Restaurants Archives - Pamela Says
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“Pam Says” Poipu is Paradise


“Pam Says” Where to Go in POIPU

The original inspiration for my blog came from a song my friends’ kids made up on their trip to Kauai. I gave them a list of where to go and each day they would ask “Mom what are we doing today?” and she would answer, “Well, Pam says…” and the kids would sing “Pam Says, Pam Says”… the rest is history.  We own a little place in Poipu on the beautiful island of Kauai so I’m lucky enough to go often. Here a few of my favorite “Pam Says” things!



Brenecke’s Beach: Great for boogie boarding, you can rent boards at Nukumoi’s across the street from the beach (Breneke’s Market, also across the street, has “good” shave ice)

Poipu Beach: Good for families and snorkeling

Waiohai Beach: In front of the Waiohai Hotel, good to take beginning surf lessons… nice calm waves…Ole Hay!


Shipwreck’s Beach: To the left of the Hyatt, not always safe to go in the water. But it’s a pretty beach and fun to watch the locals jump off the cliff



Da Crack– A little hole in the wall Mexican place next to the old Kukuiula Market on Poipu Road, great take-out to take to the beach


Captain’s Bar at The HyattThe upper bar at the pool is a casual spot for lunch with an amazing view.


Puka Dogs– A must go! Located in the Poipu Shopping Village, I love the polish sausage with spicy sauce, mango relish and lilikoi mustard, but get whatever you want… they are all good! And try a lemonade with half the sugar.



Savage Shrimp– In Kukuiula Marketplace. Super casual, really great, peal the shrimp by hand. If you’re staying in a condo, get it to go and have it for lunch or dinner!

Duke’s Canoe Club– It’s not in Poipu but it’s my favorite lunch on my last day on the way to the airport

Lava’s on Poipu Beach– Open air dining at the Sheraton, the food is very good!

Keoki’s Paradise– Best fish sandwich!! The fresh fish is always good!

Brenneke’s Beach Broiler– The Kama’aina Pupu Platter is delicious for lunch! But I don’t recommend the restaurant for dinner.


Old Koloa Fish Market– Unbelievable fresh Poke… get the Ahi and Avacado


Taro Ko Chips Factory– If you get poke from the Koloa Fish Market be sure to drive up the road to Hanapepe and pick up some freshly made Taro Chips from this little hole in the wall right at the beginning of town on the left. Yummy! Buy a few bags and Stanley will always throw one in for free!!




Stevenson’s Library in the Grand Hyatt- Sushi. Make your reservation right at 5:30 when they open and you will have the best chance to sit out on the balcony and watch the torch lighting ceremony and have an amazing view. Get the Tai Chi, Mai Tai!

Tortilla Republic– In the Kukuiula Marketplace. Upstairs is casual, downstairs is very casual- both delicious food. I like upstairs the best. Get the guacamole made to order at your table

Keoki’s Paradise- In the Poipu Shopping Village, eat in the bar area. It’s touristy but fun and there’s a band, the fish tacos are really good and the hula ice cream pie is worth the trip


The Beach House– go before sunset and take pictures out on the lawn. The restaurant is hit or miss and somewhat pricey for the quality, so we like to go to the bar and get snacks and a drink


Merriman’s RestaurantIt’s delicious… get the house Mai Tai with the lilikoi honey foam! Share appetizers and an entree! It’s a nice restaurant to see the sunset!


Eating House 1849- A Roy Yamaguchi Restaurant in the Kukuiula Marketplace. Everything is delicious. The menu has an old Hawaiian feel updated with Portugese flavors. Loved the whole fish!

Red Salt- The food is sophisticated and delicious. It’s fun to get there early and watch the sunset at the front of the Koa Kea property, grab a drink at the pool bar!

Plantation Gardens– Old guard restaurant that’s beautifully Hawaiian! Get there early and walk the gardens and be sure to have a Panini, this is where this delicious banana drink was invented!

La Spezia– In the old town of Koloa. Delicious Italian food… it’s hard to consider eating Italian food in Hawaii but this is good for a change of pace… love the lasagne!

The Dolphin Sushi Bar Love the sushi here!



