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Kipu Ranch Adventures
235 Kipu Road
Lihue, HI 96766
United States

4.5 Palms
4.5 Palms
Gluten free boxed lunch on this ATV tour of Kauai

Reviewer: Gftraveler from South Riding, VA
Reviewed on Dec 27, 2017

This tour was the highlight of the trip for me personally. It was a half-day tour where we got to drive ATVs through a privately-owned cattle ranch and rain forest on Kauai. It gave us a chance to see areas of the island otherwise inaccessible to the public, and we encountered wildlife (chickens, wild pigs, and peacocks) and gorgeous scenery. The mountains, valleys, and jungle are very versatile in terms of providing natural backdrops in many movies. We saw numerous sites used in movies from Indiana Jones to Jurassic Park to Outbreak. We even got to swing on the rope swing used in Raiders of the Lost Ark – and landed in the river (a bit cold in December when we were there, but totally worth the experience!). We also had a picnic lunch and then stopped to see two waterfalls, one of which fed a freshwater pool we got to swim in (also cold but worth it!). Apparently, in the summer months it is a welcome cooling after being out riding ATVs in the heat. I am reviewing this tour because it includes lunch, and they were able to request a gluten free lunch for our son. Even though they couldn’t verify whether the cold cuts (turkey and salami) provided in the make-your-own sandwich buffet were gluten free or not, there was cheese, and they provided gluten free sandwich bread (wrapped carefully in a separate box), a salad, and fresh fruit. Our son had also packed some gluten free snacks as a back-up, but he didn’t really need it. Besides, it was only a half-day tour and was wrapped up by 11:30 or 12:00 (started at 8 am). You need to get yourself to the location on Kipu Ranch where the tours start; the company doesn’t pick you up. Therefore, you need to have a rental car (we didn’t) or take a taxi or Uber (which we found not terribly reliable). We took a taxi, but it's best to arrange those the night before if you can. We needed two for our group and had a hard time getting the second one in the morning. Part of our group barely made it there in time for the tour. We were staying in Lihue, and it was just about 15 minutes from our resort. Despited the transportation snafus getting to the ranch, I'd highly recommend doing a tour with this company! I'm rating them a 4.5, which is more for the experience and overall quality of the picnic lunch, not necessarily for the GF lunch, per se (although adequate). Our guides, Justin and Robert, were great fun!

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Duke's Kauai (in the Kauai Marriott resort)

Lihue, HI 96766
United States

4.0 Palms
4.0 Palms
Great restaurant for steak and seafood on Kauai

Reviewer: Gftraveler from South Riding, VA
Reviewed on Dec 27, 2017

Duke’s is located on property at the Kauai Marriott Beach Club, but it is independently owned and run. While there are very few gluten free notations on Duke’s menu, don’t let this deter you from dining here. It was probably the best dinner experience we had while staying on Kauai (but admittedly, we only rotated between a few restaurants). But we liked Duke’s so much we went back a second night, and it is not cheap (nothing on Kauai is!) Steaks and seafood are the specialties here. They offer plenty of steaks, which they can safely prepare gluten free. They got rave reviews from family and friends who ordered them. The ribs are also gluten free without the sauce, and various types of fish can be prepared gluten free. There is one delicious shellfish dish on the menu that actually is MARKED gluten free as it comes (no changes in preparation needed). It is a combination of shrimp, scallops, and fish in a coconut curry broth with spinach and mushrooms. Both my son and I each ordered that (on separate nights). There is also a salad bar that can be added to any entrée for an additional $4. That has plenty of GF options, but of course, you can’t have the homemade bread or muffins at the salad bar. And you can’t have the fries here, but steaks are typically served with mashed potatoes anyway, and the seafood dishes are served with rice. The one disappointment at this restaurant was that their specialty dessert is “hula pie,” which is a huge wedge of macadamia nut ice cream pie topped with fudge and whipped cream. The problem is, it has a chocolate cookie crust. Unfortunately, they were not able to give our son the ice cream and fudge (both gluten free) without the crust. (They use all the ice cream they order to make the pie – they slice big circular bins cross-wise to form the full pies.) We inquired about having them make a pie without the crust for our large group (9 of us), but that would entail us buying the full 8-piece pie at $11 per slice! Not something we were interested in doing, based on the price and the fact that, for 9 people, you really only need 3-4 pieces of pie! I wish they had some more exciting desserts for gluten free folks. They had fresh raspberry sorbet, but that’s not particularly exciting for a 14-year-old boy when everyone else can eat hula pie!

