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Kaanapali Maui Restaurants

In depth reviews of the best Kaanapali Maui Restaurants, all visited by me several times.  Each is unique and offers locally grown produce and freshly caught fish.  Most offer stunning ocean views and sunsets.

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 the best Maui restaurants immediately snap up the fresh catch for use in the evening's entrees.

Plantation House Kapalua
Editor's choice as #1 of the top 10 restaurants in Maui

View from the Plantation House dining room looking towards the surrounding islands and oceanView from Plantation House Dining Room

The highlight of our recent trip to Maui was both lunch and dinner at the Plantation House in Kapalua.  Located at the Kapalua golf course on a gentle slope overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  This is without a doubt one the best places to eat in Maui for both cuisine and gorgeous ocean and sunset views.  The Plantation House has become my favorite of all Maui restaurants for food, presentation, atmosphere, view and service.

Chef's special, off the menu creation, of scallops, avocados, herbs and locally grown Maui organic vegetables.Chef's Surprise

Not only was it delicious, flowers and all, but beautiful.

Our dinner started with the Pork Belly appetizer with roasted brussel sprouts, pickled radish, toasted sesame and gochujang.

Delicious pork belly and roasted brussel sprouts.Pork Belly

Next up was the beet salad with spinach, feta cheese, quinoa and a nice and lite vinaigrette dressing.

Delicious spinach with beets and feta cheese.Beet Salad

Plus the spinach salad with smoked Gouda and a tasty sherry vinaigrette.

The spinach salad with crispy smoked gouda cheese and a sherry vinaigrette dressing.Spinach Salad with Smoked Gouda

Our main entrees were the delicious Monchong shown below.

Monchong with bok choy, tomato, watercress in a nice tamarind-coriander broth.Monchong

Plus the scallops served with curry squash puree, crispy shallots, pickled cauliflower and frisee.  Cooking scallops is a tricky thing but this dish was cooked to perfection and was the best of any of the Maui restaurants that I have visited.

Three large 3 ounce each scallops prepared perfectly with a curry squash puree.Scallops

We finished off with the pineapple cake for a perfect end to the perfect meal.

Tasty Hawaiian pineapple cake with coconut ice cream.Pineapple Cake

Hula Grill

Outdoor dining area at the Hula Grill in KaanapaliOutdoor Dining Area

The Hula Grill is right on the beach along the boardwalk in Kaanapali just south of Black Rock.  The dining room is mostly open-air with some tables back inside the main building.  All have a great view of the ocean and is one of the best Maui restaurants to catch a stunning sunset.  There is also a nice bar area with live music.

Every table in the dining room has a great view and the Hula Grill is one of the best places in Maui for a sunset dinner.

View from the open air dining room looking towards the ocean.Open Air Dining Area

We started our Valentine's day dinner with a nice bottle of Seghesio Zinfandel from Sonoma California.  This is one of favorite wineries in the Napa/Sonoma area.

Tender lobster and scallop potstickers in a delicious plum sauce.Lobster and Scallop Potstickers.

The Bok-Choy salad was tender and came with locally grown sweet tomatoes.

Perfectly prepared Bok Choy.Bok Choy

For the main entree, the macadamia nut crusted mahi-mahi with lump crab meat was tender and sweet.  A definite highlight of the meal.

Tender and sweet macadamia nut crusted mahi-mahi with lump crab meat.Macadamia Nut Crusted Mahi-Mahi

To end a great dinner, the famous Hula Pie, wow !

Hula Grill's Hula pie, smothered with chocolate and macadamia nuts.Hula Pie

Duke's Beach House Kaanapali

Dukes Kaanapali is located right on the beach and offers great food and spectacular sunset dining.

In all of my trips to Maui, I had never been to one of the best places to eat in Maui, Dukes Kaanapali Beach House, despite it being just a five minute walk from the Maui Ocean Resort Villas that I stay at each time.  During our September visit, my wife and I were impressed with the open-air atmosphere and great selection of locally grown, raised and caught menu selections.  Every table has a great view of the Pacific ocean and the restaurant is perfectly lit by well placed tiki torches.

We started with the ceviche, consisting of a nice combination of lime juice, meyer lemon, maui onion, jalapeño and avocado.

