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 the best Maui restaurants immediately snap up the fresh catch for use in the evening's entrees.
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 restaurants 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.
During a recent visit to Coasterra in San Diego, we were talking about our upcoming trip to Maui with Deborah Scott, Cohn Restaurant Group partner and executive chef. She hooked us up with Plantation House Executive Chef Jojo Vasquez for this awesome, off the menu, scallop creation. It was truly a party in our taste buds.
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.
Next up was the beet salad with spinach, feta cheese, quinoa and a nice and lite vinaigrette dressing.
Plus the spinach salad with smoked Gouda and a tasty sherry vinaigrette.
Our main entrees were the delicious Monchong shown below...
and 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.
We finished off with the pineapple cake for a perfect end to the perfect meal.
We also had a great lunch by starting with the coconut shrimp with pineapple slaw and Korean BBQ sauce.
We followed up with the Plantation Cheddar Burger prepared to a perfect medium rare. The sharp cheddar and locally grown produce made this an absolutely delicious dish.
and the Buffalo Burger.
The Mill House is one of the more unique Maui restaurants becsuse it is located in the middle of the Maui Tropical Gardens, and has stunning views of the local wildlife and native plants.
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.
The large, indoor bar is bright and open-air to let the breeze blow through.
The inside dining area is great too. Of special note is the small multi-colored granite slabs that make up the dining room floor.
As do many other Maui restaurants, 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.
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.
Next was the tender and tasty pulled pork sandwich on a homemade roll with mixed greens. It was prepared to perfection.
The shredded beef tacos were amazing.
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.
Plus the macadamia nut tart, equally delicious.
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.
It also has a produce store just outside of the restaurant, in the corner of the parking lot, where you can buy fresh fruits and vegetables.
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.
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.
Located just steps from the beach, the dining room view is one of the best in Maui for taking in the sunset.
For our appetizer, we had the delicious lobster and scallop potstickers in a plum sauce. The Seghesio Zin went great with the plum sauce.
The Bok-Choy salad was tender and came with locally grown sweet tomatoes.
For the main entree, the macadamia nut crusted mahi-mahi with lump crab meat was tender and sweet. A definite highlight of the meal.
To end a great dinner, the famous Hula Pie, wow !
In all of my trips to Maui, I have never been to one of the best Maui restaurants, Duke's 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 2016 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.
My wife ordered the macadamia nut, parmesan and panko crusted swordfish with locally grown haiku tomato and lemon caper butter.
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.
We finished with a Kona espresso, Tahitian vanilla and Hawaiian vintage chocolate Creme Brulee trio.
Excellent food, atmosphere, view and service make Duke's Beach House one the of best Maui Restaurants. Reservations are recommended.
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 absolutely my favorite Maui sushi dish. We liked it so much we ordered two during our last visit.
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.
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.
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. Another one of my Maui sushi favorites that we ordered twice in the same seating.
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 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.
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. While it is not known as a Maui sushi and seafood restaurant, it does serve some fantastic fish entrees. 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 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.
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 of all Maui restaurants.
Shown below are the pan seared Pako-Pako with prawns and the Kale salad....delicious !
Reservations are recommended, 808-669-6400.
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.
Pictured below, from left to right are 1) baked stuffed macadamia nut crusted Mahi-Mahi with lobster and crab meat plus small lobster tail on top and 2) 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.
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 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
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 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.
For reservations and information, call 808-661-4811.