Food Traveler’s Guide to Maui, Hawaii

This is a guest post by my friend and fellow blogger Katia Dickenson of uxprofit.blog.

In mid-Feburary, Katia and her family went on a week-long jaunt to Maui. Throughout the week they journeyed across the island, visited a cat sanctuary, toured a chocolate factory and dined very well along the way. Below is a report from Katia on the food aspect of Maui, accompanied by her professional quality photos, which made me want to book a trip to Hawaii’s second largest island right away!

Nalu’s South Shore Grill, Kihei

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We ordered Maui Ribs

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and Poke Bowl of the day.

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Both dishes came with Kimchi and are very good.

 

Fleetwood’s On Front St.

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Michael John Kells Fleetwood, known as Mick Fleetwood, is a British musician and actor, best known for his role as the drummer and co-founder of the rock band Fleetwood Mac.

Executive Chef Eric Morrissette’s menu is good. We had oysters

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Buddy ordered the special of the day, which is Australian style steak with asparagus and mushrooms.

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I had monchong – a type of soft-textured buttery flavored island fish – served with a white sauce accompanied by asparagus, potatoes and carrots.

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There was another sauce option that would come with kale and a set of veggies, but i chose the first one. It was delectable.

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The dessert was okay, but I loved the jasmine blossom tea they served. It’s sold by the Red Blossom Tea Company in San Francisco. Excellent tea.

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There are live performances daily from 2:30-5:30 pm, it’s very entertaining, you can check the line up here on their website.  I recommend this place. It’s a little pricey, and reservations are necessary.

 

Coconut’s Fish Cafe

Conveniently located in the middle of Kihei, and listed on CNN as one of the “Top 100 Seafood Restaurants in The World”, Coconut’s Fish Cafe offers fresh seafood, cooked to perfection. The place is simple, it is ‘order at the cashier, take a number, and wait for your food to be delivered’ kind of place. It also offers fish tacos, fish and chips, coconut shrimp.

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I had the grilled Mahi Mahi on a bed of fresh salad. The fish was juice and tender.

Mama’s Fish House

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The soup was asparagus and fennel in chicken broth, pretty cool.

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My favorite of the entire lunch was their crab cakes, really good.

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For the main dish I had stuffed fish

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and Buddy chose Onaga with Hamakua mushrooms which I liked better than mine.

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Last year we had three different desserts, and this year decided to pick one of those. It was the Polynesian Black Pearl – Liliko’i chocolate mousse in a pastry seashell – both the presentation and the tasting, was exceptional.

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From the menu I would definitely recommend the crab cakes appetizer, steamed local fish dishes, and that particular dessert dish. 🙂 The dessert was on the house (because they run a little slow with the main course) , and it was nice of them to do so.

 

Generally speaking , it’s an interesting place to visit (also there are pictures of famous people who visited the restaurant), but it’s a little too pricey. Reservation is a MUST.

Paia Fish Market

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We stopped by this place for lunch on our way to the Lanai Cat Santurary. I chose it because it is close to the Lahaina ferry dock, carries a high rating in yelp, and does not require a reservation.

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This is a simple local fish place cooked to your liking. We both ordered Ono Cajun style. We were hungry thus chose potatoes and a small green salad, otherwise you can go with just the greens. There are fish burgers on the menu, and more traditional stuff like fish and chips etc.

I liked the place, it was good value for the price.

Spago

There are three Spago restaurants – one in NY, one in LA, and they opened one in Maui. It is in the same price range as Fleetwood, and Mama’s fish house. But the food was exquisite. And I liked the service the best here, too.

I had steamed Onaga (long-tail red snapper) “Hong Kong” style, with ginger, bok choy and shiitake mushrooms,  mmmmm.

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It was very tender and just right. They left the skin on, and it was soft, good. I also asked our waiter for recommendations. I was thinking about ordering a local Swordfish dish, but followed his recommendations.

Buddy had Caramelized pork chop with local North Shore pineapple, Anise, Sweet Molokai yam (from neighboring island), and I think they said something about a touch of cinnamon.

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I had a taste of it and it was exceptional, very tender and flavorful.

