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Anyone been to Maui Lately?

Anyone been to Maui Lately?
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  • Anyone been to Maui Lately?

    Post #1 - June 10th, 2011, 8:15 am
    Post #1 - June 10th, 2011, 8:15 am Post #1 - June 10th, 2011, 8:15 am
    The only thread that I found on Maui is this one, Maui On The Cheap. Not exactly what I am looking for, although I don't necessarily mind cheap.

    I am taking the family to Maui for 10 days. It has been about 20 years since I visited Maui and we stayed on the west side of the island last time. This time we are staying in Wailea. Our hotel offers a beautiful buffet breakfast daily which is included in the room rate.

    Anyone have suggestions for dinner? Don't mind spending and my kids are pretty adventurous sushi lovers. Current intel is greatly appreciated.
  • Post #2 - June 10th, 2011, 9:34 am
    Post #2 - June 10th, 2011, 9:34 am Post #2 - June 10th, 2011, 9:34 am
    I know that other thread says "cheap," but there are posts of more expensive meals there too . . . Mama's, Bev Gannon's, etc. I know there's also a Tommy Bahama's there and I've always enjoyed my lunches at their Palm Desert location.
  • Post #3 - June 10th, 2011, 10:15 am
    Post #3 - June 10th, 2011, 10:15 am Post #3 - June 10th, 2011, 10:15 am
    As noted in the linked thread, I stayed in Wailea last summer and didn't find too much excitement at the higher end. Apart from the hotels, Sansei is "high end" in what is essentially a laid back beach town (at least that describes adjacent Kihei; Wailea is hotels). There's a Roy's, a Ruth's Chris and a Nick's Fishmarket. I heard good things about Cuatro, a Latin fusion place, though I wasn't interested in that in HI. Under no circumstance should you eat at the fake Cheeseburger In Paradise place in the Wailea mall.
  • Post #4 - June 15th, 2011, 5:19 pm
    Post #4 - June 15th, 2011, 5:19 pm Post #4 - June 15th, 2011, 5:19 pm
    Lahaina grill is a must try, very good food. Also tried Gerard's, but was underwhelmed. Otherwise, food was rather mediocre, enjoyed sushi at the hotel I stayed on (Hyatt in Kanapali), believe it was called Cascades. Not worth a special trip though.
  • Post #5 - June 15th, 2011, 5:38 pm
    Post #5 - June 15th, 2011, 5:38 pm Post #5 - June 15th, 2011, 5:38 pm
    For me, a visit to Mama's Fish House is a Maui Must.

    Disclaimer, it's been at least 8 years since my last visit to Maui.

    Mama's Fish House
    799 Poho Place
    Paia, HI 96779
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #6 - June 15th, 2011, 9:20 pm
    Post #6 - June 15th, 2011, 9:20 pm Post #6 - June 15th, 2011, 9:20 pm
    Please update. Most of my favorite meals 10 years ago were funky little shacks. My husband always grabbed fish tacos from the lady on the side of the road between Kihei & Makena (not far from you in Wailea).

    Wailea used to be a bit sleepy & subdued. I have no idea if it's just exploded like Kihei did 10 years ago.

    Off the beaten path spend some time a bit inland near Haiku but I doubt there's much in terms of fine dining there.

    Have some Lappert's ice cream for me & if you can bring back a case of Maui Kitch'n Cooked Chips I would be forever grateful.

    Have a great time.
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #7 - December 29th, 2011, 12:07 pm
    Post #7 - December 29th, 2011, 12:07 pm Post #7 - December 29th, 2011, 12:07 pm
    Any more updates?

    This is what I have on my list. We are staying in Kihei (just north of Wailea). Trying not to spend too much time in the car driving around, given the stories I've heard about the traffic.

    Coconut's Fish Cafe - spicy fish burger
    Stella Blues Cafe (breakfast) - Macademia nut pancakes, breakfast burrito
    Eskimo Candy (takeout?) - poke, ono, salmon "jerky", shrimp tempura, plate lunches, shrimp tacos
    Local Boys Shave Ice
    South Short Tiki Lounge/Beach Bumz
    Kihei Caffe (breakfast) - loco momo, Cinnamon roll french toast, fried rice, biscuits & gravy, strawberry twisties, turnovers
    Surfing Monkey Shave Ice
    Sansei - panko crusted seared ahi roll, hamachi collar, caterpillar roll, shrimp cake, apple tart, fried ice cream
    Koiso Sushi Bar - make reservations, 12 seats sushi bar
    Da Kitchen Express - shredded pork, kahlua pork, lau lau, loco moco, fried spam musubi, chicken katsu, teri chicken
    Cafe O'Lei - blackened mahi mahi, macadamia nut crusted chicken, Manoa lettuce wraps

    Monkeypod Kitchen by Merriman‎ - the only decent cocktails in Maui?

    Outside Kihei
    Paia Fish Market (Paia) -- hole in the wall, tiny, fish tacos with ono
    Star Noodle (Lahaina) - Vietnamese crepe, pork buns, pad thai, garlic noodles
    Lahaina Grill (Lahaina) - upscale, make reservations, Kona Lobster Crab Cake, Tequila Shrimp with Firecracker Rice, kalua duck confit, maui onion and sesame seed crusted seared ahi, triple berry pie
    Merriman's Restaurant Kapalua (Lahaina) -- upscale, make reservations, pineapple upside-down cake
  • Post #8 - December 29th, 2011, 2:10 pm
    Post #8 - December 29th, 2011, 2:10 pm Post #8 - December 29th, 2011, 2:10 pm
    The General Store is a great restaurant we went to twice while in Maui in 2000. It's still there and serving wonderful food in a rustic atmosphere. It's near the beginning of the road to Hana.

    TC ... aurant.php
  • Post #9 - January 1st, 2012, 8:02 pm
    Post #9 - January 1st, 2012, 8:02 pm Post #9 - January 1st, 2012, 8:02 pm
    We just got back from Maui! Stayed in Wailea which is not too far from Kihei.

    Da Kitchen Express (Kihei) or Da Kitchen (Kahului) - just ok. Two combo lunches and drinks was around $35. Not bad, but steer away from the lau lau/kahlau pork/chicken long rice combo. Hubby's chicken katsu and beef was better.

    Eskimo Candy - I really liked this place. The poke is awesome. They have a poke bowl with 4 kinds of poke for $8.95. The captain's platter was a plate of fried stuff, and was just ok. Stick with the poke. We came back the next day for more. Closed Sat and Sun.

    Coconut's Fish Cafe - We had the fish tacos and fish and chips. Fish tacos were pretty good and BIG. Double corn tortillas with the bottom one grilled so it's crispy. Pretty messy, but good.

    Kihei Caffe - Looks like a shack outside. Opens at 5am which was great for our early morning Molokini dive. Had the spam and eggs...

    Paia Fish Market - Excellent... We ended up eating here twice. Once for dinner and the second time for a pre dinner snack. Avoid the Fish Platter (special on the white board). Fried calamari is awesome, the shrimp was generic. Fish burger was great.

    Star Noodle - Meh, overrated

    Mama's Fish House - Overrated and overpriced! $360 for 4 people (1 drink each) before tip.

    Ululani in Lahaina has EXCELLENT shaved ice. Must go! It's on Front Street.

    Isana Korean in Kihei - Meh Korean food, but the sushi was not bad.

    Geste Shrimp Truck - Awesome Hawaii Scampi style shrimp. Around $12 for a shrimp plate lunch with 12 shrimp or 14 shrimp with just cabbage. It's off the road by Kahului Beach

    Braddah's BBQ - On the road past Hana (heading towards the State Park with the giant waterfall). The BBQ chicken was good, but shrimp pasta is awesome! Literally right off the road in the family's front yard.

    Charley's in Paia - Skip... overpriced, mediocre. Tried to cover the burnt hamburger patties in my loco moco... yuck

    Costco, Kahului - Poke, Ahi Sashimi, Shrimp Ceviche, $3 Maui Gold Pineapples... enuf said!
  • Post #10 - January 2nd, 2012, 10:07 am
    Post #10 - January 2nd, 2012, 10:07 am Post #10 - January 2nd, 2012, 10:07 am
    Thanks! That's very helpful.
  • Post #11 - January 2nd, 2012, 1:33 pm
    Post #11 - January 2nd, 2012, 1:33 pm Post #11 - January 2nd, 2012, 1:33 pm
    CrazyC wrote:Mama's Fish House - Overrated and overpriced! $360 for 4 people (1 drink each) before tip.

    I definitely recall Mama's being expensive, but I was really impressed by the quality of the seafood (far, far better than what I typically find here) and we we loved the meal. General Store, where we went for lunch, was also very good. I posted however in the "cheap" thread . . . for whatever reason. :?
  • Post #12 - January 2nd, 2012, 3:43 pm
    Post #12 - January 2nd, 2012, 3:43 pm Post #12 - January 2nd, 2012, 3:43 pm
    BR wrote:
    CrazyC wrote:Mama's Fish House - Overrated and overpriced! $360 for 4 people (1 drink each) before tip.

    I definitely recall Mama's being expensive, but I was really impressed by the quality of the seafood (far, far better than what I typically find here) and we we loved the meal. General Store, where we went for lunch, was also very good. I posted however in the "cheap" thread . . . for whatever reason. :?

    The seafood was good everywhere we ate. But at Mama's, it was covered with butter and overly sweet sauces, and in 3 of our table's entrees, overcooked. We had the macadamia crusted mahi (their signature dish), the bouillabaisse (another signature), the opah and the opakapaka. The mahi was sweet... literally sugar sweet. I had the bouillabasse. Needed salt (and this is coming from someone who eats salt in moderation!), and the fish, lobster and shrimp were overcooked. And did I mention that dish was $54!

    Appetizers we had the tahitian shrimp, the ono ceviche with coconut and lime, and the wasabi crusted calamari. $21 for 4 shrimp in a vanilla butter sauce. Um... The calamari was the best: tender, and a nice non-greasy crust. Though the calamari at Paia Fish Market was just as good and half the price!

    Nothing in Maui is cheap! But we ended up sharing an appetizer and entree in most places and were satisfied. I was very grateful though that our dining companions picked up the check. I think they felt bad for insisting we eat there! :)
  • Post #13 - January 3rd, 2012, 2:13 pm
    Post #13 - January 3rd, 2012, 2:13 pm Post #13 - January 3rd, 2012, 2:13 pm
    One of the highlights of our August trip was the all you can eat raw bar at Duo in the Four Seasons Wailea. For $60 you could stuff yourself on a wide variety of east and west coast oysters, slipper and regular lobsters, crab, shrimp and a variety of poke. Some of the seafood was local, other offerings were flown in. Price included their excellent french fries and a dessert. A strong bang for the dollar. This was being offered on a daily basis when we were there. I have heard that sometimes it is a tues-wed thing. i would call.

