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Is there any low key, non-tourist Restaurant in Hanalei?

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Charleston
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Is there any low key, non-tourist Restaurant in Hanalei?

We just arrived in Hanalei from the Big Island, where we stayed in Hilo for the past four days. We visited Hanalei 3 years ago and loved the quaint, quiet vibe of Hanalei. It was such a beautiful little town that we decided to spend the majority of our Hawaii trip (7 days to be exact) on Kauai in Hanalei again, giving up precious days on the Big Island, where we had never visited before . . . starting to wonder if that was a mistake?

Kauai's landscape on the drive up from Lihue was as beautiful as I remembered from 3 years ago. Driving through Kapaa I mentioned to my wife that I was glad that Hanalei was not overrun by the spring break crowd. We arrived in Hanalei, however, this afternoon only to find that it is currently very much filled with the same exact crowd. Eighteen to early twenties folks who are obviously intoxicated, but don't quite appear to be of legal drinking age . . . just a wild guess here. I have not seen the first local since we got here. I realize that Hilo is not exactly tourist central, but the stark contrast makes me wonder if I am in Florida or Hawaii at the moment.

Anyway, sorry to complain, but are there any authentic restaurants around Hanalei? Thanks for any suggestions. After a mediocre dinner at Hanalei Gourmet, we stopped by the grocery store to pick up some staples for the week. After my 32 year old wife was rudely advised by the cashier that "she couldn't carry the beer out of the store" that we bought because I was the one who had purchased it, followed by almost getting run over rental Jeep overflowing with co-eds, I am wondering if we should perhaps find some other dining options.

Edited: 30 May 2013, 07:37
San Diego...
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1. Re: Is there any low key, non-tourist Restaurant in Hanalei?

"Authentic" is a tough to define. Can you pin down what you mean? If you mean mom and pop simple places, you'd have to go back to Kapaa or Lihue.

But regardless, you are going to find most everything from Princeville west to Haena revolves around tourists. As prices skyrocketed over the last 20 years, most regular folk have been slowly but surely pressured from the area. You should see the maps that show the areas of Hanalei town that are in Vacation Rental. It's a bit scary.

I doubt that issue was any different 3 years ago, but you are here for Memorial day which is graduation season both here and on the mainland so lots of HS and college kids partying at all vacation spots. Not to mention 3 years ago was the bottom of a mini-depression so there weren't nearly so many tourists and the local community was hurting for $$.

Hilo is a very very different place. Not many tourist accommodations relative to just regular folk. It's a bit of a land that time forgot sort of place IMO. Sorta like Waimea/Kekaha here.

Charleston
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2. Re: Is there any low key, non-tourist Restaurant in Hanalei?

Dave, I really appreciate your input. I couldn't agree with many of your statements more. I really appreciate emersing myself in the local culture with the people who make visiting a destination what it truly is. I found the folks in Hilo to be some of the friendliest and welcoming individuals if you only take the time to show some appreciation for the culture and refrain from acting like an obnoxious self righteous tourist. But then again as you mentioned Hilo is not necessarily what one would call a tourist destination and for that I am very grateful.

Thanks again for your input and we will definitely plan on checking out some of the eateries in down the road towards Lihue.

Edited: 30 May 2013, 08:26
California
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3. Re: Is there any low key, non-tourist Restaurant in Hanalei?

Its nothing fancy but for breakfast and lunch Village Snack and Bake Shop is frequented by locals. Not in Hanalei, but I like the vibe at Common Grounds. How about trying Tahiti Nui? The fact the waitresses start doing the hula and friends and visitors get up to join them, makes this place fun.

I still find Hanalei quaint, but of course this is the tourist season and that means more people, cranky servers and add that to not many places to eat and it equals slim pickings.

If you think Hanalei had a lot of graduates, wait till you get into Kapaa or Lihue.

Kaua'i, HI
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for Kauai, Poipu, Lihue
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4. Re: Is there any low key, non-tourist Restaurant in Hanalei?

Aloha from Kaua'i!

The only place that I'd say really qualifies would be the Ching Young Village Snack Shop mentioned above....it is frequented by residents because it is inexpensive, not fancy, and not geared to visitors budgets and tastes....basic local food for cheap!

My friend that owns a store there and has lived in Hanalei for 25+ years goes there for breakfast almost every day!

Malama Pono,

Janet

Huntington Beach...
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5. Re: Is there any low key, non-tourist Restaurant in Hanalei?

This is probably too late, but I recommend going to The Dolphin—best food in town. And it's really expensive so the young party people may not be able to afford it. :-)

My husband and I stay in Hanalei every year, and we go to The Dolphin almost every night. (Sadly, the Hanalei Gourmet has gone way, way down hill over the past four or five years.)

California
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6. Re: Is there any low key, non-tourist Restaurant in Hanalei?

Because of the sushi bar, Dolphin is very popular with the young set.

La Verne, California
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7. Re: Is there any low key, non-tourist Restaurant in Hanalei?

Check out Kauai ONO 560 - a lunch truck parked near Kayak Kauai and Wishing Well shave ice if I remember correctly. Really good, fresh food. Not cheap, but a great place to eat. Looking forward to finding them next summer when we return.

Moorpark, California
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for Kauai, Catalina Island
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8. Re: Is there any low key, non-tourist Restaurant in Hanalei?

Not in Hanalei but in Haena, we love The Mediterranean Gourmet. They are open for lunch and dinner and the staff is very friendly.

La Verne, California
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9. Re: Is there any low key, non-tourist Restaurant in Hanalei?

Here's the website for Kauai Ono

http://www.kauaiono.com/

Princeville, Hawaii
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10. Re: Is there any low key, non-tourist Restaurant in Hanalei?

What time of the year did you visit Hanalei before? I see Hanalei as a "beach town" and as such appealing to visitors especially in the summer. We drive down often to walk the bay in the early morning and it is so peaceful and lovely then. I'm not sure what you mean by "authentic"? Guess Tahiti Nui would qualify for the ambiance but maybe not the food. Great pizza though. Village Snack is also good but not sit down with drinks. Hope you will find the peace and relaxation you want on this trip.