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Unique Chow In Maui

I will be taking my first trip to Hawaii at the end of May, and I am looking for some good places to eat. My hotel is near Front Street in Lahaina, but I will be travelling all over the island during the trip (Hana, Wailea, Nakalele). I would like some unique Maui restaurant recommendations, not just the best restaurants, and places that feature local foods. Places already on my list are the Old Lahaina Luau and Aloha Mixed Plate. Can anyone point me in the direction of other places that do not exist anywhere else? Thanks.

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  1. Hali`imaile General Store: http://www.bevgannonrestaurants.com/h...

    It's upcountry, but not a bad drive at all. I would not miss it. If you feel that a drive back, after a dinner is too much, do lunch.

    There are other good recs. up lately, but I won't list all of the "usual suspects," as the general tenor is not necessarily "Unique to Mau`i."


    2 Replies
    1. re: Bill Hunt

      Canoes on the other side of the island was great two years ago.

      1450 Front Street where Front meets the Honoapiilani Highway. Phone 808-661-0937

      1. re: Bill Hunt

        Thanks for the recommendation and the link. It looks like a good place after my trip to Haleakala. Anything unique on the way back from Hana?

      2. Consider Mala as a regular meal option in Lahaina. Not "uniquely Maui", but it's a good place for reliably, good grub. It is on Front street. Long street so i'm not sure how far down/up you are. I usually have breakfast or lunch there, and really like eggs benedict (it is hard to find a good benni on Maui without breaking the bank), the Ahi Burger and the spicy lamb pita.

        Another option for the Haleakala trip: La Provance in Kula, on Lower Kula Road. Our favourite stop after hang-gliding for al-fresco brunch with fabulous espresso and freshly baked pastries & tarts.

        You will definately want to check out Wailuku town for Sam Satos (for mochi) and Komoda T Store & Bakery in Makawao for the best cream puffs and malasadas - both uniquely Maui.
        Sam Satos is in the Wili Pa Loop, and Komoda's is on Baldwin Road.

        4 Replies
        1. re: TanQ10

          I have seen Mala come up often as a "regular meal" option in Maui. My hotel is by the banyon tree. The menu is very expensive in my opinion. First, it is worth the price as a splurge meal; second, are all restaurants in Maui similarly priced? Thanks for the recommendations!

          1. re: Sacto_Damkier

            Ya, Maui is quite $$ to eat out regularly. Mala: i usually do brekkie & lunch ( least expensive meals). I haven't done dinner, so cannot say if it will be worth it as a splurge. I do recommend David & Paul's or Gerard's for splurge meals. Gerards is my favourite, esp the garden-patio seating area - they are both in Lahaina.

            1. re: Sacto_Damkier

              I disagree with the perception that Mala is expensive relative to other high-end dining options on Maui. For $100 (incl. tip) 3 of us shared 4 small plates, a dessert and had a couple of glasses of wine. IMO the variety of menu options, the presentation and the portion sizes make the prices seem quite reasonable.

              1. re: brokergal

                I do not mind paying a large sum of money on a meal, but I can only do it once on the trip and want to make sure it is a good value. Breakfast & lunch will likely be coffee and picnic sandwiches on the island, so I am only looking for dinner spots.

          2. You can try the winery there (http://www.mauiwine.com/index.html) and get the pineapple wine for novelty.

            1. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/384453

              A nice up to date list of Maui dining. Not sure the link will lead you to what you want..but worth reading through

              2 Replies
              1. re: Jesdamala

                Thanks for the link; I will be watching that one as well. Unfortunately, my budget is not big enough to catch all the fancy spots on Maui, and I rarely go to the high-end places at home anyway. Here in Sacramento we have a wide variety of cuisines, qualities, and price ranges, so that is why I am looking for the unique Maui place.

                1. re: Sacto_Damkier

                  These won't break the bank and are uniquely Maui (well, things I'd miss if i left Maui):

                  Malasadas - Komoda's (see above)

                  Mochi - Sam Satos, Wailuku (see above). There's also frozen mochi, but the best kind are at Bubbies in Honolulu. They package a frozen version, found in most supermarket freezer section.

                  Poki - i get mine from the Safeway deli in Kahului, they have a great wasabi mix tuna.

                  Shave Ice - well, not unique to Mau, but you gotta try the little place in Kihei, Maui Espresso & Shave Ice, in front of the Rainbow Mall.

                  I would have mentioned Azeka;s Ribs but they closed last year.

                  Ajiyoshi's - on Hoohana Street, in Kahului. Local hole-in-the-wall lunch place serving up a mix of Japanese/Korean/Hawaiian dishes. Get the bento box.


              2. Thanks to everyone on this chain. I think that I have some good places to eat. I will be going to Mala, Da Kitchen, Aloha Mixed Plate, Old Lahaina Luau, and Pa'ia Fish Market. I am trying to decide on a place that serves an awesome Maui Onion Soup. I love the basic french onion soup, and would love to try this on Maui if possible. Any recommendations? Thanks as always.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Sacto_Damkier

                  Try Chez Paul in Olowalu (about 4 miles south of Lahaina) a beatutiful little place
                  with a good menu and the aforementined soup. Bon Appetit!

