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honeymoon on Maui, in Wailea - must eat recs?

w
waterisgood Mar 10, 2011 10:01 AM

Hi guys, I wasn't planning on doing chowhound research because I wanted it to be as carefree and unplanned as possible. but having booked the luau my husband-to-be really wanted and reservations at Spago's for our last night, I got curious.

Any must-eats in Wailea or Kaanapali or inbetween?

TIA.

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Spago
3900 Wailea Alanui Dr, Kihei, HI 96753

  1. DriverPhil Mar 10, 2011 02:59 PM

    Hali'imaile General Store is a must for us. http://www.bevgannonrestaurants.com/h...

    1. Bill Hunt Mar 12, 2011 06:06 PM

      I have heard good things about Spago, but have not dined there yet.

      Bev Gannon's Seawatch has been good, and is local to you.

      Up-country a bit (past the Hali`imalie General store), I do highly recommend Mama's Fish House. However, we love our wines so much, that we have stayed at the Inn at Mama's Fish House, just to enjoy both the food and the wines.

      Enjoy,

      Hunt

      -----
      Mama's Fish House
      Paia HI, Paia, HI

      Spago
      3900 Wailea Alanui Dr, Kihei, HI 96753

      Seawatch Restaurant
      100 Wailea Golf Club Dr Ste A, Kihei, HI 96753

      1 Reply
      1. re: Bill Hunt
        FoodChic Mar 16, 2011 08:16 PM

        Ah, Mr. Hunt!! Good to see you on this board.

        Heading to Maui/Wailea next month. I'll put this in my file for an evening dinner.

        Thanks!!

      2. h
        HungryandAway Mar 13, 2011 09:00 PM

        You MUST go to Nick's Fishmarket at the Fairmont Hotel. Get a reservation ASAP. It is the BEST in Wailea by far.

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        Nick's Fishmarket
        2070 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815

        1 Reply
        1. re: HungryandAway
          FoodChic Mar 16, 2011 08:18 PM

          Here is a good link for Nicks...
          http://www.tristarrestaurants.com/

        2. j
          Juji Mar 17, 2011 12:00 PM

          I second all the recs so far. Hali'imaile GS is great (esp. the crab pizza), SeaWatch is actually now called Gannons and we love it for breakfast (they have good loco moco) and Mama's is a favorite as well. Nick's is very good, and for something a little more casual try Ko around the corner by the pool. The fried rice is delicious and the fish entrees are solid. Another good casual lunch or dinner spot is the Tommy Bahama cafe. The crab bisque is super yummy. In the harbor, we like Buzz's for the sweet Tahitian prawns and Waterfront for the fresh fish options in a variety of preparation styles. I really like the Island Style preparation. Ferraro's at the Four Seasons is always one of our favorite meals and you can't beat the setting and view. Another good breakfast spot is Five Palms in Kihei at the Mana Kai resort and again, the setting is amazing because you are dining beach side. Enjoy!

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          Five Palms Restaurant
          2960 S Kihei Rd Ste A, Kihei, HI 96753

          1 Reply
          1. re: Juji
            Bill Hunt Mar 17, 2011 05:43 PM

            Thank you for the update on the old SeaWatch. Good to know that, as I'd have assuming that I was just forgetting where it was... [Grin] While maybe not up the standards of HGS (but just by a little), we were impressed. Never have made it to Joe's - always closed, when we're over there. Hear it's good, but just cannot get there during business hours.

            Hunt

          2. m
            mar3kl Mar 17, 2011 12:07 PM

            Another thumbs up for Hali'imaile General Store. We also like the Sansei in Kihei. Joe's, above the Wailea tennis club, is good (same owner as Hali'imaile, different food). Gerard's in Lahaina is supposed to be excellent, but I haven't eaten there. Nick's (Kea Lani), Spago and Ferraro's (4 seasons), are all fine but I always leave thinking I've paid too much and gotten too little. Mama's Fish House is supposed to be great, but my wife can't eat seafood, so we haven't gone. Whatever you do, make reservations a ways ahead of time, before you arrive on the island if necessary.

            -----
            Mama's Fish House
            Paia HI, Paia, HI

            Spago
            3900 Wailea Alanui Dr, Kihei, HI 96753

            1. b
              Beach Chick Mar 17, 2011 12:11 PM

              Mama's Fish House for lunch or dinner..
              Bev Gannon's General Store
              Jawz shrimp truck after snorkeling/swimming at Makena
              Plantation House at Kapalua golf course for the best ahi benedict ever..breakfast only!
              Hula Grill for happy hour..Duke's too.
              Gazebo for breakfast

              Luau's...the food blows, the drinks are weak and you'll spend a lot of $$ to see a hula dance!
              Just my two Aloha cents

              1 Reply
              1. re: Beach Chick
                Bill Hunt Mar 17, 2011 05:45 PM

                Sounding good. If one is over around West Maui, I will throw in Merriman's Kaplua and also Banyan Tree (they DID remodel, since I was last there, so ???) as other good restaurants. Some on this board are less fans of Merriman's Kapalua, than I am, but we've always had great meals.

