Another Maui Question
I'll be staying in Maui for a week in early November with my girlfriend. Last time I was there was about 3 years ago and it was with a bunch of guys. We mostly ate at Maui Taco in Kihei since it was somewhat affordable and we really liked it, however, I don't see my girlfriend putting up with that for 7 days.
I'm wondering if anyone has suggestions for affordable lunch and dinner spots. We are renting a condo in Kihei, so we will be making most of our own breakfasts and lunches, but it would be nice to have some other options. I'm open to driving a bit for a decent dinner.
I've been reading through some of the Maui posts to get some ideas of where to eat on the island. Mama's comes up a lot and we may consider that for one of our more "special" nights out. Last time I was there I had decent meals at Lahaina Fish Company and some place in Lahaina center that made some of the best ribs I've ever had...wrapped in banana leaves and falling off the bone. Humu and Longhi's both were somewhat dissapointing for the reputation and price, but we were hooked up by a family freind so it didn't sting too much. Other than that, we mostly went low key places(Cheeseburger in Paradise, Bubba Gump, Maui Taco, and a few other small holes in the wall). Again, this is fine with the boys, but the lady will like lighter, healthier, more chowish food. I'm open to all cuisines.
Several of the suggestions discussed above are very expensive and are not in or near Kihei where you are staying. For what you are looking for (reasonable price and not too far, but a lot better than cheap fast food), I highly recommend these two Kihei restaurants: Stella Blues and Cafe O'Lei.
Mala in Lahaina is owned by Mark Ellman, so is not owned by the same people who own Cafe O'Lei (Mike and Dana Pastula).
In my opinion, Mama's is greatly overpriced. If you want to splurge, you can get as good food and atmosphere for less money (and closer to Kihei) at Seawatch, in the Gold and Emerald golf course clubhouse in Wailea.
In Kihei, a top-notch "plate lunch" place is Da Kitchen (or Da Kitchen Express). Excellent island-style chicken teriyaki, and the kalua pig is pretty good, too. Open for dinner, TVs hanging from the ceiling for zoning out. In Lahaina, you can get a luau on a plate at Aloha Mixed Plate. More comments on these places if you search.
In the Kahului "business district", i.e., where the malls are, there is a family restaurant called Koho Grill that is reasonably good. I like their salad topped with grilled "catch of the day" (usually ono, AKA wahoo).
About 10 minutes West of Kahului, up the highway toward the Iao Valley is the decidedly untouristy town of Wailuku. If you like Vietnamese, there is a slightly difficult-to-find local restaurant worth seeking out, A Saigon Café. It's located on Main street just below the overpass of the main highway between Kahului and Wailuku. The building has a lot of little white lights on it. I've never gone in a big enough group to order the whole wok-fried Opakapaka (pink snapper) which was made famous by someone in a fancy restaurant in Lahaina. I hope to try it some day.
Regarding Mama's, a lot of the value is the ambience, so try to get a table with a bit of a view. Personally I think it's gotten too expensive, but supply and demand comes in to play: everyone wants to eat there.
Look forward to hearing what you find and how you like it!
We loved A Saigon Cafe'! It was a bit hard to find, but definitely worth it. Our waiter was a great guy and never steared us wrong. Superior whole fish which the waiter even deboned for us. When we said we wanted spicy - he said ok medium - and he was correct, just enough but not overpowering spice.
A second choice for us was Paia Fish Market. Very causal and mostly locals, but well prepared fish. Order at the counter. I loved the salad with grilled fish (+ 2 shrimp.) Others had the platters, sandwiches, and blackened choices. Everyone thought theirs was the best.
Mala in Lahaina was very good. I can't recall the exact dishes we had, but I know it was seafood. It was very reasonable, with a glass of wine each, salads and entrees the bill was $80-90ish with tax and tip.
I wasn't impressed with Kimo's. I thought it was pretty pedestrian.
A great place that just darn cheap is the Honolau General Store in Kapalua. It's the oldest general store on Maui. They do a great "plate lunch" unil 3 each day. Great, authenitc, local food. We ate their twice during our trip, because it was good and I think it cost us about $15 for both of us. If I recall, we had loco moco, katsu, spam musubi, mac salad, teri chicken, etc.
Follow the signs to Kapalua and it's on the right just before the Ritz-Carlton.
Just returned from 15 day visit. Our favorites were Mama's, Pacific'O, David Paul's, and Cafe O'Lei. When we return next year I want to try Ma'la in Lahaina. Have heard alot of good things about this restaurant. I think it's owned by same people that run Cafe O'Lei in Kihei. My criteria for restaurants next year is that they have to have an ocean view. Why eat at Roy's in Maui that's located in a shopping center when I can eat at Roy's in Chicago with probably better atmosphere? Food was good at Kimo's in Lahaina and the view great.