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What can you tell me about The Feast at Lele in Maui??

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I read about this on Trip Advisor. I really hate touristy stuff BUT several people said the food is outstanding. I don't mind paying $100 per person IF the food is great--I don't care about the show.
Thanks!

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  1. I was hoping someone who had been would respond. Since no one has, I can tell you that an associate of mine who lives on Maui says this is the only luau she takes visiting friends to precisely because the food is very good.

    1. Sorry, I just don't think you get many CH's going to Luaus... In this case, TripAdvisor probably is a better resource.

      1. I might agree with your comment regarding luaus, but what enticed me was the following description:

        "...The Feast at Lele was developed by the owners of I’O restaurant and the Old Lahaina gang. The main difference between this event and the average luau is that the Feast at Lele is an intimate gourmet level multi-course sit-down extravaganza served by gracious hosts and waitresses. You won’t find buffet lines or large crowds here. Instead, you will book a private table and be treated to an assortment of dishes representing the major Polynesian island groups.

        From Hawaii are kalua pig, pohole ferns and hearts of palm; Tongo offers lobster and ogo salad and Pulehu beef; Tahiti presents fafa steamed chicken in coconut milk and poisson cru; Samoa is represented by coconut cream shrimp and avocado with lilikoi. These are simply examples of the many dishes which during the course of the evening seem to keep rolling in like so many waves on the beach..."

        I thought this may be a good chance to try some try ethnic dishes besides macaroni salad, etc. at the local hole-in-the wall places (which I also love going to).

        1. That does sound good!

          1. I am a chowhound who has been to the Feast at Lele and several other luaus on Maui. While it it true that the food at the Feast at Lele is better than the food at the other luaus, that certainly does not mean that the food at the Feast at Lele is good, and it is certainly not gourmet! It is mass-produced food in small portions squeezed in during acts of the luau. Since you said you don't care about the show, there is NO QUESTION WHATSOEVER that you would enjoy the food a lot more at any of Maui's top restaurants.

            My personal favorite restaurant on Maui is Plantation House in the clubhouse of the Plantation golf course in Kapalua. Other top Maui restaurants include David Paul's Lahaina Grill in Lahaina and Nick's Fishmarket in Wailea.

            Don't go to a luau for the food!

            1. I wrote the original question regarding the food at the Feast of Lele...well, my husband and I just got back home yesterday and I we ended up spending our final night at the luau.

              So here's the report...

              I was very skeptical but my husband really wanted to go so I caved in. And actually, it was very nice. First let me say, that my feeling about the food in Maui in general was hit or miss--I mean one dish would be good and another very average at any of the restaurants we went to. I found this to be true at the Feast, too. However, there were literally 12 dishes not including dessert and I was quite happy with more than half of them.

              All parties are seated at private tables, all with a good view of the stage and water. There is not a buffet--all courses are served by a wait staff and there's an open premium bar all night, plus wine pairings. The evening is divided into 4 island groups--Hawaii, Aotearoa (New Zealand), Tahiti and Samoa. I have never been to any of those islands except Hawaii so I can't say whether or not the food and dances were authentic or not, but it provided variety and interest throughout the evening.

              Out of 12 dishes, the ones I felt were outstanding were the Kalua pork with poi & cabbage, the fern shoot salad (tasted like very crunchy asparagus) and the marinated fish in coconut milk. Dishes I thought were very good and I would order on a regular menu were the fishcakes of salmon, mussels and scallops; the steamed chicken in taro leaf and coconut milk; and the grilled ginger steak. All of the other dishes were fine but nothing to write home about, however, nothing was bad.

              I thought the wine parings were particularly good and enhanced each of the dishes. (My husband is kind of a wine snob and he was happy with the wines.)

              I felt the pace of the meal mixed with the entertainment was fine--nothing was rushed. True, it is impossible to escape the idea of it being touristy because the wait staff is dressed is island garb and the guests are all wearing leis. Yet, with so little culture remaining on Maui, without the music, dance and "traditional" foods featured at the Feast of Lele, you might as well stay on the mainland eat at one of the Roy's locations.

              So, in summary, I am happy we went--it was very enjoyable. Enough of the dishes were on par with other places we ate, including Ma'La in Lahaina, that at I think it was worth the money and time.

              1. Can anyone tell me how long "The Feast" takes and if there are seatings?

                1 Reply
                1. re: Susanbnyc

                  The Feast takes about 3 hours and you sit at a private table for your party. I'm pretty sure there is only one seating per night and I would suggest making reservations a few days in advance.

                2. For those just reading this thread, I would go to the Old Lahaina Luau instead. Yes, the Feast at Lele is supposed to be very nice, but the Old Lahaina Luau is one of the last authentic luaus in the islands. I was just there and it was beautiful!

                  http://www.oldlahainaluau.com

                  I'm adding some photos I took there last month. =)

                   
                   
                   
                  1. a few more...

