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Food Review: Neide’s Salsa and Samba – Brazilian and Mexican Restaurant

By Hali Winthrop

Slightly hidden in the back of the Hanalei Center in Hanalei on the North Shore of Kauai, you will find Neide’s Salsa and Samba Brazilian and Mexican Restaurant. Although not very obvious in its location, this restaurant is definitely a gem. I was promptly greeted and seated by the waitress with a choice between sitting inside the lounge-style dining room or outside on the covered porch – both areas offer breathtaking views of Namolakama Mountain – I chose inside. I had been meaning to try the restaurant’s wine special, and the restaurant staff was knowledgeable and friendly in helping me decide upon the delicious Skinny Girl white wine. While perusing the menu, I was stuck with a difficult decision: Mexican or Brazilian food? Everything sounded delicious, but the Vegetarian Panqueca won out: a crepe filled with sweet potatoes, squash, broccoli and carrots topped with “Neide’s own special sauce” and melted cheese. I don’t usually go for vegetarian options, but I am a sucker for sweet potatoes and squash, which aren’t your everyday ingredients. I was not disappointed; all of the veggies were cooked to perfection, and the sides of Brazilian rice and black beans were also just right. I was a bit tempted to lick my plate at the end. As a huge sauce lover, my only complaint was that the special sauce could have been more liberally applied. Overall, the food was great and served super hot (don’t touch your plate!), and the service was friendly, attentive and quick. I walked away full and happy!

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