The world is full of beautiful beach destinations. While I have experienced my fair share across the globe, I still have not found a beach destination that excites me more than the islands of Hawaii. In November, my family arranged a get together to celebrate a new niece in the family fueled by the power of points and miles.
- American Airlines Flight and Marriott Kauai Resort
- Exploring Lihue
- St Regis Princeville
- Exploring Kauai’s North Coast
Food in Hawaii
Hawaii is one of my very favorite places on earth. That being said, I do not consider it a foodie destination. In my five or so trips here, I can’t remember a single meal or restaurant that really stood out. In general, I expect a relatively bloated price (and rightfully so given we are in the middle of the Pacific Ocean) and a pretty average meal. This trend changed when I found a restaurant named 22 North in Lihue on the island of Kauai.
Yelp.com is an extremely powerful tool for frequent travelers. When dropped into a new city I am unfamiliar with, my first order of business is to pull out my Yelp app and go to work. Yelp collects peer reviews of restaurants and I can attest, they don’t miss their mark. As I searched for a lunch location for the family in Lihue, a restaurant named 22 North popped up at the top of the list. The decision was made.
22 North Restaurant
Just a few blocks outside the main shopping center in Lihue is 22 North, named after the latitude line of Hawaii. This is a relatively new restaurant tucked in an old plantation along with other shops and the Koloa Rum Tasting factory. Two birds with one stone! As you drive into the plantation you pass horses, pony’s, and approximately 10 million roosters roaming the grounds. You also pass an old sugarcane train of which you can ride as a tourist activity. Obviously, we were only interested in the food and Rum tasting.
The restaurant has both indoor and outdoor seating. The menu is seasonal and they focus on farm-to-table cuisine. Check out the menu, I can guarantee it will make your mouth water. The modest prices for the high quality of food rival what I expect to see in cities like Chicago and Denver, not the middle of the ocean! As seen in my previous post, I spent two nights in Lihue. Without question, a return visit was in order. Seven days later, the menu had changed. In demanding a taste of everyone’s dish, I was able to try 5-7 dishes. Every single dish is amazing!
Traveler tip: When you go here, check-in ( or just say you are checking in) on Yelp to receive a free bag of homemade donuts for your table. I had never checked in on Yelp before but I can assure you the dessert is well worth the (zero) effort. The waitress stated it was their most popular dessert.
Koloa Rum Tasting
After a completely satisfying meal, we made a quick stop next door at the Koloa Rum Factory. They provide FREE Rum tastings that run every half hour. You get to try several varieties of their Rums along with their Rum cake. As the ‘Tasting Leads’ pointed out, Rum Cake is a great way to get a buzz on an airplane without TSA confiscating it. The ambiance is delightful, the tasting leads are hilarious, the Rum is FREE! What more do you need to know?
Soften the Financial Blow
Kauai is expensive. Most itineraries will involve a trip to the North Shore, which is even more expensive. Lihue is a great place to grab some necessities from the Costco or Walmart to soften to blow. Given we had seven people dining each night, we most certainly needed to pick up some less expensive dry items especially some Granola Bars for hiking the North Coast.
The Bottom Line
The next time you are in Kauai, check out 22 North and the FREE Rum Tasting at Koloa Rum Factory. You will not be disappointed and they are right next to each other. In fact, you may even come back twice to both like I did!
Stay tuned for more on the St. Regis Princeville Resort and the breathtaking Na Pali Coast.