Travel

Hawaii Restaurants

Establishment neighborhood
Eating House 1849
2829 Ala Kalanikaumaka Rd., Poipu
After training in Los Angeles at Le Serene, Chef Roy Yamaguchi opened his first Hawaiian restaurant, Roy's, in the late '80s. Born in Tokyo, the menu was Hawaiian fusion, some of the first of its kind, and Yamaguchi went on to win a James Beard award. There are three Eating Houses 1849's scattered across the islands (the name is an acknowledgement of the first restaurant on Hawaii, which was called Eating House), and the one on Kauai is part of the Shops at Kukuiula (where a lot of the island's great restaurants are nestled). The menu changes frequently, but expect to find classics like potstickers, chicken wings, and an outstanding "Hapa" burger, which is a mix of beef and Kaluna wild boar. There's also an excellent spicy ramen bowl.
Beach House Restaurant
5022 Lawai Rd., Poipu
Sure, the views from all sides are stunning—one of the island's best snorkeling beaches is immediately below—but the food here is also reliably fantastic. This is partly due to the fact that it's co-owned by Peter Merriman, who knows exactly how to nail the upscale Hawaiian beach vibe, but a fair share of credit goes to chef Marshall Blanchard who turns out seafood-inflected comfort food that's the perfect amount of fancy. This translates to a really good option for big celebratory family dinners, as well as low-key sunburnt lunches. Don't miss stand-outs like panko-crusted calamari and the fish & chips (with pineapple tartar sauce)—there's a straightforward kid's menu, too.
Monkeypod Kitchen
10 Wailea Gateway Place, Wailea
From the same group that's behind Merriman's (and conveniently close to the Andaz), Monkeypod has a straightforward menu of Hawaiian classics like poke and Kalua pork, plus a few great burgers and fresh fish. They're proud of having 36 beers on tap, and have great cocktails featuring unusual Hawaiian ingredients, like a Mai Tai with honey-lilkoi foam, and a "Pod Thai" with créme of coconut and lemongrass-cardamom syrup. There's a second location in Kapolei.
Star Noodle
286 Kapuohi St., Lahaina
Chef Seldon Simeon won a season of Top Chef, and (in addition to being an excellent chef) is a bit of a local celebrity, which helps to explain why there are such long lines at his restaurant. That said, if you can make a reservation in advance, Seldon's take on Hawaiian Asian fusion, which includes well-executed ramen, udon, Singapore noodles, pad thai, and more, is widely considered to be one of the best meals on the island. There's also a healthy selection of share plates, like tempura shrimp, Vietnamese crepes, and yakitori, plus a full-service sake bar.
Merriman’s Fish House
2829 Ala Kalanikaumaka St., Poipu
Peter Merriman was one of the pioneers of the local food scene in Hawaii—he was at the forefront of efforts to grow vegetables in the local volcanic soils, so they could be eaten fresh (rather than after a lengthy journey on a boat). Today, he partners with local farmers to serve his three restaurants, and there’s one each on Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island. The dining room and menu are dressed up without being overly stuffy, so it’s ideal for a nicer family or group outing. Try the upcountry salad (made with kale and butter lettuce from local farms), the fresh-caught mahi mahi, and vegetarian taro cake.
Merriman’s
65-1227 Opelo Rd., Waimea
Peter Merriman was one of the pioneers of the local food scene in Hawaii—he was at the forefront of efforts to grow vegetables in the local volcanic soils, so they could be eaten fresh (rather than after a lengthy journey on a boat). Today, he partners with local farmers to serve his three restaurants, and there’s one each on Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island. The dining room and menu are dressed up without being overly stuffy, so it’s ideal for a nicer family or group outing. Try the upcountry salad (made with kale and butter lettuce from local farms), the fresh-caught mahi mahi, and vegetarian taro cake.
Paia Fish Market
100 Baldwin Ave., Paia
Another Paia town gem, this laid-back, seafood-centric dive with lots of light and communal tables serves what many agree are the best fish sandwiches on the island. Everything on the menu, from the Mahi in the fish tacos to the Ahi in the sashimi, is caught locally and prepped fresh the second it’s delivered every morning by local fishermen. And if seafood isn’t your thing, the burgers and chicken dishes are all sourced from neighboring Maui farms. There's a second location in Kihei.
You may also like