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Going to be in Maui for 10 days...where do I HAVE to go???

I'm going to be in Kehei for 10 days w/ my family. Where on the island do you recommend we go? I prefer small, unknown local places over the big fancy places...although it would be nice to have one place in mind for a special dinner one night. Also, I'm a chef by trade so I'd like to prepare some meals at the house we're renting as well. Any markets in particular I should look to for inspiration?
I'll take any & all recommendations, I'm a very adventurous eater!
Thanks in advance!

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  1. Although not small and not unknown, I highly recommend Sansei, www.sanseihawaii.com, in Kihei. We were in Maui a few years ago & found it through the Four Seasons recommended restaurants list. I then remembered that Rachel Ray visited the Kapalua location on $40 a day (she ate at 10:00 p.m. some night when sushi becomes 50% off). VERY CASUAL place but extremely busy so reservations are a must. I don't remember exactly what we had but you don't have to be just a sushi lover to enjoy this place (I even purchased some souvenirs). We probably had some sushi, meat & fish because half my family is allergic to shellfish. Hope you enjoy!

    1. Lucky You -- My SO and I just returned and we love to cook,so we ate at the house where we stayed almost every night - perhaps the following will be of assistance - Shop at Stars(for fish and maui beef) or Safeway(for staples), GET THE TUNA - any cut - fish is probably the best value in Maui - check out the wine selections at Costco(very near the airport) some nice Napa and Australian choices.If you eat Organic, go to Mana in Paia(nice funky town to visit too)for example,I was able to find some choice YerbaMate which can be hard to find in some places- they have really fresh,local grown veggies,bulk grains and rice- think hippie Whole Foods.-- Maui has a good choice of restaurants,EACH one is spotty on terms of service and quality. None are consistant ,so good luck! - also, If you do get to Paia,dont miss Anthony's for great coffee,teas and usually great scones and muffins - I have a theory as to why the general spottiness abounds - it's must be difficult to concentrate on serving the public when the surfs up,or the sky is magnificent at sunset,or the tradewinds are perfect,etc.etc. - I'm sure you will enjoy your stay!

      1. Pa'ia Fish Market in Pa'ia has excellent fish platters in a very casual atmosphere. The Pineapple Grill in Kapalua serves great food and has a nice view in West Maui. You should make it to Lappert's for ice cream - the Shops at Wailea has one. Da Kitchen in Kihei serves great local Hawai'ian food. Make sure to stop at Costco near the airport to stock up on food items. They have a surprisingly large selection of local & Asian foods including a pretty good poke and cheap booze; everything else is mainland pricing! Check out the papers for local farmer's markets and/or festivals. There are a lot of posts on high-end stuff in Maui.

        1. bigger names:
          pacific o
          hula grill
          tropica- pricey, small portions but very good

          we went in early june...made breakfast daily, lunch often did aloha mixed plate... only went out for 3-4 dinners this trip->we brought our 15 month old daughter and she needed to get to sleep around 5-6 every day.

          1. STAY AWAY FROM LONGHI'S! (Google "Longhi's" and "braying" and you'll see why. Do not believe the hype. Gadzooks, what a place.)

            1. Hi Sunnygordy,

              Just returned from Maui!

              While I didn't go to any small, unknown local places (very large group, there for a 50th anniversary) I would recommend Spago for a special dinner. Service was excellent, especially in light of the size of our party, and the steamed Hapu'upu'u "Hong Kong" style was wonderful. I also had a killer Pina Colada martini.

              The Safeway grocery store was also a popular spot for us, we had a grill with our villa and we used it several nights.

              Have fun!

              1 Reply
              1. If you're looking for a special occassion meal that is quintessentially Hawaii where you can also dress relaxed, Mama's Fish House is a must. Incredible view, and the food is fresh and local (they even go as far as listing on the menu the angler/boat who supplies their fish)


                A place I liked just for the brontosaurus cut of prime rib you get, was Kimo's in Lahaina -


                Ridiculous portion size, gotta get the prime rib.

                1. Hello,

                  I go to Maui annually and stay in Hana and Wailea. There are many great choices on the island. For simple, can't lose lunch fare at relatively affordable prices, I would go to the Shops at Wailea. Contrary to another post here (which I don't recall mentioned ANYTHING about the food), Longhi's is a great bet for lunch: (pizza bread is served before the meal and it's good), the salads are excellent, as are the burgers and a few of the pasta dishes I've had there. Another good lunch spot is at the Shops - Tommy Bahama's. I was skeptical about this place, being a chain and asociated with a clothing/lifestyle shop, but decided to go there on a rainy day for lunch and it turned out to be a very good choice, and a great meal - sandwiches, salads, and great desserts are good choices here. Sjip the overpriced drinks with umbrellas. Other spots for lunch: Pa'ia Fish Market (fresh fish and laid back, island-style); Manana Garage; Cheeseburger's in Paradise (I prefer the Lahaina one. Just get the burger. The rest is just okay.); Marco's Italian Grill (the find of the island: nice pizza, great pasta, and salads). For dinner, the island really shines, but it's generally more upscale choices that I generally go to, with the exception of Sensei, which is not that expensive and is pretty good sushi. Make a reservation or prepare to wait! For some place special, Spago, Ferraro's, and Nick's Fishmarket are three great choices. Stella Blues is also a good spot, with a laid back, Greatful Dead-kind of vibe. Great seafood at prices that are cheaper than the resort's restaurants. Another great spot is Joe's, over by the tennis courts in Wailea. Try the ribs and start with the calamari. You will want to go back a second night, trust me. Another favorite of mine is David Paul's Lahaina Grill. Excellent menu, great wines, and attentive and knowledgable service. Not the cheapest meal on the island, but worth every penny, especially on a special night out. It's arguably my favorite spot on the island. I'm sure I'm leaving some spots out, but these are the ones that I go to annually, without fail. Ah Maui...can't wait for my next trip there. Enjoy YOUR trip!