Kuluiula Village Farmers Market– Wednesday’s from 3:30-6, small but very nice… fun to go before you have a dinner reservations


Poipu Kai Tennis Center– Very nice facility. You can join for the week at reasonable prices


Outfitters Adventures Kipu falls, zip-lining, kayaking-the best adventure tour ever!!!


This is my favorite adventure tour…you start with a kayak ride up the river…



then zip-lining!




and then lunch and swimming in beautiful pools!


Anara Spa Day at The Grand Hyatt– Since we have a condo we don’t have the luxury of a hotel so we always book a treatment at the Anara Spa. With the price of one treatment you can use the exercise room, take yoga classes and use the spa pool for the day and order lunch!

Waimea Canyon-long drive up there, but it’s beautiful and there are some great hikes

Kauai ATV Tours-Mud Buggies

Kipu Ranch Adventures-ATV’s

Kauai Back Country Adventures-Tubing Down a Lava Tube River

Grocery Shopping


Living Foods Market and Café – Gourmet Market


Sueoka’s – Full Grocery Store with more specialty items, buy Popo’s Cookies-shortbread cookies made in Kauai (better than Kauai Kookies). All flavors are delicious, buy Auntie Lilikoi’s Passion Fruit Jelly (don’t get Passion Fruit Guava – just the Passion Fruit) and serve on English Muffins!

Big Save – best price for basic groceries, wine etc. in Old Koloa Town

Where To Stay

There are many beautiful hotels, but for an experience that encompasses everything, I like the Grand Hyatt… the spa, the restaurants and the fun water slide make it my top choice!




The water slide at The Hyatt!

The Lodge at Kukuiula is a newer property that is lovely. It’s an all-inclusive luxury resort where you can rent cottages or homes. The property is gorgeous and the spa is the nicest on the island!

The spa at The Lodge at Kukuiula

North Shore

Even though I titled the blog, “Poipu is Paradise”, you have to go to the North Shore for at least one day. It’s one of the prettiest places in the world. I love…

Queen’s Bath, Secret Beach, Lumahai Beach (where they filmed the scene “I’m gonna wash that man right outta my hair” in South Pacific), Kalalau Trail at the end of the road, the town of Hanalei, Hanalei Pier for surf lessons, Tunnels Beach, “Tropical Taco” or  “Tahiti Nui” for lunch, “Wishing Well” for Shaved Ice and a Napali Coast boat tour


The Beginning of the Kalalau Trail at the end of the road on the North Shore…

IMG_3089 (2)

It’s a beautiful hike with spectacular views of the Na Pali Coast!


Secret Beach


Tunnels Beach


And… be sure to notice King Kong’s profile on your way to the North Shore (On the way back on Hwy 56, just before Kapaa on the right side, mile marker 14)

Chris’ Famous Mai Tai- The Don Ho Show


The Don Ho Show (serves 6)

2 oz. Orgeat (Almond Liqueur)
2 oz. Orange Curacao (Orange Liqueur)
Juice of 3 Limes
Juice of 1 Lemon
6 oz. Pineapple Juice
6 oz. Passion Orange Juice
6 oz. Sweet and Sour
6 oz. Light Rum
Meyers Dark Rum (floater)

Mix all ingredients in a pitcher and serve over ice with a float of Dark Rum and an umbrella garnished with lime and pineapple! Soooo good!!!



It’s an old Hawaiian tradition that says, if you throw your lei into the water it means your coming back!!!

So this is where it all started. “Pam Says” was the heading of the itinerary I would hand to my friends when they were taking a trip to Poipu on the island of Kauai.  We have been coming every year for about 30 years and this is one of those places I have been trying to “create the perfect experience”!!!

Print Tuesday

Martini and a Burger!

Whenever we happen to have a Friday or Saturday night without  plans and find ourselves without a dinner reservation…

We steal away to The Village Pub in Woodside and sit at the bar and get a martini and split a few things including their delicious Pub Burger.


They only list the burger on the bar menu, so if you are in the proper dining area, you can still order it! It is definitely worth it!!!


We were very lucky on our last trip up there and were seated in the bar at this lovely table by the fireplace!

Be sure to also order the butter lettuce salad!

