Isana Brave Fish Kitchen Reopens with Fresh Concept
“There was always something very special about this restaurant, from the sweeping ocean views and good food, to the friendship we made with the owners Cindy and Andy,” says co-owner Christine Arabatzis.
After Isana closed in 2018, the Arabatzis’ saw an opportunity to revitalize and modernize a nostalgic landmark restaurant, reopening the doors in February 2019 under their new ownership as Isana Brave Fish Kitchen. And THIS Isana prides itself on having its own, unique identity, with fish as a focus.
“We are now excited to offer fresh local fish, sushi and island-style cuisine, including local favorites, such as Oxtail soup and Kalbi ribs. The interior renovation we completed creates a modern, clean, open, welcoming atmosphere with the addition of a full bar with specialty craft cocktails, draft beers, wine and a variety of sake,” explains Judah Griffin, Assistant General Manager at Isana Brave Fish Kitchen. “We have a fish market-style atmosphere featuring a fish display with whole fresh caught fish, warm and welcoming wood, bamboo and stone bringing the sea to table concept from the food to the ambiance.”
There’s also a traditional Japanese “Great Wave of Kanagawa” picture posted behind the sushi bar, which showcases fisherman in boats with huge capsizing waves, exemplifying what our fisherman do out there in the ocean every day; risking their lives to catch us fresh fish. That’s where the “brave” comes in with their new name.
And the owners should know: John isn’t only a restauranteur — he’s a fisherman and supplier, so the catch of the day IS truly that! It’s the same rule of thumb at Pita Paradise, which the Arabatzis’ also own in Wailea. At Isana Brave Fish Kitchen, they don’t know the featured fish until it comes in on the boat, as John and other local fishermen provide the freshest as fresh can get. In my experience of their food, the sashimi platter is simply outstanding, sushi is excellent (a pickle sampler adds to the experience) and fish entrées offer a variety of delicious preparations.
“Being a fisherman-owned restaurant, we are able to deliver a freshness and variety of fish available nowhere else on the South Side,” says Griffin. “Combined with the creative passion of our chefs, top-notch service, and a stunning ocean view, Isana Brave Fish Kitchen truly offers an experience not available anywhere else in Kīhei!”
I asked the folks at this new Isana to describe some of the menu favorites in their own words. Here are some of the highlights:
Li Hing Mui Mango Margarita – “A sweet and tangy take on a local classic”
Lilo n Sip- “An adult style refreshing smoothie with mint, lilokoi, and coconut flavors”
Shiso-cool- “A crisp cocktail with shiso and tropical flavors”
Rib Eye Steak – Served pūpū-style in a sizzling pan (perfect to share)
Oxtail Soup- Our take on the classic with a generous portion of oxtail
Garlic Shrimp Noodles- Featuring Kaua‘i prawns, locally-made noodles, seasonal veggies, and a delicious garlic sauce.
Fried Chicken- Our secret recipe creates the perfect fried chicken with a thin crispy crust, tender meat, and loads of flavor paired with our flavorful dipping sauce.
Kalbi Ribs- We marinate our ribs for days to create a tender and delicious take on this dish. Modeled after Maui’s famous “Azeka Ribs.”
Washington Oysters- Our vendor is able to deliver us super high-quality Washington oysters flown directly to Maui. Usually harvested just a day or two before being served here. These mouthwatering offerings are available on the half shell or in a shooter.
Hamachi Jalapeño- A sushi classic made with top grade Hamachi and served with our homemade ponzu sauce.
Red Dragon Roll- Our most popular roll. Shrimp tempura, cucumber, avocado, topped with spicy tuna mix, green onion, and homemade Kabayaki sauce (unagi glaze).
Tempura Fried ice cream- Hawaiian-made ice cream, fresh baked pound cake, perfectly fried. So ono!