    Sansei in Kihei had terrific sushi and some excellent happy hour specials on pieces and rolls.

    Skip the Gelato place in Kihei, cant remember the name--overpriced, poor selection which lacked that gelato creaminess.

    Longhi's in Wailea is an institution, just not a particularly good one.

    Our best meals were at the 4Seasons. The breakfast buffett was included in our room and was great. Lots of choices, including dim sum, many different juices and smoothies included. We had several great dinners at Ferraros and Duo. Prices are outrageous but kids under 5 eat free which was nice.
  • Post #14 - January 5th, 2012, 11:22 am
    Post #14 - January 5th, 2012, 11:22 am Post #14 - January 5th, 2012, 11:22 am
    not sure if its still open but Azekas has (had?) excellent ribs....I think in Kihei on the main road
  • Post #15 - January 6th, 2012, 12:23 pm
    Post #15 - January 6th, 2012, 12:23 pm Post #15 - January 6th, 2012, 12:23 pm
    aaronpaul27 wrote:not sure if its still open but Azekas has (had?) excellent ribs....I think in Kihei on the main road

    Looks like it is closed! :( ... shop-kihei
  • Post #16 - January 11th, 2012, 11:21 am
    Post #16 - January 11th, 2012, 11:21 am Post #16 - January 11th, 2012, 11:21 am
    I would also add Sarento's on the Beach in Kihei for fine dining. Go for the sunset. I had my wedding rehearsal dinner there and the food was definitely better than what was served at our wedding. We really enjoyed it.

    We also enjoyed the food and the views at Capische? in the Hotel Wailea - it sits a little higher up the hill so the views are really spectacular.

    Enjoy your trip!
  • Post #17 - January 24th, 2012, 11:18 am
    Post #17 - January 24th, 2012, 11:18 am Post #17 - January 24th, 2012, 11:18 am
    Just got back, here's where we ate and drank on Maui:


    Aloha Discount Liquor -- A tiny place but with more varied selection than you'd expect in a sleepy little beach town! Better than Safeway's selection in any case. (While at Safeway, the couple next to us pointed out that for gin, they didn't even carry Beefeater there. The couple wasn't too pleased.)

    Yee's Orchard -- Awesome pineapples and Golden Glow mangos. Not cheap, but very tasty fruit. They also sell starfruit, apple bananas, papaya, passionfruit, guava, coconut, and more. The Golden Glows also have a very skinny seed, so you get more flesh off this variety than other types. They are also a bit larger and hefty than Mexican mangoes. Closed Mon and Fri. Only open 11-5. Easy to miss as it is literally a small hut at Kihei Road and Nohokai St. It is on the east side of the street. Great fruit, worth the effort to find it!

    Farmers Market at Aloha Open Air Marketplace -- OK Kula strawberries and Maui Gold pineapples. Yee's has better pineapples. Eh.

    Safeway -- Decent poke for an excellent price ($7.99/lb or so) with the loyalty card. Texture was a little off, taste was fine. (Eskimo Candy's was better, but they're closed weekends. Did not try Foodland's as husband was put off by the flies buzzing around.)

    Cafe O'Lei -- A decent enough place for some crab cakes and a seared tuna sandwich. Solid Caesar salad. Stopped for a quick bite as our condo wasn't ready yet. It was fine but nothing special. I wouldn't go back.

    Da Kitchen Express -- A quite salty kalua pork sandwich but still tasty; eating the pork with rice on a combo platter is better. I think the salt level here is a little inconsistent, too. An OK loco moco with tons of gravy and a huge portion size. Two scoops of rice, giant burger patty, two eggs, and potato-mac salad was very heavy. There was way too much gravy. Decent, though. My husband thought it was all a bit overwhelming. Getting a three item combo platter was a better idea, on a later trip. Solid chicken cutlet (the A1-like sauce was a little odd though), kalua pork was MUCH better with some cabbage and rice, and I liked their teriyaki beef quite a bit. One combo was just enough food for two of us. I liked this place, but you must order carefully.

    Eskimo Candy -- Cute/cheesy atmosphere, and much smaller than I thought it would be. The service was extremely nice though. Great poke bowls with four types of poke over mayo/wasabi and rice, with some seaweed salad in the middle. I loved the furikake style best. We went back multiple times, we liked it so much. Our usual order was two poke bowls and maybe an appetizer, if dining in. However, it's much cheaper to buy the poke by the pound and get a side of rice or two if you are taking out. The fried calamari was very good (fresh, not rubbery, not too oily), but the coconut shrimp was even better. Crispy, tender, and tasting of real, fresh coconut. Not greasy at all. We loved this place and went back multiple times, but mostly for takeout. Great spot.

    Sansei -- Decent enough fusion Japanese. If you go before 6pm, you receive a 25% discount for an early bird special on some days. The famous panko crusted tuna roll with arugula was only OK. I think the bitter greens clashed a little with the tuna. The miso butterfish was tasty but didn't seem all that different from the now ubiquitous miso cod you see at many Japanese restaurants. We splurged on foie gras nigiri, which was served a little bit cold. Somehow they made foie gras taste mediocre! I didn't think this was possible. There wasn't really the rich, strong, buttery taste you usually get with foie gras. The standout dish was the roasted eggplant with miso, cooked perfectly. Overall, the cooked dishes are unimpressive if you have had creative Japanese in LA, NYC, Chicago, etc. We also had some maki rolls on a later visit which were good, including one interesting one with Thai chili glaze on shrimp tempura maki. I think the food coming out of the sushi bar is much less ambitious and therefore succeeds more, because the bar is set lower. We shared the enormous and sorta clumsy signature dessert of fried ice cream. It's a tube of vanilla ice cream, wrapped in pound cake, and fried like tempura, which tasted fine but was very dense. It was presented as one giant log, diagonally cut into two halves (it was kind of like a huge burrito). The portion was big enough for four people. I thought it was only OK. Not sure I'd go back to Sansei unless I was just getting some rolls to share, which is the best way to go IMO.

    Kihei Caffe -- Wonderful hole-in-the-wall breakfast spot. I loved the atmosphere and incredibly sweet staff. The birds and flies were a little annoying on the patio, though. The fellow minding the register reminded me of Doug from Hot Doug's in Chicago. Gently managing the line to order and tongue-in-cheek scolding my husband for getting "frozen Mainland berries" on his French toast. The French toast (made using Hawaiian sweet bread) was excellent as were the "bisquits" and gravy, served with a good portion of sausage. However the special of the day on a later visit was cinnamon roll French toast, which was fantastic! Lovely, thick cinnamon rolls sliced horizontally, battered and fried. Awesome! Not available all the time, so if you see it on the board, get it! Also I loved the banana macadamia nut pancakes, especially with coconut syrup. Fluffy with crispy edges, and a big pat of melting butter. Excellent! Loved the coconut syrup! I liked also the French toast with bananas and macadamia nuts (and coconut syrup!) on a later trip too, but not as much. Their breakfast burrito was also quite tasty, and gigantic. Their Loco Moco is solid, but needed a little seasoning. Decent pastries--tried and liked the cheese Danish. The other items are more special, I think. The pork fried rice with ham, bacon, Portuguese sausage, and scrambled eggs on top was very good as well. The POG and OJ are served over ice and get watered down--I'd avoid ordering juice here (or get it without ice, or easy on the ice) and get a blended coffee drink instead. Overall, charming and quirky. We went back several times as the breakfast was so good. Oh, that cinnamon roll French toast...sigh!

    Monkeypod Kitchen -- Good food and cocktails. I really liked my pina colada with fresh pineapple juice and coconut cream (as opposed to coconut rum or a pre-made mix). My husband's Pod Thai was also good -- Old Lahaina light rum, crème of coconut, lime, lemongrass-cardamom syrup, and thai basil. Refreshing and not too sweet. Avoid the Tsunami Tuesday, it had WAY too much lime and I could not taste any lavendar at all. Unbalanced. The crispy rock shrimp and calamari were solid, perhaps elevated a bit by the rings of fried Maui onion. (Not as good as Eskimo Candy though.) Liked my fish tacos, made with roasted tomato salsa and a mix of ahi, mahi mahi, and waloo. Husband enjoyed his mahi mahi sandwich as well. We sat inside and listened to the live music, which was fine. On a second visit we really liked the pork bulgogi tacos (though they were served a little lukewarm) and the special pizza of the night: red snapper, Maui onion, capers, creme fraiche, dill, and olive oil. (As a New Yorker, I feel compelled to point out their pizza is more akin to flatbread. :) Their Kula strawberry pie was excellent; save room for this one! I contemplated licking the plate. Our server was very nice and conscientious about food allergies and aversions, confirming the spicy-ness of dishes and that I was ok with cilantro on my tacos. Overall, a good place, and I definitely recommend their strawberry pie.

    S&Q's Coffee and Shave Ice Shack -- Liked the Tropical Fantasy shave ice: mango, guava, passion fruit, coconut cream. Theirs was packed too densely which affected the texture. I was not a big fan of the flat bottomed styrofoam cup--too messy. Not the best that I tried, but decent.

    Surfing Monkey Shave Ice -- OK texture, not as finely shaved as Ululani's, too icy but they use only cane based syrups, which I appreciated.

    Local Boys Shave Ice -- Very good texture. Loved the free Roselani ice cream on the bottom and their signature Kauai cream on the top. Had the Miss Mae: shark's blood, piña colada, and mango. Also tried the Sweetelly: mango, tiger's blood, passionfruit. Delicious. Probably the best I tried in Kihei as there's no Ululani's yet.

    Coconut's Fish Cafe -- An unassuming place that looks more like a fast food joint/deli. Friendly service. Great 17 ingredient fish tacos. I counted roasted tomato salsa, fresh tomatoes, mango, cabbage slaw, pickled jalapeño, cheese, finely chopped herbs, and more. Delicious! Better eaten with a knife and fork. I liked how they grilled the bottom tortilla to get it crispy, too. Husband really loved his Cajun style mahi mahi burger. Fresh, tasty, well cooked. Small spot, get there early as the owner said something about an hour long wait later on in the night.


    Ululani's Shave Ice -- Great texture and flavors. Super smooth, especially at the top, with the addition of cream. Perfection on a hot day! I like that they give you a stand to hold the cup. I really enjoyed my Coconut Lovers: Coconut, Tiger’s Blood, Pina Colada. Wonderful shave ice. The raves are justified!