The salad sits on a tarragon mousse and is tossed with a walnut vinaigrette, it reminds me of an elegant green goddess dressing!


The burger comes with duck fat fries and homemade tomato catsup!


Chris ordered a martini called the Grey Houndstooth, it’s made with Benedictine and the bar manger, Brandon Clements, won first place with this drink when he submitted it to the Benedictine Bartenders Challenge. The drink is absolutely delicious! Look he practically drained the glass before I was able to take the picture, it was that good!!!  I was able to procure the recipe… I’ve included it below!


We also ordered the olive oil poached halibut! Sooooo good!!

It’s such an amazing restaurant… the food, service and ambiance are simply wonderful. It’s always a perfect date night!!!

The Grey Houndstooth

A pinch of Superfine Sugar

1/3 oz freshly squeezed Lemon Juice

6 dashes of Grapefruit Bitters

3/4 oz Vodka

3/4 oz Benedictine

3/4 oz freshly squeezed Grapefruit Juice

4″-5″ length Duke’s peal of  Grapefruit for Garnish

Stir together first 3 ingredients in a martini shaker, add next 3 ingredients add ice and shake, double strain the pour into a chilled martini glass and garnish with grapefruit peal.

Print Wednesday

A Girls’ Day Out in Beverly Hills


I’m always trying to create the perfect experience and I think Chelsea and I got this Beverly Hills shopping day down… without breaking the bank!  Start by parking your car behind Saks Fifth Avenue on Wilshire Boulevard…


Walk through the store to the front, eyeing all the beautiful bags and shoes and go out the door and cross the street to  Juan Juan Salon for a blow dry… be sure you plan your shopping day on a Friday so you’re all ready for the weekend!


This was Chelsea’s college graduation weekend so we spoiled ourselves!  Even though you’re in a fancy salon in Beverly Hills, blow outs are $35, the same price as a blow dry bar!


I’m obsessed with Raphael, he’s my go to guy!


Then it’s off to lunch. One of our favorite spots is Il Postaio on Canon Drive… Giocamino Drago’s first restaurant. It’s not terribly expensive and the food and service are The best!  Also try Porta Via Bistro, also on Canon, it’s a little more chichi!




At Il Pastaio, we like to get the Capricciosa, their signature chopped salad and Aragosta, the lobster salad, but trust me everything is delicious!


Another restaurant we love is Villa Blanca on Brighton Way with its wonderful people watching and stylishly white interior.  It’s owned by Lisa Vanderpump who stars on “The Housewives of Beverly Hills”.  I know her from my favorite show, “Dancing With The Stars”!!!


Try the Chicken Lettuce Cups!  Oh and of course, a glass of Rose!!!


Chris even got to come along to another of our favorites spots… Bedford and Burns, on North Bedford Drive right around the corner from the Juan Juan Salon. They have the best tortilla soup and Bloody Marys!


Olive and June nearby on Canon Drive is a great place for a mani/pedi!


Edelweiss Chocolate Factory is an institution. Stop in for a piece of chocolate… I’m partial to the dark chocolate covered honeycomb!


It will always be remembered as the inspiration for the famous chocolate factory conveyer belt scene in “I Love Lucy” (watch)


All of the chocolates are made by hand. Ask to go in the back to watch them being made… chocolate covered pears! Yum!!


And don’t forget all the spectacular shopping to be had! You can find all these same shops at any mall anywhere but in downtown Beverly Hills its so much more fun and glamorous! Right?


Our favorite store on Rodeo Drive is Christian Dior.  It features very cool contemporary art such as this coffee table which has ceramic shoes and purses inside with a foil like tapestry in the background!  Also, there just happens to be the cutest pink bag I fell in love with… but I refrained… for now!!!


Chelsea is sitting on a couch made of nickels… very fun!


On the way back, stop into the make-up department at Saks to get a make-over, pick up a few things and have your parking validated for the day!


Our favorite make-up artist is Bita from Dior. She spoils us with bottles of water and lots of deluxe samples!  What a special day and now we are ready for the weekend!!!








