Must-Visit Restaurants In Poipu, Kauai: The Best Spots For A Great Meal

Hawaii is a magical place, there’s no denying that. However, part of the whole magical experience when you go on vacation is the food.

If the food isn’t up to scratch, then it’s bound to leave a bad taste in your mouth (pun intended). 

Must-Visit Restaurants in Poipu, Kauai The Best Spots for a Great Meal

Luckily, there is no shortage of incredible, must-visit restaurants throughout the state. We’re going to be focusing on a few of those jaw-dropping locations in Poipu, Kauai. 

So, if you ever find yourself in the area, you need to take the time to check these places out! 

A fair warning – most of the restaurants listed in this article are not cheap options. That goes for the majority of restaurants in the state, as it’s a popular tourist destination.

Just bear that in mind going forward – expect to spend a little money if you’re going on a trip like this, anyway!

And now, without further ado, let’s jump into it.

Must-Visit Restaurants In Poipu, Kauai: The Best Spots For A Great Meal

Before we jump into these incredible restaurants, it’s worth pointing out that most, if not all, of these restaurants will require reservations. A lot of them even require places to be booked several months in advance, usually between 5 and 8pm. 

It’s normal for 8pm to be the last available time for reservations, as the restaurant will likely expect to be cleared by 9:30pm. As you can imagine, this tranquil, holiday destination is just that – it is not the place to go if you’re looking for crazy nightlife. 

You can use OpenTable to book reservations for most restaurants. Some places might deal with reservations directly, or even use a different service. Because these spots are so popular, don’t be too disappointed if you are not able to get what you want. 

However, you do have the ability to set up alerts that will notify you if there is a cancellation that you might be interested in.

This means that, as long as you’re vigilant, you could still get your dream spot! Keep a keen eye on these things as the dates loom closer, because things can change in an instant.

1. Beach House

Beach House is the contemporary spot to visit if you want great views, great views, and great booze.

Although the island is definitely one of the more tranquil spots around, ever since Hawaii Chef Peter Merriman took over, every night is a party. 

This might not be appealing to everyone, but it serves its purpose on the island. With the beautiful views of the water on the south and jaw dropping sunsets to soak up, it’s no wonder this is one of the top spots.

It also gives you the perfect chance to watch the local surfers while they do their thing, lounging around on the lawn and sitting on the benches while you’re at it.

As you might expect, the Beach House is a popular wedding destination, and lounge chairs and couches spill out onto the lawn for guests to enjoy.

Since the location is so perfect, don’t expect this place to ever be quiet. There’s always going to be a crowd of some sort smiling around at sunset with a drink in their hands.

The cuisine is regional, and all made with locally sourced ingredients. If you’re a Mai Tai lover, then their Monkeypod Mai Tai is absolutely to die for.

This place can make deviled eggs fancy, and their lobster pasta and potstickers are divine. There probably isn’t anything you won’t like on the menu, except for the price! 

See the online menu here: Beach House menu

Make a reservation right here: Beach House reservations

Important information for this restaurant:

Beach House
Address: 5022 Lawai Rd, Koloa, HI 96756
Phone: +1 808-742-1424
Price range: $$$$

2. The Dolphin

The Dolphin has two great locations for you to check out if you’re in the area. The original restaurant is located in Hanalei, while the second is in Poipu.

The newer location is more polished and takes reservations, while the original sits in a fish market and provides an altogether different experience – no reservation necessary.

Despite the need for a reservation, The Dolphin is a really laid back and chill spot if you want to have a more casual night. Compared to the price of other restaurants, you can also keep costs down a little! 

The menu is more simple than some of the other restaurants on this list, but that definitely isn’t a bad thing.

They mostly have seafood options, which is expected, with only one beef and one chicken option if you aren’t feeling it. So, if you love all forms of seafood, then you won’t be disappointed. 

The focus at this restaurant is the quality. You can expect only the best quality fish here, including the sushi. The sides on the menu are simple, but appetizing, but the true magic lies in their mains.

Their house specialty is the teriyaki ahi, which some might say is life changing and delicious. We aren’t here to argue with that! It’s served with rice and corn, and a whole bowl full of melted butter! 

Don’t be fooled by the casual nature of this spot – you will still need reservations. You won’t regret your decision to stop by, though. 

See the online menu here: The Dolphin menu

Make a reservation right here: The Dolphin reservations

Important information for this restaurant:

The Dolphin
Address:  5-5016 Kuhio Hwy C, Hanalei, HI 96714
Phone: +1 808-826-6113
Price range: $$-$$$

3. Red Salt

Just looking at the pictures of Red Salt, you know that this place is expensive. This is the kind of place you would expect to see millionaires, so don’t expect anything less than perfection. 

