Whether you celebrated Satisfied Staying Single Day on February 11 or plan to go big for the couples’ classic Valentine’s Day on February 14th, this week is full of LOVE. If you’ve ever visited or lived on Kauai, you know it’s hard not to be completely captivated by the lusty star gazing, melt-your-heart sunsets, exotic flower picking, and long beach walks with the natural wildlife. Kauai belongs as one of the most romantic places for good reason. In fact, it’s no surprise that US News picked Kauai as the “No. 1 destination for lovebirds looking for outdoor activities, sightseeing adventures, and an incomparable romantic atmosphere.”
PC: Tidepools Kauai
In Dec. 2015, more than five million OpenTable.com reviews ranked Tidepools, at the Grand Hyatt Kauai in Poipu, as one of the 100 Most Romantic Restaurants in America. It’s easy to see why. Dining over a Koi fish pond with cascading waterfalls in the distance begs the question, why go anywhere else? The romance isn’t all the restaurant has to offer, the food alone is a presentation, be sure to save room for their mouth-watering molten chocolate lava cake!
PC: RumFire Poipu Beach
Located in one of the best oceanfront settings along Kauai’s southern coastline, RumFire features a 180-degree ocean view from every seat. Be sure to get a seat for sunset! Their diverse menu offers locally sourced cuisine with global influences. With an extensive cocktail list including the largest rum selection on the island!
An award-winning restaurant for their flavor of the islands comes Red Salt, located in the Koa Kea Hotel & Resort at Poipu Beach. Executive Chef and Kauai native Noelani Planas celebrates fresh Hawaiian seafood and produce in a casual, yet sophisticated seaside atmosphere.
PC: The Beach House Restaurant Kauai
Travel + Leisure ranked The Beach House in Koloa as the 6th “Most Romantic Restaurant in the US.” The views from all sides are stunning and the food here is also reliably fantastic. This is partially due to the fact that it’s co-owned by Peter Merriman, who knows exactly how to nail the upscale beach vibe. Still, a fair share of credit goes to chef Marshall Blanchard who turns out seafood-inflected comfort food that’s the perfect amount of fancy. The Beach House also hosts weddings, live music, and various events. Don’t miss stand-outs like panko-crusted calamari and the fish & chips (with pineapple tartar sauce).
PC: Timbers Resort
Hualani’s is located in the newly developed Timber’s Resort in Lihue. Although fairly new to the island, the restaurant is already gaining attention from locals and traveling critics. Hemispheres magazine called the restaurant “easily one of the best restaurants on the island,” and it won OpenTable Diners Choice in 2019. I added Hualani’s to my list because of the ambient setting overlooking the ocean, and each meal is inspired by the island and locally sourced from their on-site farm, the Farm at Hokuala, whenever possible.
Hokuala at Timbers Kauai is the island’s newest oceanfront resort. Nearly selling out, there are 47 private residences offering whole and fractional ownership opportunities, as well as vacation rental eligibility. View their latest brochure outlining the benefits of owning and adjusted price sheets.
PC: Oasis on the Beach
Winner of the Peoples Choice and New Discovery Award at the 2010 Taste of Hawaii. Oasis on the Beach is located in the Waipouli Beach Resort in the heart of Kapaa. The beautiful oceanfront location showcases the best of what Kauai has to offer in cuisine, service, and spectacular views. Oasis uses local sources for almost 90% of their ingredients and works closely with farmers and fishers to provide the best and freshest of everything. Check out their Valentine’s Day Special Menu!
JO2 is the perfect place for date night for a myriad amount of reasons. The owner and executive chef, Jean Marie Josselin, offers an abundance of choices for gluten-free, dairy, vegetarian, and vegan dinners. JO2 sources all meat and produce locally, typically grown within 15 minutes of the restaurant. Although the menu rotates, popular dishes include artichoke and green papaya hoio (fiddlehead fern) soup, Grey Griller squash carpaccio with Kauai honey mustard dressing, and rice tempura green beans with spicy garlic sauce.
Gaylord’s offers one of Kauai’s most beautiful settings for lunch, dinner, or Sunday brunch. Their 67-acre sustainable farm provides the majority of the produce and herbs used in their dishes and cocktails. Located in the historic Kilohana Plantation home, diners are seated in an open-air courtyard with views of the plantation grounds and Mt. Waialeale in the distance. After your meal, take a walk around the Kilohana grounds, shop in our assorted boutiques, visit the rum shop, or take a ride on the plantation train. Check out their Valentine’s Day Prix Fixe!
PC: Bar Acuda Restaurant
Chef Jim Moffat opened this Hanalei spot for tapas and fine Mediterranean wines after establishing himself with two restaurants in San Francisco (the jazz club, 42 Degrees, and the bistro, The Slow Club). Thanks to the chef’s close collaboration with island fishers and local organic farmers, these small plates are brimming with Hawaii-inspired fare made from fresh, regional ingredients—like ono (a kind of mackerel, also known as wahoo), ahi tuna poké, and roasted ali’i mushrooms—which also means the selection changes daily, and ingredients vary by season. As one of the island’s foodiest destinations, it’s likely to be busy—call ahead, or come ready for a bit of a wait.
PC: Palate Wine Bar
Tucked away in a small cozy area of Kilauea town sits the Palate Wine Bar. I chose this restaurant as a favorite because although it is indeed a neighborhood place, there are sure to be celebrity sightings. With less than 10 tables creates an intimate footprint with an open kitchen and bottles everywhere. The menu is set up as tapas-style and decently sized, so you don’t mind sharing with your friends. They emphasize local goods, and they switch up the menu every three months to account for the availability of certain produce, and also, hey, it’s fun.
PC: Postcards Cafe
Sit outside the Postcard Restaurant on Kauai, where there are picnic tables in the garden area. Postcards specializes in captivating and complex vegetarian and seafood dishes and a varied assortment of organic ingredients. The restaurant also utilizes local Hanalei produce as much as possible. Postcards forgoes any meat, additives, poultry, or refined sugar. This progressive café also has some many vegan options, and most non-seafood dishes can be customized vegan.
PC: Hanalei Dolphin
Serving up goodness since the early 1970s, the Hanalei Dolphin is a seafood lover’s dream. This multi platform establishment has many options for some of Kauai’s freshest catch fish. The Hanalei location sits aside the Hanalei River at the eastern entry into town. Whether for dining, or purchasing fresh fillets of fish from the “Fish Market” off the back of the restaurant you are in for a treat. The restaurant has indoor and outdoor table seating, a bar, and a sushi lounge area.
Keeping up with Kauai & Christian:
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