Dining Outside the Home: Hukilau Lanai in Kapaa, Kauai! If you’ve ever wondered how hula dancers keep that slim waistline, perhaps it has something to do with healthy choices. Hukilau Lanai offers farm-to-table fruit and local vegetables as well as fresh fish and seafood. They support local farmers and fishermen who are mindful of the environmental impact. A staff of gourmet chefs continue to be inventive in serving food that is as appealing on the plate as it is on the palate. Garnishes add beauty in addition to aromatic elements. It all adds up to outstanding flavor and top-notch quality.
Dining Outside the Home: Paniolo Santa Maria-Style BBQ in Kapaa, Kauai. In the heart of Old Kapaa Town, you can get food hot of the grill on the outdoor patio while listening to lively island music. Meet up with family or make new friends across the picnic table. Paniolo’s signature style reflects cooking meat that has been properly seasoned over an open fire. There is an art to moving the grill up or down to control the temperature. The results will amaze you. Plates are served with chili-bean rice, tossed green salad, and grilled French bread slathered in butter. Follow your nose to the woodsmoke aromas of barbecue pork, tri-tip steak, fresh fish, and tender chicken. It’s a toe-tapping happy place to eat.
Dining Outside the Home: Oasis on the Beach in Kapaa, Kauai. Fusion food is spot on at Oasis on the Beach, an open-air restaurant a few steps from the ocean. This is Hawai’i, after all, where the fish is as fresh as the view is captivating. No humdrum menu here. One of the House specialties is the island catch-of-the-day, seared to perfection. Mmmm. Pair it with Thai curry spices blended into coconut milk for a fabulous sauce. Did you notice the farm-to-table veggie chunks to add flavor? Now you’re talking. Don’t forget a scoop of white rice. It’s a meal in a bowl that does not disappoint.
Dining Outside the Home: Lemongrass Grill in Kapaa, Kauai! Venture down the road to Choy Village for a quiet dinner in an old Kauaiian homestead. The tropical ambiance of Lemongrass Grill stretches from outdoor patio dining to indoor secluded areas. Their specialties include international dishes from land and sea. If curry is your thing, Lemongrass Grill is spot on with gluten-free and vegetarian entrees. Happy hour cocktails and appetizers influence your time among the Pan-Asian culture. Take a sip of the popular “Blue Hawaiian”, garnished with a pineapple wedge and maraschino cherry. Take a break from the beach to be transported away for a satisfying meal. You deserve it.
Dining Outside the Home: Monico’s Taqueria in Kapaa, Kauai. Change is good, especially when location is involved. Monico’s Taqueria moved up the road where they can serve more customers. Sitting on the outdoor patio at the edge of a coconut grove affords a stunning view of the mountains at sunset. Nice. Kick back, sip on a salt-rimmed margarita, munch on tortilla chips dredged in smoky salsa or homegrown habanero sauce. It doesn’t get any better than this. When the plate of fork-tender crispy pork carnitas arrive, you won’t want to share. Stuff the corn tortillas with beans, rice, pork, and guac. Fold over and bite. As the juices run down your fingers, don’t despair. Lick them. After all, it’s family. There’s no judgment here. The atmosphere is as down to earth as the food itself.
Dining Outside the Home: Olympic Cafe in Kapaa, Kauai! Slide into a booth with a view of the street, or sit in the bar where the crosswinds cool off sunburned skin. Olympic Cafe daily specials can vary from breakfast combinations to two-handed thick burgers or spicy ahi sandwiches. Either way, the portions are generous so if you walk away hungry it’s your own fault. Just make sure you leave room for dessert. It’s worth it. The Kauai Pie is meant to be shared. Listen to this: Kona coffee ice cream loaded with shaved coconut, dark chocolate, and macadamia nuts. Don’t forget the fudge swirls and whipped cream. Now grab a fork and submerge into an island sugar coma.
Dining Outside the Home: Coconut’s Fish Café in Kapaa, Kauai. Even if you never plan to ride a surfboard, you can still enjoy the spirit of Aloha every time you visit Coconut’s Fish Cafe. Surfboard table tops encourage a “Hang Loose” attitude while filling the room with positive energy and healthy food. Top a mixed green salad with the grilled shrimp duo and a seared plank of blackened ahi, smeared with wasabi sauce. Also, might I suggest the papaya dressing? It’s amazing. All sauces and dressings are made from scratch. Order the coconut shrimp to have beforehand or with the meal. It sets the stage for a fabulous meal.
For island-style charm, on the historic Royal Coconut Coast, the oceanfront sunrise is unbelievable. As the dawn turns from azure-blue-grey to the golden cerulean seagreen of clear Pacific waters, the pull of the ocean practically lures you over the balcony to become one with the sea. Across the only road that runs north and south, like a horseshoe, on the island just beyond the lush valley is a view of the Sleeping Giant Mountain Range. The view can literally take your breath away. Old Kapaa Town is just a stone’s throw away. Walk the uncrowded shoreline, paying attention to the kite-surfing enthusiasts, or choose the paved Kauai Path for biking and daily exercise. Whatever the whim, the East Shore fits the bill.
Dining Outside the Home: Oasis on the Beach in Kapaa, Kauai! Warm up to the spice in Fresh Fish Tacos. After all, you’re at the beach and the fish doesn’t get any fresher than this. Ask the waiter for the special condiment caddy. Among others, you’ll get a trio of Hawaiian Chili Pepper Sauces for a gratifying south-of-the-border taste extravaganza. These sauces are made locally by the Kauai Juice Company in the heart of Kapaa. Sample between the Chocolate Habanero, the Kiawe Smoked, and the Mango Garlic Ghost. Trust me, you’ll know. The grilled flour tortillas come with shredded cabbage and an avocado mousse to balance out the heat. Go strong…or go home!