    Local Food -- Shoyu chicken and kalua pork plate lunches cooked by a mom out of a window in a strip mall in Lahaina, as her daughter does homework nearby. Incredibly sweet woman doing all the cooking. Really delicious food, and my husband who usually does not care for potato salad liked theirs. The kalua pork was tender and so flavorful. The shoyu chicken was also packed full of great umami flavor. I'd definitely come back here again and again. What a gem!

    Lahaina Grill -- Nice dinner with excellent service in a nice setting. Decent enough Painkiller cocktails to start (maybe a little watered down). I really liked my tequila shrimp with firecracker rice. The shrimp was cooked just a bit too long but the buttery tequila sauce was delicious. The combination of the spicy rice and buttery sauce was excellent, though. My husband ordered the awesome Maui onion and sesame seed encrusted ahi. I loved the combination of flavors, especially with the carmelized onions piled on top. Very nice. We also shared a side of broiled Oluwalu tomatoes and roasted Kula corn. The tomatoes were OK. The corn was great and super fresh. It tasted more grilled than roasted. I basically polished off the entire bowl myself. We were too stuffed for dessert. Overall, a really nice spot to end our day in Lahaina.


    Mama's Fish House -- Solid food in a BEAUTIFUL atmosphere. The cocktails we tried ($16-18) were fine, nothing spectacular, but we liked the Scorpion over the Mai Tai. The seared beef Polynesian appetizer was good. Beef tenderloin in a grilled papaya, served with Maui onions, lots of garlic, tomatoes, garlic, lime, and a little hot pepper. The flavors were simple but tasty: garlicky beef with fruit. My husband had their famous mahi mahi stuffed with lobster and encrusted with macadamia nuts, which was delicious and very well-cooked. I had the Penang curry with ahi, ono, and mahi mahi. The ahi tuna chunks were overlooked and dry, unfortunately. The other fish were fine and the curry sauce was nice, but nothing extraordinary. I thought the mushrooms and snow peas in the curry were good, but basically everything soaked up the curry flavor. We shared the Polynesian Black Pearl for dessert. The passion fruit sauce and the chocolate mousse were a good match. I could take or leave the pastry shell. Overall, it was a fine meal but of course you're paying quite a bit extra for the location. The ambiance at Mama's is amazing. We loved the decor, the old newspapers by the restrooms, the canoes hanging from the ceiling, the gecko-tiled walkway, the gorgeous view. Even spotted a few whales during our meal! I made a 4:45pm reservation and we lingered there well past the sunset at 6pm. After our dinner, we spent some time sitting by the beach under the stars. Truly a gorgeous place and I can see going back just because the location has so much going for it.


    Haliimaile General Store -- We were not very hungry so skipped the appetizers. My husband's blackened ahi tuna was great, especially with their tobiko-tossed field greens. I really liked the contrasts of flavors and textures. I had the macadamia nut encrusted mahi mahi, which came with delicious purple potatoes and a tropical fruit salsa. Very nice. We shared their pineapple upside down cake with vanilla ice cream for dessert--great. Very nice place. The only weird note was a plasticky tasting Mai Tai. The see said they use a local rum that sometimes has an odd aftertaste, and it is a common complaint, and she graciously replaced it. I'm not sure why they would keep using the same rum if many people send the drinks back!

    Overall, we had a great time and ate quite well in between beach time and sightseeing. Thanks Maui! We would definitely return to Kihei Caffe, Eskimo Candy, Monkeypod Kitchen, Lahaina Grill, Ululani's, Mama's Fish House, Local Food, and Haliimaile General Store in the future.
  • Post #18 - November 4th, 2012, 12:25 pm
    Post #18 - November 4th, 2012, 12:25 pm Post #18 - November 4th, 2012, 12:25 pm
    Just got back from a week in Maui. We stayed in north Kaanapali, but traveled around the island quite a bit. Most breakfasts we did were in the condo we were renting, except the first morning. It was a great trip and I can't wait to go back. We tried to be budget mindful, so we only had a couple of higher priced meals. Here are some of the places we tried:

    Duke's Beach House - 130 Kai Malina Pkwy, Lahaina, HI
    it's part of a chain of Hawaiian places, but was at our hotel, was a great setting and offered poolside drinking and dining, so we ended up eating/drinking there quite a few times. We had one breakfast there and it was pretty good, I had an eggwhite omlette and my dining companion had the macadamia nut banana pancakes. Their cocktails were really good, the Mai Tais and Pua Hanas were our favorites, the Lava Flow was insanely popular, but too sweet for my taste. Their appetizers we tried were not bad, the ahi sashimi was really good, the poke rolls were good, the calamari strips were nice and the crab wontons were ok. We also tried the chicken quesadilla at poolside one day, but it was just ok. Lots of people rave about their Hula Pie, but I found it to be a just a giant bland slice of ice cream covered with hot fudge. Nothing too spectacular beyond the size.

    Aloha Mixed Plate- 1285 Front Street, Lahaina, HI
    we ate here twice, Hawaiian mixed plates were tasty, I loved the Kalua pork and cabbage plate, and their Kalbi was really good. I also tried the Lau Lau, but it was not as good as the pork & cabbage. Great ahi poke, super delicious and fresh. Also had the lomi lomi salmon and it was great. Mai Tais were good. Prices are inexpensive, setting is great (overlooking the harbor in Lahaina) and the food is tasty. Service is what you expect from an island setting.

    Ohno Tacos - 3600 Lower Honoapiilani Road Lahaina, HI 96761
    awesome shrimp and fish tacos. Had lunch here one day and dinner here another. Owners are super friendly. The place has no atmosphere, just delicious fresh tacos. They were large and messy and came with beans and rice. It's north of Kaanapali in a strip mall in Honokowai.

    Honokowai Okazuya & Deli - 3600 Lower Honoapiilani Road Lahaina, HI 96761
    Hawaiian mixed plate place in the same strip mall as Ohno Tacos, zero atmosphere, great plates. Had the chicken katsu and korean bbq plates. Great Katsu. I liked the macaroni salad at AMP a little better, but the prices were good and the food was very good.

    Mama's Fish House - 799 Poho Place Paia, HI 96779
    Had our anniversary dinner here, it was a beautiful setting and the most expensive meal I had by far. Opted to skip the insanely overpriced cocktails and do overpriced wine instead. The fish was delicious, I had the Opah Upcountry Style and it was incredibly fresh and delicious. My dining companion had the Mahi Mahi stuffed with crab and lobster. It was in a rich buttery sauce and was excellent.

    Maui Brewing Company- 4405 Honoapiilani Hwy Lahaina, HI 96761
    I love checking out a local brew pub, and since they feature their beers at many places around the island, I thought it would be a fun place for dinner one night. Bad move. Typical pub grub menu looked good, but it was not... at all. Frozen burger patty, frozen seafood patty. Did a flight of beers and really only kind of liked one. Skip it.

    Sure Thing Burger - 790 Front St, Ste I270, Lahaina, HI 96761
    Ate a quick burger lunch here one day, excellent juicy delicious fresh burgers, so much better than the frozen burger patty at Maui Brewing Company. Yum. Great fries too. It's a burger shack in the middle of an outdoor pedestrian mall next to Ululani's shaved ice in Lahaina.

    Honu Seafood & Pizza - 1295 Front St Lahaina, HI 96761
    Beautiful setting on the ocean in Lahaina just a door or two down from AMP and next door to its sister restaurant Mala. Loved it. Casual, delicious, unpretentious. Great beers on tap, reasonable wines and the food was great. We had the Shrimp Louie Salad, the Ahi Bruschetta and the Crab Mac & Cheese. they were all excellent, the Ahi Bruschetta was my favorite, big pieces of fresh seared ahi over a spread of pureed edamame. We wanted to try the Calamari pizza but were too full. There were so many delicious things on the menu, I would've loved to go back, but we went on our last night. I would suggest making reservations, it was packed.

    Da Kitchen - 425 Koloa St Kahului, HI 96732
    Mixed plate divey place with GIANT portions, for our last meal before flying out. We had the fried spam masubi to start....I loved it, but I love masubi. I was craving noodles so I did the Saimen Noodles with wontons, it was an enormous bowl, and the noodles were super fresh, it took me 20 minutes to get the waitress to bring me a spoon, but other than that I enjoyed it. My dining companion had the fish tempura sandwich. It was the largest portion of fried fish I've ever seen (2 huge filets fried). It was super fresh and tasty Mahi Mahi. It was a very popular place, we had about a 15-20 minute wait.

    Times Super Market- 3350 Lower Honoapiilani Road #101 Lahaina, HI
    This was were we did most of our grocery shopping, not bad prices for Maui if you are selective. the maui gold pineapple is amazing. they had a good spam masubi and a nice selection of Poke (they tell you which varieties are frozen and which are fresh).
  • Post #19 - November 17th, 2012, 8:04 pm
    Post #19 - November 17th, 2012, 8:04 pm Post #19 - November 17th, 2012, 8:04 pm
    Great post. It looks like you were at Honua Kai - we are staying there for 8 nights starting Nov. 29 with our 22-month old.
  • Post #20 - November 21st, 2012, 2:45 pm
    Post #20 - November 21st, 2012, 2:45 pm Post #20 - November 21st, 2012, 2:45 pm
    Yes, we stayed at the Honua Kai, it was great! The condos were beautiful, as was the resort. Only downside was having to drive to most restaurants (except for Duke's). The Times super Market across the street was really wonderful for stocking up on everything you need, plus they had some great Hawaiian sweet rolls in the bakery and a lot of other great local goods (coffee, fruit, fish).
    Have a wonderful trip!!
  • Post #21 - November 27th, 2012, 1:20 am
    Post #21 - November 27th, 2012, 1:20 am Post #21 - November 27th, 2012, 1:20 am
    Haven't been to Maui yet, but since moving to O'ahu I have sampled quite a few Maui Brewing Company beers and would generally rate them pretty good. They have a very nice collaboration with Jolly Pumpkin that I particularly enjoy, but every beer I've tried from them has been at least a bit above average. Their stuff blows away everything I've tried from Kona Brewing Company (whose terrible brewpub on O'ahu is about 5 minutes from me), so I'd encourage anyone interested in sampling local beer to at least give a brew or two of MBC's a shot while eating or drinking elsewhere.
  • Post #22 - December 20th, 2012, 10:26 am
    Post #22 - December 20th, 2012, 10:26 am Post #22 - December 20th, 2012, 10:26 am
    Anybody been recently and tried Alan Wong's Amasia?
  • Post #23 - January 5th, 2013, 8:19 pm
    Post #23 - January 5th, 2013, 8:19 pm Post #23 - January 5th, 2013, 8:19 pm
    Just left Maui a few days ago.

    Kihei Caffe, Eskimo Candy, and Monkeypod Kitchen in Kihei and Wailea still excellent.

