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“Experience not to be missed!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Smith Family Garden Luau

Smith Family Garden Luau
3-5971 Kuhio Highway, Kapaa, Kauai, HI 96745
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Ranked #24 of 114 Restaurants in Kapaa
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $20 - $30
Cuisines: Hawaiian
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Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children, Large groups, Local cuisine
Dining options: Dinner, Buffet, Reservations
Level Contributor
16 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Experience not to be missed!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2013

In October 2013, we visited Kauai, Hi. One of the places/restaurant we visited was the Smith Family Luau. Reviews stated that this was the most crowded of all the Luau's on the island. We were not crowded. There were plenty of people but it was far from "Crowded". There was plenty of time to visit all the attractions, gardens, etc... as part of the Luau. The food was excellent. And plenty of it. With the amount of people they had more than enough food to feed all the people many times, seconds and thirds were not a problem. The service was excellent. There were no long waits. If you drink it is all freee until you go to the show, about 2 hours. Then the show, WOW, It is stadium like seating, but there is not a bad seat in the house. Large stage and wonderful dancers/actors. It actually explained how the Hawaiin Islands were made up of different people and it was very interesting. The show was very exciting also. As for the price, it was the cheapest one on the island, under $80.00. Very affordable, great food, entertaining show and informative. Well worth it. Book on line ahead of your visit and save $10.00. Many families in attendance. Smith family will also accomodate any special occassions, Birthdays, Weddings, Anniversaries, etc...

  • Visited October 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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370 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
33 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Day trip from a cruise trip”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 19, 2013

We had a wonderful river trip and then ended up at The Smiths for lunch. Beautiful ground with peacocks wandering around and the pig that had been roasted in the ground overnight was excellent, enjoyed the trip immensely and an recommend.

  • Visited January 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Bernardino, California
Level Contributor
14 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Touristy, entertaining, well-run, but not what I expected”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 18, 2013

I got "discounted" tickets from their website for $78 each. My wife and I arrived about 5 pm, in time to take the tram tour of the garden. We were ushered in to our parking space, and directed to our check in. We were directed to the tram, where we waited for it to fill up. While we waited, we were given a shell lei and had our photo taken with the two cutest dancers (which you can buy later for $20). There were lots of birds around, including pea fowl, and the ubiquitous Kaua'i chickens, which you could buy food for. They will eat out of your hands. The tram tour driver gives a very basic, layman's narrative of the gardens as he drives around. You can see that there once was great attention to the horticultural value of the garden, as many of the trees and plants have plaques and labels. But most of the plant tags are weathered and broken to where only half are readable. Even then, common names are used. The garden is intensly managed and maintained because it is obviously intensely used. The plants are trimmed unnaturally in many cases, some of the trees are poorly maintained (I am a professional arborist), and some of the garden structures and props are hokey. There were a lot of people there (maybe 400), and I did feel like I was being directed (maybe like a herd), but the management of this many people does require crowd-management skills--and they did a very good job of it. They did a very good job of explaining how everything worked, where everything was, and not to worry. The trio that played music before and during dinner was ok, and they are competent musicians. Later our host sang a few songs (he has a good voice), and one of the relatives gave a lesson on hula, and invited some guests to the stage to participate--which was fun. We were invited to the six buffet lines a table at a time (crowd management), and the food was plentiful, with many choices. I was not convinced than the recipies were special local fare, but the mahi-mahi and the teryaki beef were both very good, and my wife devoured her extremely tender chicken. They also served the obligatory poi, which I (and many others) avoided. The shredded pit bbq pork was ok, but not my favorite. If you are vegetarian, you wouldn't go hungry, but there were only three or four things you would want to eat. I drank the punch, which was sweet and flavorful, and the coffee, which was strong and delicious. The staff was very attentative to the diners at the tables. They made sure you had water, picked up plates, poured coffee, and took photos. Even though the dinner was open-air, there were no flies. The main show was in a separate outdoor theater. It included cultural Hawai'ian dances, and also those from the Polynesian, Phillipine, Maori, Japanese, Chinese, and Samoan cultures that have migrated to Hawai'i (those are the cousins). I guess they have to use amplified and recorded music for the show, but most of it was by the same live musicians as before, plus drummers. The Chinese guy sitting next to me snickered with his wife in a condescending way during the dragon "dance," though. Some of the dance acts required a high level of skill and practice, which everyone applauded. There were some special effects (involving fire!), and the lighting enhanced the show. We sat in the second row, which was a mistake. It is better to sit a little higher up so that you can see the stage floor. You can't see some of the fancy footwork behind the footlights from where we were, and we didn't see what the dancers were jumping over and around during the Phillipine dance. Even though the whole program was very well organized, professionally executed, and the staff was very good, this was not the cultural experience I thought the luau was going to be. I was expecting more Hawai'ian dances, chants, and culture. Even so, my wife and I did have a reasonably good time, but we won't have to go again. Next trip to Hawai'i, we will be looking to go to a hula or chant show or competition, not a tourist show. I rated the cost as $$$$ because of the dinner and show. I expect that the dinner portion, including the live music, was about 40%, and the show about 60%, of the value. If you decide to go to Smith's, you will be well fed and entertained, and maybe gently herded.

  • Visited December 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Cattle Call”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 9, 2013

Just did not care for it at all. Too many people and quite frankly felt like I was part of a herd of cattle. I felt like I was eating in an outdoor cafeteria.

  • Visited November 2013
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
12 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Surprisingly worth it!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 19, 2013

Very friendly staff, entertaining personable MC, loved the dinner (barely waddled out of there) show was good but ran a little long, I would trim out a few "cousins". drinks were good and easy to get your hands on though short lived.

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