were okay and the sauce of soy and sugar was good. We couldn’t finish them all and so we took some home; they were good re-steamed for lunch. We also had the Chop Chae, the long rice glass noodle mixed with chicken ($13). It had carrot and cabbage in it as well. It was good but not particularly flavorful. To start we were brought a soup that had seaweed and chicken in it. It was good. We were also served kim chee that was just the right amount of spicy. It was a good dinner and we spent $23.44 plus tip.

2.22.     R: Sukhothai Restaurant, Kapaa Shopping Center, 4-1105 Kuhio Hwy., Kapaa, Kauai, HI 96746, tel. 808-821-1224. We went for lunch and had one noodle Pad se wu stir fry with pork  ($10.95). It was good. We spent $12 plus tip and were happy.

Another time, we took home dinner for 4 people and spent $59. It was good (but without enough lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and basil) and we had enough leftovers for yet another meal.

2.23.     R: Wahooo Seafood Grill and Bar, 4-733 Kuhio Highway, Kapaa, Kauai, Hawaii 96746, tel.(808)822-7833, web: http://wahooogrill.com/. We enjoyed our meal. We sat side by side looking at the field next to the restaurant and the mountains beyond. While we could hear the highway noise, it was not intrusive. The jazz band playing kind of drowned out the noise and was mellow and enjoyable. Our server, Billie-Kay, was born on Kauai and was pleasant and good enough. We ordered too much but the items on the menu tantalized us. We ordered a bottle of the Starborough Sauvignon Blanc ($32) and it was good. (We had just that day bought a bottle at CostULess of the same wine for $11.99 so this mark-up was typical of a restaurant). For our starter, we had the wok-fried soft shell crab ($14), complemented with sushi rice, avocado, crab salad and micro greens. There were two crabs and they were very good (and filling). We got permission to have just one salad bar and soup ($5). The salad was good; the soup was a gloppy rendition of clam chowder. For our entrée, we ordered the scallops and shrimp ($28). It was very good and the shrimp and scallops were left “rare” the way we like them. There were three of each on a plate with a good sauce but we were so full we took one and one-half home. There was a “processing fee” for using a credit card. Our total was $83.53 plus tip and we were happy.

2.24.     R: Kauai Pasta, 4-939 B Kuhio Hwy., kapaa, HI 96746, tel. 808-822-7447, www.kauaipasta.com.It’s a set of two utilitarian rooms with some Italian-inspired pictures on the wall and a bar in the back of the restaurant. We sat in the front room, away from the air conditioners. Ashley B was our server and she was okay. We ordered a bottle of Bulgarian wine called Vini Merlot (Thracian Valley) for $27 and it was our first bottle of Bulgarian wine and it was good! To start we shared the Crab Stuffed Mushroom with grilled asparagus and yuzu hollandaise ($11.95). It was a little too rich but good. The restaurant serves bread and that was good. For our main we shared the House Pasta described as: home-made meat sauce of mushrooms, Black Angus beef and Italian sausage. It was good enough but there was not sausage taste in it at all. The dinner was good and we spent $53.02 plus tip.

2.25.     R: Lappert's Hawaii, 4- 484 Kuhio Hwy., Coconut Marketplace, Kapaa Kauai Shopping Center, Kapaa, HI 96746, tel. 808-822-0744. We went back to Lappert’s for the Haden Mango ice cream. Again, it was very good and at $3.95 for one scoop, still very expensive. Audre tried the  Kauai Pie - Kona coffee ice cream swirled with chocolate fudge, coconut flakes, macadamia nuts and vanilla cake crunch ($3.95 plus waffle cone $1). She liked it. So we spent $9.27 for after dinner ice cream and sat at one of their tables in the courtyard. BTW, the Coconut Marketplace was kind of dead at 7:30 p.m.—such a shame. (See our review in section 1 of Lappert’s in Princeville.)

2.26.     R sort of: Oasis on the Beach, 4-820 Kuhio Hwy., Kapaa, HI  96746, tel. 808-822-9332, www.oasiskauai.,com. The setting of the restaurant by the shore is excellent. We liked our server, Jennifer. We shared one couscous wrap that came with a salad ($13). It was all vegetarian and good. It was also plenty of food for the two of us. We had one vanilla homemade gelato ($7) and Dimitri liked it. We spent $20.83 and were happy.

