stick "luau" or "best luau" in the search function and older threads on your many choices will pop up. Many seem to like the one at the Med. Gourmet (Hanalei Colony). The biggies are Kapaa (Smiths) Lihue (at Gaylords), the Hyatt, etc. Not sure if the St. Regis does one any more, but I'm sure if you google around you can find out.
As for restaurants, the Top Questions thread "Good restaurants on Kauai" has many recs. You can also look a the many reviews under the restaurant tab and narrow down to Princeville/Hanalei choices. A lot depends on price level and feel you are looking for (casual vs. fancy).
As for bars, there's really only Tahiti Nui though many of the restaurants have a bar area -- Hanalei Gourmet e.g.
Thanks 22kauai! I have searched the forums, but the threads I pulled up were old and I couldn't find if the places/events still exist. Have also been to the area several times myself, but not in the past couple of years. Have been to the Med Gourmet, but not for the luau, so will give that a try. Looking forward to reuniting with Tahiti Nui!
We love the luau at The Mediterranean Gourmet restaurant. We went in 2009 and it was fabulous. One tip.... arrive early to get the best seating. They seat the front rows first and you'll have the best view of the entertainment from there.
The one at St Regis really isn't a luau. It is also pretty pricey.
Med Gourmet's is pretty good. Make sure you get seated close to the action and not back by the bar. I am not sure if arriving early gets you the best seat. Our seats were reserved. Maybe if you get there early and they seat you far away you could change. I would rather be safe than sorry, so take Martik's advice and arrive early. You can always walk around the beach if you are too early or check out the art gallery.
I am a North Shore gal and I always go to BarAcuda for tapas. I sometimes just sit at the bar or eating outside on the front lanai is so wonderful. Tahiti Nui is the true bar scene. There is a cover charge after 8 or 8:30. I can't remember. If you go for dinner and stay for the music there is no charge but if you try not to continue to drink they will ask you to give up your table. Another bar with a good happy hour is at Kalypso.
They also have a luau at Tahiti Nui, though I'm not sure I'd call it that. ;-)
I've been to the one at Med. Gourmet a couple times, and I do think arriving early - maybe 1/2 hour? - gives you a better chance of good seating. Just so you know what to expect, this is a small, literally family affair kind of show: dad, mom, daughters, relatives, etc. Not a lot of glitz, but of the several luaus we've been to, it's our favorite. Edited to say you should also definitely make reservations.Edited: 25 October 2012, 19:01
Thanks for the great recommendations. Will definitely visit the Med Gourmet - I remember being disappointed there before because I made a reservation for a window seat but was not really given one when I arrived (well, I was given one near the back) and they would not move me to a better table even though there were empty ones. Will both make a reservation and get there early for the "luau" - don't need glitzy- local with good food is perfect. Will also check out the in town suggestions. I did spend quite a bit of time at Tahiti Nui on previous visits, so thanks for the tips on cover charges. Open to any other tips on the area!
Farmer's market is in Hanalei on Saturdays. Common Grounds is good for breakfast. Have you done any garden tours? Have you done the Slack Key Concerts? Infigo is supposed to be good for dinner. I have been once when it first opened and was not impressed but I have heard its better lately. I also have been told don't expect fast service and its byob. I do remember that. No liquor license. I like going to The Tavern at the Prince Golf Course.
we went to the Med Gourmet luau at the end of august this year. we made reservations just a couple of days before and literally took the last 3 seats left. when we got there the place was about 2/3 full but they seated us way at the back near the bar.
we asked to change to a table closer up front that looked vacant but the waiter told us people are seated according to when they made the reservation.
in the end it didnt matter that much, the dancers came all the way back into the crowd and people with cameras went closer to the front. it was more like a small wedding reception. i took great videos of the fire dance and the main dancer stopped right in front of us 'photogs' to do the mock sword swallow thing.
Thanks so much. Been to the farmer's market (love it), but not garden tours or slack key concerts - where would I find info? Have heard of Tavern but not been there, I believe it is an offshoot of Roys? Will check it out.