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First night in Maui

So, looking for the perfect memorable dinner for my first night in Maui. I am heading to Mamma's Fish House later in the visit, figure that is a must, but I want something in the Wailea area that first night. Should we do Nick's, Ko, Spago or some other place for that first meal to set the tone for the trip? We will be coming from Kauai earlier that day, will spend the afternoon on the beach probably, and then head out for one of two splurge dinner nights. We are staying at the Fairmont.

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Spago
3900 Wailea Alanui Dr, Kihei, HI 96753

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  1. Spago or Duo

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    Spago
    3900 Wailea Alanui Dr, Kihei, HI 96753

    1 Reply
    1. re: russkar

      OK - Any feedback on why those two over the others?

    2. I would do DUO or Nick's over Spago and Mama's isn't a must. I think the top three restaurants on Maui are DUO, Merriman's and Ferraro's. I say Nick's over Ferraro's and Spago because you are already at the Fairmont and that counts for a lot if you are tired.

      Mama's is a nice place, with a great setting and very fresh fish, but I think it is far from Maui's "must do" restaurant.

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      Spago
      3900 Wailea Alanui Dr, Kihei, HI 96753

      1 Reply
      1. re: scottca075

        We really enjoyed Mama's, the food is incredible and the setting is just gorgeous, try to go at sunset. We also loved Lahaina Grill in downtown Lahaina. You can book both places on opentable. Enjoy your time in Maui! :)

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

      2. Everyone seems to have conflicting opinions...I've also heard that Mama's Fish House isn't all it is cracked up to be. I've vacationed in Wailea twice in the last 5 years and would recommend Spago. You have incredible food perched atop the Four Seasons with a great view of the ocean. Atmosphere, service and food are great.

        My other favorite restaurant for dinner is Capiche? Have you considered it? I would choose Spago over it for your first night since Spago is in the middle of everything and you can walk there if you're staying at one of the major resorts. Look up Capiche, make a reservation so your there during sunset and request a table on the balcony. View of amazing sunset (not sure when you're going...I was there in early Oct and sunset was incredible) over the ocean in the distance.

        Enjoy!

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        Mama's Fish House
        Paia HI, Paia, HI

        Spago
        3900 Wailea Alanui Dr, Kihei, HI 96753

        2 Replies
        1. re: shermanoaksfoodie

          Maybe I eat at Spago in LA too much for it to feel special in Hawaii, but I think it is the third best restaurant in the Four Seasons behind DUO and Ferraro's.

          As to Mama's Fish House, I have criticized them here, but not for the quality of the food. I think it is a bit more expensive than it needs to be, but even that isn't my point per se in my criticisms. The ironic part is that Mama's hasn't done anything wrong to warrant my criticism, my biggest complaint is the slobbering attitude of some people who think Mama's is the end all, be all, only place to go, restaurant on Maui and it isn't Mama's fault people love their restaurant.

          Mama's has great food in a truly great, special setting and you couldn't ask for more personable service. You do pay for it, maybe 10-20% more than if it were in a strip mall like Roy's in Kahana so I don't find great value it in. BUT all that being said, paying more than I think I should doesn't keep me away any more than having to pay outrageous valet parking fees at some of LA's top restaurants keeps me away from them. It is just a minor irritant I can moan about.

          There are 8, 10, 12 really good restaurants on Maui, Mama's is one of them.

          I would still go to Nick's that first night if I were ChargeNDA just because it is so easy and convenient and Nick's does a more than adequate job. I was really bummed when they closed their Waikiki location, it was a staple of my Honolulu line-up.

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          Mama's Fish House
          Paia HI, Paia, HI

          Spago
          3900 Wailea Alanui Dr, Kihei, HI 96753

          1. re: scottca075

            Thanks. The other tough thing is that I feel that way a bit about Nick's. It is a Chicago restaurant and chef, and I have been in Chicago and enjoyed it, but didn't love it!

        2. I ate at Nick's, Mama's, and Spago earlier this month. They were all fine, but the only one I'd call "memorable" was Mama's Fish House.

          We also stayed at the Fairmont, and ate at Nick's on our first night there. The food and service were both fine. They have a good wine list. We had a fun flaming strawberry dessert there that was probably the highlight of the meal. Two complaints about Nick's: it's outside, and I was getting bit by bugs during the entire meal, and it was VERY dark at our table. It would have been nice to be able to see our food and read our menus. The rest of the food was decent, but nothing special.

          We ate a Spago a couple nights later. I had a delicious tomato salad there. Warning: the portions are ridiculously oversized. We ordered a couple of mediocre drinks from the bar, and a couple of mediocre wines off their by the glass list. The service was... strange. I have a food allergy, and they were over the top annoying about it. The setting was nice. We were there after dark, but I think if you get there early enough to see the sunset, you'll have a nice show. There were a bunch of big groups there the night we were there, so that may have had something to do with the odd service.

          We went to Mama's Fish House on our last night on the island. It's got a gorgeous setting, and the restaurant itself is decorated with a really fun motif. The staff was welcoming and professional. Drinks were decent, wine list was decent. We had a couple of the raw fish appetizers and they were both excellent. Again, the courses were way too big. I could only finish about 1/3 of my main course after eating the appetizer. It was just ok.

          Ko was closed during our visit, so I can't report on that.

          So, to sum up, any of the places you mention would be fine places to enjoy a meal, but I think hanging out on the beach and watching the sunset there before you go to dinner is probably a better way to set the tone for your trip than trying to do it at any of these places. Hope this helps, and I hope you have a great time on your trip!

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          Mama's Fish House
          Paia HI, Paia, HI

          Spago
          3900 Wailea Alanui Dr, Kihei, HI 96753

          1 Reply
          1. Wish that I had some first-hand recs. for you, but both Spago's and Nick's get great reviews from some respected folk here. As we have stayed in the Ka`anapoli Area, or at the Inn @ Mama's, dinner (with wines) in Wailea is not in our cards. Next trip, we will probably stay at the Astoria Grand Wailea, just to have dinner on that part of the Island.

            As for Mama's, we stayed at the Inn, just to have several dinners there, and do not regret our choice in any way, but then the jury is split about 50-50 on it. We are definitely in the "plus" 50%, but that is just us.

            Enjoy,

            Hunt

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            Spago
            3900 Wailea Alanui Dr, Kihei, HI 96753