Below are firsthand reviews of my favorite Maui restaurants.
Maui provides some of the best dining opportunities in the world. Due to the warm climate, abundant rain and lava rich soil, locally grown, quality produce is available year round. Chefs have taken advantage of this and most incorporate amazingly tasteful tomatoes, lettuce, pineapple, sugar cane, Maui raised cattle and numerous other fruits and vegetables, into their menus.
In addition, there are several fresh fish markets where local fisherman bring in their catch of the day and visitors can purchase just hours after being caught.
Just outside of Kahului, and at the start of the Road to Hana, is Mama's Fish House, no doubt the absolute best fish restaurant on the island of Maui, if not all of Hawaii. The open air building is right on the beach and has a great view of the large, north side surf. The interior is so unique that it keeps you busy just investigating all of the local decor. Reservations are recommended well in advance of arrival. Lunch seating stops at 2:30, with a gap of a few hours until dinner.
Pictured below, from left to right:
Baked stuffed macadamia nut crusted Mahi-Mahi with lobster and crab meat plus small lobster tail on top.
Upcountry style Ono with caramelized Maui onion and baby bok choy.
Mama's Fish House is an expensive place to eat, but well worth it. Lunch entrees are mostly in the $40 to $50 range, high end drinks $16 to $20, appetizers, $16 to $20. Dinner entrees cost about $5 to $7 per plate more than lunch. The Mai-Tai is a very unique recipe and the best I have ever tasted, plus it lives up to its $20 price tag. The dinner menu is prepared each afternoon depending on the local catch that is available.
For reservations and information, call 808-579-8488.
At the top of the list of best Maui restaurants is my all time favorite, Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi bar (pronounced san-say). Located at the entrance to the famous Kapalua Resort and golf course, Sansei has the best selection of sushi rolls and fish prepared and presented in a manner second to none. Wine Spectator called Sansei “Endless innovation with a strong Japanese accent.” Bon Appetit named the restaurant one of their “Favorite Asian Restaurants” and one of “America’s Best Sushi Bars.” In addition to great fish, Sansei offers wonderful beef and duck entrees.
Sansei Panko Crusted Ahi. - Sashimi grade Hawaiian ahi, arugula and spinach wrapped into a sushi roll, panko-crusted, flash-fried and served with Sansei’s mild soy wasabi butter sauce.
This is one of my favorites. We liked it so much we ordered two during our October 2013 trip.
Butterfish - Tender butterfish (also known as Black Cod) marinated and seared in sake and sweet miso, with a few pieces missing....I just couldn't wait before taking the picture. This fish is extremely mild, tender and melts in your mouth, just like butter !
Super Red Dragon Roll - Tuna sashimi on top of a spicy tuna roll dotted with jalapeno aioli, habanero tobiko and served with sriracha and unagi glaze.
Crunchy Island Spicy Roll - Spicy tuna, spicy crab with cucumber and avocado, dusted with tempura crunches and served with sweet thai chili sauce and sriracha.
Rainbow Poke - Seared Hawaiian tuna, salmon and cajun seared white tuna with sweet Maui onions in a spicy poke sauce.
Crunchy Butterfish Tempura Roll with unagi glaze, sriracha and sweet thai chili sauce.
Shrimp Dynamite - Crispy tempura shrimp tossed with creamy garlic masago aioli and drizzled with an unagi glaze.
Sansei has very high quality fish at very reasonable prices. Our group of three, each enjoyed a cocktail and about 10 sushi rolls and fish plates. The total bill, including an automatically added 17% gratuity, was under $200
If you like sushi, this is the best of all the Maui restaurants !
Reservations are a must and sometimes have to be made months in advance. Hint ! - Get in line before they open at 5:30. There are two lines, one for walk ups and one for reservations. Make sure you are in the correct line. Sansei offers a 25% discount on all orders placed between 5:30 and 6:00pm. Get there early and take advantage of the savings. Hours are Sunday thru Wednesday 5:30pm to 10pm and Thursday and Friday - 5:30pm to 1am.
For reservations and information, call 808-669-6286.
One of the best Maui restaurants that combines a casual atmosphere, music, great food and spectacular ocean and sunset view is Cheeseburger in Paradise. Located in the historic town of Lahaina and situated right on the beach,
with its two story open air building, this is one of the best locations
to catch stunning sunsets in a laid back, island time environment. The
second floor offers live music on most evenings. The people are
friendly and the food is great. Hint ! - There are no
reservations and it can get crowded after 5pm, especially on Friday and
Saturday evenings...but it is worth the wait !
