HOME > Chowhound > Hawaii >
What's your latest food quest? Share your adventure
TELL US

Narrowing the restaurant choices down for family vacation in Maui

m
mboxermd Aug 17, 2011 10:39 AM

Wanted some feedback about my restaurant choices for holiday vacation with the family, Looking for a variety of places for lunch and dinner. Some with beautiful views. some not tourisy, some low key and some not but ALL with good food since I am the one in charge of all of the meals. We will be staying in Wailea area of the island. Most important is that the food is great!!! In addition, I don't have any breakfast choices picked out.

Lunch -

Mala at the Marriott
Monkey Pod Kitchen
Geste Shrimp food truck
Eskimo Candy
Maui Tacos

Dinner -

Star Noodles
Matteos
Five Palms
Mamas Fish House
Paia Fish Market
Aloha Mixed Plate

Any comments or other recommendations would be greatly appreciated!

-----
Aloha Mixed Plate
1285 Front St, Lahaina, HI 96761

Eskimo Candy
2665 Waiwai Pl, Kihei, HI 96753

Paia Fish Market
2A Baldwin Ave, Paia, HI 96779

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

Star Noodle
286 Kupuohi St, Lahaina, HI 96761

  1. l
    lilaki Aug 17, 2011 11:14 AM

    hi there,

    not sure when you're going ... i'm heading to maui next week and plan to hit star noodle, aloha mixed plate, paia fish market, and the geste shrimp truck. i'll write up a post when i get back (towards the end of august).

    3 Replies
    1. re: lilaki
      m
      mboxermd Aug 17, 2011 11:39 AM

      We are not going until December but I like to plan way ahead because the pressure is on me to plan out this trip. If you find any other worthy places please let me know. Also can you let me know how the places you mentioned are as well. Thanks

      1. re: mboxermd
        l
        lilaki Aug 18, 2011 02:19 PM

        yes, i'll definitely let you know what where we end up eating!

        1. re: lilaki
          l
          lilaki Sep 6, 2011 09:32 AM

          here's my report: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/805709

    2. j
      Juji Aug 18, 2011 02:32 PM

      Matteo's is a good option for lunch too. And I would throw Tommy Bahama into the mix for either lunch or dinner. The crab bisque and curry scallop and shrimp dish are very tasty. The food isn't superb or anything but pretty solid at Bistro Molokini at the Grand Wailea and the pool-side setting is nice for lunch.

      -----
      Bistro Molokini
      3850 Wailea Alanui Dr, Kihei, HI 96753

      1. scottca075 Aug 18, 2011 03:51 PM

        Skip Mama's Fish House and go to DUO at the Four Seasons. (or Spago or Joe's Bar & Grill or Nick's Fishmarket)

        I would also be inclined to do Nick's over Five Palms.

        Aloha Mixed Plate and Star Noodle are from the same company, drop Aloha MP and go to Da Kitchen in Kahului (not Kihei except for lunch).

        Also look at Tommy Bahamas for lunch.

        -----
        Aloha Mixed Plate
        1285 Front St, Lahaina, HI 96761

        Da Kitchen
        2439 S Kihei Rd Ste 107A, Kihei, HI 96753

        Joe's Bar & Grill
        131 Wailea Ike Pl, Kihei, HI 96753

        Spago
        3900 Wailea Alanui Dr, Kihei, HI 96753

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

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

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

        Star Noodle
        286 Kupuohi St, Lahaina, HI 96761

        16 Replies
        1. re: scottca075
          Bill Hunt Aug 18, 2011 08:32 PM

          Though not near most resort areas, why would you suggest skipping Mama's Fish House?

          Just curious,

          Mahalo,

          Hunt

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

          1. re: Bill Hunt
            scottca075 Aug 20, 2011 04:45 PM

            We don't find value at Mama's. It is good, but not at the Michelin two star prices they charge. Lunch is a better value, but not much. As I have stated in other forums, their marketing staff deserves a raise, they have done a great job selling Mama's concept as much as the food.

            I wish they would put their prices on their menu so people can see what it is going to cost them. Once you get there you are kind of stuck.