From the valet to the servers, this place will give you anything and everything you could ask for.

Their lobby area is polished to perfection, and windows look over the ocean and the pool (yes, there’s a pool). The whole look is contemporary, bright, and spacious. 

You can expect to find a lot of sushi on the menu (obviously), but also plenty of salads and other kinds of fresh menu items.

That’s not all, though! They have lobster corn dogs, burgers, wagyu beef, lobster – everything you could imagine. 

It’s hard to be disappointed in a place that leaves you wanting for nothing. If anything, you might feel like it’s a little too fancy for a meal!

That’s why it’s nice to visit a place like this for a special occasion – they might just bring out a passion fruit cheesecake if you let them know while making a reservation!

See the online menu here: Red Salt menu

Make a reservation right here: Red Salt reservations

Important information for this restaurant:

Red Salt 
Address: 2251 Poipu Rd, Koloa, HI 96756
Phone: +1 855-231-4535
Price range: $$$$

4. Merriman’s

As the name might suggest, this restaurant has the same chef as Beach House. We don’t know how that works, but the similarities in the menu are immediately notable. 

We will say that the food here might even be better than Beach House (you didn’t hear that from us), but the Beach House atmosphere is hard to beat. 

Merriman’s is located above the Shops at Kukui’ula. It’s something a little different, with a hint of plantation style architecture and decor.

Like Beach House, they also have the Monkeypod Mai Tai, but there are lots of other drink options to test out, too. 

The menu is full of both surprising items, and ones that you would expect to find here. From beautifully crusted mahi to the phenomenal fish and crab cakes, you don’t need to worry about disliking the food.

If it’s better than Beach House, then you should know that this food really is difficult to beat. They even have things like pork quesadillas, truffle fries, and Caesar salad. 

Be sure to save space for dessert if you love a sweet treat, too. Even the simple things like pineapple bread pudding are to die for. 

See the online menu here: Merriman’s menu

Make a reservation right here: Merriman’s reservations

Important information for this restaurant:

Address: 2829 Ala Kalanikaumaka St, Koloa, HI 96756
Phone: +1 808-742-8385
Price range: $$$$

5. Tidepools

If you know anything about Kauai, then you have probably heard about Tidepools already.

This restaurant has been seen as the gold standard for a long time, and for good reason! It’s stunning, fancy, and the ultimate romantic destination. 

To get a place, you will typically need to make a reservation at least six months in advance.

Try not to worry if you don’t have six months, though, as some people can only get reservations sorted out until a few days beforehand.

While the food here is great (that goes without saying), the main attraction is really the ambience.

The location is beautiful and dramatic, making it easy to outshine anything else the venue has to offer.

It has been built to look like a tranquil thatched roof hut floating atop a koi pond – you can’t get any more tranquil than that! 

Despite the impressive location and impeccable vibes, the food is still pretty damn great.

In a place where they probably don’t need to try that hard with it, they definitely put in the work! That isn’t to say that it’s the best food in the area, but it’s definitely up there. 

As expected, there are plenty of delectable seafood options available, and the drinks are to die for. You will probably love everything about this place if you can afford it!

See the online menu here: Tidepools menu

Make a reservation right here: Tidepools reservations

Important information for this restaurant:

Address: 1571 Poipu Rd, Koloa, HI 96756
Phone: +1 808-240-6456
Price range: $$$$

6. Pizzetta

If you’re in Hawaii, you might not expect to get any decent Italian food, but this couldn’t be further from the truth! Pizzetta is an unexpected and coveted restaurant located in Koloa town.

The location is amazing, as Koloa is picture-perfect and absolutely adorable. 

You can’t go to a place like this and not expect them to put a little island spin on all the classics.

Thankfully, all the little changes they make work, and will definitely leave you wanting more, no matter how much you love the classic Italian. 

It’s easy to not expect much from a place like this, but we guarantee that you will be pleasantly surprised.

They have lots of amazing lunch specials to dig into, and their drink menu leaves you wanting for nothing.

We would definitely recommend the lilikoi cosmo if you really want to be wowed. 

See the online menu here: Pizzetta menu

Make a reservation right here: Pizzetta reservations

Important information for this restaurant:

Address: 5408 Koloa Rd, Koloa, HI 96756
Phone: +1 808-378-2239
Price range: $$

7. Eating House 1849

Roy Yamaguchi is one of Hawaii’s famous chefs, and you will know why if you ever decide to visit this slice of heaven – Eating House 1849.

