West Maui Restaurants
My husband and I are heading to Maui for the first time next week. I planned out all our meals weeks ago but keep being struck by indecision and changing our West Maui meals. I've read all the posts here by Bill Hunt, Miss Needle, cvhound,etc but figured I might as well ask--for two meals on the West Coast, what would be your top two choices? Right now I've got Lahaina Grill and Pinapple Grill because they seem to get the most consistently positive reviews, foodwise. I'd also considered Merriman's (but seems to have fallen off recently?), Gerard's, and Pacific'O. As for the rest of our trip, we're eating at Spago, have two nights in Hana, and have dinner as part of our snorkeling trip (Trilogy) and as part of a luau. We're going to do HGS for lunch. (Not a lot of beach side eating, I'm not sure how much to consider that.) Thanks so much!
I plan on writing a bit more detailed trip report concerning my 2/26-3/5 trip (with pictures), but to respond to your post, I'll say that I enjoyed a great meal at Merriman's last week. Service was a little odd and robotic at times, but the food was excellent. I had a fantastic ahi poke for an appetizer (the quality of the ahi just amazed me, as if it had been just caught and perfectly diced), and I believe my main course was opakapaka, but can't recall specifically. In any event, great food and a beautiful atmosphere. The quality of the fish was impeccable. In terms of West Maui, it was our best meal (beating I'O and Kimo's). We decided to skip Lahaina Grill - though highly recommended, we preferred the seafood selections at Merriman's and Mama's and didn't want to break the bank every night.
As for I'O, they highly tout the herbs, vegetables and fruits grown in their own garden, and those were really outstanding. However, the fish preparations were good but not great and the dishes just didn't come together so nicely. We shared a decent ahi poke, ceviche (can't remember the exact fish), monchong prepared in the road to Hana style (see menu) and another fish prepared with the rainbow preparation (see menu). The poke was ok, but the ahi was of the poorest quality we saw for the week (still decent, but a bit stringy and not so well cut), the ceviche was a bit over-flavored and didn't allow the natural flavor of the fish to shine, the other fish dishes (pictured below) were fine but unremarkable. Service and atmosphere however were second to none - I just wish the food measured up but instead we preferred the more casual Kimo's (near I'O, which is next door to Pacific O, in Lahaina).
Our meal at Mama's was on par with Merriman's - both were excellent and I'd have a tough time choosing between them. And my lunch at Bev Gannon's General Store was also excellent, but the latter two are a good drive from West Maui.
You might consider David Paul's Island Grill in Lahaina. Mr CF and I had a very nice dinner there in February. We sat outside and had a view of the sunset - what we could see in spite of the 'vog'. We both had a butter lettuce salad with blue cheese, I had the seared ahi with fois gras. Our waiter took Mr CF back to check out the wines (like a kid in a candy store) and came back with 2 different bottles to try. I have to give a big shout-out to our waiter Tyrone - 2 of our dinner partners had to leave quickly (vog breathing issue) and when they returned, instead of just serving them their dinners warmed up or left under the warming lamps for an hour, they were served fresh and hot dinners. Which was very much appreciated by all of us.
Also - Merriman's in the bar or at the wine bar by the water - though that is just really appetizers but very good ones none the less. I preferred dinner there compared to the dining room. Our service was very good, the sommelier was spot on with a recommendation to go with my butterfish and the shining star of dinner was our dessert of coconut filled malasadas - omg good.
Hope that helps and have a great time!
oh and if you're available for a wonderful pancake breakfast - try The Gazebo.