Friday, December 26, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Garden Island also an island of gastronomy

By
From page B5 | November 02, 2013 |

KAPAA, Kauai, Hawaii — There’s a good reason why almost no one pays much attention to the food here on the Garden Island of Kauai.

From the wild cliffs of the jagged Na Pali Coast to the wide beaches of Poipu, Polihale, Kalihiwai and Kealia, to the lush green slopes of Mt. Waialeale (wettest spot on Earth) and myriad waterfalls that pour from it all year ’round, the sights here grab your attention almost all the time.

But this is also a first-rate island of gastronomy with perhaps the most gourmet restaurants per capita anywhere, and a full complement of other fun eateries to fit any budget.

Some of these are free-standing, others in hotels or time-share developments, but there’s something here for every taste bud.

You might start with the Hukilau Lanai, quartered in the Kauai Coast Resort at the Beachboy, a Shell Vacation Club timeshare facility once known as the Kauai Beachboy hotel, but now remodeled into one- and two-bedroom units.

This restaurant may feature the most creative menus on the island and gets consistently top reviews on websites such as Yelp and Trip Adviser. In the past, it has featured locally grown free-range veal (a slightly gamier taste than other veal) and a wide variety of preparations of island fish like opah and opakapaka. On one recent evening, all entrees (priced from $18 to $32) included either a salad or a choice of soups, one a unique gaspacho of spicy tomato and pineapple with a dollop of rum sherbet plopped in the middle.

Find the Hukilau Lanai about a half-mile south of Kapaa Town on the east side of the island, within the Coconut Plantation development.

On the other end of the edible and financial spectrum is the Kauai Kountry Kitchen, on the inland side of the round-the island Kuhio Highway near the north end of Kapaa. This old-fashioned eatery, with classic high wooden booths, features omelets starting at $8 and three-quarter-inch-thick pancakes lapping over the edge of dinner plates, with bananas, strawberries, coconut flakes or macademia nuts mixed right into the batter, for $7.75.

Even the menus here are interesting: their covers are copies of front pages from the local newspaper, the Garden Island, in the days just after Pearl Harbor. Count on a line to get into this place almost every day until about 10 a.m.

A few miles south, adjacent to the cruise ship port on Nawiliwili Bay and side by side on a wooden veranda overlooking the Kalapaki Beach where Elvis Presley once surfed are two more foodie meccas.

Directly adjacent to the Kauai Marriott hotel is Duke’s Canoe Club, part of a chain, but unlike almost any franchise you’re likely to see. Eating at a table on the rail of Duke’s at sunset is surely as romantic an experience as the boat ride and walk to the Fern Grotto that is part of the island’s standard honeymooner itinerary.

The fare is fine, too. Featuring five presentations of a constantly changing variety of South Pacific fish, Duke’s tosses in Kauai’s most sumptuous salad bar, featuring everything from macademia nut muffins to Caesar salad and island-grown pineapple. The tab starts at about $22 for the Huli Huli chicken.

Just west is Cafe Portofino, which may serve the best cannelloni in the Pacific, an Italian delicacy of crepes wrapped about ground chicken, spinach and ricotta cheese, for $22. Fresh fish entrees run up to $36, and there is often a harpist to make the mood even more romantic. Best evening to come here may be Wednesday, when “Mr. Kauai,” the 83-year-old Larry Rivera, sings classically mellow tunes in his “Love and Aloha” show from 7 to 9 p.m., mixing his own compositions paying tribute to the island with old standards he has sung with Hawaiian legend Don Ho and others like Presley, with whom he appeared in “Blue Hawaii.”

In a completely different category is the simple Cantonese cuisine at Wong’s, on the Kuhio Highway 22 miles west in the old plantation town (now artist colony) of Hanapepe. If you don’t feel like Chinese, try the unique lilikoi (passion fruit) chiffon pie at $3.75 per slice or $15.50 for the whole pie, a flavor unique to this Kauai eatery.

For burger lovers, there’s Bubba’s, a Hawaii-wide chain with stands in Hanalei on the North Coast, Poipu in the south and on the main road in Kapaa. Don’t miss the double burger drowned in chili for $9.50. If you like onion rings, this place also is not to be missed.

There are also superb hotel-based restaurants on the north and south shores of the island. Both the St. Regis Princeville and the Grand Hyatt at Poipu feature fine (and pricey) restaurants with remarkable views.

