Just got back from a terrific week at the Hyatt in Poipu. My family and I listened to Ruth Reichl’s enjoyable “Garlic and Sapphires” on our day trips around the island. In the spirit of her book here’s a food report.
“Home turf report” (Hyatt Hotel Restaurants were we stayed)
Tidepools: only place my teenage sons would let my wife take a family photo. The photo was beautiful but the food was only average. My wife’s swordfish was overly seasoned. The Hawaiian salt was too strong for her mainland taste buds. The other fish dishes were okay. The lobster cole slaw salad and the brulee trilogy were our two favorite dishes. It’s a beautiful location and the service was excellent so the dining experience still felt special. Make a sunset reservation if you are staying at the hotel and with lowered expectations you will have a lovely time. For a family of four 300.00 without alcohol. Appetizers in the 12 to 15 dollar range. Main courses in the 30 to 45 range.
Ilima Terrence: strictly a breakfast buffet that comes with the hotel package. It has some Asian elements ie. rice and miso soup for breakfast. If by day four or five you are getting tired of the buffet you can transfer the buffet allowance to the hotel’s golf course restaurant. The house special fried rice topped with sunny side eggs was a family favorite.
Stevenson Library Martini and Sushi nights Friday – Sunday. Two sushi chefs churn out overpriced but serviceable sushi in comfy back area that is designed like a library that Sherlock Holmes would hang out in. No opium is served but the martinis were dry and live jazz was played by musicians who don’t act like they are slumming. They seemed to be enjoying the gig and so was everyone in the room. The kids can eat in the bar until 9:00.
“A Special Meal that was Supposed to be Special but Wasn’t”
Roy’s at Poipu: Last time we were in Kauai we ate here two times and wished we had eaten here more. It felt like an oasis in a desert of mediocre food. This time we found the food only average and the experience underwhelming. The tab for my family of four was 275.00 without alcohol. No one in my family wanted to go back.
“Places we appreciated”
E.B Eats at the Poipu Village Shopping Center: Found this place from a prior Chowhound recommendation. I like to give a loud shout of thanks. A little restaurant with courtyard dining perfect for casual lunch or breakfast. The waldrof salad was my favorite. Also loved the meatloaf sandwich. They use local, organic greens. A place to be supported.
Various locations. In and Out style burgers... toasted buns... thin patties. Fun casual lunch stop for the family on the way back from Princeville.
Hanalei Mixed Plate
Across from Bubba’s burgers in the Ching Young Village, Hanalei. Pork and cabbage mixed plate was my favorite. 7 to 9 dollars for the various plate lunches. Casual.
Joe’s Golf course
Dine right off one of the tees. The food is solid and a good value. Enjoyed the Mahi Mahi fish and chips. 170.00 for a family of four. Unfortunately I think they are not serving dinner for the rest of the summer. The place serves a really good breakfast. Casual.
Located in Koala. The best mixed plate on the island. They are rude in a soup nazi way, but the food is cheap, plentiful, and wonderful. Takeout only. Get the pork mixed plate. It comes with two types of pork dishes (one wrapped in a banana leaf /the other shredded). Also included in the lunch plate was an amazing Hawaiian style salmon crevice. Tiny bits of salmon were tossed with a soyu/mirin sauce. We brought the plate lunches back to the hotel and wolfed down the terrific, home-style food as we looked out at the waves at Shipwrecked Beach. It was pure bliss for 32.00 for the four of us.
Jo Jo’s in Waimea
I had the watermelon shaved ice over a bed of macadamia ice cream. Our favorite shaved ice place. On the same side of the street was a shrimp place that made various types of shrimp dishes. No atmosphere, but the garlic shrimp was very good. Nice place for casual lunch.
Caesar salad was surprisingly good at this reasonable pizza place. A welcome respite from the 300 dinners. My family ate for 60.00.
On the way to Princeville. The Pineapple Frosty was the best single dish we had on the island. For 3.50 you can taste something that needs a passionate writer like Ruth Reichl to describe.