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Marriott's Kauai Beach Club
3610 Rice Street
Lihue, HI 96766
United States

4.0 Palms
4.0 Palms
Very nice resort on Kauai with restaurant serving GF options

Reviewer: Gftraveler from South Riding, VA
Reviewed on Dec 27, 2017

We own a Marriott Vacation Club timeshare, and this was our first visit to their property on Kauai. The Marriott Beach Club is part time-share and part hotel, so you don’t have to be a time-share owner to stay here. I would recommend this resort, based on its convenient proximity to the airport, the wonderful beach right in front of the hotel (not necessarily good for snorkeling, but great for swimming, paddle boarding, and even learning to surf, which our boys tried). The beach is a large crescent shape, and the resort has a few volleyball nets set up which seem to get regularly used. There are a few beach cabanas, including some used for beachside massage. Best of all, there is a grassy area right behind the beach with plenty of lawn chairs. This is where we (and most people) typically sit to get some sun and enjoy the most amazing view of the beach, ocean, and hills in the distance. The view really doesn’t get better than this. One morning I was even able to do yoga on the lawn facing the water. (The resort offers this, and numerous other activities – both active and crafts – throughout each day.) So whether you are a child or adult, there are likely plenty of things to keep you as busy as you want to be when you’re not in the pool or on the beach! For example, one day I went to a coffee seminar and tasting to learn about and sample the amazing coffee of Kauai. But let me also mention the amazing pool…we were told it is the largest single-deck pool in Hawaii. It’s designed well, is warm, and has 5 hot tubs situated under columned canopies on one side. The design is beautiful, as these canopied hot tubs have areas above with large tables for enjoying cocktails or even eating food from the take-away breakfast bar or restaurant (they have both dine-in and take-away). Now, for the food. I’ve reviewed Kukui’s, the main restaurant at the Marriott Beach Club separately on this site. But to sum it up, they do a decent job accommodating gluten free guests. It’s not ideal, as they don’t mark much of anything as being gluten free on the menu(s). However, as always, I had called the resort well ahead of our trip to be sure they had some options – and were familiar with how to safely prepare gluten free meals. I was assured by one of the sous chefs that they were very careful in the kitchen and had plenty of items our son could order (steak, burgers on GF buns, fish, seafood, gluten free pasta, gluten free flatbread, gluten free pancakes, gluten free muffins). This was indeed the case, and I’d say he tried all those things at least once, with the exception of steak and gluten free pasta, which he ordered when he went out to other restaurants at the resort (Duke’s and Portofino, also both reviewed on this site). We only ate dinner at Kukui’s once, but he got their delicious grilled burgers on gluten free buns several times for lunch. We also had breakfast there frequently, where our son had items from the buffet (a good number that were gluten free) or ordered gluten free pancakes from the menu. We also requested various varieties of gluten free muffins throughout the week (we had to do this the night before). Those he was able to pick up at the take-away counter called Aupaka, open for breakfast each day until 11 am (they sell things like muffins, croissants, fruit, yogurt, hard boiled eggs, bento boxes of omelets and other hot breakfast foods, coffee/tea/espresso beverages. This was a nice option for days we didn’t want to sit down for a big breakfast. All in all, this is a great resort, although starting to show its age in a few places (the original tower was built in the 60s, but newer towers have been added over the years, and the resort has obviously been updated constantly, through different owners). I believe it’s been a Marriott property since around 1993.