Print Sunday

Hakkasan Restaurant-SF Chic Chinese


We had a wonderful dinner at the new and notable Hakkasan Restaurant in SF  the other night.  This chic high-end Chinese is my new favorite for their Crispy Duck Salad and the Smoky Negroni Cocktail.  The restaurant is an international chain and has opened their doors in SF and is located on the second floor of the historic Kearney Building near Union Square.


Immediately entering the restaurant you can feel the “cool” vibe with club music and modern decor.


The Smoky Negroni Cocktail (above) is presented in a decanter, where it mingles with smoke from woodchips that have been soaked in Grand Marnier.  Then it is poured over a perfectly round sphere of ice with a beautiful orange twist.  The cocktail is as spectacular as the presentation!


The Crispy Duck Salad (above) is a masterpiece!  Trust me, even if you think you don’t care for duck, this is perfection!  The combination of pinenuts, pomegranate and shallots with the crispy duck is delicious.


All of the dishes we ordered were very good including the Stir-fry Pepper Beef Ribeye with Merlot (above) and service was extremely professional… but I’m going back for the duck salad and Negroni!!!

One Kearny Street
San Francisco




Print Monday

Wayfare Tavern-SF

Where should you go this December to have a festive dinner in San Francisco?  Pamela Says go to Wayfare Tavern.  We were just there a few weeks ago and the food was spectacular.  It has always been good, but the last few times, it’s been great!  It’s Tyler Florence’s restaurant that he not only lends his name to, but spends a good deal of time there also… you can really tell!


The decor moves between a men’s hunting club and English Manor house effortlessly yet still exudes an intimate atmosphere.


The restaurant is best known for its comfort food menu of  fried chicken, macaroni and cheese and the fresh puffy popovers they bring to the table. Be sure to also try this Kobe Tartare with Garlic Popovers (above), it is amazingly delicious!


And be sure someone at your table orders the burger (just so you can steal a bite!).


The Scallops were delicious!


You have to get the homemade donuts with dipping sauces for dessert… incredible!


We joined John and Alison, their lovely daughter, Francesca and her passel of delightful friends!



What a fun night!

Print Sunday

The Cavalier-SF Restaurant: Tony Pub Fare

Last weekend I was in the city and stopped by Neiman Marcus to visit my stylish friend Thierry, a personal shopper in the mens store.  “Where are you dining Pam Pam?” he asked, “The Cavalier?”  “No, we have reservations elsewhere, should I be going there???”  And with a quick call, we were in!  I’m sure it was Thierry’s debonaire french accent that landed us this reservation on a Friday night only three months after it opened. The Cavalier is the new endeavor by Anna Weinberg and husband, James Nicholas of Marlowe and one of my very favorite restaurants, Park Tavern.


Our reservation wasn’t until 8:45, but we were ready early (a bit unusual for me), so we headed to the restaurant to take in the clubby bar scene and met their wonderful mixoligist, Tony, I mean Scott.  I ordered the “Pamela” (not on the menu…he named it after me!), which turned out to be a twist on the classic Manhattan while Lisa had a Vesper, Bob, “The Victorian” (a whiskey drink, see below), and Chris, a “Royal G and T”.


Loved the large square ice cubes!


Bartender, Scott, making “The Pamela”, here he is lighting a lemon peal to go in my drink!  Mmmm…I’m not sure about the the reasoning behind it, but it was delicious!


 Chef, Jennifer Puccio has taken pub food to a new level with hearty fare that is big yet elegant.  Once seated, it felt like we ordered one of everything and shared so we could enjoy lots of flavors! We selected the Blue Bar Burger (with chips and a beautiful tomato chutney), the Fish and Chips  (our waiter had the kitchen change to the beef fries so we could try both types of “chips”), the Salad of Seasonal Greens (a hint of truffle), the Lamb Scrumpets, (delicious fried lamb ribs dish), Minted Peas and Beans (a nice fresh side to counter the other rich choices), the spectacular Duck Duck Scotch Egg (below), the perfectly cooked “Sunday Roast” Chicken, and the best of all, the Roasted Beef Marrow Bone.


The Duck Duck Scotch Egg was a perfectly cooked egg with a crunchy breaded exterior and a sweet chutney relish.


This sophisticated London inspired  brasserie is a fabulously fun addition to the Union Square area!


