There are wonderful places to eat on Maui, from well known, high end restaurants to small out of the way gems. Here are some of our favorites.
1) Mama’s Fish House – a perennial classic, this restaurant is a must do for seafood lovers. Situated on the water in beautiful Paia, this family owned restaurant features fish caught daily by local fishermen. The restaurant is pricey – most entrees start around $40 and go up from there. Reservations are recommended but can conveniently be made online at: http://www.mamasfishhouse.com/
2) Lahaina Grill – consistently rated as the best restaurant on Maui, the Lahaina Grill is located, appropriately enough, in Lahaina just off the main street through town, Front Street. The menu features both “from the land” and “from the sea” and for non seafood lovers this would be a better option than Mama’s Fish House. The menu here too is pricey but the food is fantastic. Reservations are recommended for this restaurant as well but also can be made online at: http://lahainagrill.com/reservations/
3) Fleetwoods – also in Lahaina is Fleetwoods on Front Street. This restaurant, owned by Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac fame, has terrific food, wonderful service, a great rooftop view and delightful entertainment. Dinner is served daily from 5:30 – 10:00 on both levels of the restaurant; to dine rooftop requires calling 808-669-MICK. Reservations for the main level of the restaurant can be made online at: http://www.fleetwoodsonfrontst.com/ The menu here too is pricey but a little less so for entrees than either Mama’s Fish House or Lahaina Grill. Be sure to check out the entertainment calendar at the same link above to make the most of your evening. Definitely try the rooftop!
4) Cheeseburger in Paradise – lest you think all of my recommendations are pricey, here’s a great family restaurant at more “normal” prices. With a waterfront location in Lahaina on Front Street and live music at night, this location is perfect for a break during shopping in Lahaina. This is a great family restaurant with lots on the menu that would appeal to kids – our children always wanted to eat here. There is also a Cheeseburger Island Style – same chain – in Wailea in the Wailea Shops convenient to our condo. We often walk up here in the morning for breakfast – can’t beat the breakfast special pricing for a good hearty breakfast in a cute atmosphere with super friendly staff.
5) Bubba Gump Shrimp Company – another family friendly restaurant that was always a favorite both for our family and for our guests is Bubba Gumps in Lahaina. Located oceanside on Front Street, the atmosphere is a lot of fun – based on the movie Forrest Gump, the restaurant is decorated with sayings and items from the movie. Wait staff quiz guests on the movie and there is an ingenious sign at each table to advise waiters if service is desired. If the sign is flipped to “Run Forest Run” the waiter continues on but will come to the table when it reads “Stop Forest Stop”. There is an attached gift shop with pretty much anything a fan of the movie would want to buy.
6) Kula Lodge – on the way to Haleakala, lies the Kula Lodge which at 3,200 feet of elevation provides a refreshingly cool and crisp temperature. The Kula Lodge offers sweeping views of the entire west side of Maui, from the mountain to the ocean. If the time of year is correct, the jacaranda trees will be in bloom and their gorgeous purple flowers make the drive worthwhile in and of themselves. The lodge serves delicious pizza from their wood-burning pizza ovens but also has a breakfast, lunch and dinner menu to accommodate both lodge guests and those just stopping by. Reservations may be made online at: http://www.kulalodge.com/restaurant.htm; however, we have never found reservations to be necessary. There is also an attached small market and gift store that has some lovely handmade and unique items for sale.
7) Flatbread Company – fresh, organic, wood- fired pizza awaits you at this delicious restaurant in Paia. Spend some time shopping in this quaint town and then head to Flatbread, located in the heart of the town on Hana Highway. Pair your pizza with a salad made from local greens and enjoy a fresh squeezed lemonade with it. Yum! One flatbread is generally enough for two people and just like with “regular” pizzas, one can mix and match various toppings. Paia is often very crowded and parking can be a challenge. There is a free lot just before entering the town that we frequently use – only occasionally have we scored street parking. There is also a free lot up by the post office that is an ideal parking location for the next restaurant on our list as well.