    Tried some new places this time, too, the best being Koiso in Kihei.


    Kinaole Grill Truck, Kihei -- Food truck typically parked outside of Worldmark by Wyndham. Close to Kalama Beach Park I. Decent coconut shrimp, pretty good guava BBQ pork sliders on taro buns. Plate lunch comes with rice and coleslaw and mac salad. Tasty, convenient, but not the most amazing plate lunch ever. Walked the takeout containers back to Charley Young Beach and ate on the sand, which was nice.

    Koiso, Kihei -- Great hidden spot in strip mall with very little signage. $45 nigiri set, 12 pieces I think? Two kinds of toro, clam, scallop, king salmon, anago, hamachi, etc. and SO SO SO much better than Sansei. Roughly on par with Ushiwakamaru in NYC, maybe less, but only by a little. Some fish pieces were cut longer than I prefer, throwing the fish to rice ratio off. But I did not expect sushi this good in Maui. They also use real crab in their California rolls! Really wonderful service as well.... Felt bad for the people wandering in or trying to do takeout, they didn't "get" that Koiso isn't your typical maki roll factory. Wish I'd had the foresight to book 2x! Almost every other patron booked their next dinner here when they finished up.

    Maui Thai, Kihei -- Undistinguished. Busy restaurant and BYOB. Willing to do extra spicy if you wanted. Dishes were fine, but sugary/Americanized.

    Ululani's, Kihei -- The new Kihei branch was just as good as the others. Super smooth texture. Got the No Ka Oi: mango, passion fruit, coconut. Loved their mango, especially with the snow cap. Wish the location was closer to the center of Kihei. Also they have tons of outdoor seating but no tables. Makes it very hard to share.

    Alan Wong's Amasia, Wailea -- Walked in and was seated at the bar, which was a gorgeous piece of unfinished Japanese hinoki wood. They sand it down every morning. Cocktails were way too sweet. Ordered 6 small plates for a surprisingly reasonable price. Was expecting a way higher bill given that it is in the Grand Wailea. Grilled cheese sandwich, cut in half, served on a martini glass of soup (I personally find this gimmicky and lame nowadays) was odd but good. Didn't think kalua pork, cheese, and foie would work but it did. Was less enthused about the chilled tomato soup, didn't understand dipping the hot sandwich into the cold soup. His famous whole tomato salad was pretty tasty but also one note and on the sweet side. The li hing mui dressing was tangy and salty, but probably would have made anything taste good. The tomato itself did not taste like much. Kept wondering what this would taste like with an East Coast heirloom tomato. I wanted to love the Kampachi Sashimi Tiradito with passionfruit, sweet potatoes, corn, corn nuts, and cucumber. The corn nuts were just...weird. The purple sweet potato just didn't mesh with the passionfruit. The delicious kampachi was fresh and flavorful, but each slice also awkwardly wrapped around a matchstick of cucumber that fell out as soon as you picked it up with chopsticks. Weird dish. I usually like creative Asian but not this. Shoyu Duck Bao Buns (2) were good but strange. The bread part was not very fluffy, though, and the top was a little browned. They seemed like halfway between a steamed bao and a baked bao, and they couldn't decide what kind of bao they were. Again, weird. The potstickers (2) were also unusual, with long crispy and flaky edges that extended past the usual "fan" section. It was very hard to eat, but well executed, with a nice sauce with hints of vinegar and spice (hot). The "Tom Yam Kung" roll with lemongrass shrimp, crispy heads, red onion, and kaffir lime rice sounded great on paper. In actuality, it was very subtle. Well, almost too subtle, verging on bland. Rice was a little too cold, too. (If you've eaten really good sushi in elsewhere you understand that the sushi rice really matters...should not be too hot/cold, too wet/dry, packed too loosely/too tightly, etc.) And as soon as the maki roll touched soy sauce, all the delicate flavors were blasted away. 

    Overall, would probably only get the potstickers, grilled cheese, and duck bao again. Enjoyed the koi pond, bartenders, and walking around afterwards, but the Amasia menu overall seems haphazard. Liked some dishes, but seems like there are a bunch of "misses" on the list. 
  • Post #24 - November 6th, 2013, 1:26 pm
    Post #24 - November 6th, 2013, 1:26 pm Post #24 - November 6th, 2013, 1:26 pm
    Anybody been to Maui since my last post (Jan 2013)?
  • Post #25 - November 6th, 2013, 2:54 pm
    Post #25 - November 6th, 2013, 2:54 pm Post #25 - November 6th, 2013, 2:54 pm
    kathryn wrote:Anybody been to Maui since my last post (Jan 2013)?

    We went over the summer, but did little fine dining. My only report is that the Maui Costco on a Friday is even worse than the Clybourn Costco-- something I didn't think was possible.

    Cheers, Jen
  • Post #26 - January 6th, 2014, 2:29 pm
    Post #26 - January 6th, 2014, 2:29 pm Post #26 - January 6th, 2014, 2:29 pm
    Stayed in a Kihei condo for nine nights over Christmas, and here is what we tried. Some old favorites (Kihei Caffe, Eskimo Candy, Monkeypod Kitchen, Sugar Beach Bake Shop, Ululani's, Yee's Orchards, Coconuts), some new favorites (Outrigger Pizza, Tamura's, Lehua Lounge, Morimoto Maui, Amasia, Merriman's Kapalua, Da Local Banana), and a "meh" or two (Chez Meme).

    Kihei Caffe, Kihei - I really love this place. Our first stop the morning after we arrive for cinnamon roll french toast & loco moco with fried rice and lots of coffee. Our favorite thing, to sit outside and have breakfast on our first day on Maui, drinking coffee and eating fresh pineapple. Just happy to be there. I think we have done that three times now. Went back a few times, had huevo rancheros, eggs benedict, chorizo and eggs, and the country fried steak with biscuits and gravy. All very good but huevo rancheros is one of my new favorites now. It was raining one day when we tried to go so they were unfortunately closed.

    Tamura's, Kahului - Great for poke lunch & alcohol purchases. Wasabi poke was really good and not overwhelming with wasabi. Hawaiian style had lots of crunchy seaweed, maybe a bit too much. Wanted to love the pipikaula poke but it was quite salty and got monotonous. Best was the creamy orange spicy poke with lots of being fish roe. Guy next to us ordering was sad they didn't have the hamachi that day. Went back a second time, tried sunrise, ninja, hot shoyu with sea asparagus (sea beans), and inamona styles. All excellent. Sunrise is spicy style plus avocado, furikake, and a sweet sauce. Ninja style is sweet and spicy with furikake and lots of sesame seeds. All use fresh ahi and are not cheap. Out of the eight poke types we tried, I liked spicy ahi and sunrise the best. Unfortunately their king crab poke and hamachi were not available both visits. So glad they are now on Maui!

    Maui Thai, Kihei - Promising, new place. We tried the short rib Penang curry, papaya salad, and drunken noodles with chicken. Papaya salad was only OK--needed more fish sauce and spice. My drunken noodles with chicken were tasty. Lots of fresh lemongrass. But my husband's Penang curry with short ribs was rich, flavorful, and the best of the three dishes we tried. Not my favorite Thai place ever (as we have done some of the great ones in the USA like Pok Pok in Portland and Jitlada in LA) but MUCH better than what used to be in this space. Seems like the menu has some hits waiting to be explored.

    Eskimo Candy, Kihei - Did our usual of poke bowls for lunch nearly every day. Still delicious. Great service. Regular ahi, spicy ahi, wasabi ahi, and furikake ahi poke with seaweed salad, and wasabi cream over white rice.

    Coconuts Fish Cafe, Kihei - Our usual order of coconut shrimp and fish tacos to share. Messy, so always grab a fork, and add some Cholula hot sauce beforehand. My husband's favorite and he likes how crispy the outer tortilla is. Went here twice, ordered the same thing twice.

    Local Boyz Shave Ice, Kihei - Had lilikoi, lychee, guava with vanilla mac nut ice cream and Kauai cream on top. Came back and did pineapple, piña colada, and lilikoi with mac nut ice cream and Kauai cream on too. Pretty good but not as good as Ululani's and their built in bench is kind of odd. I find that the middle flavor doesn't always penetrate the shave ice here. You end up with unflavored ice a lot of the time. We went twice only because it was convenient.

    Outrigger Pizza, Kihei - Mobile pizza vendor. Smaller Naples inspired types of pies, around $10. Lilikoi Pork & Sausage with Mushroom hit the spot. Just wish the crust was a bit more flavorful but making quality pizza is difficult to do to begin with, especially in a humid environment, my pro friends tell me. Usually don't do pizza on Maui since we are from NYC but this was good. They rotate locations regularly -- their web site has the schedule. Would eat here again.

    Monkeypod Kitchen, Wailea - A quick Christmas dinner of kalua pork/broccoli/sprouts/peanut saimin, and a mahi mahi sandwich with lots of mayo. Saimin was quite salty and I wasn't able to finish, but it tastes good the next day. Tasty and bustling. We have gone here several times before and always enjoy ourselves.

    Lehua Lounge, Wailea - New cocktail lounge/open air bar at the Andaz. Kind of a weird location overlooking the infinity pools but with the busy & open air Ka'ana Kitchen behind you so their music kind of bleeds over. Good place to watch the sun set. They have love seats for two near their fire pit, on the left side facing the ocean. Service was good but a little hovering. Fresh juices, house made syrups, but only "cheater" ice with the big holes in it. Would have been nice to have those big ice cubes for the boozy & stirred drinks.

    Enjoyed the Holiday in Jalisco, Paia Town, Kona Squall, Mai Tai. Kona Squall as the best of the three as they use Bulleit and Zacapa 23 to make it.. Macadamia nut orgeat, too. Tried the pork buns (2 to an order, overstuffed, hard to eat, only OK) and the mochiko ribs (kimchee on top seemed unnecessary, ribs themselves were good, six to an order, also pricey). Probably the best cocktails we've ever had on Maui since most bars don't jigger/measure, shake long enough, taste for consistency, or use high quality ingrdients.

    Ululani's, Kihei - Did mango, coconut, lilikoi, snowcap, mac nut ice cream. Fantastic. And they now have picnic tables with holes cut into the table to hold shave ice containers. Ingenious!

    Merriman's, Kapalua - We were given a very nice corner table on the lower level towards the beach. Very pretty sunset. Excellent service. Gorgeous view. It was still light out when we sat down and I could see Molokai and the beach to my right.