This remarkable chef has combined features and concepts from the regional cuisine of Hawaii with heavy European and Asian influences. 

One of the most notable of these is the magical melting pot, which came from the immigrant plantation center in Hawaii.

You can find this place within the Kukui’ula Village Shopping Center in Poipu. It’s located upstairs, which means that you already know the views are going to be amazing no matter the time of day. 

Like many of the other restaurants in the area, Eating House 1849 is devoted to using fresh, local ingredients to make all their dishes.

Everything goes from the farm to the table, which just makes everything taste better. 

If you find yourself in this great location, be sure to try out the pork and shrimp potstickers – you won’t regret it! There are also lots of incredible drinks that you can’t miss out on, especially in the evening when you are admiring the sunset.  

See the online menu here: Eating House 1849 menu

Make a reservation right here: Eating House 1849 reservations

Important information for this restaurant:

Eating House 1849
Address: 2829 Ala Kalanikaumaka St A-201, Koloa, HI 96756
Phone: +1 808-742-5000
Price range: $$-$$$

Honorable Mentions

These two locations below are not located in Poipu, but they are very similar to the places we have already mentioned in this article so far.

If you have loved any of the above options and are thinking of going somewhere different on your next visit, you should absolutely check these out. 

Lava Lava Beach Club

Lava Lava Beach Club is located on the Big Island of Waikolia, with a second location at the Kauai Shores. Just the name of this place feels like something that would come out of Disney or Nickelodeon, and that wouldn’t be too much of a stretch! 

No, you won’t run into some crazy Suit Life on Deck scenario, but it really is a slice of paradise, and absolutely looks like a movie set. 

The Kauai location has a great hotel for people on a budget, and also offers live music in the heavenly evenings.

There are also fire pits, tables, and couches available to use on the beach to really make the most of the location, the atmosphere, and the amazing people. 

Should you choose to take a look at their menu, you will immediately be drawn in with the colors and design choice, not to mention what’s actually on the menu! From tropical salsa and chips or rib teasers to poke nachos and spinugula, you will definitely be able to find something to love.

There are gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options to suit everyone’s needs, so you enjoy your time there, no questions asked.

See the online menu here: Lava Lava Beach Club menu

Make a reservation right here: Lava Lava Beach Club reservations

Important information for this restaurant:

Lava Lava Beach Club
Address: 420 Papaloa Rd, Kapaʻa, HI 96746
Phone: +1 808-241-5282
Price range: $$-$$$

Hukilau Lanai

Finally, we have Hukilau Lanai. This restaurant is full of inventive and interesting island (see also: 19 Most Delicious Restaurants On Anna Maria Island)flavors that you will immediately fall in love with.

They have fresh seafood that is locally sourced, as well as an unforgettable wine list (depends on how much of it you have), and even live entertainment at night! 

This restaurant also has a great menu selection to choose from, even if you aren’t a huge seafood fan.

While they do have things like ahi nachos, lobster curry bisque, and calamari, there are non-seafood options, too! You could also enjoy BBQ ribs, sweet potato ravioli, and grilled meats. 

You can’t ignore the drink options, either! The classic Mai Tai will always be a winner, but there are some great options to consider before you dive in, too. The Negroni Chinato, Side Car, East Side Slinger, and Sizzlin’ Mary to name a few… 

See the online menu here: Hukilau Lanai menu

Make a reservation right here: Hukilau Lanai reservations

Important information for this restaurant: 

Hukilau Lanai
Address: 520 Aleka Loop, Kapaʻa, HI 96746,
Phone: +1 808-822-0600
Price range: $$$$

Final Thoughts 

Okay, there you have it! Hawaii might be one of the magical locations that you initially visit for the beaches or mountains, but there is so much more to it than that. 

There are so many unforgettable memories you could have if you also take the time to focus on getting some amazing food.

Sure, the restaurants we’ve listed here aren’t exactly cheap options, but you’re paying for an experience as well as the food. 

From incredible drinks at Beach Bar, to possibly the best food on the island at Merriman’s, you have so many amazing options. 

If you are planning on visiting any of these restaurants, remember that reservations are a must! Since Hawaii reopened for tourism, things have changed a lot for the sake of everyone’s safety. 

Even if you’ve been to the islands before the pandemic, please be aware that things will look and feel different.

It’s still magical, but you need to be mindful of any changes that have been implemented.

By doing that, you will be able to get the most out of your vacation, and be more excited than ever to come back for more.