            1. re: scottca075
              Bill Hunt Aug 24, 2011 08:31 PM

              I will gladly disagree with you on this one.

              Going back in time, there was a strict dichotomy with Mama's, so we tried it for the first time. It was all that we could have asked for, with no equivocations. Due to where we were staying on Maui, we only did lunch. This continued for about three more trips. Finally, we just had to have dinner, and passed on free nights at the Ritz-Carlton, just to stay at the Inn at Mama's Fish House. Great decision, though the Ritz was wonderful. We were most happy, and in all aspects.

              Still, that is ONLY my impressions, and as stated, about half here hated Mama's, for various reasons. I cannot address any of their reviews, but can only say that Mama's came through for us, and on every "cylinder." You are not alone, nor am I. It just depends on the person, and maybe the day/night and the dishes ordered.

              It is not inexpensive, but compared to many of my meals, is rather cheap. We dine at many "starred" restaurants around the world, an Mama's falls way down that list. Still, expense is relative. For me, "value" is the key, and they have always given me the value. Apparently, for you, they did not. That is certainly fair, as value is a very personal thing. It is either there, or it is not. For me, it's there, but for others, it is not.

              I believe that I have included my total bill, in all of my reviews, including our wine choices, or at least I intended to do so.

              As the menus do change daily (often a few times, during the day), putting prices on dishes, that might not be available, is not easy, and could be very mis-leading, should things change drastically. Would one rather have some number, that might not relate, vs a dish, that reflects what was fresh at that moment?

              Hunt

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

              1. re: Bill Hunt
                scottca075 Aug 25, 2011 02:13 PM

                All a very reasonable and well thought out post. You are right that we are going to disagree on Mama's on the value proposition :)

                I will say that McCormick & Schmick's puts up a new menu every day on their website that includes the daily fresh fish, oysters, specials, etc. and includes the prices. They print that same menu out every day for the patrons of the restaurant. In this day and age, it is a very simple thing to do. Not every restaurant can afford to do that, but I know Mama's can afford it.

                http://www.mccormickandschmicks.com/m...

                1. re: scottca075
                  Bill Hunt Aug 25, 2011 05:46 PM

                  I am very sorry, but I have eaten at McCormick & Schmick's, and can find little comparison between Mama's and McCormick's. One is buying fish, fresh from the boat, and the menu might change 3x per day. The other is a corporate restaurant, and though the menu changes, nothing is coming off of the boat that day.

                  As for printing out the same menu daily, that is not how it works. They print several times per day, and things can change on the fly. Even with the printing, there are often changes inked in, or issued verbally.

                  One must also consider the IT aspect of things - even a modest corporation has more IT assets, than a small, locally owned operation. As for Mama's being able to afford things, I have never seen their books, so cannot comment. Apparently, you are their CPA, and know what their finances are like. Not sure that I would share that info on a public forum, however.

                  There are probably analogies, that are much closer out there. I do not find this one to work - at least not for me.

                  In each of my reviews, I have attempted to objectively detail my meals, as clearly, as I could. I believe that I have listed my total bill, and maybe have even broken out (or detailed) my wines, as saying that I spent US $ 650 on dinner, might not be helpful, unless I point out that I had 2 bottles of US $ 225 wine. Others might not even approach that, and should not just see the total, as it could be meaningless to them.

                  Sorry that you did not like Mama's, or at least felt that the meal was a value. You are not alone, and because of the polarization, I launched on my quest to see for myself. I did, and am glad that I did. For me, it was a true "win-win." Still, about half of the folk posting on this board, hate Mama's, and for several reasons.

                  Aloha,

                  Hunt

                  1. re: Bill Hunt
                    Bill Hunt Aug 25, 2011 06:08 PM

                    Let's look at some non-chain, higher-end restaurants in Hawai`i, and see how they do it:

                    http://www.alanwongs.com/honolulu-menu
                    http://www.halekulani.com/i/downloads...