    We had a rum punch for two served in a "porthole," from Crucial Detail in Chicago. This vessel was custom designed for the Aviary in Chicago but is now for sale due to popular demand/a Kickstarter campaign, and it was nice to chat with one of the Merriman's bar staff about how they're using it! (We actually have two of them at home.) The rum punch itself had Zacapa 23, Scarlet Ibis, Blackstrap, and Lillet with some spices & citrus. Served in two rocks glasses with a big sphere of ice each--it was good and very pretty in the porthole. Looks to be a new drink as it's not on the online menu.

    Loved our pork and onion quesadilla. I had the macadamia nut crusted monchong with spicy broccoli, which was fabulous. Perfectly cooked. Also possibly the best broccoli I've had in a long time. My husband got the wok charred ahi, which he adored. He's a huge tuna fiend. We shared the white chocolate malasadas for dessert. Excellent all around. I had the smaller entree portion and was quite satisfied.

    Due to traffic, we sat down a little before 5:15pm and were able to marvel at the sunset from our table. The sunset actually felt closer to 5:30pm due to the sun setting behind Lanai. Even though we didn't get a chance to do happy hour on the patio, it all worked out in the end.

    Food wise, seemed to be better & more interesting than meals at upscale places on Maui like Mama's, Hali'imaile General Store, or Lahaina Grill. Will DEFINITELY be back. Have done Mama's a few times now, and while it's good, the food quality didn't wow me the last time.

    Da Local Banana, Kihei - Former Makena food stand now with a retail storefront in Kihei. I had a regular chocolate covered banana. Excellent, with high quality ingredients, especially the chocolate. Refreshing on a hot afternoon.

    Sugar Beach Bake Shop, Kihei - New bakery from the Ululani's folks. They make malasadas only on weekends. Call to reserve. We had two cinnamon and two li hing mui. Excellent and warm when we got them. Definitely call ahead!

    Amasia, Wailea - Came here last year. They have drastically cut down the menu, which is good since it was in sore need of editing last year. We had a nice meal here even though our server was clearly overwhelmed and another table nearby had been waiting for their steamed fish for 90 minutes! They eventually got it to go, yikes. Meanwhile all of our food came extremely quickly and all at once. Ordered the duck bao and potstickers, which we had loved last time, and added on the braised short ribs, spicy broccoli, sautéed mushrooms, which we also enjoyed. The short ribs were tender, meaty, and falling apart. The spicy broccoli was good but the chili pepper slices and chopped macadamia nuts fell to the bottom of the bowl, and the broccoli was cut in large, long pieces, making it awkward to eat. For dessert, the lilikoi curd stuffed malasadas were simple and delicious. I only wish I had room for the "coconut" dessert or pineapple "shave ice."

    Chez Meme, Kihei - Came here only because Kihei Caffe was closed. I had the Baguette Willy, which was a scrambled egg and ham sandwich on baguette, husband had the pineapple french toast. Their famous mahi mahi eggs benedict wasn't on the menu. Oddly my sandwich was served with home fries and toast. Bread with bread? The sandwich's bread was soft and mushy, not crusty at all, so no textural contrast. Lame. Ended up eating the filling by itself. Their brioche french toast was OK, not amazing. No coconut syrup, only maple. Service was a bit absent. Won't come here again.

    Morimoto, Wailea - The new Maui location has a great ambiance. The outdoor seating is next to the bottom of the Andaz infinity pool. The patio has sides and a top that can be retracted. We almost didn't eat here but I loved the atmosphere. Our meal was very good. Bone marrow with breadcrumbs and teriyaki sauce, sliced lengthwise and served with a small spoon for scooping. Yellowtail over rice cooked at the table in a hot stone bowl, with sweet sake soy sauce. Duck breast and confit, served with duck confit fried rice with a sunny side up egg on top, and a small cup of duck broth with a duck meatball. All delicious. No sushi, no sashimi. We were too stuffed for dessert. Service was excellent, seating very comfy, just a little chilly from the night air. And the price was under $100 for two before tip. Similar to the NYC Morimoto it seems like the best way to have a good meal there is to AVOID the sushi, sashimi, tartares, as well as the over priced omakase meals.

    I also want to mention of the the Hawaiian snacks available at Foodland, Safeway, and the ABC/Whalers general stores!

    Love all the flavors of Macadamia nuts: BBQ, Maui onion, Kona glazed, dark chocolate covered, milk chocolate covere, cocoa dusted toffee. I try to look beyond the Mauna Loa brand for more variety. Also love the Island Princess mini meles.

    Island Princess does a nice coconut/pineapple caramel popcorn. I also really enjoy Hawaiian hurricane popcorn with furikake and rice crackers (mochi).

    Maui Kitch'n Cook'd Chips are addicting, and only available on Maui I believe! I also like Maui Style Maui Onion flavor potato chips, but I know they're not really from Maui like the Kitch'n Cook'd ones are.

    Guava macadamia Kauai Kookies were good. But overall we prefer Maui Kookwees. Pineapple mac nut, white chocolate mac nut, peanut butter, etc. Honolulu Cookie Co cookies are excellent but a bit too pricey and fancy to be tossing into my beach bag. Plus the chocolate dipped ones would melt!

    Made French toast a few times at the condo. Hawaiian sweet bread, with coconut syrup and lilikoi butter, served with fruit on the side from Yee's Orchards: golden glow mangoes and apple bananas. I picked up some excellent lilikoi butter for our french toast from the farmers market in Kihei at 61 S Kihei Rd next to Ululani's and Sugar Beach Bake Shop.

    Can't wait to return to Maui.
  • Post #27 - December 17th, 2014, 3:03 pm
    Post #27 - December 17th, 2014, 3:03 pm Post #27 - December 17th, 2014, 3:03 pm
    Just got back. We stayed right outside Paia, so most of our meals were there. We were walking distance to Mama's Fish House, and had a lovely dinner. Yes it is expensive, but it was lovely. (and they messed up my order, and ended up comping it, so much less than it should have been)

    Our first night in Paia we went to Dazoo, a Korean-tinged restaurant with craft cocktails. Dolsot Bibimbop, deep fried mochi stuffed with Kalua pork, etc. It was pretty quiet during the week, but busy on Fri night. We liked it, and the service was very patient. The table next to us wanted to taste everything before ordering it, in case they didn't like it or it was too spicy. Not just wines, but also the soup and main dishes. And the waitress brought them tastes of everything without making them feel like they were inconveniencing her.
    71 Baldwin Ave
    Paia, HI 96779
    (808) 579-9999

    Live music at Charley's - the food was well prepared and the service warm. The music was quite good. Food was fine.
    Charley’s Restaurant & Saloon
    142 Hana Hwy
    Paia, HI 96779
    (808) 579-8085

    Mexican at Milagros, with a Hawaiian spin (blackened Ahi tacos for instance). Really good, well prepared, lots of veggies and fresh fish - not overcooked. They make the chips fresh, too, so that's a plus.
    Milagros Food Co.
    3 Baldwin Ave
    Paia, HI 96779
    (808) 579-8755

    We had the plate lunch at Braddah Hutt's on the road to Hana near the State Park. I really liked the BBQ pork.
    Braddah Hutt's
    Hana Hwy
    Mile Marker 35
    Hana, HI
    (808) 264-5582

    SAVING ONE DOG may not change the world,
    but it CHANGES THE WORLD for that one dog.
    American Brittany Rescue always needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog.
  • Post #28 - January 4th, 2015, 7:04 pm
    Post #28 - January 4th, 2015, 7:04 pm Post #28 - January 4th, 2015, 7:04 pm
    Here's where we ate during an EPIC two weeks on Maui.


    Kihei Caffe, Kihei: Conveniently located near our Kihei condo. This is where we spent many mornings. Watching the sun rise, sipping coffee, eating outside. Ordered a lot more off of the specials menu this time around compared to previous trips but still had some old favorites (scrambled eggs with fried rice, huevos rancheros). They are now offering a rotating list of French toast grand slam specials: banana bread, mango bread, cinnamon roll. Delicious. We split a mango bread french toast grand slam one day, and a cinnamon roll french toast grand slam a different day. Also had a wonderful blackened ahi benedict one day. Large portions, like 8 oz of tuna. Fresh fish, seared, still pink in the middle. Surfer sandwich on ciabatta with eggs, bacon, avocado, and tomato was great. Also very fresh. This spot remains one of our all time faves.

    808 Bistro, Kihei: Nice enough place to go that's a bit hidden, especially when it's raining since they have covered seating. I had spicy jalapeno crab cake benedict which was not very spicy but tasty. My husband had a breakfast sandwich on focaccia which was OK. The sandwich's bread wasn't that great. A nice bit of an ocean view from the table though.

    Farmers Market Maui, Kihei (they have one in West Maui in Honokowai as well): Purchased some bagels and lilikoi cream cheese to eat later on the lanai for breakfasts when we were short on time or feeling lazy. Heaven! Especially with some fresh pineapple or apple bananas. Lilikoi butter was pretty good on a croissant as well.

    The Gazebo, Napili: We waited about forty minutes on New Year's Day. The line was loooong. Delicious fried rice. Even a half order is huge! Took a lot of it back. Split the combo banana, pineapple, and macadamia nut pancakes. Super fluffy pancakes with almost too much whipped topping... Tough to finish, even at half a portion. (I scraped a lot of it off after a while.) Nice views. And what's hidden behind the Please Wait to be Seated sign is a hoot.

    Sea House, Napili: No wait at all. Gorgeous views, nice patio. Friendly service. Loved my Haleakala baked pancake with bananas and pineapple, sprinkled with cinnamon. A hefty plate of food. Especially the delicious crispy edges. Delicious food and lovely atmosphere.

    808 Grindz Cafe, Lahaina: Awesome spot! Hidden in a shopping center behind / next to Nagasako's, with no clear signage, but this place was great. Very small, only a handful of tables. Extremely kind service. Super low prices for reasonable portion sizes. My husband had the rainbow french toast special (taro bread, guava bread) with fresh fruit and eggs, and the house mac-nilla sauce, which was amazing. Creamy and buttery and sweet. Fantastic dish and very, very tasty. I had a special of the day: crispy kalua pork patties with scrambled eggs and fried rice. Yum. Would definitely go here again... Great menu of benedicts, loco mocos, and more. So good. Look for photos and parking tips on Yelp. Make sure you park in the one hour parking not the thirty minute parking.


    Poi by the Pound, Kahului: Loved it. This local spot is tucked away in an odd neighborhood but is totally worth it. We had the kalua pork plate and the squid luau plate one day, as well as the lau lau plate on a different day. So good! Loved the smoky salty kalua pork. The creamy and slightly sweet squid luau which came with delicious fresh poke, poi, and lomi lomi salmon on the side. The fatty and moist lau lau. Plus, their macaroni salad is super good! It's not super heavy on the mayo and they add in fresh oregano, for a unique spin. Bring a sweatshirt, they have the AC on high.

