On our recent trip to Kaua'i, we stayed primarily on the south shore in Poipu Beach and I didn't venture very far in the car for most of our trip (for over a week my longest trip was into Lihue for urgent care and an airport run). Within a couple mile radius, there are some fantastic fine dining options and I got to experience 3 in particular: Tidepools, Merrimans, and Plantation Gardens. We were blessed to have my cousin join us so we could go out without kids a few nights! Honorable mention goes to Keoki's Paradise and Pizzetta.
Tidepools is at the Grand Hyatt and the restaurant is thatched huts over the water with koi fish and birds around you. While the resort has an amazing beach front view, you're not on the beach at Tidepools but it's a great Hawaiian ambience.
I've had some really terrific meals there in the past and this year I ordered the Opah which had a spicy blackened crust and was served over mashed potatoes and succotash. Our friend said his steak was one of the best he's ever had. The molten chocolate cake was sooooo good.
One night my husband and I had a date at Merriman's. Merriman's has two other locations (Kapalua and Waimea) but the Kaua'i location in Poipu is relatively new. The restaurant is situated upstairs with beautiful views. Last year we had our anniversary dinner there and I remember the food being great but it was dark and rainy. This year we went for an earlier dinner (our first meal out without baby girl!) and it was a gorgeous view and setting. We shared a beet salad with local tomatoes, papaya and goat cheese . . . I'd go back for the salad alone! I followed it with a shrimp scampi - it was light, flavorful, and served over sauteed spinach and creamy polenta.
Finally, we had dinner at the Plantation Gardens - a favorite of ours in Poipu and especially nice because we can walk there from where we usually stay. Sadly, I only have a photo of the delicious cucumber ginger mojito that I drank and my cute kids . . . not the meal itself (I was a little preoccupied with the conversation and baby girl). I've had many items on the menu and a meal here never disappoints!