                     
                     
                     
                     
                    1. We went to the Feast at Lele earlier this minth - it was great! The food is much, much better than the Old Lahaina Luau! People have commented on the size of the portions - that they are small - you get a nice amount and there are SO MANY courses - no one could go away hungry. Whatever kinds of drinks you desire are included. I would go back!

                      1. I guess I find that it's sad that things are being implemented into so called luaus that are just not authentic. For instance, the fire throwers/dancers are Polynesian and usually thrown in in order to WOW the tourists. This is not authentic to Hawaiian luaus.

                        I've never been overly thrilled with luau food, but the Old Lahaina Luau fare was pretty good.

                        1. Feast at Lele is run by the same people who run Pacific'O and i'O in Lahaina - which means the food is all super quality (they have their own farm in Kula, and use really good ingredients). Now, any buffet suffers from being ... a buffet. You just aren't going to get that just cooked quality. And frankly, luau food isn't always the best, anyway. A lot of traditional Hawaiian (which means it could come from Polynesia, Tahiti, China ...) food is, frankly, greasy.

                          That said, I think there are two luaus you should consider. Feast is more food-focused and better than Old Lahaina Luau for foodies. BUT Old Lahaina is a better show, and much more authentic when it comes to Aloha spirit (and food choices).

                          I wouldn't think of this as a meal, I'd think of it as a night of entertainment. When you focus less on the food and more on the all-you-can-drinks and the show, you'll be happier.

                          Neither of these places is "too touristy" (although the servers always are happy to find out we're locals) and my fiance and I take people to both when they visit us.

                          But if it's not your thing, skip it - you won't miss it!

                          1. I enjoyed the luau greatly tho, for me, it was the combination of the food and the entertainment.

                            My one recommendation, however, is to bring cash for tipping. That was the one thing we didn't remember to do and we had to take turns running around looking for an ATM in between courses! Ha!

                            I can't wait to go again!

                             
                             
                             
                            1. OK, this post was from some months back, but I do have something to add.

                              I dined next to the chef from the Feast at Lele, on our last trip. He was celebrating his wife's birthday. We shared some wine, and indulged each other in conversation.

                              I have to say that he "said the right things." Next trip to Maui, we'll give it a go, based on the chef's conversation.

                              I have been less impressed by the "commercial" events, in the past, but the conversation convinced me that the food is likely to be very good, to outstanding.

                              Hunt

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                Since this old thread has been revived ... go and enjoy. But "very good to outstanding" food is quite a stretch. The Feast at Lele is one of the better tourist luaus out there; don't expect it to be more than that.

                                The food isn't terrible. The show is entertaining, if somewhat cheesy. Go with low expectations and they'll probably be exceeded. Drink lots of mai tais and think of it as a cultural experience. (A recently-invented culture, but a culture nevertheless).

                                But don't expect the chow to measure up to what you get in a decent restaurant. It's the equivalent at what you'll find at an upscale political or charitable rubber chicken dinner. It isn't terrible, but it doesn't have (or shouldn't have) any pretensions of being remotely like the food that's served when people actually care about what they're eating.

                                Again, the Feast at Lele provides reasonably good food and some kitschy fun. But go with your expectations in check or you may be sorely disappointed.

                                1. re: alanbarnes

                                  Alan,

                                  I guess that is what I get for falling prey to the exec. chef! Maybe he has a good copywriter and was using teleprompters, but he made a good case. When pressed on the details, his answers were the right ones. Probably was a used car salesman in a previous occupation.

                                  As I have not been, I cannot directly comment on the food, but will say that the chef is a very charming guy, and spins a wonderful story.

                                  Hunt

                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                    I don't doubt that they use good ingredients, or that they're prepared with some care. But there's an inherent logistical problem with serving a meal on a beach to 100+ people. The cooks aren't firing and plating individual entrees, they're filling hotel pans. They do a good job given the constraints imposed, but you can't expect it to compare with a good home-cooked or fine restaurant meal.

                                    That the food is as good as it is is a testament to the executive chef and his staff. But it's not fair to expect it to be something it's not.

                                    1. re: alanbarnes

                                      Oh I do agree. You nailed most of the logistical problems. The only lu`au that has ever impressed me, food-wise, was a private event, held at Sea Life Park. I am not sure who the caterer was, but the "show" was from the PCC. have done the PCC lu`aus, and they were not even close, in the food department - plus they serve in their cafeteria, and have the full kitchen right there!

                                      Maybe we can try I'o, as he's also the exec. chef for both. Then I'll see if his work is as good, as his discussions.

                                      Mahalo, and aloha,

                                      Hunt