                    Hunt

                    1. re: Bill Hunt
                      scottca075 Aug 25, 2011 07:04 PM

                      I wasn't comparing the restaurants, you misunderstand. I was merely pointing out that Mama's could print a daily menu with prices. Sure it might change, but it doesn't require a big IT staff, it requires two templates and someone to do the daily data entry. As most of the dishes and prices won't change daily, it is actually a matter of relatively few changes.

                      I find it bad guest service to not have prices online, especially when it is so easy to change them. I think they do so not because of difficulty, but do it deliberately to hide the cost so as to not scare any one off.

                      I don't hate Mama's, I don't even dislike it. We've had three nice meals there. I still find it overrated and overpriced. There are maybe ten places on Maui I'd recommend before it especially given the effort to get to it from either West or South Maui.

                      As to whether or not Mama's can afford to post a menu with prices online and or change those menus daily; given what they charge, if they can not afford to put a pdf online with prices, then they DO need to hire me.

                      1. re: scottca075
                        Bill Hunt Aug 25, 2011 08:28 PM

                        Then you have the same problems with Alan Wong and La Mer, right?

                        Can Alan Wong, or La Mer afford to post the prices?

                        To me, I want as much detail on the items, as is possible, and then will find a way to either pay for it, or go elsewhere.

                        Maybe you need to send in an application, or a proposal. Who knows, they might hire you?

                        I look at menus around the world, and about half of the fine-dining establishments list prices, though the items might change, before my visit.

                        Let's look at a personal favorite, Restaurant Daniel. Other than the caviar, and some supplements, I do not see prices: http://www.danielnyc.com/daniel.html

                        It seems to be 50-50, or close. I cannot, in good conscience, hold that against Mama's, and especially since they have always come through for us.

                        If it is a big deal for you, then you must wrestle with that. I do not have to do so.

                        When it comes to menu changes, I think that you might pick up some tips, should you dine there, two meals per day, for say four days, and watch what changes, during the day. I have done that, and have made the observations.

                        I enjoy Mama's, and feel that their meals are a good value. You do not. That is just a difference, between you and me. Nothing wrong with either observation, reflection, or feeling. They are just different.

                        Enjoy,

                        Hunt

                        -----
                        Alan Wong's Restaurant
                        1857 S King St Fl 3, Honolulu, HI 96826

                        La Mer
                        2199 Kalia Rd, Honolulu, HI 96815

                        1. re: Bill Hunt
                          scottca075 Aug 26, 2011 06:53 AM

                          Since La Mer does post their prices, your post yet again confuses me. You also need to pay more attention when looking at menus. Daniel Boulud very clearly says that it is $108 for a three-course prix fixe with a $60 wine pairing.

                          But those are distractions.

                          Mama's is nice, but it isn't close to Daniel, Per Se, The Fat Duck, Alinea or many, many other restaurants I can name, but they are charging prices as if they belong at that level. Are you really comparing Mama's to Alan Wong's, La Mer and Daniel?

                          You also continue to say I don't like Mama's. I haven't said that. I have said Mama's is over priced and overrated. It is both.

                          When someone asks about restaurants on Maui, I think there are restaurants that put out better food and I think there are restaurants that are as good, but a better value and I say so. I try to answer for them based on what they are asking for.

                          In the case of this poster, they are staying in Wailea and don't have one of Wailea's top five dinner spots in the list. I suggested DUO over Mama's. Do you not think DUO is as good or better than Mama's without the drive? What about Spago, Ferraro's, Nick's, Joe's, even Humuhumunukunukuapua’a? Are they not good enough to avoid the drive to Mama's and more importantly, the drive back?

                          That is why I advised skipping Mama's and going to DUO instead.

                          -----
                          Alan Wong's Restaurant
                          1857 S King St Fl 3, Honolulu, HI 96826

                          La Mer
                          2199 Kalia Rd, Honolulu, HI 96815

                          Spago
                          3900 Wailea Alanui Dr, Kihei, HI 96753

                      2. re: Bill Hunt
                        russkar Aug 25, 2011 11:53 PM

                        @ Hunt: CONCUR about MAMA'S. MC & S isn't in the same league and should be a moot point.

