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Maui Trip Help

b
boltsfan Jun 29, 2010 07:50 AM

Hey hounds,

Goin to Maui for first time in mid-August with my wife. Staying at the Westin Maui for 6 days (Wed-Mon). I have researched info here on Chow and on Yelp and have come up with a short list of restaurants we want to dine at. Gonna probably skip the Feast At Lele and Old Lahaina Luau luaus in favor of spending the $200 at a great restaurant. Maybe will do 1-2 breakfast somewhere in Lahaina but prefer not to eat a ton in the morning before heading to the pool all day. Will grab quick light lunch at hotels pool\beach during the day.

The Starwood resorts have a free shuttle that runs to Lahaina all day til approx 10pm at night so several of these we can get to for free then can take short (hopefully cheap) taxi ride home. Concerned about cost of taxi to get to Merrimans, Mamas, etc... as we have heard that taxi from airport to our hotel is $50. Plan to have a couple of cocktails\beers by the pool\beach during the day then head out for dinner to catch sunset... so we would be ok to drive. Sunset in August is around 6:50pm. We were not planning to rent a car but now it seems like a no brainer that we should considering how much we would spend in taxis to go to some restaurants. Are the roads safe at night to drive (well lit)? We usually only split a bottle of wine at every dinner so one of us is always good to drive.

Also plan to pack maybe pack 2-3 bottles of wine from home stash (in wine skins) in suitcase.

Also... what is dress attire at night? My wife is only bringing sun dresses and flip flops. I was only going to bring shorts and short sleeve button up surf type shirts and maybe a few Hawaiian (Tommy Bahama) shirts and flip flops. For example... Merrimans dinner attire states "casual resort wear" which to me, is exactly what we are bringing. Just never want to over or under dressed.

Here is the short list... (any other recommendations are appreciated).
Merriman's
Mama's Fish House
Lahaina Grill
I'o Restaurant
The Plantation House Restaurant
Hula Grill
Kimo's Restaurant

Thanks!

-----
Old Lahaina Luau
1251 Front St, Lahaina, HI 96761

Lahaina Grill
127 Lahainaluna Rd., Lahaina Maui, HI 96761

Plantation House Restaurant
2000 Plantation Club Dr., Kapalua, HI 96761

The Feast At Lele
505 Front St, Lahaina, HI 96761

Mama's Fish House
799 Poho Pl, Paia, HI 96779

  1. manomin Jul 8, 2010 08:48 PM

    I just came back from Kapalua. Had a most fabulous, did I say fabulous meal at the Plantation House? It was truly memorable and what a view, dinner with an unparalleled view, well a bit up"country" vs Merriman's but certainly spectacular.

    We also had a great couple of blocks of ahi from The Fish Market Maui on lower Hoanapiilani Hwy near Lahaina. Beautiful blocks cut for us by them with all the
    appropriate accoutrement and a really tasty mac salad that was light, refreshing
    and full of other fresh veggies. Check them out their fish selections were just so very
    fresh and I wanted to buy them all! My host offered to buy more but we had a tasting
    to go to and this was just a brief repast. Great little place!

    -----
    Plantation House Restaurant
    2000 Plantation Club Dr., Kapalua, HI 96761

    Fish Market Maui
    3600 Lower Honoapiilani Rd Ste Ha, Lahaina, HI 96761

    3 Replies
    1. re: manomin
      Bill Hunt Jul 9, 2010 09:23 PM

      Nice to hear about the Plantation House. We've done a couple of lunches and several breakfasts there, but never dinner. We always seem to get the table right at the Western windows, and I do agree that the view is fantastic.

      All of our meals have been very good, at the least, with hardly anything amiss. Got handed off to a new server at a shift change, and there was a bit of a lag in service, but that was the absolute worst of it.

      Need to figure them into the dinner mix - maybe after our golf next time?

      Mahalo,

      Hunt

      -----
      Plantation House Restaurant
      2000 Plantation Club Dr., Kapalua, HI 96761

      1. re: Bill Hunt
        manomin Jul 10, 2010 12:35 PM

        I think you would enjoy dinner very much. We were able to meet chef Alex and got great insight into his philosophy and use of Kapalua farms ingredients, quite a great guy.
        The view of course as you know is fabulous. We were going to go for lunch but ended up
        at the Alaloa bar again for our 3rd lunch of the trip (Ritz Carlton) they serve up some
        great food and have a great cocktail menu as well.

        1. re: manomin
          Bill Hunt Jul 10, 2010 08:32 PM

          It seems that you were at the Ritz, after our trip. Was Banyan Tree back open?

          Can you tell me about any major changes?

          Was quality still up there, or have the renovations done them an injustice?