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For dessert we had the Hawaiian vanilla bean cheesecake with Calamansi curd and Hana Lilikoi served alongside a small scoop of mango Lilikoi sorbet and mint leaves. As much as I don’t care for any kind of cheesecake, this one was good. (I appreciated its petite size too 🙂 )

After dinner, I had a “Beach Flower” tea – a type of silver tipped green tea blossom with fresh lychee, very refreshing.

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Beside the taste and presentation of all the dishes, the obvious plus is the Chef’s focus on using local produce. If not, they will state it on their menu. (Everything in the menu has information where it came from, impressive!).

Longhi’s Wailea

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Longhi’s Wailea place at the Shops at Wailea. This place has mixed reviews. I think there is a reason for that, however, our experience was fine.

Pete’s Spicy Mussels: fresh mussels steamed in a spicy broth with toasted garlic, basil, and finished with orange zest.

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Buddy had “fresh island fish Longhi style”, it was monchong yet again 🙂 sauteed in butter, white wine, lemon, Haiku tomatoes and basil.

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They served it over garlic crostini. Both dishes were good. I also liked their bread.

We chose Longhi’s because of its convenient location at the Shops (We were returning snorkeling gears), and it was ok, a little on the expensive side.

Monkeypod Kitchen by Merriman

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My favorite dish there is the Cucumber Avocado salad, I had it last year and ordered it again. Very fresh taste. (Cucumber, avocado, tomato, Maui onion, jalapeno, cilantro, chili lime vinaigrette)

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This year Buddy and I went there for lunch. We had Bulgogi pork tacos (handcrafted kimchi, jalapeno, Asian pear, Thai chili aioli, onion, cilantro)

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and Pulled Pork Sandwich.

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The food is good. It is not very expensive (well not cheap either). This place has pretty high reviews (mostly due to its selection and quality of cocktails).

Executive Chef Tylun Pang leads the culinary masterpiece of Kō restaurant in Wailea.  The expansive menu features island family recipes that have been passed down for generations – including Hawaiian, Chinese, Filipino, Portuguese, Korean, and Japanese favorites.  By utilizing the island’s fresh produce, meat and seafood, Chef Pang gives these authentic recipes a farm-fresh, contemporary twist.

The local Maui tourist magazine called this restaurant “The culinary masterpiece of Kō restaurant in Fairmont, Wailea”. That’s why we decided to dine there. In the description it said that Chef Tylun Pang leads the place, and his menu features island family recipes that have been passed down for generations – including Hawaiian, Chinese, Filipino, Portuguese, Korean, and Japanese favorites.

I had Ti Leaf Wrapped Island Fresh Catch steamed with coconut, mango salsa, Molokai sweet potato, asparagus). It was delicious.

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Kids chose Miso Glazed Tiger Prawns (buckwheat soba noodles and ocean salad lettuce wraps)

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and Paniolo Burger (Maui cattle company natural beef burger, grilled Maui onion, bacon, cheese).

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There were a lot of tempting dessert options. The Maui Vanilla Bean Brulée was a treat.

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This pie shop has been family owned for many years.

 

I had strawberry rhubarb, it’s shown in the picture. But according to reviews they all good. Buddy had chocolate peanut butter, I wasn’t quick enough to take a picture 🙂 He said it was very tasty. (Not my choice of pie though, lol)

A few places I’d like to visit next time:

Leis family class act Maui
I wish I had known about this place before. An upscale, fixed-price meals of international fare, made & served by Maui Culinary Academy students. It is only opened twice a week for lunch. They release menu and open reservations once per quarter, and it’s booked within 10 min.

Geste Shrimp Truck
Kahului Beach Rd
Kahului, HI 96732

Star Noodle, Lahaina
286 Kupuohi St, Lahaina, Maui, HI 96761-2742

Finally, if there are any good food places in Maui you would like to recommend, please let us know and we will add it to the list and the map below. Thank you for reading!

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Below is a few recommendations from our fellow blogger Jennifer S. Lombard of earthandather.net:

I can recommend a couple more favorites! Any trip we take to Maui isn’t complete without a trip to Haili’imaile General Store!(try their famous pineapple upside-down cake!) and Mala Ocean Tavern! best burgers ever, and if the kale sprouts are still on the menu, try them – they are amazing!) there is a great Italian restaurant called Casanova in Makawao with beautiful ambience. Ooh and the Garden Cafe also in Makawao is a sweet little outdoor lunch spot!

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7 thoughts on “Food Traveler’s Guide to Maui, Hawaii

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