Shown above, one of my favorites, the seared Ahi burger. Served with cole slaw and a locally grown fresh pineapple wedge, this is a healthy meal that combines local produce and fish.
Add in one of the best Mai-tai drinks on the island, shown below, and you have a perfect lunch or dinner.
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner are all served.
For reservations and information, call 808-661-4855.
Merriman's is located in Kapalua, on a stunning point between the beautiful Napili and Kapalua bays. Featuring 90% locally sourced menus of fresh line-caught fish,
grass-fed meats and produce grown in the rich volcanic soil of Hawaii,
Merriman’s is the perfect location for that romantic sunset dinner in an open aired seating environment. This truly is one of the best sunset dinner locations in all of Hawaii.
Shown below are the pan seared Pako-Pako with prawns and the Kale salad....delicious !
Reservations are recommended, 808-669-6400.
For some of the best fresh fish on the Island, the Pineapple Grill
stands out as one of the elite Maui restaurants. Owned and operated by
the Cohen group, the tremendous success of their San Diego restaurants
has now expanded to the Hawaiian Islands. Located in Kapalua, this
scenic location provides a wonderful start to your day with one of the
best breakfast menus on the island. For dinner try the Pistachio wasabi crusted rare Ahi-Ahi or the Macadamia nut crusted Hawaiian Mahi-Mahi.
They also offer fabulous salads using locally Maui grown produce. As
with many of the best Maui dining locations, advanced reservations are
recommended. Hint ! - Make your dining reservations early, even before you arrive in Maui.
Brunch is served from 8am to 2:30pm, lunch from 11am to 2:30pm and dinner starting at 5:30pm.
For reservations and information, call 808-669-9600.
Rock legend Mick Fleetwood from Fleetwood-Mac opened this restaurant in the historical town of Lahaina, Maui. Located on Front street, it offers the choice of indoor or rooftop seating that has a great view of the surrounding Lahaina area and nearby islands.
We picked rooftop seating at 6:30 on a spectacular early October 2013 evening and enjoyed the sunset over Lanai while sipping cocktails. The rooftop seating offers a great view of the ocean and surrounding downtown Lahaina area. However, the power lines were a distraction from the natural beauty.
For the price, I expected more. Service was very slow in between servings but staff was very friendly and attentive. After the sun set, it was very hard to read the menu due to lack of table lighting even with several nearby tiki torches.
I had the panko/lobster crusted Mahi-Mahi. While the taste was average, it was very overcooked to my liking....a real disappointment for same day caught local fish. The beet/goat cheese salad was fantastic but the bread was below average. Others in our group reported the same with their dishes. For six people, our bill was almost $800 and this included a drink before dinner, two appetizers, salad, main dish, $120 in wine, dessert and the 20% gratuity that is automatically included. Too much $ and average taste overall. The restaurant gets lots of good reviews but everyone in our group agreed that for the price, the experience could be better. Might be worth a try as everybody has different things they like.
For reservations and information, call 808-669-6425.
For the first time Maui visitor, the Old Lahaina Luau
is a must do. While not one of your typical Maui restaurants, it is more of a
Maui experience. Located directly on the beach in Lahaina, the
experience starts with the presentation of a lei and a great Mai-Tai. A
demonstration is then given on how the pig is prepared and cooked in
the ground. The bar offers all you can drink at no additional charge.
There are different seating locations available and are selected during
the reservation process. All seating is at group tables which is a
great way to meet new friends. The choices are traditional picnic table
style or floor mat. Following an awesome buffet style dinner featuring
Kalua Pua'a - pork roasted in an underground Hawaiian oven, is the
featured show - the history of Hawaii though song and hula. Hint ! - This is one of the Maui restaurants that is extremely popular and you MUST make reservations months in advance of arriving in Maui. If you didn't, and are in Maui now, try calling and going standby. We know a few people that got in at the last minute due to cancellations by others.
The Luau hours are from 5:45pm to 8:45pm from April 1st thru September 30th and from 5:15pm to 8:15pm from October 1st thru March 31st.
For reservations and information, call 808-667-1998