                  1. I second the suggestion for Pacific'O - great for lunch. Try the Waterfront at Ma’alaea - when we were in Maui in February it had to be my favorite as far as the food went - I had ahi just about everywhere and this was the best. the decor is not island style more classy supper club - we sat outside so couldn’t enjoy that aspect as much. We went on a Saturday evening - glad we had reservations as they were turning away folks. Finding the place at night for the first time was a little challenge and there is little parking but that won’t stop me - I shall return! For my full Chowhound report check out: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/377338

                    1. I hope I am not too late with my reply....here are my suggestions for unknown (at least to most tourists) places:

                      Kiehi Town:

                      DA Kitchen - Best plate lunch (huge portions) on the south shore. Go for the Chicken Katsu, Lau Lau, Loco Moco, or the Saimin...so ONO. Located on South Kihei Road in the Rainbow Plaza.

                      Wailuku Town:

                      Tasty Crust - best pancakes (i think) on the island. Big as ya head and filling too.
                      Sam Sato's - best dry mein on the island.

                      If you are looking to prepare ono food at home, try out Takamiya's Market on Market Street in Wailuku. The have great Poke. Additionally they have fabulous marinated teriyaki and short ribs. Ever since Azeka's closed their doors, I have been going here.

                      Other great local supermarkets are AH Fooks in Kahului, and the Pukalani Superette in Pukalani. The Pukalani Superette had the best pork and peas bentos that I ever had. They also make a killah Loco Moco.

                      I think I am giving away all of the kama`âina secrets. So sorry my ohana.

                      For sweets, great malasadas (doughnuts) can be found at either Home Maid Bakery in Wailuku Town or at Komoda's in Makawao Town. Killah cream puffs at Komoda's and killah ensemadas and mochi at Home Maid. Try them both.

                      For the one place special for dinner, Mama's Fish House in Paia Town is highly recommended.



                      Lots of good things on Maui....These were some of the real local places

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: mauiman63

                        I love the limu ahi poke at Safeway in Kahului. So fresh.. ruby pink chunks of tuna glistening with a light shoyu, highlighted with pearly, crunchy slivers of sweet maui onions with just the right amount of fresh seaweed for added texture. Wash it down with chilled beer for cheap dinner in paradise. Another local gem, if you're going all the way up to Pukalani for lunch local style, is Hana Hou cafe. My favourite picks there are Haiku Salad - fresh greens, crumbly blue cheese, tender orange chunks - add a side order of grilled ahi for a good portioned lunch. Also love the "Hawaii plates" there which is your choice of lau lau, kalua pork & cabbage, chicken, squid lua or lomi salmon all served on a wooden plate with rice, poi & mac salad. The desserts are made fresh, and i can attest that the french chef's profiteroles are up to snuff.


                      2. How about something you can only find on Maui.

                        Not really sure how to describe it; maybe somewhere between a cross of sherbert and ice cream???

                        Tasaka Guri Guri Shop
                        70 E Kaahumanu Ave Ste C13, Kahului, HI 96732

                        1. Late responses have bumped this to the top. Maybe it's not too late.

                          For a special meal, the Haliimaile General Store is far and away my first choice. Creative preparation of the best locally-sourced ingredients. Bev Gannon is like Alice Waters in paradise.

                          Da Kitchen in Kihei has already been mentioned, but is worth mentioning again. I'm a big boy and like my kaukau, but one of their combo plate lunches will feed me and both of my kids.

                          In Makawao you've got a handful of choices that are off the beaten tourist path. Kitada's has been serving local food to local folks forever. I like to stop there for a breakfast of Spam, fried eggs, and rice. The Stopwatch Cafe has Hawaiian microbrews on tap, and makes a decent hamburger. Casanova's serves pretty good Italian food and is the center of Upcountry nightlife (such as it is).

                          Back down in Kihei, Eskimo Candy in Kihei has a variety of pokes and excellent fresh fish, as well as plate lunches. They're a commercial seafood distributor, and their warehouse is in an industrial area, but they have a little cafe and a retail seafood counter in one corner of the ground floor. If you show up when they open in the morning you sometimes have to wait for the fish to get from the boat to the shop. That's fresh.

                          For great produce, check out the Saturday farmers market in Wailuku Town near the post office. You say you're adventurous--there's a farmer from Hana who usually has durian. Just getting it back to your condo is an adventure. He also has rambutan, jackfruit, and lots of other good tropical fruit.

                          Because a lot of farms are at higher (cooler) elevations, the farmer's market also has plenty of produce that grows in temperate climes. Under no circumstances should you pass up the Kula onions. They make the best onion rings you will ever eat in your life. Also pick up some oyster mushrooms for sauteeing and whatever green veggies look good, then stop at Long's Drugs in Azeka Plaza on Kihei Road for a Maui Beef ribeye, and you've got the fixins for a spectacular meal of food that all comes from within 50 miles of your kitchen.

                          While you're getting your beef at Long's, head over to the snack food ailse and pick up some crack seed. Try the sweet spicy squid, corn kernels, baby scallops, li hing mui (salted plum), and whatever else looks interesting.

                          If you're not already back, have a great trip.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: alanbarnes

                            Wow...thanks! I don't think I could have asked for a better reply! all of these places are EXACTLY what I had in mind! I've been wanting to go to Bev Gannon's place for a while. As a female chef, she's been one of my role models for a long time now.

                            You've got me even more excited to go...& I didn't think that was possible!

                          2. CAPISCHE: any recent experiences?