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Oct 7, 2012 09:54 AM

First time to Hawaii - need Kauai and Maui picks!

Traveling to Kauai and Maui for the first time and we are so excited to try all the local flavors. I'd love some of your fave spots to check out. I am vegetarian (no fish or meat) -and my husband enjoys both - so specifically looking for places that can accommodate us easily.

We are staying in Princeville, Kauai and in Wailea, Maui. We are going out all so price is no matter but we've been finding lately that the more casual, local restaurants often deliver over the fancy expensive ones.

Thanks in advance for your help!

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  1. This is a great Maui report as a jumping off point:

    1. We usually stay in West Maui so don't have a lot of picks for South Maui, but do reccommend that you try Peter Merriman's MonkeyPod Kitchen in Wailea Gateway for inspired cocktails, a great craft beer menu and good food using local fresh ingredients. We will be staying in South Maui in January so looking forward to trying some of the places mentioned in the post that cbn456 linked.
      BTW, lavendula, hope you are going to the Lavender Farm in Kula, beautiful and delicious scones too! Oh, that reminds me... if you are visiting upcountry, try the O'o Farms Lunch Tour. Really wonderful if you like food and gardens! Hope you you have a beautiful trip!

      1. Do you have to stay in Wailea? You'll probably leave Wailea and drive to Kihei to find non-hotel, non-chain, casual, local restaurants.

        Also if you don't eat fish or meat, you'll be missing out on a LOT of local cuisine (kalua pork, poke, plate lunches, loco moco, spam musubi), so it might be hard to truly "eat local" AND vegetarian in Hawaii.

        Maybe some poi, if you try it, and decide you like it (a lot of people don't, I personally dislike taro)?

        And lots of fruit. Or mochi, malasadas, shave ice for dessert.

        Some Kihei ideas:

        Yee's Orchard - Golden glow mangoes. Closed Mon and Fri. Only open 11-5. Easy to miss as it is literally a small hut at Kihei Road and Nohokai St. It is on the east side of the street.
        Kihei Caffe -- Wonderful hole-in-the-wall breakfast spot. I think the cinnamon roll French toast special is only on weekends, though. Vegetarian friendly.
        Ululani's Shave Ice -- new branch of the popular Lahaina favorite

        I will also recommend Coconut's Fish Cafe for fish tacos and Eskimo Candy for poke (weekdays only) for your husband, not sure about vegetarian options.

        2nd Monkeypod Kitchen but it is nicer than the spots I listed, and feels more "corporate" and less "mom and pop."

        1. Aloha.

          I like the Jawz food Truck at Makena beach...Maui tacos in Kihei..
          We stay West side in the Kapalua area and though no fan of Kihei but it will be closer for you from.Wailea.
          If you come up for breakfast, Gazebo in Napili is excellent and line is long but moves quick..oceanfront..Plantation House at Kapalua for breakfast...ahi benedict with wasabi hollandaise is off the chain good with no lines, fab views and reasonable.

          Hamura Saimen in Lihue is one of my faves (saimen and lilikoi pie) but your in Princeville and with traffic is at least 30+ minutes drive time.
          Red Salt is fantastic.
          Tahiti Nui or Dolphins in Hanalei are great...drinks and apps at St Regis are a must.

          Have a wonderful time and report back!

          4 Replies
          1. re: Beach Chick

            Thank you!

            Breakfast in Maui is covered at the hotel since it is included in our room charge.

            Here are my lists so far from friends and Chowhound suggestions:


            Mama's Fish House
            Nick's FIsh Market
            Ferraro's at the 4 seasons
            Ko at the Fairmont
            Spago (seems like people either love or hate)
            MokeyPod Kitchen
            Possible Feast At Lele
            Longhis in Wailea
            Ululani's Shave Ice


            Kauai Grill
            Postcards - in Hanalei
            Bar Acuda - in Hanalei
            Java Kai for breakfast/coffee

            Hamura Saimen in Lihue
            Red Salt
            Tahiti Nui - Hanalei
            Dolphins - Hanalei

            Any other suggestions or commentary on the above choices (best vegetarian selections, worth the trip, don't miss, etc) would be much appreciated!

            1. re: lavendula

              Its far from Wailea, but I love the food and the setting at Merriman's in Kapalua and it might be nice for you to get up to that part of Maui. And it seems like the kind of place that if you called ahead to request vegetarian dishes, they might come up with some things just for you, although I don't know that for sure.

              1. re: mwest9

                Thanks :) Leaving soon, getting v. excited!

              2. re: lavendula

                Lavendula, I noticed in another thread that you were wondering if Feast at Lele would be worthwhile for you as a vegetarian. One of the regular posters on the Maui forum on Trip Advisor is a vegetarian and LOVED the Feast. He regularly recommends it, saying to call and let them know that you are vegetarian when you reserve. They will serve you wonderful vegetarian dishes.

            2. I'm back from two weeks on Kaua'i and Maui. I didn't have much trouble being a vegetarian although I ate more tofu than I would have liked. Crossroads Cafe in Hanalei had excellent vegetarian food, as did Haile'imaile General Store in Maui Upcountry and Monkeypod Kitchen. We stayed in condos so I was able to take advantage of the local produce and my husband could grill fish.

              Thank you for these posts. They made a really difference in the quality of the food I got to eat.