Dining Outside the Home: Café Portofino in Lihue, Kauai! Do you need a reason to love lasagna? Might it be the oven-baked pasta bathed in layers of zesty spices, fresh herbs, meat sauce, and Italian cheese? Just thinking about it is mouth-watering. Well, you don’t need to travel to Northern Italy from the Pacific Ocean. Café Portofino, a beachfront restaurant on Kauai, serves up a plate of happiness and satisfaction by bringing the Italian deliciousness right to your table. Their classic lasagna combination features the rich meat sauce of cravings as well as a creamy white sauce to die for. This is not your ordinary lasagna. Taste it to believe it.
Dining Outside the Home: Avalon Gastropub in Kapaa, Kauai! When a waiter at another restaurant tells you where he goes after a hard day, you sit up and take notice. Avalon Gastropub is a trailblazer for this genre on the island. It is a place that offers a casual, yet refined atmosphere. The top-notch food and drink selections step up the freshness and creativity of the daily menu. Crabmeat Crostini is one of those delectable special features. The chef recommended Scotch Egg features a soft boiled egg wrapped in pork belly sausage. It’s one of several tantalizing small plates, that’s for sure. Some crafted cocktails aim to tickle the palate with smoke-infused alcoholic beverages, such as the Jalapeño Smoked Margarita shown here. It actually comes to the table in a smoker box. Talk about a multi-sensory experience.
Dining Outside the Home: Duke’s Kauai in Lihue, Kauai! An open-air view of the deep blue Pacific Ocean may leave you wondering what tasty sea creatures lie beneath the surface. One glance around the dining room may answer that thought. The chefs at Duke’s Kauai respect the Hawaiian tradition of local fishermen. Their catch-of-the-day is determined by the season. It could be Ahi with its steak-like texture seared and crusted in furikake seasoning. Or it may be Ono with its juicy and mild flavor grilled in a spicy sesame-ginger glaze. Other island favorites are always an option. Add vegetables, fruit, and bread selections from their famous salad bar to complete the entree. When it’s all said and done, no one walks away hungry from Duke’s Kauai.
Dining Outside the Home: Little Fish Coffee in Hanapepe, Kauai! Follow your nose in historic Hanapepe to the alluring aroma of freshly brewed coffee. Be transported to your “happy place” where the smiling fish on the sign invites you to sit awhile for an energetic caffeine fix. Little Fish Coffee’s quirky decor makes for a very social environment or oasis, so to speak. Take time to check social media, nibble on a bagelwich, and people watch. The outdoor seating in the courtyard may present a sunny spot for fresh air and sunshine until that hypnotic coffee aroma lures you back inside for a refill.
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: Kalapaki Joe’s in Lihue, Kauai! Sometimes you gotta go for bar food cravings and skip dinner in favor of Happy Hour. That translates to dine-in appetizers. At Kalapaki Joe’s, the food and beverage specials have a way of appealing to the palate. Indulge yourself with tasty chicken wings as hot as you like them. No pain, no shame. Put out the fire with a classic salt-rimmed margarita. It goes down cold and easy. Menu items are still available if you want to tag on a salad or another small plate to balance out the flavors. You’ve got time for grazing and conversation before the dinner crowd rushes in. You know what they say, the early bird…has the advantage, or something like that.
Dining Outside the Home: The Cabana Bar & Grill in Koloa, Kauai! Word is getting around that an open-air restaurant, with a backyard of Poipu Beach, is the place to go if you’re looking for a good time. Delicious food and tropical cocktails make this hotspot part restaurant, part beach bar. At The Cabana Bar & Grill seafood offerings and humongous burgers promise to make your mouth water as soon as the plate hits the table. No worries. There’s plenty of time to savor every bite as you sip the time away. After all, you’re in paradise and you’re not homesick. It doesn’t get any better than this.
Dining Outside the Home: Brenneke’s Beach Broiler in Poipu, Kauai! Across the road from Poipu Beach, pull up a chair at Brenneke’s second floor restaurant for a casual meal with an open-air view of beachfront action. Rain or shine, it’s a pretty decent hangout for Happy Hour cocktails and Kauai-Style Pupus. Fresh Mahi Mahi, Ono, and Sashimi Grade Ahi prove the fishermen like Brenneke’s as much as the customers. If big beach burgers are your thing, no worries. They’ve got ‘em. Feed the entire family; a Keiki menu offers finger foods and dinner entrees. Drop by and stay awhile, you’re on island time now.
Dining Outside the Home: Kenji Burger in Kapaa, Kauai. It’s always good advertising when a sign boasts: “We use 100% Kauai grass fed beef,” especially if you prefer a fusion diet of healthy meats and vegetables. Grass fed beef translates into leaner burgers. At Kenji Burger, the Japanese mix of Asian cuisine with American favorites provides a taste extravaganza that’ll leave your head spinning. Think outside the box. Teriyaki burgers, misoyaki fish sammies, spicy poke bowls, loaded sushi burritos, and furikake fries. This is not your ordinary burger joint. See the maneki-neko Japanese cat figurine, with its paw raised, perched on the counter? It definitely brings good luck. Perhaps you’ll give them a try. Kenji Burger is spot on.