Sponsored by Aqua Kauai Beach Resort
Why do you travel? Is it to explore new scenery? To explore new cultures? To eat your way across a destination? Well, you’ll get all 3 in Hawaii. Breathtaking vistas. Aloha spirit in melee (song) and hula (dance) as well as its people. All made even better after eating some of the most inventive yet comforting local foods—from the lowly plate lunch of kalua pork, rice and mac salad to the tasting menus at the upscale and trendy spots like Senia and Nobu’s, you will experience the cross-pollination inherent in all local dishes.
Oahu, home to Waikiki Beach and the big wave North Shore, boasts the largest population, which means there are more neighborhoods to explore for under-the-radar and over-the-top restaurants.
Located on an unremarkable side street inside the hipster Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club is Mahina & Sun’s, serving inventive dishes with a definite nod to local culture and ingredients. Their Kahala Crudo and Kauai Shrimp Kabocha Risotto are exquisite.
Are you an off-the-beaten-path type? Then head for Kauai. Sparsely populated, impressively majestic, wonderfully verdant, with great eats everywhere.
Conveniently located on Kauai’s eastern shore a few miles from the airport on the way to Kapaa, Aqua Kauai Beach Resort is the perfect place to launch all your Kauai adventures from because it is halfway between Hanalei and Poipu. You won’t have to go far to enjoy a great meal either - the airy Naupaka Terrace offers a farm-to-table menu and Shutters Lounge serves the best of local style pupus.
At the other end of the island chain, Hawaii Island has a volcano erupting for over 30 years and the dramatic lava flows can be seen at Volcanos National Park. Stay overnight at the historic Volcano House overlooking the Kilauea caldera with spectacular views of Halema‘uma‘u Crater. Its The Rim restaurant offers creative island cuisine using 95% locally sourced products.
On the way to Kona don’t miss Merriman’s in Waimea. Just named #1 chef by the readers of HAWAI’I Magazine, Merriman’s poses a dining dilemma – what to order from the amazingly creative and perfectly executed menu?!?
(Left: Photo by Steve Cerzniak courtesy of Merriman’s; Right: Photo courtesy of Aqua Kauai Beach Resort)
For those who love the best of both worlds, Maui is a must. There’s sunrise at Haleakala juxtaposed to the rock concerts at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center, but it is the culinary scene that is the big story here. There’s the on-trend Star Noodle on the west side. There’s Top Chef two-time runner-up Sheldon Simeon’s brand new Lineage on the south side. And find the #1 Mai Tai from HAWAI’I Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards at Monkeypod Kitchen in Ka’anapali (stay at The Aston Whaler at Kaanapali Beach) and Wailea (stay at the Aston Maui Hill).
We’ve come full circle on our culinary tour. Now it’s up to you to find your favorite. E komo mai!
(Photo Courtesy of Aston at The Whaler on Kaanapali Beach)