8) Maka by Mana – recently opened is this wonderful vegan restaurant in Paia at 115 Baldwin Avenue. This raw food restaurant is owned and operated by Mana Foods, a grocery store just down the street. Enjoy fresh juices, smoothies, salads, sandwiches and wraps. There is also pie and ice cream for dessert. The best part of this restaurant is leaving, full, satisfied and feeling like you have treated your body well.
9) Pita Paradise – this small restaurant, located in the Wailea Gateway, is such a delightful gem. It doesn’t look like much, situated as it is in a shopping center, but the food is absolutely delicious. It features fresh fish – the catch of the day is whatever the owner/chef has caught that morning – as well as delicious mediterranean cuisine. Personally, I find the chicken kebabs to be out of this world. While we have eaten at the restaurant on a number of occasions, most often we take the food to go so that we can enjoy it from our condo’s ocean front lanai. Truly paradise!
10) Polli’s Mexican Restaurant – if your travels take you to Makawao, which is an historic fun town located in Maui’s upcountry, be sure to stop at Polli’s. This Mexican restaurant was started 30 years ago based on favorite family recipes. Popular with both tourists and locals, it’s always a good sign to see locals eating the food! Prices are very reasonable and serving sizes are large. I happen to love bean dip and, when ordered, it’s a meal for two rather than just a small dipping dish!
11) Koa’s Seaside Grill – another favorite of ours is the oceanfront restaurant in Lahaina called Koa’s Seaside Grill. We prefer to eat upstairs on the deck when shade allows. Views are beautiful and the food is very good. I find the salads here to be very large and interesting. One note is that a number of restaurants in Lahaina, including this one, stop serving between lunch and dinner which can leave one sort of stranded in the hours around 3:00. At Koa’s, the lunch menu stops at 2:00 and the dinner menu doesn’t start until 5:00. The menus also change, and while there is a happy hour menu during the off time, I have found my favorite items here to be featured on the lunch menu.
12) Gannon’s – is a beautiful restaurant in Wailea with an outstanding menu. Voted one of the Top 100 Best Outdoor Dining Restaurants in America, the food here is very good. The restaurant is located on the Wailea Gold and Emerald Golf Course and features beautiful sweeping views of the ocean. The restaurant features breakfast, lunch, happy hour and dinner menus. Dinner entrees are around $30 – $40 but I prefer the lunch menus, both for the selections and the lower prices. The fish tacos here converted my husband to being a fish taco afficiando. We have never needed reservations at lunch, and only had to wait once when a wedding was taking place on the grounds. Reservations at dinner are recommended and can be made online at: http://gannonsrestaurant.com/bgwp/reservations/.
13) Tommy Bahama – located in the Wailea Shops, the Tommy Bahama restaurant is a must stop for our family. My husband and I always stop here when we return to Maui – it’s part of our ritual of returning “home”. The food is very good, the wait staff is attentive, and the location for us is ideal – minutes from our condo. Sitting outside on the lanai is relaxing and music is often featured in the evenings. Happy hour here is quite popular and is a great way to enjoy the restaurant and bar’s offerings at very reasonable prices. While the view here can’t compete with other restaurants, this restaurant is well worth your time and money. We have never needed lunch reservations but have made them for dinner and been glad we have done so. Reservations may be made online at: http://www.tommybahama.com/TBG/Stores_Restaurants/Wailea.jsp
14) We’ve discovered another restaurant to add to this list. Coconut’s Fish Cafe located in Kihei at 1279 South Kihei Road has been rated Maui’s best fish tacos and my husband agrees. I’m partial to their chicken tacos. Their food is fantastic and the servers are friendly. It’s often busy and the location is a strip mall so the ambiance isn’t top notch but it’s definitely worth stopping by.
I hope these suggested restaurants bring you some delightful eating. Be sure to let me know if you enjoyed them or if you have suggestions of your own. I’d love to hear from you!