The Duke's ceviche is a nice sized appetizer for two that combines locally grown limes, onions, jalapenos, avocados and lemons with a tender and sweet fishCeviche

My wife ordered the macadamia nut, parmesan and panko crusted swordfish with locally grown haiku tomato and lemon caper butter.

Sweet macadamia nut crusted swordfish with rice and locally grown vegetables.Macadamia Nut Crusted Swordfish

My entree was the banana leaf steamed Opah with a sake ginger sauce, sizzling sesame oil, coconut milk steamed bamboo rice, black bean bok choy & mushroom.

Duke's Beach House Maui Banana Leaf Steamed Opah topped with a large prawns with bok choy and rice.Banana Leaf Steamed Opah

We finished with a Kona espresso, Tahitian vanilla and Hawaiian vintage chocolate Creme Brulee trio.

Duke's Beach House Maui expresso, vanilla and chocolate Creme Brulee Trio.Creme Brulee Trio

Dukes Kaanapali Website

Excellent food, atmosphere, view and service make Duke's Beach House one the of best Maui Restaurants.  Reservations are recommended.

Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi bar
Editor's choice for Maui restaurants best sushi

The best place to get sushi on the valley island is at Sansei Sushi Maui.  There are two locations, one in Kapalua located in west Maui and the other in Kihei located in south Maui.

Reservations are a must and sometimes have to be made months in advance in order enjoy this fabulous Maui restaurant. 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.  Sometimes they even open 15-20 minutes early.

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 absolutely my favorite Maui sushi dish.  We liked it so much we ordered two during our last visit.

Sansei panko crusted ahi in a soy wasabi butter sauce.Panko Crusted Ahi

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 !  This is also one of my favorite Maui sushi entrees.

Three perfectly prepared pieces of Sansei butterfish in a sake and sweet miso sauce.Butterfish

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.  This is Maui sushi at it's best.

Sansei super dragon roll with a sriracha and unagi glaze.Super Red Dragon Roll

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.

Spicy tuna and crab with cucumber and avocado, dusted with tempura crunches and served with sweet thai chili sauce and sriracha.Crunchy Island Spicy Roll

Rainbow Poke - Seared Hawaiian tuna, salmon and cajun seared white tuna with sweet Maui onions in a spicy poke sauce.  Another one of my Maui sushi favorites that we ordered twice in the same seating.

Sansei rainbow poke with tuna, maui sweet onions, avocado in a sweet poke sauce.Rainbow Poke

Crunchy Butterfish Tempura Roll with unagi glaze, sriracha and sweet thai chili sauce.

Sansei crunchy butter fish tempura roll.Crunchy Butterfish Tempura Roll.

Shrimp Dynamite - Crispy tempura shrimp tossed with creamy garlic masago aioli and drizzled with an unagi glaze.

Sansei shrimp dynamite combines crunchy shrimp tempura with garlic masago aioli and a unagi glaze.Shrimp Dynamite

Sansei Sushi Maui 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

Sansei Sushi Website

If you like sushi, this is the best of all the Maui restaurants !

Other Great Maui Restaurants

Mill House

Entrance to the Mill House Restaurant and the surrounding tropical gardens

If you like outdoor dining in a tropical setting surrounded by gorgeous native plants and water, then you will love the Mill House restaurant Maui.  It is one of the few restaurants on the island that doesn't have a beach view.  However, because it is part of the Maui Tropical Plantation, it offers a very unique dining experience.  The food is amazing and the setting even better.

You have the option of indoor or outdoor dining.  The patio is beautiful and comfortable while the inside tables are a nice break from the Maui sunshine or rain.

Mill House outdoor patio area.Outdoor Patio

The large, indoor bar is bright and open-air to let the breeze blow through.

Mill House open air bar that lets the cooling breeze blow through.Indoor Bar

The inside dining area is great too.  Of special note is the small multi-colored granite slabs that make up the dining room floor.

The indoor dining room at the Mill House is open and bright.  Multi-colored granite tile adds nice color and warmth.Indoor Dining Room

As do many other places to eat in Maui, the Mill house does a great job of integrating locally grown produce into their entrees.  The menu changes daily so the entrees below may, or may not, be available but I am sure will be replaced with something just as tasty.

Below is the Ricotta Agnolotti, a great combination of shiitake mushroom, lemon, parsnip, ricotta cheese, swiss chard and a, tender on the outside, crunchy on the inside, quinoa.  This was one of my favorite dishes of all the Maui restaurants we have visited.