We went for dinner the second time we went. The evening was annoying. The same bartender who was too loud and intrusive during lunch was truly off-putting during dinner. Our server, Adam, was slow and inattentive. The dishes were tasty but small for their prices. We ordered three appetizers, and while we had enough food, the plates looked empty when the dishes were brought to us. The best dish was the Okinawan sweet potato chips with truffle hollandaise ($7). The chips were thick and crisp and the truffle oil actually tasted of truffles. We had the next two dishes brought together. The fresh catch crudo, hard-boiled egg, radish, salsa verde & truffle vinaigrette ($10) had so little ono in it that it was difficult to actually taste it. The clams, ginger pork sausage, cilantro, garlic, shallots, lemon juice, white wine & toast ($12) were too tiny to appreciate. The ginger pork sausage didn’t taste of ginger and the consistency was not pleasant—kind of like dog food. We had two glasses of the Sangiovese $8—the only reasonably priced red wine by the glass. We spent $46.87 plus tip.

2.27.     R sort of: Holo Holo Paniolo Grill (4-1345 Kuhio Hwy., HI 96746, tel. 808-822-4656) is new—it opened in July 2014. It’s at the corner of Kauwila St., across the street from the Hee Fat Shopping Center. We had their bowl of pork with a Kauaian mole-inspired sauce that was served over rice with salad greens (with an avocado shaving and some cucumber) on the side of the bowl. It was hearty and just a little spicy but not particularly inspired. We spent $9 and were given a bottle of water too. We are recommending it (sort of) because it’s new and we think you should give it a chance. (BTW, sitting outside was a little hot and air-less. That’s why most people take their food to go.)

2.28.     NR sort of: Lemongrass Grill and Seafood Bar, 4-871 Kuhio Hwy, Kapaa, HI 96746, (808) 822-2288, http://lemongrasshawaii.com/. We sat inside (away from the highway noise) in the back room. It was pleasant and the seats had padding and were comfortable. Amy was our enthusiastic server. The music by Kelii Kanealii was very nice in the distance. The Hawaiian bread that was brought was good. We shared everything and had two entrées. One was the seafood stew ($27) described as “An array of sea food cioppino style stewed in a tomato based bouillabaisse accented with fresh lemongrass and spooned over steamed Jasmine rice.” We asked for the rice separate so it wouldn’t get soaked from the bouillabaisse; that was a good idea. The soup had an interesting taste but had no lemongrass taste whatsoever. The seafood was overcooked and tough; Dimitri was happy however. We also had the vegetarian linguine. We ate a little of it and left the rest; it was not interesting. We ordered a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc ($22) and a side of garlic roasted potatoes ($3). They were excellent and we ordered a portion to go so we could have them with dinner at home. We spent $66.46 plus tip. We were not happy because we were looking forward to food with the taste of lemongrass—it was in the restaurant’s name after all and, for that matter, in the description of the dish we ordered.

2.29.     NR sort of: Happy Snacks Thai Food Truck Kapaa, HI. This is a truck next to the furniture store in the north end of town. Near this truck is El Pastor tacos and the crepe truck. We wanted to try it and now that we have, we doubt we will return. Mema Thai/Chinese is so much better and the restaurant itself is a pleasant place. We had one medium spicy Panang Curry with fish and one Garlic Stir Fried Vegetables with rice. The total for both was $22. We had too much food for the two of us for dinner but only one dish would have been boring. We had one malasada ($1) that we didn’t like at all.

2.30.     NR: Rainbow Living Foods (4-1384 Kuhio Hwy, #103-A, Kapaa, HI 96746, tel. 808-821-9759, web: rainbowlivingfood.com).This is not our kind of place. The Falafel plate (5 pieces) for $12.99 was very disappointing (the falafel at the Greek Town Food Truck were much better). The plate was described as “falafel over a bed of lettuce and sprouts, with tahini, walnut cumin bread, olives and tomato and cucumbers.” The falafel fell apart;  they were not made correctly and the taste wasn’t right. The tahini wasn’t tahini. There were 4 lettuce leaves, some sprouts, 1 olive in 5 pieces, a tomato and cucumber salad, and some bread that was more like crackers and had no taste. We spent $14 and do not recommend this place.

2.31.     NR: Beach Walk Restaurant, 4-1546 Kuhio Hwy, Kapaa, HI 96746, tel. 808-822-7887. The location: great. Our server, Iris, was inattentive and vacant. We had one Chinese Chicken Salad ($12.95) which was big enough for the 2 of us for lunch but totally uninspired. The food: not so great. We spent $13.49 plus tip.

