Tahiti Nui

Tahiti Nui – Enjoy Hawaiian Eats and Tropical Drinks in a Friendly Atmosphere
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

A true North Shore Kauai favorite, Tahiti Nui goes big on the Hawaiian flavors while only using the freshest local ingredients. Their Mai Tais are world-famous – as is their restaurant for serving as a filming location for ‘The Descendants’ starring George Clooney. Their friendly atmosphere brings it all together, especially if you show up on Wednesday nights for their family luau.

- The HawaiianIslands.com Local Expert Team

Authentic Hawaiian fare and tasty tropical drinks are always on tap at Tahiti Nui. This little North Shore Kauai eatery packs tons of flavor into all their dishes and drinks by hand-selecting the finest island ingredients.

Beyond that, they maintain a friendly atmosphere as was established when Bruce and Louise Marston opened the diner more than 50 years ago. Although their son, Christian, now runs the restaurant, the Marston’s love for the island and all its people still shines through in all they do.

Although all that keeps them plenty busy from open to close, tourists often clamor to come here due to the diner’s fame as a movie setting. With its appearance in ‘The Descendants’ starring George Clooney, the eatery became a hot locale for movie buffs interested in touring all the filming locations across the island.

As a result, there’s nearly always a long wait for a table. Despite that, they do not make any reservations. So, if you want to eat here, it’s important to arrive early and plan to grab a drink at the bar to tide you over while you cool your heels. Their Mai Tais are out of this world delicious, by the way, and well worth enjoying even if you don’t have to wait.

Once you do get a table, you have to make it relatively quick. They limit your time in the seat to 90 minutes max, so be prepared to order all you want right when you arrive. Takeout is available if you prefer. You just have to call or order through their website.

You absolutely must try their:

Mushroom & Kale Benedict
Only available on their brunch menu, the Mushroom & Kale Benedict is definitely well worth a special trip. They start this dish with a decadent ube pan de sal serving as the muffin before adding sliced tomato and poached eggs. Hollandaise sauce goes over top while smashed potatoes land on the side to bring it all together.

Sunset Charcuterie Board
When you want a low-key way to whet your appetite, order up the Sunset Charcuterie Board. Made daily with the chef’s selections, it features high-quality salami, cheese, and crackers plus juicy grapes on the side. Although it’s built for two, no one will judge if you order it just for yourself.

Zesty Coconut Crusted Catch
The Zesty Coconut Crusted Catch gives you all the best island flavors in every bite. When you order this dish, they cover the local catch of the day with a macadamia nut and coconut crust. Then, they fry it up until golden brown and cooked to your liking. After that, they drizzle on a luscious zesty coconut cilantro lime sauce and add grilled bok choy to the mix. You get your choice of sides, including French fries, white rice, or the mash of the day. Or you can get a salad instead for an extra charge.

Full House Combo Pizza
Although you can order it anytime, the Full House Combo Pizza promises to take your happy hour experience to the next level. This 10-inch personal pan pizza comes with ham, sausage, and pepperoni plus plenty of bell peppers, onions, black olives, mushrooms, and tomatoes. Want Kalua pig, grilled chicken or any other toppings? Just ask and they’ll add them for a few dollars more.

Every Wednesday from 6 pm to 8 pm, you can attend their family luau experience for an extra charge. This show features beautiful Hawaiian music and dances celebrating all there’s to love about Hanalei. Plus, to keep you feeling satisfied with your visit, they serve a full, open buffet and Mai Tais for all.

Insider Tips:
-Checks may have a minimum 20% gratuity applied at their discretion.
-Happy hour runs from 3 pm to 5 pm. During that time, they only offer personal pan pizzas and drink specials. The regular menu returns afterward.
-If you show up between 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm, you can usually hear local musicians playing live for the crowd.