Chowhound finds in Maui
I have read all the posts I could find on places to eat in Maui, including responses to my query about everyday places to lunch/dine and I am perplexed that have not seen anything that is not already listed in Frommers or Zagat, most of them around the $100 per diner mark. We have already done PacificOs, the Waterfront and Ruth's Chris (we were invited to the latter). We have Sensei, Saigon Cafe, Hallimaile GS, Plantation House and Mama's in our to do list.
Here is a "find" which exemplifies what I also look for from fellow chowhounds and have not found so far: Okazuya (thanks to a tip from the hotel handyman). This lunch/dinner counter is on a small strip mall past the Smart supermarket in Kaanapali, off the Honoapiilani rd. A mostly take out place with a ten seat counter inside and a couple of tables outside, it offers a flavourful and diverse selection of fish, beef,seafood and vegetarian dishes representing most Asian styles as well as a small pasta menu. Everything we tried was delicious: Black bean chowfun, Chicken Katsu, Spaghetti and italian sausage, Eggplant Schezhan (sic),Korean style chicken BBQ, and Ono Lemon Caper Sautee with sundried Tomatoes (the most expensive item in the menu at $13.95). The last three dishes are memorable and highly recommended.
I would like to hear about more such places.
I love the eggplant at Honokowai Okazuya! But my absolute favorite is pan-fried salmon at Ichiban Okazuya in Wailuku. Both are featured in this story: 10 Great Meals for $10.
In Wailuku there are lots of little gems: Asian Star, Sam Satos, Nazo's, and Tokyo Tei. All worth checking out for lunch if you happen to be in the neighborhood and want a down-home, local feel.
I certainly agree that the Honokowai Okazuya has great food at bargain prices. The former chef from Mama's has retired and there is a new owner (as of a year ago) who does not do the cooking himself, but he has maintained the quality and only slightly raised the prices.
Da Kitchen in Kahalui and Kihei is another place with great food at low prices. Their portions are huge so my wife and I always share one meal.
The Gazebo in Napili has great breakfasts and lunches at reasonable prices (not open for dinner).
The above and others are described in more detail, with photos of the food and menu lists, on the Restaurants tab of
I agree, after going to Maui for years, we finally found Honokawai Okazuya, the ultimate Chowhound JACKPOT! Best takeout food EVER! (The owner is a former executive chef at Mama's and Kea Lani). Try Mahi Mahi with lemon capers and their chocolate mousse cake with toffee center. Hamburger steak awesome for kids. For best sushi rolls, try Kapalua Sansei. Atmosphere loud and crowded, but Butterfry Rolls, Panko crusted Ahi, Foie Gras Sushi, and Dungeness Crab Ramen worth the sacrifice! Best Fish Burrito, try Hookipa from Maui Tacos. Best Carne Asada, Las Pinatas in Kahului. Best Seafood Fried Rice Noodle, A Saigon Cafe. Best Foie Gras and Rack of Lamb, try Chez Paul (call in advance to order). Best casual oceanside dinner. Mala. Best formal oceanside dining, Pacific O. Best food and view, attention to detail, Mama's Fish House. Lunch same price as dinner, but worth the splurge. Freshest Sashimi and fish possible. Salads and appetizers weak. When available, try Papio/Ulua. Best dessert is Banana Macadamia Crisp. Halimale General Store is excellent for lunch on weekdays. Best Oyster Rockefeller, Waterfront Restaurant. Best Ribs, Blue Marlin Grill at Maalea Harbor, Best late night snack, Islands Taco Stand in Lahaina near Paradize Bluz Nightclub. Forget House of Saimin....not edible!
If you are up for preparing your own meal, the Fish Market on Honoapiilani in/near Honokowai (just north of Kaanapali) has AMAZING fresh fish at reasonable prices. Get there first thing in the morning so you can take your pick of the day's catch. They even have a variety of marinades/rubs they will put on your fish at no additional charge. They offer a few prepared salads and made-from-scratch soups as well. Definitely my best Maui discovery in years.
I'm pretty new here, however, my family is from the islands, and when I go "home", I tend to try to find local places to eat. So, my two cents, go to Kihei. We found a great saimen place, a great burger joint (and other foods, but I got the burger) that was more laid back and had an AWESOME view of the ocean (vs Cheeseburgers in Paradise). All the things I saw in the more touristy areas were either, well, touristy, overpriced, or "common". I'm thinking of a few places that I went to, and if I can recall the names/places I'll post again.
I'm back. I found a few places. The burger joint was called Lulu's. Honestly, if you go late, there's a band and it can get rowdy, however, we were there as the sun was setting and it was beautiful. The food is slightly "different", but good. I had a burger, I think it came on some type of bread, NOT bun. But it was good. I think the ambience of the place, for me, and the good food, made it great. http://www.lulusmaui.com/index.htm
Da Kitchen I hear, has the best plate lunch. I don't know as I couldn't find the place. Hey, some of those places are hard to find. lol http://www.da-kitchen.com/home.html
Lastly, there was Hanafuda Saimin. Granted, the best place is on Kauai, called Hamura's, but this was better than most.
All these places are on So. Kihei.
Da Kitchen was fabulous. Went with a long time local. The quantity of food was unbelievable. I had the fish tempura. It was Mahi mahi. The fish was so moist while the batter was high on crunch and flavor. They give me 3 huge pieces along with rice and salad. Could not finish the rice or salad.
My wife had the Kalua pig. I couldn't v=believe the amount of pork. It was really full of flavor and MOIST. We brought half of it back to the hotel.
The chicken katsu meal included 4 to 5 huge pieces of panko breaded breast meat. No one that ordered it in the restaurant ate all of it they took at least half the order with them.
They have great desserts. The pies come from a place called "Broke da mout" because they are sooo good.
Worth a special trip to Kahalui. Or go right after you leave the airport as its within 2 miles of the Kahalui airport.
Couldn't agree more on the Kihei Cafe recommendation. We were in the Wailea are back in Oct/Nov and we headed up the road to the Kihei Cafe for breakfast on more than one occassion. Their egg dishes are fantastic as is their muesli; coffee is okay but Jackass Coffee is right next door so you can pick up your 100% Kona to go right before you hit the Kihei for grub.
As for dinner, the most memorable meal was at Sorrentos on the Beach. We enjoyed it so much that we went back there during our visit-excellent wine list and a really good Hawaiian-Italian vibe.
Speaking of wine, go to the Longs Drugs in Kihei-they have an amazing wine selection (and this from someone who lives in Northern California).
I had a terrible experience at Sorrento's last yaer. Maybe they've upgraded? Everything was just drenched in too much truffle oil - even the kids plates! And my $24 of CA cabernet came out at 83 degrees. We even threw away the leftovers because we couldn't stand the truffle smell anymore. And I love truffles.