                        1. re: russkar
                          scottca075 Aug 26, 2011 06:56 AM

                          Ummmm, didn't say McCormick & Schmick's was as good as Mama's, or better or in fact did I even compare them as restaurants. I used them as an example of a restaurant that posts a new menu highlighting the days fresh catch, with prices, every day.

                          1. re: scottca075
                            Bill Hunt Aug 26, 2011 07:30 PM

                            Yet, you used them as an example. I am now confused.

                            Hunt

                            1. re: Bill Hunt
                              scottca075 Aug 26, 2011 07:36 PM

                              Not to compare food..... to show an example of a seafood restaurant that changes their menu daily, posts it online daily and shows prices on a daily basis.

                              Is this really that hard to comprehend?

                              1. re: scottca075
                                Bill Hunt Aug 26, 2011 08:13 PM

                                OK, that makes sense.

                                Since I have reviewed Mama's and have enjoyed it, can you cite your review, to counter all of mine?

                                Mahalo,

                                Hunt

                                1. re: Bill Hunt
                                  scottca075 Aug 27, 2011 10:16 AM

                                  I haven't done a review yet, I might post one, but I don't seem to be explaining correctly that it would not be as counter as you think.

                                  I advised the OP in this forum to skip Mama's and pick up DUO instead since they were not doing any of the great restaurants in Wailea (Except Five Palms, and I wouldn't call Five Palms great).

                                  If they had listed DUO, Spago, Merriman's and Mama's as the restaurants they were doing for dinner I probably wouldn't have said "skip Mama's to go to xyz", but it made no sense to not hit the top restaurants within a five minute drive to do the drive to Mama's. I also think they have too many Lahaina places which was why I suggested dropping Aloha Mixed Plate for Da Kitchen.

                                  -----
                                  Aloha Mixed Plate
                                  1285 Front St, Lahaina, HI 96761

                                  Da Kitchen
                                  2439 S Kihei Rd Ste 107A, Kihei, HI 96753

                                  Spago
                                  3900 Wailea Alanui Dr, Kihei, HI 96753

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

                                2. re: scottca075
                                  p
                                  palmtree38 Sep 26, 2011 10:15 AM

                                  I agree .. menus should be listed with prices for a patron to decide whether the price tag matches the entree of their choice. You may not be interested in a $25 and up entree that evening and dont want the shock value at the end.

                                  Alan wong's not listing their prices

              2. h
                huskergreg Aug 18, 2011 06:45 PM

                We think the best food in Maui is at Lahaina Grill, with David Paul's Island Grill a close second. Both are in Lahaina, which is about a 30 minutes drive from Wailea.

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

                David Paul's Island Grill
                900 Front Street, Lahaina, HI 96761

                1 Reply
                1. re: huskergreg
                  scottca075 Aug 18, 2011 07:03 PM

                  If I were to say what are the best restaurants in Maui I'd say Merriman's and the Plantation House for the West and DUO and Ferraro's for the South. David Paul is good with short ribs and duck, but I find their fish entrees lacking.

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

                2. m
                  Mimi Aug 18, 2011 08:04 PM

                  We loved, loved, loved Monkey Pod Kitchen. We drove all the way from Napili two days in a row to eat lunch there. Standouts were the Ho'opono Punch cocktail, the fries, and the PIES. We drove by Star Noodle on our last day there and will have to save it for next time. I wish we had been able try it on this visit.

                  -----
                  Star Noodle
                  286 Kupuohi St, Lahaina, HI 96761

                  1. Bill Hunt Aug 18, 2011 08:35 PM

                    I have not done that Mala location, but have now dined twice at their Lahaina restaurant, and cannot think of any reason to ever go back. This location might be much better, and much different, and only others can confirm, or deny that.