P.S. Pamela Says: Speak Easies are popping up all over the city, ask your server about the “Private Room” in the back, we did and had a little night cap in this hidden cozy space!

The Cavalier
 360 Jessie Street
San Francisco  CA  94103

Print Monday

Flour + Water-SF Restaurant: Pizza and Pasta at its Finest!!!

Two months to the day…that’s how long it takes to get a reservation at Flour + Water.  A great restaurant that features simple Italian food with great ambiance.  They leave half the restaurant open for walk-ins but being that it’s in the Mission District, I have never wanted to drive out there and wait…and wait…


So I set an alarm two months ago and made my reservation!  The day of, Chris asks, “Where are we going? Flower and Water, is this some kind of Garden Party?”  I say,” No, it’s Flour and Water, like the ingredients for pasta and pizza out in the Mission.” “Really, we have to take a cab out to the Mission?”  I say, “it’s supposed to be fun, loud music great pizzas and pasta, I’ve had this reservation for two months.”  “Ok, I’ll look it up in the Zagat Guide… mmm..looks really good!”


We were not disappointed, the food was wonderful.  Chef-owner Thomas McNaughton is making incredibly fresh preparations!   Our favorites were the thin crust Margherita Pizza, The Pappardelle with braised pork (above)


The Teleme Scarpinocc with Aceto Balsamico (trust me, I can’t pronounce it, but it was delicious).  Perfectly cooked pockets topped with a salty teleme (a local SF soft cheese) cheese and a sweet aged balsamic, a perfect balance!

And  we loved the Stewed Beans with Bacon!!!  They were smoky with crunchy breadcrumbs on top, soo delicious, it’s just a little side dish.


And…the Berthona Bianco was a beautiful pairing with all the pizza and pasta!

P.S. I’m adding this to my SF Restaurant Favorites!

Flour + Water
2401 Harrison St
San Francisco CA, 94110

Print Monday

Carmel by the Sea-La Bicyclette Restaurant

One of my favorite jaunts down the coast is Carmel-by-the -Sea.  We were visiting for a wedding and had one day to ourselves to shop, run along the coast and grab one night’s dinner in town.  I guess I should have tried something new, but not wanting to  risk disappointment, I again booked La Bicyclette.


I know there are other restaurants that always please, like Casanova’s and Little Napoli’s, but I always leave those establishments feeling a little too “content”, but not at La Bicyclette, I can order the most fabulous fish dish with amazing flavors that always leaves me satisfied. The quaint interior has a rustic french charm but nothing too fancy. Ownership gets most everything right, from the little things like the wonderful the bread and butter service and casual ambiance to all those delicious flavors that you would expect in a special European cafe. We love it here and so will you!!!


Petite greens, baby beets, Point Reyes blue cheese, crispy shallots & buttermilk dressing!


Wild Salmon, sun chokes, colored beans & an aioli summer sauce!

Print Monday

Rich Table Restaurant-San Francisco

We were lucky enough to get a reservation at Rich Table in the Hayes Valley the other night and had a great dinner that was sophisticated and yet casual. The decor was outfitted the reclaimed materials from an old Petaluma saw mill, which added to the relaxed and vintage feeling. Chefs, Evan and Sarah Rich from Bouley in New York and Coi in San Francisco opened this chic new restaurant to critical acclaim just a year ago.  Nominated for best new restaurant 2013 by The James Beard Foundation.


The dishes are highly inventive and unique, creating flavors that were new and exciting! Each dish was beautifully prepared.


Salted Radishes with brown butter were amazingly delicious!

We started the evening with the “Broken Maiden” a specialty cocktail (Bourbon, Suttons Brown Label and Gentiane) which was my favorite. It reminded me of a new twist on the Manhatten.

For our first a starter, we ordered the Radishes and Brown Butter with Sardine Chips and Horseradish which were both outstanding!  Our “friends” at the table next door  insisted we try some of  their Porcini Donuts with Cheese Dip. Oh my…they were amazing: crunchy, soft and savory Just so you know, the tables are rather close together, but in our case we had fun with our  fellow foodies! I’m adding this to my list of favorite SF restaurants!!!