Kiawe Roots – The Sunny South Shore's New Favorite Eatery
Clearly, this is a restaurant we at Tasting Kauai are very excited about. We had already ramped you up for the opening, see earlier post for some information about Chef Mark Ruiz and wife Tricia, founders of Kiawe Roots here. This new local’s favorite hangout is located in the Shops at Kukui’ula above Tortilla Republic. This will be your new favorite place for local food in Poipu. Head over on a Wednesday afternoon to do your shopping at the culinary farmers market, then wander upstairs to try out some of their delicious happy hour cocktails and treats. A personal favorite – Coconut luau dip honoring the most iconic plant on Kauai, taro. Their dip is made with sauteed taro leaf and coconut milk, then served up with fresh taro chips. Yum!
A quick side note on the name of the restaurant, and a few fun facts about what kiawe is here in Hawaii. Prosopis pallida is a perennial that belongs to the mesquite & mimosa family. It is commonly referred to by its Hawaiian name “kiawe” (pronounced “kee-AH-vay”). First introduced to the Hawaiian Islands in the early 1800s by a Catholic missionary, the Kiawe tree quickly took hold and spread. They require minimal rainfall to stay alive and have been a highly successful invasive species here on the islands. The wood is also one of the hottest and longest burning in the world. This is great news for all of the barbecue masters here on the islands!
Kiawe is open every day for brunch. I had the pleasure of trying out their Veggie Benedict – the vegetable of the day was charred kabocha. This was served over focaccia bread with a perfectly done egg and a light local green salad drizzled with lillikoi vinaigrette. My husband had the half rack of ribs, that fell off the bone, served with cantaloupe namasu, grilled squash and rice. These are just a couple of mouth watering (and affordable!) options on their daytime menu. Don’t miss your chance to try out their beautiful, simple fare that combines childhood comfort foods with modern culinary influences. There’s nothing better than supporting local people, making local food. From the friendly front of house service to the perfectly executed dishes coming out of the kitchen, this is a new stop you don’t want to miss on your next trip to Kauai!
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