                    Aloha,

                    Hunt

                    PS - I am such a fan of Mama's, that I gave up three free nights at the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, to stay on my $ at the Inn at Mama's, just to be able to dine there, and not have to drive around the Island, after I delved into their wine list.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Bill Hunt
                      b
                      Beach Chick Aug 18, 2011 09:13 PM

                      Aloha Bill..
                      Love that you gave up your suite at the Ritz for 3 nights so you can slay the wine list at Mama's..
                      That is so you!
                      Aloha and Mahalo,
                      Beach Chicka

                      1. re: Beach Chick
                        Bill Hunt Aug 24, 2011 08:35 PM

                        That was a tough call, but both of us were so very pleased, that it was the "right one." Were I on Maui this next trip, I would make the same call. The Inn at Mama's was just excellent, though very different than the great accommodations at the Ritz - cannot say enough great about them, other than Banyan Tree was being renovated, and was not open. Still, different as can be, but worth the $'s to us. Staggering "home" about 20' is not to be denied as worth the effort, and we did dig deeply into that wine list - for the first time, and then the second, and finally the third. I did ask them for two more landscape lights, and those have been added, at least for our cottage!

                        Aloha,

                        Hunt

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

                    2. p
                      palmtree38 Sep 20, 2011 12:26 PM

                      Mboxermd. We too are going in December but staying in kannapali area. Love all the feedback your getting to help us decide as well. I too am always in charge if meal locations. So much fun planning. Will you be there for Christmas if so where are you doing Xmas dinner ? We may pick up Christmas dinner predone or pick up items and cook ourselves and dine at sunset.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: palmtree38
                        scottca075 Sep 20, 2011 09:54 PM

                        Safeway and Foodland Farms should both offer pre-done meals, Turkey, Rib Roast, that kind of thing. Does T'ronto have Safeway or is that just a western Canada thing?? Do get a Safeway Club Card before you go. I am pretty sure you can get one online.

                        1. re: scottca075
                          p
                          palmtree38 Sep 21, 2011 04:15 AM

                          Thanks Scott. You get around online too:). See you on TA. We did have a Safeway I believe it's under another umbrella store will check online or can you get one in the store when you arrive? When you say turkey meals done do you get mashed potatoes gravy and stuffing too? Big meal combo For Xmas. Were there a week after Xmas so extra turkey for sandwich's will get gobbled up :)

                          1. re: palmtree38
                            l
                            lilaki Sep 21, 2011 07:13 AM

                            i got my safeway card at the cashier's when i was checking out. shouldn't have any problems. same thing for the discount card/club (whatever) they were offering @ foodland farms.

                            1. re: palmtree38
                              scottca075 Sep 21, 2011 08:04 AM

                              Yes you can get the Turkey (or Prime Rib) alone or complete with sides, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing a vegetable and pie for desert. The sides are "ok" so we have done our own stffing and veggies, but the turkey itslef is great.

                              1. re: palmtree38
                                b
                                Beach Chick Sep 21, 2011 08:44 AM

                                Aloha palmtree!
                                You're going to Maui for Christmas...lovely..

                                Costco is great too for Christmas dinner and it's right across the street from the airport.
                                Rotisserie chicken for $5 is a great deal for sandwiches or Xmas bird.

                                I don't know when your flight arrives but I hit it up for a quick run through after landing for breakfast items, POG (passion fruit, OJ, guava) muffins, beers and other aloha goodies...buy and extra sarong and lay it on the beach and have your Xmas dinner in the sand.
                                Foodland is one of the best for the Ahi poke.
                                Safeway is great too and you can get a 'club card' at the cashiers when checking out.

                                Hula Grill, Dukes, Leilani's are all in Ka'anapali and have great happy hours.
                                Plantation House at Kapalua is one of my fave's for breakfast..no wait, great food and killer ahi benedict with a wasabi hollandaise that is sublime.

                                Jawz food truck at Makena beach is great after snorkeling..
                                Maui tacos is good to for that Mex fix and pretty cheap.

                                Aloha and Mahalo

                                1. re: Beach Chick
                                  p
                                  palmtree38 Sep 21, 2011 05:36 PM

                                  Aloha Beach!!
                                  Are you back from hawaii now? Hope your holidays in oahu were lovely..

                                  Yes xmas and new years in maui what better place to be :O)

                                  I got a question chowhounders.. I see ALOT of rec'c for many japanese/chinese places.. I have to be honest Im not a big fan of chinese food . This being we dont have alot of authentic where I live. It is north american chinese that everything tastes the same. salty and soya sauced and battered this and that.
                                  So we switched over to thai food with more flavours. ie coriander. coconut. mango and curries which please our palate more..