          Mahalo,

          Hunt

          -----
          Banyan Tree
          1 Ritz Carlton Dr, Lahaina, HI

    2. Bill Hunt Jul 1, 2010 08:11 PM

      I have dined at all, but Hula Grill and Kimo's, so cannot comment.

      I would add the Banyan Tree at the Ritz-Carlton, for fine-dining. They were great on a previous trip, but were closed for renovation on the last trip. That was a disappointment for us.

      Of your list, I strongly recommend both Merriman's and Mama's, but also suggest a rental auto for Mama's. We had done lunch there, as we strongly enjoy our wine with meals. So much so, that we booked three nights at The Inn at Mama's Fish House, just so we could stagger back to our cottage. We left the condos at the Ritz-Carlton, just to stay there, but it was well worth the move.

      We really enjoyed I`o, and have enjoyed Lahaina Grill for many years, and a few chefs. We were horribly disappointed in David Paul's new restaurant, though really enjoyed his tenure at Lahaina Grill.

      I also like Gerard's in Lahaina, and it's a departure from the normal island-fare. It's a bit more formal, French-influenced fine-dining location. It was actually there, that we met Chef James McDonald (http://hawaiirama.com/2007/09/gourmet...) , of I`o and tried his restaurant on the next trip. It was well worth while and we'd go back in an instant. He's the executive chef for the Feast of Le`le, but we've never done that.

      Two restaurants that have let us down recently, were Chez Paul's, just south of Lahaina, and Mala. We'd done Chez Paul's in years past, but were not pleased with anything. We've done Mala on two recent visits, and I cannot see what the big deal is, but maybe that is just me.

      I've got a previous trip report here, and cover some of the spots, that you have chosen, plus a few others.

      Most of all, enjoy!

      Aloha,

      Hunt

      -----
      Lahaina Grill
      127 Lahainaluna Rd., Lahaina Maui, HI 96761

      Banyan Tree
      1 Ritz Carlton Dr, Lahaina, HI

      Mama's Fish House
      Paia HI, Paia, HI

      13 Replies
      1. re: Bill Hunt
        b
        boltsfan Jul 2, 2010 06:49 AM

        Thanks for the great info...

        Bill... I read your trip report before posting my questions. It was a great read and my wife and I also do enjoy great wine while dining and are concerned over driving (we usually cab) so we will take turns :0) Glad you mentioned bringing wine to the islands as we planned to bring a few special bottles with us but maybe we will just leave them at home since there seems to be some great half bottles on some of the wine lists I reviewed.

        Hula Grill is next to our hotel in Whalers Village so we can walk there one night if we have too many cocktails at the pool. it gets good reviews.

        The place in Lahaina I wanted to go for breakfast was actually Gazebo so sounds like I made a good choice. Read you need to get there early. Also read that Plantation house is great for breakfast as well... we love Bloodys Marys, mimosas and eggs benedict to start the day off. Just don't want to overpay for a resort breakfast with crappy food.

        I have read Lahaina Grill is great... David Pauls new restaurant is Island Grill correct?

        We are renting a car for all 6 days... just need to limit normal wine intake at dinner :0)

        1. re: boltsfan
          Bill Hunt Jul 2, 2010 08:51 PM

          One big consideration in Maui County is that if the location has a liquor license, you cannot do BYOB there. Only Island with that total limitation. Now, many posters claim to have some inside power, but let's just say that with offers of a DRC Burg to the chef and sommelier - the answer was NO! Now sure who those with the political pull are, but wonder why such powerful people would be posting to ChowHound. I'd guess that they would be on George Soros' yacht in the Med, but what do I know.

          Now, you can certainly have a lovely bottle of wine on your lanai, just do not plan on taking it to a restaurant, unless Bill Gates bows, when you enter the room.

          Lahaina Grill WAS David Paul's, some time back. His Island Grill is now on Front St. and while it seemed to have potential, plus a spot in my heart, from years past, missed on so many levels. Nothing was really bad, but nothing was really good either. It seemed like it was a "soft opening," or something, and they'd been open for many months. Even considering the fond memories, I'd not likely go back.

          We also do a designated driver, but for the trip around the Island, I cannot imagine my poor wife having to do without, especially when there is a good FR Chard selection. That's why we stayed at the Inn at Mama's Fish House, and I do not regret that in any way. As they knew that we had come over from the Ritz-Carlton condos, everyone apologized to us - not necessary, as the hospitality and proximity more than made up for not having a 2400 Sq foot condo! Luxury is nice, but a friendly staff and proximity to Mama's more than made up for it. Also, the drive to Bev Gannon's was easy too, with less wine.

          Now, on your trip, travel safely, eat well and enjoy!