                  1. re: Vegasbuff

                    That is a unique find, and a perfect stop on my way to Lahaina from the airport on the first day. Thanks for the Tasaka Guri Guri link!

                  2. I think Mama's, David Pauls and others mentioned is a bit more expensive than what you stated you had in mind.

                    Home Maid Bakery is great. They have a branch near the airport that has fresh malasadas last time we went (last April). Also not to be missed are the crispy manjus and the chocolate mochi. You can also find those at drugstores, and the manjus at airport stores too.


                    Not uniquely Maui, but there's a cheap option for dining at the Lahaina Cannery mall. There's a food court with L&L, other vietnamese among others. Not noteworthy chowhoundish place, but they are fairly reasonably in price and taste.

                    If you have a Costco membership they have fresh sashimi there. I load up on the wasabi coated mac nuts, and the portuguese sausages (you must sample either the Loco Moco or the portuguese sausage w/eggs on rice for breakfast elsewhere).

                    There are some island favorite ice creams too - Lapperts at Front street, and Roselani. A favorite activity for me is to walk up the Kaanapali beach to Whaler food court and get some mango or haupia ice cream.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: notmartha

                      Thanks for the suggestions. Money is not a problem for me, as long as it is a good value. I just want to avoid dropping $100 on dinner for an average meal.

                      1. re: Sacto_Damkier

                        I just posted my thoughts on Mama's and David Pauls on the other thread.

                        Food in Hawaii is generally about 10-15% higher than in the mainland (except at Costco's where they held the line on the hotdogs and such).

                        Standard meal-wise (meat, starch and veggies) I don't think there's anything that you can't find in the mainland, if you live in a major city with good chow potential. Even the standard mixed plate stuff is everywhere here now.

                        If you want to spurge I still recommend Mama's for first time visitors. The atmosphere is not anything you can duplicate here. As long as you stick with the seafood stuffed mac nut crusted mahi mahi you should be fine. Food wise you are definitely paying a huge premium for the view.

                        Also forgot to mention - must do is to try the pineapples and the apple bananas in the fruit stands, especially on the Road to Hana. Nothing like fresh picked, tree ripened fruits.

                    2. Oh yeah, forgot to mention. If they're in season, try some mountain apples. Very good, has a rose like quality to the taste. There's a huge fruit orchard on the island that has just about every kind of tropical fruit imaginable. Been such a long time since I've been there.

                      I'm pretty sure this is it:


                      1. Another uniquely Hawaiian thing is to go to a luau. You can get some of the luau food at Aloha Mixed Plate, and if you go during the Old Lahaina Luau hours you'll get to hear the music for free (just can't see the performance).

                        Last time we went we saw platters of food coming from Aloha Mixed Plate and going to the luau grounds...

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: notmartha

                          I have a reservation for the Old Lahaina Luau mainly for the luau experience as opposed to a gourmet dinner (full moon night + traditional seating!). I have been to several plate lunch places here in Sacramento, but I want to hold judgement until comparing the Maui versions (Da Kitchen & Aloha Mixed Plate).

                          1. re: Sacto_Damkier

                            Haven't been to Old Lahaina Luau, but judging from the food transfer from Aloha to the luau grounds I strongly suspect it's the same. Please report back on the food. I've been to two luaus before but the food is never really the overwhelming reason to go. From all reports Old Lahaina is a good one, but just don't expect knife throwing type of polynesian dance.

                            Most plate lunches fast food places here in LA don't have the kalua pork or the lomi lomi. Only the restaurants do.

                            Anyway, the luau should be fun and definitely not something you can get at the mainland.

                            1. re: notmartha

                              Some of the Maui Hawaiian BBQ & Ono Hawaiian BBQ chains in LA/OC carry both the kahlua pork *and* pork lau lau. =D Though you're right on the lomi lomi.

                              1. re: notmartha

                                I don't think I've ever been to a local place here that doesn't have kalua pork. I'm pretty sure that Shaka's has Lomi Lomi Salmon as a side dish.

                                Lot of places have lau lau, but I have yet to find one that has the classic pork/butterfish combo. And most have spinach inside instead of taro leaves.

                                1. re: notmartha

                                  I said fast food. L&L doesn't. The Ono in Brea did but I think they took it off (and they've changed names as well). I think I've seen lau laus and such at the Loft -but this is getting to be LA discussion instead of Hawaii...

                                  Even if they do, I doubt they are cooked in an imu - I suspect oven+liquid smoke+tons of salt. ;)

                                  1. re: notmartha

                                    Waaaaaaayyyyyyy too much salt for sure!

                            2. so what did you find sacto-damkier in maui, im going in oct.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: mike7056

                                Mike7056 You do realize that you're posting to a 7 year old thread?