Put it all together, add several other fine restaurants that space doesn’t permit here, and wherever you stay on the gorgeous Garden Island, you could be in for almost as many treats for the taste buds as for the eyes.

Thomas D. Elias writes about California public affairs for 93 newspapers. Email Elias at tdelias@aol.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Recent Articles

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    Solano News

    Area churches bring joy, toys to children

    By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Rear ends, reunions define 2014 in music

    By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B1

    Santa spreads Christmas cheer at Bridge to Life

    By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

     
    Word of Mouth ready to ring in 2015 at Dimitri’s

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

    Solano’s 2014 art scene: A year in review

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

     
    Get your blues on – for a musical cause

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

    A look back at 2014 Back in the Day columns

    By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

     
    ‘America’s Got Talent’ auditions Feb. 7 in Bay Area

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B2

     
    Weather for Friday, Dec. 26, 2014

    By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B12

    Suisun City police log: Dec. 24, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

     
    Fairfield police log: Dec. 24, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

    .

    US / World

    Mother uses grief to help murder victims’ families

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    San Francisco creates court only for veterans

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

    California plane crash victims were father and son

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

     
    Man shot with stun gun dies at border crossing

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

    California officials issue caramel apple warning

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

     
    Christmas brings California cooler weather, gusty winds

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

    Audit highlights state employee wrongdoing

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

     
    US traveler released from East Timor jail

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

    Obama personal chef to hang up apron after 6 years

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

     
    More protests sparked after shooting near Ferguson

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 4 Comments

    Nevada goats help eat, recycle Christmas trees

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Hundreds of theaters begin screening ‘The Interview’

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Streaming release of ‘Interview’ test for industry

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Militants attack AU Somalia base, at least 5 dead

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

    Monkey gives first aid to electrocuted friend

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

     
    Saudi women drivers referred to terrorism court

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment | Gallery

    Police and fire officials save California family’s Christmas

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

     
    .

    Living

    Today in History: Dec. 26, 2014

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Community calendar: Dec. 26, 2014

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A2

    Horoscopes: Dec. 26, 2014

    By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

     
    Sister’s angry outbursts may be a medical issue

    By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

    .

    Entertainment

    Week in Preview Dec. 26, 2014 – Jan. 1, 2015

    By Susan Winlow | From Page: B1

     
    ‘Frozen’ is named top entertainer of the year by AP

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Entertainment calendar Dec. 26, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

    Warsaw’s lost architecture portrayed in miniature

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

     
    Review: ‘Unbroken’ is beautiful, but impersonal

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

    Angelina Jolie’s latest incarnation: filmmaker

    By Maureen Fissolo | From Page: B6

     
    TVGrid

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

    .

    Sports

     
    2014 sports quirks: In year of odd bounces, reality bites at World Cup

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

    Colin Kaepernick weighing his offseason approach

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

     
    James hears plenty of cheers in return to Miami

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

    Fresno State pushed around in in Hawaii Bowl

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    Arians reportedly to go back to Lindley as starter

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    Former TE Ben Utecht delivers musical message

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

     
    K-State’s Snyder still penning old-school notes

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

     
    This date in sports history for Friday, Dec. 26, 2014

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

    D-I’s youngest coach also has inexperienced team

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

     
    No. 17 Wisconsin hopes program back on steady ground

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

    Rookie Martin makes quick impression in Dallas

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

     
    Eagles have quarterback questions going into 2015

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

    New OT rule in minor-league hockey generating buzz

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

     
    To reduce elitism, British horse racing educating spectators

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

    Bad news for Balotelli as Liverpool alters system

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

     
    LeBron James, Steph Curry lead NBA All-Star voting

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

    Former NBA All-Star Marbury fan favorite in China

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery

     
    Signups for Friday, Dec. 26, 2014

    By Paul Farmer | From Page: B10

    .

    Business

     
    Bad Santa? 5 tips to tackle your holiday gift returns

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

    .

    Obituaries

    Thomas A. O’Neill

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    B.C.

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Garfield

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Get Fuzzy

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Peanuts

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Wizard of Id

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Frank and Ernest

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Zits

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Sally Forth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Pickles

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Blondie

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Baldo

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Baby Blues

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    For Better or Worse

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Beetle Bailey

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Dilbert

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Rose is Rose

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Sudoku

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

     
    Crossword

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

    Word Sleuth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

     
    Bridge

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

    Cryptoquote

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9