                Enjoy,

                Hunt

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                Banyan Tree
                1 Ritz Carlton Dr, Lahaina, HI

                Merriman's Kapalua
                , Lahaina, HI 96761

              2. h
                HungryandAway Mar 19, 2011 01:41 PM

                Mama's Fish House probably has the most authentically Hawaiian atmosphere of all fine dining options on the island of Maui. However, the food, while very good, is not THE best on the island and does not warrant being the highest priced on the island in my mind (and on my palate).

                Best Hawaiian Atmosphere? Yes, the best (as long as you don't have a problem with fun, dense, sea-faring decor and a 100 dining tables or more which produces a rush-hour, train station effect).

                Best FOOD on the Island? No.

                Conversely, Nick’s Fishmarket is on a corporate resort property and therefore does not quite have as “true” an authentic Hawaiian feel as Mama’s does. However, if you are searching this board because you are looking for the best, Pacific-themed, world-quality FOOD experience available, that will be found a Nick’s Fishmarket at the Fairmont Hotel in Wailea.

                Rounding out this reviewer’s top three picks on the island is Hali'imaile General Store.

                Happy dining!

                -----
                Mama's Fish House
                Paia HI, Paia, HI

                1 Reply
                1. re: HungryandAway
                  Bill Hunt Mar 20, 2011 08:17 PM

                  I have not dined at Nick's on Maui, but was unimpressed with the Honolulu location. I assume that they are under the same "umbrella," but could be mistaken.

                  For me, the food has always been excellent, with but only a weakness in a single dish. I have enjoyed every meal greatly.

                  Just my personal observations,

                  Hunt

                2. w
                  waterisgood Mar 31, 2011 06:25 PM

                  Here's a quick update on the places I went to thanks to all your great suggestions:

                  Bev Gannon's General Store - straight from the airport before we got to Wailea. Amazing cauliflower soup. Never had it before, doubt I'll ever have it that good anywhere else. Also had the sashimi napolean - good although wasn't my favorite of this variety as I've had very good similar dishes elsewhere, but the wasabi dressing was very good. I even spread it over the crab pizza, which by itself was also very good and creamy. My husband liked the crab pizza but thought it wasn't as spectuclar as he had been hearing from people.

                  Cafe O'Lei on a recommendation from some locals - amazing uni (probably the best I've ever had, including in Santa Barbara and all the best sushi spots in LA) and to-die-for mahi-mahi. i can't wait to go back to Maui for their mahi-mahi.

                  Sensai - not sure why it has such good reviews. We did the tasting menu for 2 - there were 2 standout dishes- the mango crab salad handroll and the Matsuhisa miso butterfish. The rest were, for lack of a better word, bad, especially the calamari and the ravioli. The calamari breading was awful, and it's spicy kkocheejang (Korean hot pepper paste)-based does not go well. The ravioli sauce was too heavy. We did order yellowtail and salmon sushi from the begining in case the tasting menu wasn't that great, and I'm glad we did that as the salmon was pretty good.

                  Maui Tacos - on the recommendation of some executive chefs associated with the hotel we stayed at. Amazing tacos and salsas, especially the avacoda one which spice just lingers and lingers and gets hotter and hotter after you've already swallowed. LOVE maui tacos.

                  Spago's - great service except for our horrible waitress with her bad table-side manners, the ahi cones were pretty good, entree portions were huge, my fish was overcooked. Woudln't go back ever.

                  Wish I had tried and will for sure on the next trip:
                  Mama's Fish House - recommended by lots of people we spoke to in Maui who seemed to know their food.
                  Paradise Sushi - attempted to eat dinner, but it was an hour wait for sushi, and we were starved so went to Sensai instead.
                  Nick's Fishmarket - hope it doesn't dissapont like Spago's did.

                  -----
                  Mama's Fish House
                  Paia HI, Paia, HI

                  Spago
                  3900 Wailea Alanui Dr, Kihei, HI 96753

                  Nick's Fishmarket
                  2070 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815

                  11 Replies
                  1. re: waterisgood
                    w
                    waterisgood Apr 1, 2011 02:05 PM

                    Forgot to mention that the risotto was super creamy and good at Spago.

                    Da kitchen - a local place, gives you a lot of food, prety good. The lau lau here was way better than the luau we went to.

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                    Spago
                    3900 Wailea Alanui Dr, Kihei, HI 96753

                    1. re: waterisgood
                      Bill Hunt Apr 1, 2011 04:49 PM

                      Mahalo for the report.

                      Sorry that Spago did not fulfill their potential. I've not made it there, but have it from a very trusted source, that it can be great.