2.32.     NR: Tropical Dreams Ice Cream, 4-831 Kuhio Hwy, Ste 220, Kapaa, HI 96746, Phone number  (808) 822-1010 $6 for the passion fruit cream in a cup. We thought it was too sweet.

2.33.     NR: Gopal's Creperie Food Truck, near the furniture store in Kapaa. It crepe with apple banana, macadamia nut butter and honey was a little gloppy. Perhaps it was undercooked. The macadamia nut butter had no taste. Perhaps that’s just macadamia nut butter. The apple bananas tasted of banana, not apple. Perhaps that’s just apple banana. The crepe cost $7. We sat in the area designed by Gopal’s amongst the chickens roosting. It was nice but neither the owner and the substitute worker were pleasant.

2.34.     A: Kountry Style Kitchen, 4-1485 Kuhio Hwy., Kapaa, HI 96746, tel. 808-822-3511. We were not happy with our breakfast. We waited about 15 minutes for a table—it’s a popular place that came recommended. Dimitri had an omelet and Audre had a single pancake with coconut. The omelet was thin and dry and the pancake was heavy and doughy. The coffee was good. We spent $23.20 plus tip.

2.35.     A: Olympic Cafe, 4-1354 Kuhio Hwy, Kapaa, HI 96746, (808) 822-5825, web: http://www.olympiccafekauai.com/. We went for lunch and the wait was impossibly long. First we waited for long enough to have had the kitchen make the carnitas that we had ordered. Then someone came by to tell us that they were out of carnitas and that we needed to choose something else. We chose a Blackened Chicken Wrap ($11.99) and waited until someone finally came by to take our new order. Then we waited and waited again for the order to come. It was huge and it was good. The achiote sauce gave it an interesting spiciness. We asked for the bill immediately after receiving the order and waited for that. We gave the money to the server as soon as we got the bill and waited for the change. It wasn’t that the restaurant was busy; it was just a terribly slow kitchen and terribly slow servers. On our check the name of our server was Ashley C. but who knows? The bill was $12.49 plus tip.


3.    South

3.1.        R: Mark's Place, Puhi Industrial Park,  1610 Haleukana Street Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii 96766 | Phone (808) 245-2522 and (808) 245-2722 and Fax (808) 245-2744, http://www.marksplacekauai.com. We spent $12.24 for one daily special Hawaiian plate lunch with Kalua Pork, chicken long rice and rice with a salad ($9.25) and one Butter Mochi ($2.50). The chicken long rice was particularly interesting—pieces of chicken with glass noodles in a tasty sauce. The Kalua Pork was like pulled pork that was marinated and so was not dry. Everything was good and sitting outside at a picnic bench with other people was fun. The people we were sitting with live in Kauai and they had lots of good advice. It was fun.

3.2.        R: Naupaka Terrace, Kauai Beach Resort, 4331 Kauai Beach Drive, Lihue, Hawaii 96766, phone h: 1-808-2451955. The service was very slow, although our server, Erwin (a veteran of 8 years) apologized profusely. When he finally took our order, we had one salad bar ($5.95) and one seafood linguine ($29). We asked for the seafood to be barely cooked. While we were waiting to order, we helped ourselves to one soup. It was a cream of spinach and it was tasty. We had the salad bar and bread while we were waiting for our entrée. The salad ingredients, dressing and the bread were good. Our linguine, when it came was also very good though not tasty enough. The seafood was tender and sweet. Fortunately, the cream sauce was not too creamy and we liked it. We had one glass of Malbec ($8) and one glass of sauvignon blanc ($8). Both were good. We spent $53.07 plus tip.


3.3.        NR: Beach House Restaurant (5022 Lawai Rd., Koloa, Kauai, HI 96756, tel. 808-742-1424, www.the-beach-house.com). We don’t recommend this restaurant because the dish we had was tasteless and uninteresting. The view, however, was beautiful with perfect surfing waves crashes outside and surfers entertaining us. Our server, Jorge, was pleasant and good. We ordered one Beach House Ceviche to share ($16). It was described as “fresh island fish, scallops, tiger prawns, avocado, tomatoes, cucumber, citrus, lilikoi juice and Molokai’ purple sweet potato chips”. We ordered another side of sweet potato chips ($2) and a side of bread ($1.50). Jorge warned us that their ceviche was not traditional because the lilikoi (passion fruit) makes it sweet. Well, it wasn’t sweet, there was no taste of passion fruit or anything else for that matter. The fish didn’t have any flavor either. It was actually awful. The chips and bread were good. We spent $20.31 plus tip.