    Local Food, Lahaina: Another unassuming favorite. Love their lau lau, kalua pork, and shoyu chicken. Mom and pop shop in a strip mall in Lahaina. And as we were eating a local cab driver pulled up and asked out the window, "It's good, huh?" Yes, yes it is. Order at the window, and seat yourself at a picnic table outside. Inexpensive and flavorful. Healthy portions, cheap eats. Note that their plate lunch comes with a mix of white/brown rice.

    Sam Sato's, Wailuku: Popular and crowded especially on a rainy day. We huddled under awnings with the locals for a while, after writing our name down on the legal pad by the window. It poured and poured as we waited. Once inside, we loved the slightly chewy dry mein and sweet-savory BBQ beef sticks. Red bean manju and pineapple turnover for the road, too. Flaky & not too sweet. Mmmmm.

    Port Town Chevron, Kahului: I grabbed some karaage (Japanese style fried) chicken bentos and chicken katsu bentos for the road to Hana, popped them into the cooler to keep warm. The bento selection was excellent. Our bentos came with a small side salad of potato, lotus root, bamboo shoots, and shiitake. There was also a shu mai, pickled daikon, pickled ginger, a seaweed salad, and white rice with furikake sprinkled on top. They had a big selection of spam musubi, shu mai, and egg rolls, too.

    Huli Huli Chicken & Ribs, Kihei: You can see the smoke from the roadside stand driving down Kihei Road. They're in front of the green Keolahou Church only Wednesdays and Saturdays. Huge "truck" sign parked by the side of the road. Got the combo plate with both chicken and ribs. Liked both.


    Tamura's Fine Wines & Liquors, Kahului: Tried the hamachi, scallop, sunrise, and shoyu pokes. Shoyu remains the weakest link here, unfortunately -- needed more soy and/or salt in my opinion. Hamachi poke was awesome, despite being previously frozen (so glad I finally got to try this one, has been sold out on previous attempts). Sunrise was good -- spicy ahi with drizzles of sweet sauce and sesame seeds on top. Wild scallop poke was the sleeper hit for me. Creamy white sauce with tiny orange fish roe, slightly spicy on the finish. One of the best poke selections on the island that we have seen so far.

    Foodland Farms, Lahaina: Amazing selection, so fresh, so delicious! The spicy bomb ahi was great, something a little extra going on that I couldn't easily identify. Loved the California roll poke. Creamy and slightly spicy sauce, some fresh sprouts, imitation crab. So ono. Sea asparagus and furikake pokes held their one as well. Really excellent. Spicy bomb here might my husband's favorite of the entire trip.

    Eskimo Candy, Kihei: Their poke bowls remain hard to beat because of the seaweed salad and wasabi aioli on top of the rice. Something about the combination…Yum. Still enjoy their shoyu, spicy, wasabi, and furikake poke. Furikake remains my favorite. Unfortunately our favorite counter person appears to have left, oh, well. My husband's favorite poke bowls on Maui.

    South Maui Fish Co, Kihei: Silky smooth tuna, good texture and flavor. Very fresh and served with an awesome pineapple coleslaw on the side. They only make regular and spicy, however. And spicy is basically just regular with spicy sauce drizzled on top--not the same as other places. Great new contender in Kihei.

    Fish Market Maui, Honokowai: High quality fish. They make the poke to order to the level of spiciness of your choosing, by adding more chile pepper flakes, etc. Nice ahi chunks. Maybe slightly too many onions. Very good but I don't think they put any limu into ours so it was missing that final something to put it over the top. Wish they had more varieties of poke but the fish is very good.

    Poi by the Pound, Kahului: We only had a handful of cubes on the side with a plate lunch, but their poke was really good. Fresh, salty, delicious. Would definitely come back and order a poke bowl. More research needed....

    Merriman's, Kapalua: We ordered the poke appetizer and it was basically perfect in terms of seasoning, texture, limu, inamona, onions, etc. Came on a bed of guacamole, which was a little hard to pick up. Pricey, small portions, of course.

    Times Supermarket, Honokowai: I bought some pre-packaged poke to go. Shoyu, limu, and kukui nut (inamona), plus two scoops of white rice on the side, to make DIY bowls. All fresh and pretty good, especially for supermarket poke. I enjoyed the kukui nut and limu the most. Too bad they don't have a poke bar and everything is pre-packaged into 1/2 pound containers. Not bad quality for the super market though!

    Coconuts Fish Cafe, Kihei: Their new poke offering just didn't seem up to par especially how great everything else on the menu is. I would have liked a firmer texture, and more seasoning. There was a spoon of soy served with it, a bit too DIY for me. Also I'm not a fan of poke bowls with brown rice and huge amounts of cabbage.


    Ululani’s, multiple locations: Go to Ululani's or go home. We really don't go elsewhere for shave ice nowadays. Snow cap on top, Roselani macadamia nut ice cream on the bottom, add on you choice of delicious guava, mango, lilikoi, pineapple, etc. syrups... Perfection. Don't forget your loyalty card.

    Coconut Glen’s, Road to Hana: Fantastic vegan coconut ice cream On the road to Hana. So cold and creamy and delicious. Tried both original and lilikoi. Nice chunks of real fruit inside! Great!

    Aunty Sandy's, Road to Hana: Delicious hot out of the oven banana bread on the road to Hana. Awesome. Even more awesome the next day, warmed up, with lilikoi butter on top. Mmmm. Buy more than one loaf. You'll want more later.

    Shaka Pops, Road to Hana/Swap Meet/etc: Available at various stores (incl Foodlands) around Maui, as well as their stand in Hana, and at the Swap Meet. Love Lava Flow as well as Coconut Lime. The pomegranate mojito was special for Christmas and oh so tart. Fresh local fruit, Popsicles made by hand. Great frozen treats.

    Maui Cane Juice, Swap Meet: Their cane juice at the swap meet looked tempting but we opted for a deliciously tart lilikoi lemonade instead.

    Jeff's Jams and Jellies, Swap Meet: Amazing stuff, free samples at the swap meet but he was sold out of his lilikoi butter already. Gotta get there early! The "Maui style" was really good, too. Lilikoi, pineapple, guava, orange.

    Long's, Foodland, and ABC stores also provided a healthy supply of chips (Maui Onion Maui style chips as well as Kitch'n Cook'd Maui chips), macadamia nuts (Maui Onion & Garlic, Kona coffee glazed), Island Princess Mele Macs, and Maui Kwoo Kees.

    And we drank a lot of Waialua Soda Works sodas. Lilikoi, pineapple, etc.


    Donut Dynamite, Kihei: Great lilikoi malasadas. The lady who makes these makes them huge... The size of two small fists, with lilikoi from her garden. Amazing. She doesn't make them every day. We pre ordered from her and you can pick up at Memphis Belle in Kihei or from the Saturday Swap Meet in Kahului. They are also available at the Grand Wailea. In terms of their cart… they have left Kahului Harbor for the new Maui Brewing Co. Tasting Room. Check their Facebook Page for more details. BTW, the bacon maple brioche ain't no slouch either. Super sweet lady.

    Sugar Beach Bake Shop, Kihei: I stopped in briefly to see what they had, and there were coconut cream malasadas in the case! We passed at the time for shave ice, but thought this info might come in handy....

    Merriman's, Kapalua: See below.


    Memphis Belle, Kihei: A pleasant place to get some pour over coffee and hang out... Also tried their flat white. Good but it didn't change my life like the sign promised. :) We also picked up some Donut Dynamite donuts here.

    Lava Java, Kihei: Can't stop, won't stop ordering the frozen Kona mochas. It's on the menu as the "granita."

    Java Jazz, Honokowai: Their mocha breve was rich and warm, hitting the spot after a chilly whale watch trip. I almost got away without putting whipped cream on but the barista insisted. Darn.


    Stewz Burgers, Kihei: Under new management. Used to be called something else. We ordered two Makena burgers. Local beef with teriyaki, grilled pineapple, and bacon. Fresh Maui baked buns. I added cheddar, lettuce, onion and tomato to mine. And ordered "frings": half fries, half onion rings. Delicious. Friendly service, a bit pricey for burgers, but we thought it was worth it. Outdoor seating only. Kitchen can be a bit slow.

    Coconuts Fish Cafe, Kihei: Fish tacos continue to be huge, messy, overloaded, but delicious. Crispy tortilla. Mounds of tropical coleslaw and salsa. Mm. The trick is to eat half the filling with a knife and fork before attempting to pick it up. Coconut shrimp with tropical dipping sauce to start. Yum. See above above for my thoughts on their poke.

    Maui Thai Bistro, Kihei: Very busy over the holidays. We had summer rolls to start. Nothing amazing but fresh and tasty. Their Penang curry with short ribs is still great. Well balanced, spicy, not overly sweet like so many Americanized Thai spots. My spicy shrimp with eggplant was beautiful and tasty. A little bit on the sweeter side but still good.

    Hank's Haute Dogs, Kaanapali: Unfortunately the Maui location doesn't have any of the unusual dog options that the Oahu one does. Only the Hawaiian, Chili, Andouille, Fat Boy, No Dog, and Hank Jr. dogs on the menu. We both did the Hawaiian: Portguese sausage with mango mustard and pineapple relish. $12.95 for a hot dog and fries with garlic aioli or curry ketchup. Ah, resort pricing! The dog was tasty but probably not worth going out of your way for. It's part of the Mai Tai bar...kind of. You can order at the separate Hank's window to go, or you can sit down at the Mai Tai bar and get their food/drink menu plus the Hank's menu. Which is totally unclear. Also if you order to go at the window, you're not allowed to sit down at the Mai Tai bar tables unless the server for some reason looks the other way? We and several other tourists all made the same mistake. Whatever. Still waiting for a Puka Dog/Hula Dog on Maui. (Wanted to try Sumo Dogs but they were off for the holidays.)


    Monkeypod Kitchen, Wailea: Crowded and crazy over the holidays. Reservations are a must! Love their happy hour. $9 pizzas, $9.50 cocktails, half off non-seafood appetizers. Garlic truffle oil fries were addicting. The pizzas aren't amazing but tasty enough. I really liked my Maui Cattle Co burger with Dijon, sautéed onion, fontina, lettuce, tomato, and pickles. On another night we went for the fish dishes. Kiawe grilled ahi with jalapeno mashed potatoes, sesame soy, and Maui onion sauce. Keahole lobster, fish, and coconut curry with peanuts, bean sprouts, squash, mushrooms, fresh basil, brown rice. Chock full of fresh flavors and vegetables, though I would not have minded more lobster. No room for pie! Excellent Monkeypod Mai tai. Tried a Rollin' Down the Street cocktail as well: Aviation gin, pineapple, orgeat, lemon, very tasty. Everything is usually fresh and tasty here, and we will definitely be back.

