The Dolphin Restaurant

Hanalei Dolphin Restaurant – Enjoy Seafood Delights While Lounging Near the Hanalei River
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Hanalei Dolphin Restaurant serves as the perfect place to land after your North Shore Kauai adventures leave you famished.  Thanks to their support of small island farmers and fisherman, all their ingredients are as fresh as they come, allowing them to whip up meals to remember. Don’t forget to check out their sushi lounge and fish market for yet another taste of North Shore Kauai delights.      

- The Local Expert Team

Scrumptious seafood, friendly service, and a low-key dining atmosphere ensure every visit to Hanalei Dolphin Restaurant exceeds your every expectation. Located right along the banks of the Hanalei River, this North Shore Kauai eatery serves up flavorful appetizers, entrees, and desserts while letting you enjoy the beautiful riverside views.

You can count on a true farm-to-table experience as they source all their ingredients from local farmers and fishermen each day. Hanalei Dolphin Restaurant goes above and beyond, too, in selecting ingredients you cannot find anywhere else. In addition to the tried-and-true ahi, mahi-mahi, and ono varieties, they have all the specialty fish you can think of, including red snapper, swordfish, and moonfish. They even regularly have Hawaiian black sea bass, which is well known for its decadent, lobster-like texture and flavor.

Seafood lovers come from far and wide for a chance to taste the catch of the day, broiled to perfection with just a sprinkle of spice to elevate its flavors. While creating each dish, Hanalei Dolphin Restaurant never drowns their fish in sauce or otherwise muddles the unique flavor profiles. All their locally sourced, organic produce helps elevate the seafood flavors as well.

In addition to Hanalei Dolphin Restaurant’s regular restaurant offerings, they have a full menu available for their sushi lounge. They have everything from rolls and sashimi to nigiri and over-the-top creations. Their Miso Soup and Veggie Tempura are out of this world delicious, as are all their tasty sides. You can pair your meal with any sake of your choice, including their popular Ozeki Super Dry. No matter what you order, leave room for their Lappert’s Green Tea Ice Cream to finish your meal off right.

Must-try items on the menu at Hanalei Dolphin Restaurant:

Tahitian Poke
A definite fan favorite, the Tahitian Poke features a fantastic blend of bright flavors that perfectly complement the fresh seafood. To create this dish, they take four ounces of shrimp and fish from the market and toss it in spiced grape seed oil. Then, they mix it all in a coconut lemongrass sauce and pile the whole lot on top of gingered organic greens.

Seafood Chowder
The Seafood Chowder sets the stage for an amazing meal by giving you a taste of all the best flavors from the sea. Hanalei Dolphin Restaurant starts this dish by sautéing calamari, scallops, clams, and shrimp with bell pepper and onion. To that, they add a creamy white sauce that brings all the flavors together beautifully.

Teriyaki Ahi
The Teriyaki Ahi has been bringing in people from far and wide for over 30 years. Hanalei Dolphin Restaurant begins this dish by marinating a thick ahi steak in their homemade teriyaki sauce. After that, they grill it to a medium-rare before bringing it to your table hot and ready to eat with a side of drawn butter.

Homemade Dolphin Ice Cream Pie
When you order the Homemade Dolphin Ice Cream Pie, you’d better be ready for an overdose of rich, sugary goodness. Their pie comes with a triple dose of flavor in the form of coconut, banana, and macadamia nuts. They put it all in an Oreo cookie crust before drizzling on the chocolate sauce and piling on the whipped cream.

All the awesome ingredients used in Hanalei Dolphin Restaurant and Sushi Lounge are also up for grabs at their onsite fish market. You can get all their Hawaiian fish varieties, which are prepped for purchase every day by their master fish cutters. Hanalei Dolphin Restaurant also has a wide range of sushi rolls, poke salad, organic salad, seafood chowder, and so much more ready for you to enjoy. Just let them know what you’d like, and they’ll package it up to go right then and there.

Insider Tips:
-Only appetizers and cocktails are served from 3 pm to 5:30 pm. Prior to that, it’s lunchtime and after that, you can swing by for dinner.
Hanalei Dolphin Restaurant does not take any reservations, but if you have to wait for a table, enjoy a drink in the garden until one opens up.
-When dining with six or more in your party, expect to see an automatic 18% gratuity charge on your bill.