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May 16, 2013 09:50 PM

South Maui Recs

We are Maui regulars who typically stay in Kaanapali but are staying in Wailea for the first time. Given that this is outside of our food comfort zone, we would really appreciate some suggestions. We will have a well behaved and food adventurous 2 year old in tow, so early dinner ideas are also welcome. Also, is there any really great place to get super fresh fish (to cook at home)? In Honokowai there is this really awesome fish market which is typically our go to for fish to cook ourselves...any equivalent in Kihei or Wailea?

thanks a bunch for any ideas!!

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  1. Aloha. .
    We always stay in the West side in Kapalua/Napili area, so I feel your pain on where to go.
    I find some of the best fresh fish is at Costco.
    I've talked to the locals and that is where most of them get their fish, unless you've got your local buddies.
    Foodland for the Ahi Poke and I've learned on this board that you can ask for it to be made to order...for a price but well worth it..they have good poke.

    Paia Fish Market is another source that would work too.

    1. We always stay in Kihei when we go to Maui, and sometimes eat a meal or two in Wailea while we're there. There are also some food trucks by the beach down in Wailea, like the Jawz taco truck.

      Our haunts are:

      Yee's Orchard -- Awesome pineapples and Golden Glow mangos. Not cheap, but very tasty fruit. They also sell starfruit, apple bananas, papaya, passionfruit, guava, coconut, and more. The Golden Glows also have a very skinny seed, so you get more flesh off this variety than other types. They are also a bit larger and hefty than Mexican 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. Great fruit, worth the effort to find it! You'll probably also spot the owner's kids wandering around, as well as the occasional peacock.

      Kihei Caffe -- Great hole-in-the-wall breakfast spot, they close at like 2pm or 3pm. Try the pork fried rice with ham, bacon, Portuguese sausage, and scrambled eggs! Or the cinnamon roll french toast they do whenever they have leftover cinnamon rolls from the day before. Or the regular french toast Hawaiian sweet bread or pancakes, topped with macademia nuts and bananas, smothered in coconut syrup (the pineapple/coconut french toast is decent but the pineapple is canned). Loco Moco is only OK, and if you get juice, ask for no ice. I do like that their ice coffee used coffee ice cubes, though. Cash only, order inside, seat yourself outside. Very family friendly.

      Eskimo Candy -- Super fresh fish market AND lunch spot. Poke for lunch for us almost every day. They don't have a huge selection of fish available but what they do have looks very fresh. Off the beaten path. Super nice service -- one of the counter girls remembered me...from twelve months previous. Great poke bowls with four types of poke over mayo/wasabi and rice, with some seaweed salad in the middle. I like the furikake style best. We went back multiple times, we liked it so much. Our usual order was two poke bowls and maybe an appetizer, if dining in. However, it's much cheaper to buy the poke by the pound and get a side of rice or two if you are taking out. The fried calamari was very good (fresh, not rubbery, not too oily), but the coconut shrimp was even better. Crispy, tender, and tasting of real, fresh coconut. Not greasy at all. We loved this place and went back multiple times, but mostly for takeout. WEEKDAYS only. Also family friendly. Order at the counter and seat yourself. There's not a lot of seating though, and it's fairly popular.

      Coconut's Fish Cafe -- An unassuming place that looks more like a fast food joint/deli. Friendly service. Great 17 ingredient fish tacos. There's usually a line. Also the guy who runs it is a huge Packer fan, funnily enough. The wait is worth it.

      Da Kitchen Express -- decent local fast food chain. Get the three item combo. Chicken katsu, teriyaki beef, kalua pork (salty but good w/ rice). Good for takeout after a long day.

      Ululani's Shave Ice -- Amazing shave ice, now in Kihei. It's in a bit of a weird location without a ton around it, on the north side of Kihei. But their shave ice is amazing. I like that they poke holes in the ice before pouring the syrup, to ensure a better distribution. And they have a very customer service oriented philosophy. No seating inside, really, you eat outside in the parking lot, but there aren't any tables, oddly. Saw tons of kids here.

      Sansei -- Decent enough fusion Japanese. If you go before 6pm, you receive a 25% discount for an early bird special on some days. There is usually a big crowd on the discounted days. Rolls are best. The "famous" dishes weren't that great. Nice to have something different once in a while if you're staying for a long time. It's a strip mall restaurant on the nicer side. Lots of families.

      Monkeypod Kitchen -- Good food and cocktails. Make a reservation as they do get busy. I also see a lot of families eating here. Great pina colada with fresh pineapple juice and coconut cream. Slightly more upscale than the other places, which is saying a lot for Maui. Have the pizza and Kula strawberry pie! It's good for when you want something more casual than a hole in the wall but not as nice as one of the hotel restaurants in Wailea. They also have outdoor seating.

      Alan Wong's Amasia -- When we went, my husband liked it more than I did. You are able to get Alan Wong's signature dishes here, which is nice. Like the kalua pork grilled cheese, or li hing mui tomato salad. I also enjoyed the potstickers, and duck bao.

      1 Reply
      1. See my post below for some reviews of restaurants in Wailea.

        Admittedly, we were specifically after bar dining (which would not be your goal with a 2 year old). But we ate off the regular menu at all of these restaurants so at least our opinion of the food might be helpful. We really enjoyed Spago the best, but all were good food-wise. Spago also has a children's menu and we saw children dining there (though not sure any were toddlers).

        I think, though, if you go early enough, the restaurants will be less crowded and you will probably feel more comfortable with a child.

        I agree with kathryn's opinions on the Monkeypod, as well. We have been a couple of times but for lunch only for some reason and we have enjoyed all the dishes we tried.

        We stayed in a hotel, so we did not shop for fish there, sorry.

        1. Assuming you have a car, make a point to drive north to The Star Noodle in Lahaina for lunch. We visit Maui during March each year and no visit is complete without an early lunch there. Arrive between 11:15 and 11:30 to be assured seating. With a window table, you can view the ocean. Love their tempura shrimp appy and their garlic noodle dish is awesome. Getting hungry just thinking about it. Also love the crab Benedicts at The Plantation House in Kapalua. Again, arrive early as the place fills up for lunch. Well worth the drive :=)

          1. Thanks for the tips and suggestions everyone! Looking forward to checking out the Kihei and Wailea picks. Had forgotten about foodland poke, so that's back on the list....and we are big fans of star noodle and plantation house, just don't think we'll be making the trek this trip. We'd really like to explore Wailea/Kihei as much as possible.