    Morimoto, Wailea: Also very busy around the holidays, the outside seating was packed and had a bit of a wait so we didn’t get to sit by the pool. We started with the oysters foie gras, which were amazing. Lightly steamed oysters on the half shell with hot seared hot gras, sweet teriyaki and luscious uni. Husband got his favorite, yellowtail on rice cooked in a hot stone bowl. I broke my own rule, and got some mediocre maki rolls. The cooked dishes are typically way better here. (Stopped at the Lehua Lounge at the Andaz for drinks beforehand; basically perfect sky at sunset. Drinks were good, too, but not quite as good as previous visits, a bit too much ice in our drinks. Could have just been an off night.)

    Ka'ana Kitchen, Wailea: Farm to table small plates at the Andaz. Cool open kitchen layout and the outdoor tables overlook the bar and infinity pool somewhat. Their format is small plates, kinda…ish, laid into multiple columns by ingredient source. And yet their menu clearly has entree sized dishes listed with a flower. So you don't have to share. (Yes, it's a bit confusing.) The ahi tataki with heirloom tomatoes, burrata, and lilikoi was excellent. Fresh and flavorful. The pork belly with slow cooked egg, asparagus, and bagna cauda was good but not quite as good. Thick fatty slabs of pork--like bacon. Both of these dishes were more appetizer size. The abalone risotto with runny egg, miso, and shiitake salt was excellent in terms of texture and taste, but a large enough portion that it became a bit monotonous after a while. The jalapeño buttermilk fried chicken with cornbread was very good. The cornbread also had been fried to be crispy, which was a great touch. Served with a simple but good side salad of fresh greens. Both of these dishes were more like entree size. We also liked the Lehua Punch cocktail that was on the menu. Overall a good meal, though a bit pricey, and the menu can be awkward to navigate.

    Nick's Fishmarket, Wailea: Started with the crispy, hot kalua pork pot stickers served with sweet Maui pineapple curry dipping sauce. Very nice. Husband's spiny lobster with Mac and cheese and broccolini was awesome. Perfectly cooked lobster. Addictive, savory , creamy Mac and cheese. He polished off every bite. I also greatly enjoyed my Opah with creamy Parmesan-potato gnocchi, fragrant tomato-shellfish broth, and saffron aioli on top. Moist flaky fish, well executed. Nothing on the desserts was calling out to us, so we skipped. We had a wonderful table here, facing the pool, and a front row seat to the torch lighting ceremony at sunset. Food was very good (but not amazing), as was service. We enjoyed ourselves but aren’t necessarily rushing back.

    Migrant Maui, Wailea: Service and timing needs much improvement though the food was good. We had a wobbly table that they swapped out for us...for another wobbly table. Started with the pork rinds and spicy dipping sauce, pretty good. "KFC” Korean Fried Chicken wings were tasty, sticky, but a bit too sweet though the peanut sauce helps with that. Needed a wet nap or something afterwards (none was provided). I liked the ahi avo alright but we had so much great poke on this trip that it didn't stand out at all in retrospect. We wanted the shishito peppers but the chef had deemed them too spicy that night, so I ordered the corn instead. "Street style" corn on the cob was good but the cut pieces were presented with the short side facing up so sprinkling bits of bacon on top just didn't work. The bacon all fell off when you picked it up. Weird. All three dishes came at once, all on huge plates, so there was no room on the table at all. A pretty bad Mai Tai also came out seconds after being ordered (as in the bartender probably wasn't spending a lot of time crafting drinks). The check also took forever to come. Eh.

    Mala Ocean Tavern, Lahaina: Pleasant but cramped place, and it gets a bit loud. Was lucky to get a reservation last minute, had originally wanted Honu, but only Mala had space. A lot smaller than I would have thought. The half order of ahi bruschetta was very good. Well seasoned with balsamic vinegar, contrasting nicely with the edamame purée, micro basil, fresh tomatoes, grainy flaxseed bread, and seared tuna. Simple but done right. Our ahi burger and mahi sandwiches were in a similar vein. Nothing complicated but fresh and well executed. Lightly toasted bun, freshly made tartar sauce, moist fish, big heap of crispy and hot garlic fries.

    Merriman's, Kapalua: As on previous trips, the best upscale meal we had. Outstanding ahi poke to start served on a bed of avocado puree, and Molokai sweet potato chips on the side. Perfectly dressed and seasoned tuna. A New Year's Eve special of glazed Long Island Duck with a crispy green onion and potato “cake” for the husband. Togarashi spiced mani mahi for me, served on a bed of bok choy and slightly spicy, chewy chow fun, with a little bit of papaya salsa and soy-citrus ponzu for brightness. Their old school 1944 Mai Tai was excellent (made in the style of Trader Vic so not a ton of fruit juice - very different from your typical Hawaiian Mai Tai), as was the Pineapple Right Side Up (rum, pineapple, mac nut syrup) which tasted exactly like its namesake dessert. And I went with Cuckoo for Coconut, with gin, lime and lemongrass tea, and cream of coconut, basically summer in a glass. Hot white chocolate malasadas with caramel lilikoi dipping sauce for dessert, served in a small brown paper bag, and some coffee for the road. Amazing sunset, great service, tons of people dressed up for NYE, with live music and a dance floor and festive balloons.
  • Post #29 - September 6th, 2015, 3:05 pm
    Post #29 - September 6th, 2015, 3:05 pm Post #29 - September 6th, 2015, 3:05 pm
    Maui No Ka 'Oi

    I’ve just returned from a great trip to Maui. Although the purpose of the trip wasn’t necessarily food focused, we still managed to eat very well during the time we were there. I’ve got to give a shout out to Kathryn, whose posts here were very helpful. We visited many of the places she posted about, and a few others as well. The pictures in this post are a combination of cell phone pics and those from my Canon 5D. Please excuse the differences in quality.

    Tommy Bahama

    We arrived on the island hungry, so as soon as we got our car and checked into our hotel in Wailea, we hotfooted it over to the Tommy Bahama located next door to our hotel so the Chow Poodle could get a fix of her beloved coconut shrimp (sorry, no picture). There wasn’t much on the menu that interested me, so I ordered a burger, which to their credit, came out cooked perfectly medium rare and juicy.

    Tommy Bahama Burger


    I had to be up really early for a photo shoot the next day, so that night, rather than drive somewhere for dinner, we decided to eat in our hotel at Migrant, a restaurant helmed by former Top Chef Seattle contestant Sheldon Simeon and partially owned by Shep "Supermensch" Gordon, the man who brought you Alice Cooper, Carlos Santana, Emeril and others (many of whom can be seen smiling at you from the walls at the entrance to the restaurant). Migrant is one of two restaurants in the hotel at which chef Sheldon cooks. Migrant is the one where he gets to cook more “local” (Come my house. Eat! Is the restaurant’s motto) while the other one, Mala, features a fairly standard menu (Mala has another branch in Lahina).

    The food here was surprisingly good. While the Chow Poodle’s flatbread pizza was pretty much what you would expect from a hotel kitchen, my Pancit Noodles were outstanding; with perfectly cooked noodles from a noodle maker on Oahu, and a great overall taste. I wouldn’t hesitate to eat at Migrant again. In fact, given a few more days on the island, I would have made a return visit to check out more of the menu. There were so many interesting looking dishes, it was tough to make a single choice.

    Migrant Pancit Noodles
    Oahu Noodle Factory Canton Noodles, Roasted Pork Belly, Black Tiger Shrimp, Market Vegetables, Garlic Chives, Fried Garlic

    Kula Lodge

    Having been up all night for a photo shoot at the top of Haleakala (elevation 10,000 feet), I was ready for a good breakfast.

    The Stars at the Top of Haleakala

    Although the temperatures on Maui are generally quite tropical, at that altitude it gets very cold at night (we packed winter gear). On the way down the mountain, we stopped at the picturesque Kula Lodge. The Kula Lodge, strangely enough, is located in the small upcountry town of Kula at an altitude that is more Alpine than tropical. At breakfast time the Lodge greets you with a roaring fireplace and panoramic views of the valley below. They have an outdoor wood burning oven for pizzas in their beautiful garden, but for breakfast we ordered some macadamia nut pancakes and a “No Ka Oi” omelet (Wailuku Portuguese sausage, upcountry roasted poblano pepper, Kula onions and pepper jack cheese). Unfortunately, due to the long exposure to the cold temperatures at the top of the mountain, my camera lens fogged up as soon as we entered the lodge and didn’t clear up until we were done eating our breakfast, but I was able to get one decent shot showing the great view from the restaurant (and the Chow Poodle).

    The View From Our Table

    Kula Lodge is worth a visit if you are ever upcountry (perhaps coupled with a visit to the breathtaking Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm). Open for breakfast and lunch.

    Bistro Molokini

    That night I had made reservations at the much lauded Merriman’s for dinner, but we were so beat from pulling an all nighter that I wasn’t up for the long drive. We called an audible and walked next door to the Grand Wailea to eat at Bistro Molokini. The ingredients were fresh, the preps were good enough and the sunset view couldn't be beat. It’s just that the meal didn’t rise above standard hotel fare. I’m not sure I would make a special trip to eat here, but the grounds of the hotel were beautiful and it was just a short walk along the shore to get there. In hindsight, I would have been much happier going back to Migrant.

    Kihei Caffe

    The next morning, we dove into Kihei proper to eat breakfast at the Kihei Caffe, one of the places recommended by Kathryn.

    Kihei Caffe


    This is just the kind of local joint that I love. You line up to place your order, and then find a seat. Someone brings your food to you when it’s ready, but you’re on your own when it comes to niceties like water or coffee refills. The lines can be long, but they move quickly thanks to the extremely friendly and efficient staff.

    They bake these incredible looking cinnamon buns and other treats, but I opted for Pork Fried Rice and Scrambled Eggs, a dish I noticed a lot of the local bruddahs eating while I was in line waiting to place my order.

    Kihei Caffe Pork Fried Rice and Scrambled Eggs

    This picture really doesn’t do the dish justice. It was a massive portion. What looks like a little bit of scrambled eggs on top is actually at least three eggs. That should give you some idea of just how big the portion was. It’s enough to hold you over through a busy morning of catching waves. The fried rice was very good, too. I loved the bits of sausage and nicely browned onions along with nice chunks of pork resembling char siu. I made a return visit later in the week and got the same dish with over easy eggs instead of scrambled. I liked having the runny yolk as part of the dish even better than I liked the scrambled egg version.