          Aloha,

          Hunt

          -----
          Lahaina Grill
          127 Lahainaluna Rd., Lahaina Maui, HI 96761

          Mama's Fish House
          Paia HI, Paia, HI

          1. re: boltsfan
            m
            Mimi Jul 3, 2010 09:22 AM

            The Gazebo is in Napili, which is north of Ka'anapali, as opposed to in Lahaina, which is south of Ka'anapali. Their fried rice is killer, but I recommend just a half order.

            1. re: Mimi
              Bill Hunt Jul 6, 2010 10:10 PM

              Though they are very close, by Mainland standards, good points, especially if one does not have an auto, or dislikes driving for meals.

              Hunt

          2. re: Bill Hunt
            m
            mwest9 Jul 2, 2010 08:44 AM

            Hula Grill and Kimo's are OK, but they are definitely not fine-dining and the food is really not exceptional to my taste. Its not bad, but its nothing special. I'd go there only if it were convenient, like if you wanted a quick lunch or to have some happy hour appetizers and drinks and didn't want to travel to do so. They are both T&S restaurants, so their menus are very similar. Duke's, Kimo's, Hula Grill, basically all the same.

            http://www.hulagrill.com/index.cfm?ac...

            I'd say renting a car is essential in Hawaii. If you went to Maui and never got past Kaanapali and Lahaina, you'd be seriously shortchanging yourself, in my opinion. I can't see taxis as a viable option for getting around the island.

            Don't forget about Honolua General Store at the Ritz Carlton as an inexpensive but quality food option for breakfast and lunch. Its not table service, but I think the food is good and the prices are surprisingly low.

            I second Bill's recommendation for Merriman's, it was superb when I was there in May this year.

            Have a great trip and let us know how your food was!

            1. re: mwest9
              Bill Hunt Jul 2, 2010 08:55 PM

              Taxi service on Maui has improved over the decades, but then I shudder, and I am used to having a towncar at each airport!

              Maui is great, and I enjoy myself, but do dine "close to home," as the drives can be a bit too much, even for some avowed winos.

              The need Da Bus!

              Hunt

              1. re: mwest9
                b
                boltsfan Jul 7, 2010 12:22 PM

                I have crossed Kimos off the list but am keeping Hula Grill due to proximity to our resort. Hula Grill is still operated by Peter Merriman correct? I know we will drink too much at the pool one day and will just want to semi-stumble over to Hula Grill for some appetizers and more drinks. We love Jakes in Del Mar and the Cliffhouse in La Quinta... so it can't be that bad (can it?).

                Bummed about the BYOB laws... always like to bring one of our favorite wines on vacation (Miner Oracle).

                Got it on the location for Gazebo. Thanks!

                To keep cost of this trip within reason we plan to do at most 3 "nice" dinners. Merrimans is on the list but we need 2 more. Really want to go to Mamas but the drive might be too far from Ka'anapali for dinner (20+ miles) so maybe we'll go for lunch one day (how much for lunch?). Same goes for Gannons (too far).

                Maybe we will just go to Island Grill.

                How is:
                Pineapple Grill
                I'O
                Roys (different than on mainland?)
                Banyan Tree (50% of entire wine list on Wednesday) - we fly in on Wed afternoon

                Again... as you can tell, trying to stay relatively close to home (Westin Maui). We have a free shuttle to Lahaina from our hotel and we can cab it back to hotel after dinner. Distance to Kapalua is only 7 miles so not a big deal to drive to either.

                Was leaning Lahaina Grill but really prefer an ocean view... We live in North County San Diego so I can eat dinner on the ocean anytime but hey... I am on vacation so I want to dine with view of the sunset.

                What cost are we realistically looking for dinner for two? For example... appetizer and split a salad, two entrees, dessert and a ($80-100) bottle of wine (or 2 half bottles).

                Thanks for the feedback...

                -----
                Lahaina Grill
                127 Lahainaluna Rd., Lahaina Maui, HI 96761

                Banyan Tree
                1 Ritz Carlton Dr, Lahaina, HI

                1. re: boltsfan
                  m
                  mwest9 Jul 7, 2010 01:45 PM

                  I think your plan for Hula Grill is just fine given the circumstances you describe. Its not that bad, its just not in the same league as the fine dining places. Its a lot like Jake's in Del Mar, as you mentioned. Nice spot and view, reasonably good food and drink and a fun place. For me, its great for happy hour, just not the kind of place I'd want for a "splurge" dinner.

                  When I looked at the menu for Lahaina Grill in May, apps were in the $12-$20 range, entrees in the $30-$40 range. At the ice cream shop on the corner of Front St. and (I think) Market St. they were handing out 10% off coupons for Lahaina Grill.