                      There is a recent thread on the Maui Nick's, but also have never dined there.

                      I love Mama's enough to give up 3 free nights at the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, to stay with them, and dine on 2 of those 3 nights - as we love their wine list, driving after an dinner is just not an option, and walking 20 feet to my cottage was the ideal.

                      Aloha,

                      Hunt

                      -----
                      Spago
                      3900 Wailea Alanui Dr, Kihei, HI 96753

                      1. re: Bill Hunt
                        manomin Apr 1, 2011 09:25 PM

                        Gee Bill, I'll take those 3 nights and suffer without eating at Mama's! I can very easily shoulder the burden of eating at Kapalua places! Merriman's comes to mind and of
                        course Sansei and the Plantation House (for lunch or dinner!)

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

                        1. re: manomin
                          Bill Hunt Apr 2, 2011 07:13 PM

                          Now, what you must understand is that we took them up on five nights, so DID get to do Kapalua dining, and just declined the extra nights, in favor of the Inn at Mama's. Upon reflection, while the Ritz-Carlton property (danged thing was about 3500 sq feet and just for the two of us!) was great, I would do it the same way if offered everything this year. For us, it was a great vacation, when my wife needed one the most.

                          On our next trip to Maui, regardless of what the R-C offers us, we will stay at the Inn, so that we can dine at Mama's, and stagger to our cottage.

                          We will likely do the Grand Wailea Hilton (Waldorf-Astoria), and then move up-country. This will allow us to dine in the Wailea Area (especially Spago), and then kick back a bit at Mama's.

                          Hunt

                          PS - when we arrived in Kapalua, and saw the place that the R-C had provided us with, we called everyone on O`ahu, and the Mainland, and begged them to join us. We had 2 master-suites, plus another bedroom, just for the two of us. There were many rooms that we never entered, other than to turn off lights, that the cleaning crew left on. To say that the two of us "rattled around" that place is an understatement in the British sense. My house is not THAT much larger, and we share that with two Bulldogs!

                          -----
                          Spago
                          3900 Wailea Alanui Dr, Kihei, HI 96753

                          1. re: Bill Hunt
                            manomin Apr 3, 2011 02:59 AM

                            Gee, my machine must have been full - didn't get your plea to come join you!
                            I think your plan to stay at the Inn which will be great and then enjoy some great food and wine at Mama's. You of course must post the entire meal!

                      2. re: waterisgood
                        m
                        mar3kl Apr 1, 2011 04:53 PM

                        Sorry to hear Sansei disappointed. I only order sushi there, so I don't have experience with their other dishes. We're going over to Maui in a couple of weeks, so I'll be sure to try Sushi Paradise this time and report back.

                        1. re: mar3kl
                          Bill Hunt Apr 1, 2011 09:20 PM

                          That is a bit odd. Most here, whether "regulars," or first-timers, love Sansei, though we have never dined there. Considering the number of recs., a bad meal is a bit of a surprise.

                          Hunt

                          1. re: Bill Hunt
                            h
                            HungryandAway Apr 2, 2011 07:30 AM

                            If you are accustomed to great high quality sushi elsewhere, you are probably not going to be tremdously impressed with Sansei.

                            My feeling is that they get their high scores becuase of the plethora of uniquely imaginative rolls and dishes they offer that you won't have tried anywhere else, rather than for the actual overall quality of the food. Their regular pieces of sushi are acutally a bit sub-par.

                            FOR MAUI, I still find them to be a tremedoulsy fun stop for sush-lovers, if not a world-class sushi experience for most people. Sushi may be the one seafood experience in Maui that in fact does NOT measure up to many people's other dining experiences. Sansei IS Maui's best sushi option I think.

                            1. re: HungryandAway
                              russkar Apr 2, 2011 10:53 AM

                              The Best Sushi in Kihei is still Koiso just down the street from Sansei. Reservations are a must!
                              Before we leave Waikiki to visit friends in Maui I already have my Koiso resy. Kind of like French Laundry in a way.
                              The Locals from Wailea have standing reservations weekly.
                              Cuatro is behind Sansei and has really good Fusion Cuisine. Reservations are a Must!
                              For casual good food Cafe O Lei does a nice job.

                              1. re: russkar
                                h
                                HungryandAway Apr 2, 2011 11:27 AM

                                Defintely a good suggestion. This is one of those places you would go to strictly for the food.

                                The physical space is not intended to be the type of place you would want to stick around and look at for long.

                              2. re: HungryandAway
                                Bill Hunt Apr 2, 2011 07:14 PM

                                Mahalo for that. Over the years, I have to admit that the best sushi that we have had has NOT been in Hawai`i, but on the Mainland.

                                Hunt

                        2. m
                          mofo313 Apr 25, 2011 03:44 PM

                          heading there in a week, this is just what I was looking for

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