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Smith Family Garden Luau
3-5971 Kuhio Highway
Kapaa, HI 96746


4.5 Palms
4.5 Palms
Nice to be able to enjoy gluten free food at a luau on Kauai

Reviewer: Gftraveler from South Riding, VA
Reviewed on Dec 27, 2017

We had read about how gluten-free friendly this luau was here on this website, so we bought tickets well in advance of our trip. If going to Hawaii for the first time, attending a luau is a definite must. This one seemed to have the reputation as one of the best on the island of Kauai. The evening started with a ceremony at 5:45 in which the owner (a Smith family member) demonstrated how they roast a pig in an underground pit with volcanic rock and steam. Then we were all called into the covered pavilion for drinks (unlimited mai tais and open bar with soft drinks, tropical juices, and alcoholic spirits). If you have a large party, you get a reserved table. If you are a smaller group, it’s open seating. We were called table-by-table to go up to the buffet. Fortunately, when we checked in, we were told that our son (and one of us parents) could go through the buffet first before there was any chance of cross contamination due to someone using a wrong utensil or something similar. Thankfully, all items that were gluten free (and there were quite a few) were labeled as such. Our son could eat the pulled pork (really the highlight of the meal…some of the best we’ve ever had), various sides like delicious mashed potatoes, and salads. He could also have the fresh fruit and coconut rice pudding from the dessert table. Then, after we were back at the table eating, they brought our son another plate with chicken, fish, and rice, since he couldn’t have those items on the regular buffet (based on how they were prepared). I tried those items, and they were all very good. All in all, it was a good meal with lots of choices, and we felt VERY comfortable there wouldn’t be any issues with cross contamination, based on the fact that he got to go through the buffet first. Just note your dietary restrictions when you make the reservation and then go into the pavilion before dinner to remind one of the servers of your needs. They will show you the buffet and go over everything with you. The show after dinner is pretty good as well…and you sit in an arena that is covered in case of rain. It lasts between 45 minutes and an hour. The evening wraps up by 9 pm.

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Cafe Portofino
3481 Ho'Olaulea Way
Lihue, HI 96766
United States

4.5 Palms
4.5 Palms
Italian Dining with gluten free options on Kauai

Reviewer: Gftraveler from South Riding, VA
Reviewed on Dec 19, 2017

This restaurant is on the property of the Kauai Marriott Beach Club, although it's not owned/run by Marriott. Anyone can dine here, whether you are staying at the resort or not. Although their menu online doesn't mention anything about gluten free accommodations, I called before our trip, since we were staying at the Marriott. They informed me that they get the request for gluten free often and had many options available, including appetizers, salads, various steaks and seafood -- and also gluten free pasta to be substituted in many of their pasta dishes. They also have a few GF desserts. Three of the four members of our family ordered gluten free pasta (bolognese, vongole with clams, and carbonara). All were very good. We also got the prosciutto with melon appetizer, with plentiful prosciutto draped over melon slices. Yum! I checked before ordering, and I was told the kitchen takes great care in preparing gluten free orders safely, using separate pots/water for the gluten free pasta orders. This is a restaurant with a nice setting overlooking the beautiful crescent-shaped beach of the Kauai Marriott Beach Club. You can eat indoors or outdoors, and there is a harp player during dinner. My only complaint would be that they should mark the menu items that are, or can be made, gluten free so that more people know about it. Also note that the same family owns a pizza restaurant below Cafe Portofino that specializes in Neapolitan style pizza. They do offer gluten free crust. However, we were personally not 100% comfortable having our son order it, since there didn't seem to be the proper precautions put in place to prevent cross contamination. We asked the pizza maker himself. It sounded like they typically put the GF pizzas right into the pizza oven, as opposed to cooking them in a pan. He said they could cook the GF pizza in a pan, so it wouldn't touch the surface of the oven, but even the pan seemed to have flour dust on it. At that point, we felt like we'd have too many other concerns (surface the pizza is prepped on, contamination of cheese, sauce and toppings from dipping floured gloves/hands into the bins, large spatula used to put the pizza in/out of the oven, and pizza cutter used to cut pizza). Best to avoid their GF pizzas if you are Celiac or gluten sensitive. If you choose to avoid gluten for other reasons and aren't concerned about cross contamination, you may feel comfortable trying them out.

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Showing 6 to 10 of 260 reviews
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