Top Maui Restaurants and Dining
Looking for the best restaurants in maui? We’ve put together our list of top maui restaurants, whether you’re dining on a budget, or looking for world class views.
Known as a place “where paper plate meets beachside dining,” the restaurant at the west end of Front Street grew in popularity to the point where the Old Lahaina Lūʻau kitchen moved elsewhere (now near their sister-restaurant, Star Noodle). Aloha Mixed Plate expanded to serve breakfast from 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., followed by lunch and dinner until 10:00 p.m., seven days a week. The restaurant is now almost 20 years old. And it seems to have sailed through the troublesome teenage years. Other than the now-expected wait times, the biggest issue for this outdoor restaurant looks to be one nobody but Mother Nature can control, along with umbrellas that work better for shade than for rain.
Full Story: Aloha Mixed Plate, Born to Mix it Up
In fact, Horsman says they strive to have 90% locally-sourced ingredients on the Merriman’s menu, from Kauaʻi shrimp to Hāmākua mushrooms to Waipoli watercress. Some menu highlights include macadamia nut-crusted Monchong, wok-charred Ahi, Tamimi Farms tomato salad, and Kalua pig quesadillas, which Horsman calls “incredible.” “They cook it down for hours with onions, herbs and spices, white jack cheese,” he explains. “Fresh-to-order with house-made kimchi.”
Besides, it can’t get any more local than the restaurant’s own gardens, which grow along the large outdoor patio space and enjoy an epic view of the Pacific.
Full Story: Merriman's Kapalua Locavore for Life
“We’re trying to create something people will remember, that is friendly and welcoming,” Mick Fleetwood told me during our chat, saying on his world travels, he’s drawn to restaurants with a warm, open atmosphere, versus a “slick” operation. “When people are traveling, this whole island is about that; they come and they go, so you want to make sure they remember. Like I do when I’m on the road; I remember places that Mom and Dad from the restaurant said, you know, ‘How’re you doing?’ And they have time for you. And you remember an atmosphere; that’s what we hope can be achieved.”
The restaurant is really considered an extension of the ranch, but Hāna Ranch Provisions has been carving out its own identity in Pāʻia town, on the other side of (what many know as) the Mana Foods parking lot. There’s a quick-service counter with coffee and freshly-baked goods open from 7 a.m. to noon, in a nook next to the restaurant. The dining room attracts a vibrant, mostly local crowd between 5 and 9 p.m. every night. There are plans to expand hours for lunch during the week, then brunch on weekends.
The bustling deli opens at 7:30 a.m., with an outdoor patio where morning people sit, chat and observe along Makawao Avenue. Cappelli says lunchtime attracts mostly visitors exploring upcountry, while locals are “the backbone” of the dinner scene. Happy Hour runs from 5 to 6 p.m. on weekdays, and the main attraction is a half-liter carafe of mojitos, margaritas, Pinot Grigio or Chianti wine for $5.
There are some staples Executive Chef/Owner Gary King says will never leave the menu, like his Kumu Farms kale salad, shrimp spaghettini and whole Snapper. Although the menu has Mediterranean influences, he doesn’t want to label it. “We keep it simple; it’s American-Mediterranean, but I’m not calling it Italian,” he says. “We’re not a fish joint, we’re not an Italian joint, we’re just whatever I feel like doing.”
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“It’s all a frenzy of excitement of how our customers are told about the food, and then they go out and tell people, then they walk in and tell somebody else,” Phillips says.
Employees encourage diners to grab some extra napkins, eat with their hands and “embrace the mess,” especially when it comes to Coconut’s famous fish tacos, which are made to be unique with seven “layers of flavor” and 17 different ingredients, including Ono, MahiMahi, mango and coconut cole slaw.
“It’s not Mexican flavors, it’s not greasy and it’s not fried,” Phillips explains. “I wanted to create an island taco, number one; number two, a heathy taco; and number three, something way different than what people are used to. The flavors change at the level of when you start to bite on the taco, and as you move through it, literally in the middle is where the best part of the taco is, because then you get it all together.”
Full Story: Coconut's Fish Cafe - A Wish for Fish