    Adoboloco Ghost Pepper Hot Sauce

    Kihei Caffe serves locally made Adoboloco hot sauce in three or four varieties. My favorite is this one, made with ghost peppers. It is not heat for heat’s sake as is often the case with ghost pepper hot sauces. This one was well balanced and not as hot as you would expect. It allowed the fruitiness of the pepper to shine through without overwhelming the food with heat. These hot sauces are pretty widely available on the island, and I would recommend seeking them out if you are at all a hot sauce fan. In addition to the ghost pepper version, there are four other kinds, and I really liked them all. (According to their website, Adoboloco hot sauce is sold at Standard Market in Westmont. I’ve got to investigate further next time I go to Katy’s.)

    Old Lahaina Luau

    You can’t go to Hawaii without going to a luau or getting leid. I managed to accomplish both at the Old Lahaina Luau.


    I’m planning a separate post on this luau showing some detail of the imu, or pit, where they cook a pig every day. These Hawaiian Chiefs really know how to cook a pig, and I’ve got lots of pictures of the process. For now, I’ll just say that many hotels offer a luau, but those tend to be whitewashed affairs, catering to the lowest common denominator. Old Lahaina Luau, while definitely catering to the tourist trade, at least offers a somewhat cultural experience and really good food. This is the one you should pick if you’re looking for a Luau on Maui and haven’t been invited to someone’s home. Book online in advance!

    Lulu’s Lahaina Surf Club & Grill

    One morning I had some errands to run in Lahaina, and when the lines at the place I had planned to visit for breakfast turned out to be too long, I went searching for a place to get a quick bite to eat. I ended up at Lulu’s Lahaina Surf Club & Grill in Lahaina’s Cannery Mall. It’s just the type of place you would expect to find in a mall; resembling a sports bar more than an Island-style breakfast place. I went in expecting the worst and was pleasantly surprised. Despite dismal service from a bruddah who would have much preferred being somewhere else on his surfboard catching waves (they were breaking nicely in Lahaina that day thanks to a nearby hurricane), the food was pretty decent. I ordered eggs benedict with kimchi fried rice and what turned out to be the only malasadas I ate on the whole trip.

    Lulu’s Classic Long Board Eggs Benedict with Honey Ham

    Lulu’s Plain Malasadas

    The eggs were perfectly poached, the hollandaise was scratch made and the ham was a nice replacement for standard Canadian bacon, but the kimchi fried rice, served topped with a couple slices of kamaboko was the star of the show. The malasadas were a little on the greasy side but tasted good and made me want to try some of the Haupia cream filled variety that were listed on the menu. It turned out to be a decent, if uninspiring, breakfast.

    Monkeypod Kitchen by Merriman

    One night we walked up the hill from our hotel to Monkeypod Kitchen by Merriman for one of the better dinners we had on the trip. This place is a real sleeper; located somewhat off the beaten path on the second floor of a nondescript strip mall that we had driven by at least 20 times without even noticing the restaurant was there.

    We started out with drinks and apps. A spicy Mojito for the Chow Poodle and their signature Mai Tai for me. For an appetizer, we shared Pumpkin Patch Ravioli.

    Monkeypod Mai Tai
    Old Lahaina light rum and dark rums, lime, house-made macadamia nut orgeat, orange curacao, honey-lilikoi foam

    Monkeypod Pumpkin Patch Ravioi
    Kiawe-roasted squash, chevre, organic spinach, toasted walnut sage pesto

    For our mains, the Chow Poodle ordered fish & chips, and I ordered a special of pan sautéed monchong (snapper). As is the case in most of the restaurants we visited, Monkeypod Kitchen really knows their way around a piece of fish. Both of our entrees were cooked perfectly. The fish and chips was not at all greasy and my monchong had so many great tastes blended together, that it turned out to be one of the better preps I had the entire time I was in Hawaii.

    Pete’s Fresh Fish & Chips
    Day boat, troll-line caught mahi mahi tempura style, malt vinegar aioli

    Monkeypod Sautéed Monchong
    zucchini ribbon, lobster, ali’I mushrooms, butternut squash, kale W/lemon cream béchamel & sweet pepper chutney

    One of the specialties of Monkeypod Kitchen is their pie. No visit is complete without sampling one of their house made cream pies. We sampled both banana and coconut, leaving strawberry and chocolate for another visit.

    Monkeypod Kitchen Banana Cream Pie

    Monkeypod Kitchen Coconut Cream Pie

    808 Grindz


    This place is a tiny little storefront in Lahaina with only 8 – 10 tables. People line up outside and wait patiently for one of the precious tables to open up, and that’s just what we did. We waited in line for almost 1 hour to get in, and it was worth every minute of the time we spent talking with our fellow breakfast lovers as we tried to figure out the method being used to decide who would be invited in next. The crowd ranged from locals in the know to big groups on vacation. All were treated as family by the small but friendly staff.

    808 Grindz Staff
    This is One Ono Kine Breakfast, Bruddah!

    The menu is a great example of Hawaiian cuisine at its best. There’s a section of Loco Mocos (at least 8 different kinds), Benedicts, pancakes of all types, and other grindz ranging from yogurt & granola to something called the 808 Grindz Attack. The Chow Poodle went for the Macadamia Nut Pancakes and I got Da Bene Trio consisting of crab latkes, kalua pork hash benedict and (sic) corn beef hash bene (which I subbed for the listed salmon Florentine).

    808 Grindz Macadamia Nut Pancakes

    808 Grindz Da Bene Trio

    At 808 Grindz, they serve another type of local hot sauce, which appears to have come from the Asian grocery next door.

    Hawaiian Hot Sauce at 808 Grindz

    I didn’t care for this hot sauce nearly as much as the Adoboloco stuff I mentioned earlier. This was more like the standard Tapatio or Valentino hot sauce we can find in these parts. We loved 808 Grindz, though. You just need to have some time to spend waiting in line to eat there. It’s well worth the wait, though.


    Hawaii = Shave Ice = Ululani's. End of story.

    They’ve got locations scattered throughout the island. Seek them out.



    Mama’s Fish House

    We saved our last dinner in Maui for Mama’s Fish House. We had been there on our previous visit to Maui, some 30 years ago, and we knew that it was a place that we didn’t want to miss this time around.

    Mama’s Fish House


    Mama’s Actual House Next to the Restaurant

    Part of the reason for our trip to Maui was to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary, and the folks at Mama’s went out of their way to make it a special occasion. We had a great table right in the window looking out at the ocean, and there was a personalized card wishing us Happy Anniversary on the table. They followed that with a couple flutes of champagne once we were seated.

    Our Table

    The meal itself lived up to our expectations. Mama’s really delivers in every way. They’ve got a small ohana of local fishermen whose names are listed on the menu next to the fish that they caught. Granted, Mama’s is perhaps the most expensive restaurant in Maui, but at least you’re getting what you paid for. I don’t feel the prices are all that inflated just because of the huge tourist trade. The money you pay definitely shows up in both the service and on the plate.

    Local asparagus/potato potage

    Baked in house. Served with locally made lilikoi butter

    Maliko Bay Tomato and Maui Onion Salad
    Pine nuts and Point Reyes bleu cheese. Maui olive oil and 18 year balsamic

    Kauai Shrimp Won Ton
    Macadamia nut dipping sauce

    Mama’s Stuffed Mahimahi caught by Mike Fisher
    Mahimahi stuffed with lobster and crab and baked in a macadamia nut crust

    Hana Banana Macadamia Nut Crisp
    Served warm with homemade Tahitian vanilla ice cream

    While we were having dessert and coffee, Doris Christenson, Mama herself, came over to wish us Happy Anniversary. It turns out that she and her husband Floyd were also celebrating their anniversary that night. It was their 61st. She was nice enough to take a picture with us. It was a great end to the evening.


    Honorable Mentions

    There are a few places we frequented that I’d be remiss in not mentioning. First is 808 Deli in Kihei. This place is mentioned in Katheryn’s posts above and was also recommended to us by our rental car agent as a place serving great sandwiches in the Wailea area. We got killer breakfast sandwiches there a couple of times and had lunch there once. It’s more of a carry out place, but they have some seating inside if you don’t mind eating in what amounts to a non-air conditioned kitchen. It’s better to take your sandwiches across the street and eat them at the beach.

    Another place we went to was Milagro’s Food Company in Paia, on the north coast near Mama’s. While nothing there was earth shattering, Milagro’s is a good place to take a break and grab a beer or a margarita while exploring the interesting, arty town of Paia. Their guacamole and chips are both made in house and were really good (the chips, especially). We didn’t get any further into the menu than that, but sitting on their patio watching the world go by was very pleasant.

    Finally, believe it or not, Safeway. After getting settled in to our hotel, we drove to the local Safeway to pick up some poke from their poke bar to stash in the fridge for later snacking (If Dominick’s had something like a poke bar, I’d guess that they would still be in business).

    Tommy Bahama’s
    The Shops at Wailea
    3750 Wailea Alanui Dr.
    Kihei, HI 96753
    (808) 875-9983

    Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa
    3700 Wailea Alanui Dr.
    Kihei, HI — 96753
    (808) 875-9394

    Kula Lodge
    15200 Haleakala Hwy
    Kula, HI 96790
    (808) 878-1535

    Ali'i Kula Lavender Farm
    1100 Waipoli Rd
    Kula, HI 96790
    (808) 878-3004

    Bistro Molokini
    3850 Wailea Alanui Dr
    Kihei, HI 96753
    (808) 875-1234

    Kihei Caffe
    1945 South Kihei Road
    Kihei, HI 96753
    (808) 879-2230

    Old Lahaina Luau
    1251 Front St
    Lahaina, HI 96761
    (808) 667-1998

    Lulu’s Lahaina Surf Club & Grill
    Lahaina Cannery Mall
    1221 Honoapiilani Hwy
    Lahaina, HI 96761
    (808) 661-0808

    Monkeypod Kitchen by Merriman
    10 Wailea Ike Dr
    Kihei, HI 96753
    (808) 891-2322

    808 Grindz
    843 Wainee St
    Lahaina, HI 96761
    (808) 280-8914

    Mama’s Fish House
    799 Poho Pl
    Paia, HI 96779
    (808) 579-8488

    808 Deli
    2511 S Kihei Rd
    Kihei, HI 96753
    (808) 879-1111

    Milagro’s Food Company
    3 Baldwin Ave
    Paia, HI 96779
    (808) 579-8755

    277 Pi'Ikea Ave
    Kihei, HI 96753
    (808) 891-9120
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #30 - September 7th, 2015, 5:35 am
    Post #30 - September 7th, 2015, 5:35 am Post #30 - September 7th, 2015, 5:35 am
    Fantastic photos as always Steve. Mahi fish and chips as well as everything else looks great. Thanks for sharing.

    Happy 25th anniversary.