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South Shore Cuisine

The South Shore of Kaua‘i, Hawaii, is not only known for its stunning beaches and lush landscapes but also for its vibrant culinary scene that reflects the island’s rich cultural heritage and commitment to sustainability. From fresh seafood and traditional Hawaiian dishes to innovative fusion cuisine, the South Shore offers a gastronomic journey that satisfies every palate. Explore the best restaurants and food experiences that this part of Kaua‘i has to offer, including must-try dishes and unique dining spots that make the Garden Island a food lover’s paradise.

 

The Charm of the South Shore

The South Shore of Kaua‘i is home to the picturesque towns of Po‘ipū, Kōloa, and Lāwaʻi. This region is famed for its sunny weather, making it an ideal destination for beachgoers and food enthusiasts alike. The local dining scene reflects the island’s diverse cultural heritage, blending Hawaiian, Asian, and Western influences into a delightful culinary tapestry.

 

Top Restaurants on the South Shore of Kaua‘i

 

1. Beach House Restaurant

Location: 5022 Lawai Rd, Kōloa, HI 96756
Cuisine: Pacific Rim
Highlights:

  • Oceanfront Dining: The Beach House Restaurant offers stunning ocean views, providing a perfect backdrop for a romantic dinner or a sunset meal.
  • Signature Dishes: Try the Macadamia Nut Crusted Mahi Mahi and the Wasabi Crusted Ahi, both showcasing the freshest local seafood.
  • Award-Winning: Known for its exceptional service and exquisite cuisine, the Beach House is a recipient of numerous dining awards.

 

2. Merriman’s Fish House

Location: 2829 Ala Kalanikaumaka St, Kōloa, HI 96756
Cuisine: Hawaiian Regional Cuisine
Highlights:

  • Farm-to-Table Philosophy: Merriman’s Fish House emphasizes using locally sourced, sustainable ingredients.
  • Signature Dishes: The Wok Charred Ahi and the Kona Coffee Rubbed Ribeye are standout options.
  • Elegant Ambiance: Enjoy fine dining in a relaxed yet sophisticated setting with beautiful views of Po‘ipū.

 

3. Red Salt

Location: 2251 Po‘ipū Rd, Kōloa, HI 96756
Cuisine: Modern American
Highlights:

  • Chef-Driven Menu: Helmed by Chef Noelani Planas, Red Salt offers a creative menu that changes with the seasons.
  • Signature Dishes: The Red Salt Burger and the Lobster Benedict are must-tries.
  • Chic Atmosphere: Located within the Koa Kea Hotel & Resort, Red Salt boasts a sleek, contemporary design.

 

4. Keoki’s Paradise

Location: 2360 Kiahuna Plantation Dr, Kōloa, HI 96756
Cuisine: Hawaiian
Highlights:

  • Tropical Vibes: Experience dining in a lush, tropical garden setting complete with waterfalls and tiki torches.
  • Signature Dishes: The Hula Pie and the Fresh Island Fish Tacos are popular choices.
  • Live Music: Enjoy live Hawaiian music in the Bamboo Bar, adding to the island ambiance.

 

5. Plantation Gardens Restaurant & Bar

Location: 2253 Poipu Rd, Kōloa, HI 96756
Cuisine: Hawaiian
Highlights:

  • Historic Setting: Located in the historic Kiahuna Plantation, this restaurant offers a charming, old-world Hawaiian atmosphere.
  • Signature Dishes: The Plantation Poke and the Kaua‘i Shrimp & Clams are highly recommended.
  • Beautiful Gardens: Dine amidst beautiful tropical gardens that enhance the dining experience.

 

Unique Food Experiences on the South Shore

 

1. Kauai Food Tour – South Shore

For those who want to explore a variety of flavors, the Kaua‘i Food Tour on the South Shore is an excellent option. This guided tour takes you to multiple local eateries, markets, and food trucks, offering a taste of authentic Hawaiian cuisine and local favorites. Highlights include trying poke bowls, sampling fresh fruit from local farms, and savoring handmade sweets.

2. Aloha Spice Company

Location: 3528-B Koloa Rd, Kōloa, HI 96756

A visit to Aloha Spice Company is a must for food enthusiasts. This local gem offers a variety of Hawaiian sea salts, spices, and gourmet products that you can take home to recreate the island flavors in your own kitchen. The knowledgeable staff provides insights into the unique ingredients and their uses in Hawaiian cooking.

3. Koloa Fish Market

Location: 5482 Koloa Rd, Kōloa, HI 96756

Kōloa Fish Market is the go-to spot for fresh seafood lovers. This local market offers a wide selection of poke, sashimi, and plate lunches that highlight the best of Kaua‘i’s seafood. It’s a great place to pick up a delicious and affordable meal to enjoy at the beach or on a scenic picnic.

 

Must-Try Dishes on the South Shore

 

1. Poke

Poke is a Hawaiian staple that features raw fish marinated in a blend of soy sauce, sesame oil, and other seasonings. You can find various poke bowls at local markets and restaurants, often topped with seaweed, avocado, and other fresh ingredients. Read more about the History of Poke and the Best Poke Spots.

2. Loco Moco

Loco Moco is a hearty Hawaiian comfort food consisting of white rice topped with a hamburger patty, a fried egg, and brown gravy. It’s a must-try for those looking to experience traditional Hawaiian cuisine.

3. Shave Ice

No visit to Kaua‘i is complete without trying shave ice. This refreshing dessert features finely shaved ice topped with flavored syrups and often comes with a scoop of ice cream or sweet red beans at the bottom. It’s perfect for cooling off on a hot day.

4. Kalua Pork

Kalua Pork is a traditional Hawaiian dish made by slow-cooking pork in an underground oven, called an imu. The result is tender, smoky-flavored meat that is often served with rice and cabbage. Many South Shore restaurants offer their own take on this beloved dish.

 

Embracing the Farm-to-Table Movement

The South Shore of Kaua‘i has embraced the farm-to-table movement, with many restaurants focusing on locally sourced, sustainable ingredients. This approach not only supports local farmers and producers but also ensures that diners enjoy the freshest and most flavorful meals possible.

1. The Lanai Restaurant and Bar

Location: 2829 Ala Kalanikaumaka St, Kōloa, HI 96756

The Lanai Restaurant and Bar is a standout example of farm-to-table dining on the South Shore. The menu features dishes made with ingredients from local farms, such as Kaua‘i -grown vegetables and freshly caught fish. The commitment to sustainability is evident in every bite.

2. Makai Sushi

Location: 2829 Ala Kalanikaumaka St, Kōloa, HI 96756 (inside Kukui’ula Market)

Makai Sushi is renowned for its creative sushi rolls and poke bowls, made with the freshest local fish and produce. The casual setting inside the Kukui’ula Market allows you to enjoy high-quality sushi at an affordable price.

 

By immersing yourself in the flavors and dining culture of the South Shore, you’ll not only enjoy delicious meals but also gain a deeper appreciation for the island’s heritage and the people who make it a culinary paradise. So, come hungry and get ready to embark on a culinary adventure that you’ll remember long after your visit to the enchanting South Shore of Kaua‘i.

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