Merriman’s Kauai

Merriman’s Fish House - Kauai's Catch of the Day Full of Flavor
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Merriman’s Fish House pioneered the sea-to-table concept, and today serves some of the freshest catches with both Hawaiian and international flair. Come for the seafood, and stay to admire the view.

- The Local Expert Team

Merriman’s Fish House is a pioneer of the sea-to-table concept and has plenty of farm-to-table ingredients as well. Over 90 percent of the restaurant’s ingredients come from local or regional sources, and they’re used to create some delicious dishes.

The menu at Merriman’s Fish House features a combination of Hawaiian and international dishes, and their all good. The Hawaiian entrees feature creative takes on island classics, with features such as Mac Nut Crusted Locally Caught Fish and Ono Kinilaw (seared calamansi and coconut). For international flavor, try the Smoke Taro Hummus or Kalua Pork Quesadilla that both have a classic concept mixed with local flair.

Not to be missed are the dessert and wine menus. The desserts are dense and elegant, with Chocolate Purse and Lilikoi Mousse being a couple of local favorites. As for wine, you have no shortage of rotating reds, whites, and bubblies — earned a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence in 2019.

Considering the quality and local emphasis, prices here are fair. Expect to pay around $20 for basic entrees and $45 for the fancier features. Desserts run $10 to $14 each, but they’re large enough to share. The 11-page wine list has something for every budget, with bottles ranging from $42 to $400-plus. Plenty of the lower-priced selections are still hand-picked and would be some of the best options on many other wines lists.

All of this food and drink is served in a location that’s unsurpassed by any Kauai eatery. Tables look out to either the mountain or the ocean, ensuring you have a beautiful view no matter which side of the dining area you’re seated on. You’ll also see the sunset over the plantation if you dine around dusk.

A few of our menu favorites at Merriam’s Fish House include:

Mac Nut Crusted Locally Caught Fish
Go fully local with the fish of the day crusted with macadamia nuts. Served with a sake mushroom reduction and jasmine rice, this is a feast that the islanders would eat.

Ono Kinilaw
An oversized salad, Ono Kinilaw comes with a bed of red onion, tomato, sweet peppers, and avocado. It’s toped the calamansi (Phillipine lime) and coconut, and further flavored with fried garlic and chili oil for a little kick. Eat it with a fork, or use the sweet potato chips to scoop the salad up.

Garlic-Truffle Fries
Not your fast food imitation, these are fries as they should be. Perfectly cooked and tossed in a garlic-truffle coating, they’re chewy, crunchy, and full of flavor.

Chocolate Purse
The Kauai coffee caramel, candied macadamia nuts, and vanilla ice cream are all local. This is one dessert that you’ll not want to share — order two so you don’t have to.

Recommended Wine
An award-winning wine list isn’t to be ignored, but selecting the perfect one can be intimidating. Let the sommelier recommend something you’ll like instead. You’re guaranteed to be pleased with the chosen bottle.

Merriam’s Fish House is a fancy affair where you don’t have to be high-class. Come as you are, and enjoy one of the best food and views you’ll find on the island.

Insider Tip:
With such good food and views, Merriam’s Fish House is a popular place. Not only will you need reservations, but you should book them as soon as possible. It’s fairly common for reservations to be full a few days out.