                                  I would be willing to try some of the rec's that are posted but what spices and flavours would they be that makes everyone go wow you got to taste this dish??

                                  Japenese I am only familiar with sushi or various rolls ie cali rolls and tuna/salmon rolls and like.

                            2. re: palmtree38
                              m
                              mboxermd Sep 26, 2011 03:03 PM

                              I have to check the exact dates - are all the restaurants closed during Christmas - have you found any other places that seem worthy????

                            3. k
                              Kater Sep 21, 2011 08:46 PM

                              Mala is not great - terrific view but the food is clumsy. Cocktails and pupus are the way to go there.
                              Maui Tacos is pretty lousy. You will love Mamas Fish House and Duo is fantastic as well.

                              The Da Kitchen by the airport is good for down and dirty grinds like deep fried SPAM Musubi.

                              -----
                              Da Kitchen
                              2439 S Kihei Rd Ste 107A, Kihei, HI 96753

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: Kater
                                k
                                Kater Sep 21, 2011 08:54 PM

                                Oh also, if you're going upcountry you can get a tasting plate for lunch at Surfing Goat Dairy farm and you're welcome to bring a bottle of wine. In fact, there are a couple of bottles at Tedeschi that are not bad. They do a sparkling dry rose that is quite nice.

                                1. re: Kater
                                  p
                                  palmtree38 Sep 22, 2011 05:34 AM

                                  I saw the dairy farm to bring the kids to but I got to tell you one thing I hate is GOAT CHEESE.. ugh.. instant gag! Sheep cheese same deal. Any other cheese even 10 year nippys and old ripe blue but goat ewwwwwwwwwe.

                                  anywhere else with this concept of bring wine and enjoy wine and cheese as this is up our alley.. we do this on every trip at sunset with wine cheese and grapes

                                  1. re: palmtree38
                                    k
                                    Kater Sep 30, 2011 07:41 PM

                                    ewe! funny!
                                    so you can still go to the goat farm and buy some of their truffles - they have goat cheese in them but you wont' notice.

                                    If you go to the vineyard nearby they have a lovely picnic area where you can enjoy a bottle of wine. You can get a picnic from your hotel or Ulupalakua Ranch which is right across the street - well a little bit down the road but very very close.

                                    Also for fruit there is an awesome fruit stand on the way to Lahaina from Wailea. I think it is called Olowalu. The owners/employees are quite odd. But they have some damn good fruit. They charge and arm and a leg but they quality is good. They also have great pineapple and they will cut it up for you if you ask. Also they have awesome dragon fruit and star fruit. To give you an idea of the pricing the last dragon fruit I bought there cost $15! Still it is a good place to get your sunset fruit.

                                    1. re: Kater
                                      p
                                      palmtree38 Oct 1, 2011 06:12 PM

                                      Guaranteed I will notice the goat gag in the truffle.. My sister is the same way with disliking it.. I tell you We just had frog legs and alligator last weekend so when I say we like or will try alot of food and DISLIKE GOAT we really dislike it.

                                      $15 for one dragon fruit?????????????? how big is this?

                                      1. re: palmtree38
                                        scottca075 Oct 1, 2011 06:26 PM

                                        You need to get to San Diego and try the goat at Super Cocina. It is wonderful, very mild and well spiced.

                                        Alligator and frog's legs...... meh, tastes like chicken :)

                                        Guinea pig..... now there is a taste!

                                        1. re: scottca075
                                          p
                                          palmtree38 Oct 2, 2011 06:31 PM

                                          saw a food travelling show and went to paraguay in south american (chef corran) something like that and talked about the guinea pig and how it was smoked lol..

                                          Super Cocina yum yum also loved german maricos truck on university...

                              2. n
                                NoTanLines Oct 1, 2011 04:27 AM

                                breakfast: tasty crust in wailuku. home of the best pancakes.

                                lunch: charlies in paia. willie (nelson) may even take your order :-).

                                dinner: makawao steak house.

                                Show Hidden Posts