                  PS the ocean view at Merriman's is spectacular and I, too, grew up in North San Diego County. Gazebo and Sea House also have nice ocean views.

                  -----
                  Lahaina Grill
                  127 Lahainaluna Rd., Lahaina Maui, HI 96761

                  1. re: boltsfan
                    Bill Hunt Jul 8, 2010 07:59 PM

                    From that list, I would choose Merriman's Kapalua, I`o, and Banyan Tree.

                    I love Mama's, but share your concerns. That is a long drive, if both (or all) enjoy the wines, and there are some to enjoy.

                    Lahaina Grill has come through for us, but would be #4, from your list.

                    Now, one tempting little tid-bit - one COULD travel over to Mama's and stay at their Inn. We were such fans, that we did just that, and while it was very laid-back, vs the condos at the Ritz, it was well worth the move - just for the food and wine, and that would put one very close to Bev Ganno's! Just a thought, but it IS your $, and not mine.

                    Aloha,

                    Hunt

                    -----
                    Lahaina Grill
                    127 Lahainaluna Rd., Lahaina Maui, HI 96761

                    Banyan Tree
                    1 Ritz Carlton Dr, Lahaina, HI

                    Merriman's Kapalua
                    , Lahaina, HI 96761

                    1. re: boltsfan
                      m
                      mnadel Jul 10, 2010 01:45 PM

                      I would put Kimo's back on the list. It is at a lower price point than the others, except Hula Grill, and I think the fish there is exceptional. The menu is *not* the same as at Hula Grill, although hey both have the hula pie.

                      I'd avoid Roy's. I'm also not sure I'o merits a trip.

                      1. re: mnadel
                        Bill Hunt Jul 10, 2010 08:32 PM

                        What issues did you have with I`o? I'm just curious, as our one experience exceeded my normally high expectations.

                        Mahalo,

                        Hunt

                        1. re: mnadel
                          b
                          boltsfan Jul 15, 2010 07:51 AM

                          I read read great reviews of I'O and the location is perfect for us. We will give it a try and will report back.

                          I am anticipating (budgeting) spending about $200 per dinner at Merriman's and I'O. Sound about right?

                          Any other less expensive restaurants in Lahaina that someone could recommend would be appreciated. For example... a great burger or some sushi?

                          Thanks!

                          1. re: boltsfan
                            m
                            mwest9 Jul 15, 2010 10:13 AM

                            RE: Less expensive in Lahaina, Lahaina Fish Company had a great Mai Tai special at lunch and decent food. Its on the water. Duke's is on the same block, also on the water, and its reasonably good food for not too much $. As I said about all T&S restaurants, I think they are good for a convenient lunch or happy hour. Just my thoughts, others seem to think more highly of them than I do. There are many mid-priced places in Lahaina that I did not eat at, and I didn't have any burgers or sushi this past May, so I can't comment on those.

                  2. m
                    Mimi Jul 1, 2010 12:36 PM

                    Here are my thoughts on your plans: I don't even think I'd bother going into Lahaina for breakfast if you are staying near Ka'anapali unless you have a specific spot in mind. I think you will find plenty of options near your hotel. Skipping the luau and spending your dining dollars elsewhere makes sense, too. If you want to eat at Mama's, I think a rental car is most likely the way to go. I can't imagine how much a taxi would cost since the drive is at least 45 minutes, one way. If your estimate from the airport to the hotel is $50, a trip to Mama's might be around $75. Cab fare for a dinner at Mama's alone would pay for several days in a rental car. The roads are not lit like highways on the mainland but not treacherous either. The food at Mama's is great but I would definitely appoint a designated driver who doesn't drink more than a glass of wine, two tops. We tried The Sea House at Napili Kai on our trip a couple of weeks ago. The food was almost as good as Mama's, about half the price, and the cab ride would be much shorter...maybe about 20 minutes each way. As far as dress codes, I think I would go with a nice pair of sandals over flip flops in the evening but otherwise you should be fine.

                    -----
                    Sea House Restaurant
                    5900 Lower Honoapiilani Rd, Lahaina, HI 96761

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Mimi
                      Bill Hunt Jul 1, 2010 08:14 PM

                      Only having done breakfasts and a lunch at Sea House, I agree that for those meals and proximity, they are well worth the drive up. I'd wonder, however, about dinner vs Mama's, but have to admit that we did not do any dinners there.

                      The Gazebo, just down from Sea House is great for breakfast, but due to long lines, we did Sea House, and were not disappointed.

                      Hunt

                      -----
                      Sea House Restaurant
                      5900 Lower Honoapiilani Rd, Lahaina, HI 96761

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