here’s a report on our trip to maui that ended yesterday. some of this is redundant, but i’ve gotten lots of good info from this board and i should give back.
pa’ia fish market, pa’ia - this was recommended by our concierge at the westin maui pre-arrival and supported by several posts here. ate lunch here right after we landed and loved it. had a mahi burger and ono burger with fries. large, fresh, charbroiled fish fillets that obliterated the bun accompanied by tartar, lettuce and tomato. excellent sandwiches, esp. at $8.50 each. the fries were definitely worth the $2 extra.
honokowai okazuya, honokowai - based on this board’s recommendation we got takeout here twice when we were too tired to eat dinner out. we both ordered 12 oz. teri steak with rice and stir fried veggies the first night. the steak (sirloin, i think) was well- marinated and charbroiled to exactly medium rare, as requested. the veggies were mostly julienned zucchini and carrots with bits of bamboo shoots and mushroom slices here and there. they were almost sysco-ish, but the sesame oil in the sauté saved them. as recommended by some on this board, i called in advance and saved lots of time.
ordered chicken katsu and sautéed mahi in lemon caper sauce the 2nd time. the chicken was not as large an order as i expected (after looking at pix from kirkk’s blog from 2006: http://mmm-yoso.typepad.com/mmmyoso/2006/10/honokowai_okazu.html), but it was still crispy after the ride back to the hotel and very tasty (but it was dark meat, not white meat). the katsu sauce was a little too tart, and it tasted like preserved plums. the mahi was fantastic (moist, flavorful, and an excellent sauce) and the mac salad tasted just right. i’d say the teri steak and mahi are definitely well above the average plate lunch and worth the price.
ono bar and grill, westin maui - had a very expensive breakfast here, ordering french toast and a 2 egg breakfast with ham, potatoes, and toast. it was good, but certainly not worth what the westin charges. however, starwood picked up the tab, and the atmosphere poolside was very nice. i’d eat here only if someone else was paying.
mala tavern, lahaina - our concierge recommended this and made a reservation for us. positive posts on this board heightened my anticipation. saw an amazing sunset here, saw several turtles bouncing in the water outside the restaurant, and had a very disappointing dinner. ordered the wok fried whole fish of the day (uku) and was told by the server after ordering that the fish would be served without head and tail today..…hmmmm, ok….the server then brought out a breaded, fried fillet instead, which was overcooked and the size of a fish and chip fillet. i expressed my unhappiness and a manager me that the server should have said that whole fish wasn’t available that day. so he offered me a sautéed uku fillet instead, which i took, and which was also overcooked and small. spouse had a mahi sandwich, which was pretty good. i was really disappointed by the quality of my dinner (not to mention value, very poor at $43 for the uku), but the gorgeous sunset eased the pain.
plantation house, kapalua - followed the advice of this board and really enjoyed breakfast here. again, ordered french toast and a 2 egg breakfast (we tend to split a sweet and savory dish). both were excellent and half the price of the same breakfast at the westin. not only that, but the setting in the beautiful clubhouse of the plantation course on a hill overlooking the famous 18th hole, kapalua, the ocean, and lana’i is breathtaking. truly one of the great deals we encountered.
ma’alaea waterfront restaurant - had our aloha dinner here (early, because we had to get up early next day), and it was also recommended by our concierge. it’s located on the ground floor of a condo high rise at the ma’alaea boat harbor, and you actually walk to the condo entrance before taking a stairway down to the right. a red flag went up when i saw servers in tuxedos (without jackets), wood paneling, white tablecloths, and a caesar salad being made tableside. thought this was going to be an old school place with signed celebrity pics and old school food. but, it was fantastic. we had a table on the outside verandah overlooking the boat harbor and the ocean. our appetizer of crab stuffed mushrooms was ok (can’t remember the last time i had a shellfish stuffing that didn’t taste fishy), but entrees were magnificent. we ordered ono prepared sicilian style and new zealand sea bass sauteed island style (see their menu here http://www.waterfrontrestaurant.net/m...). both were superb with large fish fillets, the perfect preparation for each fish, and good side dishes. my favorite was the sea bass island style, and i can remember the taste as i write this.
kula lodge restaurant, kula - had early breakfast here on our way down from haleakala before our flight to kauai. beautiful view down the west side of the mountain to the central valley and the west maui mountains. we split a belgian waffle and a 2 egg breakfast with ham, cottage fries, and toast (sweet and savory again). the waffle was great, and the included fresh local strawberries were perfectly sweet and ripe. the coconut syrup was the best i’ve had (maybe cuz i was starving. i normally prefer maple syrup), and the pineapple marmalade was really tasty on the toast. the cottage fries had a strange seasoning that tasted like shake ‘n’ bake, and the taste kept coming back for a couple of hours. price was around $10 per dish, not too bad. it was very good (except the cottage fries), and the view definitely enhanced the food.
our only disappointing meal was at mala, but the amazing sunset sorta made up for it. wish we had had enough nights to get to lahaina grill and i’o, too. gotta have something to look forward to, though.