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Jun 18, 2008 03:37 PM

West Maui Trip Report-Long

My husband and I just returned from our first trip to Maui in ten years. Thanks to chowhound information, we had great meals every time we ate! Our first real meal in Maui was breakfast--at The Gazebo, of course. We stayed in Kapalua and were thrilled this place was so close! We ended up going there three times and ordering the same thing every time. He had banana pancakes, and I had macadamia nut pancakes. Our first dinner was at Pineapple Grill. We did not plan ahead, just walked over on Sunday night about 6:45. We were seated at a table in the bar area. Our bartender/waitress was great! My husband ordered short ribs on the rec. of the waitress, and they were wonderful. I had the monchong, and I enjoyed it. A great start to our trip! The following night we had reservations at the Plantation House. We both had the fish of the day- mine was Mediterranean style, his Upcountry Maui style. His was very good; mine was less so-a little overbearing--lots of onion, dark brown sauce. The next day we drove to Hana and had an incredible lunch at the Hotel Hana-Maui. We both had mahi-mahi sandwiches. Heaven! That night we went to the Maui Brewing Co. I was very excited to have found out about this place, as it sounded like the sort of place my husband would love. We had already had the beer and liked it, so we were looking forward to good bar food to go along with it. The second we walked into the place, we changed out minds! Half the restaurant was closed for renovations, with a sign on the door indicating they were about to close the rest of it too for about six weeks. The part we were in was stale, sticky, and greasy. We had a beer and hightailed back to Kapalua to Sensei. No reservation meant a 45 minute wait, but we didn't mind- we hung out in the bar. Soon we got seats in the bar, and Trudy. our bartender told us we didn't need a table. She told us she was the best server in the place, and the couple next to her agreed--that's why they were eating at the bar. We did get a table and enjoyed our meal there, but I think Trudy was right. We should've stayed put! Wednesday night was Wine Wednesday at the Banyan Tree at the Ritz Carlton. (Order an entree and your bottle of wine is half off. The fine print is the 18% gratuity is charged before the discount is taken...not quite half price wine, but not a bad deal.) For some reason, I was not expecting our meal to be on par with some of our other dining choices, but I was wrong. My husband ordered the filet, and he enjoyed it. Nothing spectacular, but certainly good. I had the flounder. It was the single most beautiful plate I had the whole trip! Swiss chard topped with flaky white fish sprinkled with oyster mushrooms and heirloom tomatoes. Wonderful! Thursday night we went to Lahaina to Mala for the sunset and drinks. We were not disappointed. We found seats at the bar and had margaritas as the sun went down. We were torn about dinner that night. We had planned to go to Roy's, but were very tempted to stay at Mala. We did go to Roy's and had a great meal there. My husband had mahi mahi, and I had monchong. Similar preparation to the dish at Pineapple Grill. Both were good. And Friday, for our last dinner in Maui, we went to Mama's. We were enchated by the location and atmosphere. We went early for a drink and enjoyed talking with the bartender. (Someone had complained about surly bartenders in Maui. We found just the opposite of that. Every one we met was engaging, helpful, delightful. And we met lots of them!) For dinner we both ordered the ahi--one of our favorites. We were not disappointed at Mama's. Again, thanks to everyone who posted on their Maui favorites.

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  1. Thanks for the great report! If we make it to SANSEI in between events at the KF&WF
    we'll see if Trudy is at the bar! Sounds like you had a wonderful trip and that's GREAT!

    1. Wonderful report. As we're headed back for the first trip to Maui, in about 5 years, I'm getting all sorts of ideas.

      I have read some great reviews of the Banyan Tree, and appreciate knowing about the wine discount. Do not know if they'll have it come December, but will check into it. I recall, and not at all fondly, the predecessor, Anui` nui Room. Glad that it is history, and I will try and keep my predisposition against IT to a minimum and not let that experience taint my dining at BT.

      Mahalo for the report,


      2 Replies
      1. re: Bill Hunt

        If you are in West Maui, make a reservation for Lahaina Grill -- used to be David Paul's Lahaina Grill -- we always go at least 2x when we travel to Maui each year...expensive but chow is divine -- I agree about Anuenue room (glad it is gone -- most expensive meal ever and nothing special)

        1. re: jennifermcc

          Given the reviews on the replacement, The Banyan Room [?], it sounds like there is a good replacement.

          Going back some years, David Paul's was a highlight, and others have indicated that the Lahaina Grill (sans David Paul) is a worthy location.

          Hope to try both in Dec., provided that we can work it all in, with only one week.


      2. Great report - thanks. We were there a little over a year ago and I said at that time, on our next trip to Hawaii we would pick a different island just for a change and some variety but now, I don't know - your post makes me want to hightail it back to Maui! Your experience miirors many of ours. One night at Sensei, we did eat at the bar and Trudy and her counterpart were awesome. On our second visit to Sensei we sat at a table and while everything was good, the bar experience was significantly better. We enjoyed the Pineapple Grill more than Plantation House and thought the meal and the experience at the Banyan Tree was beyond reproach - our selections were perfectly executed and it was a very fine meal. We had not planned on going to Mama's but we did and ended up loving it. We might need to return to experience Mala's and Bev Gannon's General Store.