The Ricotta Agnolotti is both colorful and delicious.Ricotta Agnolotti

Here is the burger with pepper jack cheese, caramelized onions, tomato, pickles, aioli, mustard and ketchup prepared medium rare on a homemade bun.  It was paired with fresh picked Maui greens.

The Mill House burger with pepper jack cheese, lettuce and tomato plus a crispy fresh garden salad.Mill House Burger

Next was the tender and tasty pulled pork sandwich on a homemade roll with mixed greens.  It was prepared to perfection.

The Mill House pulled pork sandwich on a homemade bun with a garden salad.Pork Sandwich

The shredded beef tacos were amazing.

Three delicious shredded beef tacos with cilantro and a tasty sauce.Shredded Beef Tacos

We finished off our lunch with an amazing apple pie topped with vanilla bean ice cream.  This was the best apple pie that I have ever tasted.

Mill House apple pie with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.Apple Pie with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Plus the macadamia nut tart, equally delicious.

Mill House macadamia nut tart with  light coating of powdered sugar.Macadamia Nut Tart

Mill House Maui Website

The Mill House is one of the few Maui restaurants that does not have a view of the ocean.  However, because it is located on the edge of the rain forest, it does have great views of the tropical gardens, pond and lush, green vegetation that surrounds the property.

Merriman's Kapalua

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 of all Maui restaurants.

Shown below are the pan seared Pako-Pako with prawns and the Kale salad....delicious !

Merriman's Pan Seared Pako-Pako with PrawnsPako Pako
Merriman's Kale SaladKale Salad

Reservations are recommended, 808-669-6400.

Mama's Fish House

Just outside of Kahului, and at the start of the Road to Hana, is Mama's Fish House, no doubt the absolute best overall Maui restaurant on the island, 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.

We had the baked stuffed macadamia nut crusted Mahi-Mahi with lobster and crab meat plus small lobster tail on top.

Mama's Fish House stuffed macadamia nut crusted Mahi-Mahi with lobster and crab meatMacadamia Nut Crusted Mahi Mahi

and 2) upcountry style Ono with caramelized Maui onion and baby bok choy.

Tender and sweet fresh Ono with caramelized maui onion and served with bok-choyOno

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.

Cheeseburger in Paradise

Two story, open air Cheeseburger in Paradise sits directly on Lahaina's beachCheeseburger in Paradise

A casual setting, open air restaurant with ocean views and great food, located in the heart of downtown Lahaina, make Cheeseburger in Paradise a great stop for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  The burger and fries are amazing.  Choose first or second floor seating for the best views.

Shown below, 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.  The fish was seared to a perfect medium rare and the homemade light and fluffy bun an added surprise.

The Cheeseburger in Paradise ahi burger with a pinneapple wedge and cole slaw.Seared Ahi Burger

Add in one of the best Mai-tai drinks on the island, shown below, and you have a perfect lunch or dinner.

Cheeseburger in Paradise Mai-Tai.Delicious Mai-Tai

Cheeseburger in Paradise Website

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner are all served.

For reservations and information, call 808-661-4855.

Old Lahaina Luau

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.

Old Lahaina Luau Home Page and On-line Reservations

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


Kimo's is located in downtown Lahaina and right on the waterfront.  This is the perfect open-aired restaurant to kick back for a great lunch or dinner.

We stopped by during an afternoon of strolling through Lahaina and had a couple a Mai-Tais and some appetizers.  The Calamari was fantastic.

Kimo's open air, oceanside restaurantKimo's Lahaina

Kimo's surrounds itself with natural beauty and has incorporated trees, beach and the view of Lanai into the design of the bar and restaurant.  This is a great place for that perfect sunset dinner.

Trees and umbrellas provide the perfect setting at Kimo's outdoor dining areaOutdoor Dining Area
Beautiful view of Lanai from Kimo's dining area

For reservations and information, call 808-661-4811.

A big disappointment

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 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 numerous power lines were a distraction from the natural beauty.

Fleetwood's in LahainaFleetwood's Lahaina
View of the sunset from Fleetwood's rooftop dining areaRooftop Dining View

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 slightly over $800.  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.  We won't be back. 

For reservations and information, call 808-669-6425.

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