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Oct 31, 2013 09:03 AM

Merriman's Maui - Updates/Tips for 2013?

Finally made a reservation to try this place out. Previously, on our trips to Maui our "upscale" dinner has twice been at Mama's Fish House. We've also been to Hali'imaile General Store as well as Lahaina Grill and enjoyed both.

Favorite dishes there--Kurobuta Kalua Pig & Sweet Onion Quesadilla, wok charred ahi, pineapple upside-down cake? Or a favorite table?

Our reservation is for 5pm, so hopefully we'll have a view of the sunset?

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  1. We usually just sit at the bar (go figure...), but the bar is away from the best view of the sunset, although you can still technically see it. For a table, ask for a table on the west side of the restaurant on the main level. There are more tables slightly outside that are closer to the water but also a bit lower. The best view of sunset is from the patio, however, where they only serve a bar menu and drinks, not full dinner.

    The Quesadilla for sure. I do not recommend the Pupu taster, as the dish with Kula strawberries and goat cheese is just not that great. Macadamia Nut crusted Monchong > Wok charred Ahi (I want to like this one, but it is just not special). Macadamia Nut Garlic rice and creamed local corn also highly recommended. Dessert: the Chocolate Purse and Malasadas.

    Now, on to the bar. This has (thus far) been one of the best placed to get a cocktail on Maui. The Merriman's Mai Tai (minus the lilikoi foam for me - this was a new addition the last time we went) is good and strong and I have enjoyed the Bourbon & Hibiscus as well. I'm guessing you have also found their rum list online. For some reason, at the restaurant they have a regular cocktail list as well as their rum list and a list of special rum cocktails. The rum and rum cocktail list, though, is hidden at the back of the wine list for some reason. Sadly, they don't measure like I wish they would, but at least there is some quality here.

    Hope you like it.

    3 Replies
    1. re: cobpdx

      Thanks! Perhaps we'll get there a little on the early side for drinks on the patio... How busy would you say it gets around 4pm? I imagine fairly busy?

      Maybe I should move our dinner reservation to later?

      1. re: kathryn

        We will sometimes sit on the patio first for sunset and have a drink and the Quesadilla then move inside for dinner. Problem is that sunset is 6-6:30 and it can be hard to kill 2 hours without eating/drinking too much. It shouldn't be busy at 4 pm because the sun is still pretty high. It really starts to pick up 5-5:30 for the sunset. You can pretty much always find a seat, but it might not be right at the edge of the patio.

        1. re: cobpdx

          Thanks! We're there in late December, looks like sunset is just before 6pm. Maybe I'll just keep our early-ish table or push it back to 5:30 or so...

    2. Had a wonderful dinner here tonight. A little stressful driving up from South Maui, as we were delayed by a three car fender bender near Olowalu. I called ahead and they didn't seem to have problems with us being late... Whew.

      We were given a very nice corner table on the lower level towards the beach. Very pretty sunset. Excellent service. Gorgeous view. It was still light out when we sat down and I could see Molokai and the beach to my right.

      We had a rum punch for two served in a "porthole," from Crucial Detail in Chicago. This vessel was custom designed for the Aviary in Chicago but is now for sale due to popular demand/a Kickstarter campaign, and it was nice to chat with one of the Merriman's bar staff about how they're using it! (We actually have two of them at home.) The rum punch itself had Zacapa 23, Scarlet Ibis, Blackstrap, and Lillet with some spices & citrus. Served in two rocks glasses with a big sphere of ice each--it was good and very pretty in the porthole. Looks to be a new drink as it's not on the online menu.

      Loved our pork and onion quesadilla. I had the macadamia nut crusted monchong with spicy broccoli, which was fabulous. Perfectly cooked. Also possibly the best broccoli I've had in a long time. My husband got the wok charred ahi, which he adored. He's a huge tuna fiend. We shared the white chocolate malasadas for dessert. Excellent all around. I had the smaller entree portion and was quite satisfied.

      Due to traffic, we sat down a little before 5:15pm and were able to marvel at the sunset from our table. The sunset actually felt closer to 5:30pm due to the sun setting behind Lanai. Even though we didn't get a chance to do happy hour on the patio, it all worked out in the end.

      Food wise, seemed to be better & more interesting than meals at upscale places on Maui like Mama's, Hali'imaile General Store, or Lahaina Grill.

      4 Replies
      1. re: kathryn

        Glad to hear that you enjoyed it. Thanks for the info on the new rum punch drink. I will look forward to it on our trip in April.

        Clarification: did you really mean to say you liked the meal at Merriman's more than Mama's, Hali'imaile, and Lahaina Grill?

        1. re: cobpdx

          I did! Our preference is often for something more creative and modern or farm-to-table, so that is likely why.

          While those three are good, our Merriman's experience really impressed me just in terms of dish concept (I guess that's how I'd describe it?) and execution. The atmosphere of Mama's can't be beat, though.

          1. re: kathryn

            It has long been our favorite on Maui as well (for the same reasons you mention), but others have not been as pleased based on their posts. For us, in addition to really enjoying the food/drink/atmosphere at Merriman's, we can walk to it from where we stay...

            Generally, I can not stomach the drive from West Maui to South Maui or North (Mama's) while on vacation so we often miss out on the diversity. To make up for that, we stayed for half of our vacation in South Maui a couple of years ago to try some of the places there (which we will probably do again in the future). Out of curiosity, what is your favorite place in South Maui?

            Also, if memory serves, I believe you are also going to Kauai on this trip. If so, the Merriman's in Kauai does not measure up to the one on Maui, the bar and atmosphere being the biggest reasons why (although I did have a fantastic poke dish there that I wish was at the Maui restaurant).

            1. re: cobpdx

              We usually only do one or two upscale places one each trip so haven't delved quite as much into the fancy places in Wailea though my husband is fond of Amasia. Our usual haunts are Kihei Caffe, Coconuts Fish Cafe, Eskimo Candy, and Monkeypod Kitchen.