WHERE TO EAT ON MAUI

WHERE TO EAT ON MAUI

Maui is one of my favorite places on earth, and the dining scene is diverse and amazing! Start saving your pennies because the best options will drain your wallet quickly. I've organized my favorites by region.

PAIA/NORTH SHORE

Cafe Mambo - Fun, casual dining spot right on the main strip in Paia. Huge windows open up the street and it feels very island style, and a bit hippie (like most of Paia!). I've enjoyed many breakfasts, brunches, and fresh fruit smoothies here.

Delish huevos rancheros at Café Mambo

Delish huevos rancheros at Café Mambo

Cafe Des Amis - Amazing sweet and savory crepes that you could enjoy for any meal. There is indoor seating, as well as a courtyard that opens up to the main street in Paia. They have daily happy hour specials.

Mana Foods (grocery and deli) - I actually brought Lara bars from home thinking that I might not be able to easily find healthy snacks while traveling in Maui. Ha! Mana Foods is easily one best health food stores I've been to. You can literally find anything you need, including toiletries. At island prices, of course! But, great to have this option right in the middle of Paia.

Maka by Mana - If you're craving fresh veggies and super healthy food, Maka is the place to go. Lots of vegan and raw foods that are so delicious you'd swear it can't be good for you.

Hana Ranch Provisions - A lovely Instagram-worthy farm-to-table spot in downtown Paia. The food and cocktails were great, and the communal seating gives the place a special vibe. You'll feel more like you're in hipster Brooklyn than in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, but with local Maui specialities grown right on the island.

Looks simple enough, but this salad at Hana Ranch Provisions was a perfect starter.

Looks simple enough, but this salad at Hana Ranch Provisions was a perfect starter.

Milagros - Yummy Mexican food with an outdoor patio and good drinks on the main street in Paia.

My island-style burrito.

My island-style burrito.

Mama’s Fish House - If you're heard of any restaurant on Maui, it's Mama's. This is probably one of the most hyped places on island, and for good reason: the food is excellent. Make reservations before you go- and even then, you might find yourself eating at 4:00p or 9:30p if you don't make them well in advance. The decor is a touch cheesy, but the food makes up for it. The cocktails were as good too. Be prepared to spend at least $100 per person if you want apps and drinks. Well worth it- we'll be back!

Pictures don't do it justice- this curry with amazing homemade sauces from Mama's Fish House, was perhaps the best I've ever eaten in my life.

Pictures don't do it justice- this curry with amazing homemade sauces from Mama's Fish House, was perhaps the best I've ever eaten in my life.

LAHAINA/WEST SHORE

Merriman's - STOP EVERYTHING YOU'RE DOING AND LISTEN TO ME. THIS IS NOT A DRILL. It's hard to pick favorites on Maui, but Merriman's is at the top of my list. Come for happy hour prior to sunset and wait for a good table on the patio, 'cause it'll be worth it. There's no hostess and no waiting list, so just hang out on the fringes of the patio until the right table opens up. Once seated, have the best Mai Tai of your life (this is coming from a girl that doesn't even like Mai Tais). Whale watch! We saw three breach while we sipped our cocktails and enjoyed apps (more action than we saw on the whale watching boat tour!). Overall expensive, but what isn't on Maui? The million dollar views and experience were worth every penny.

Local Boys - Really yummy shave ice. Second place runner up to Uluani's (see below). The ice isn't shaved quite as finely (but much better than other places we tried), but it's still all good. Worth a stop, then wander around downtown Lahaina on a warm day and enjoy your treat.

Star Noodle - Friends that used to live on Maui recommended Star Noodle. It's in Lahaina, but not downtown by all the other tourist spots. It's worth the little detour for the tasty food and ramen.

Seriously good ramen with add-your-own toppings from at Star Noodle.

Seriously good ramen with add-your-own toppings from at Star Noodle.

Aloha Mixed Plate - Casual and affordable beach-front restaurant with surprisingly good food. I went here with a group and everyone was raving. Huge portions. Skip the sugary cocktails.

KIHEI/SOUTH SHORE

Uluani’s - Multiple locations. Hand's down the best shave ice on Maui (and possibly all the Hawaiian islands, though I can't claim to have tried them all!). Of the dozens of places we've tried, nothing compares (expect Matsumoto's on Oahu, but it's still not as good). If there's a line- it's worth the wait. Be sure to add the "snow cap!"

I didn't try every place on Maui, but so far the shave ice at Ulani's is the winner! Be sure to do ice cream on the bottom and a "snow cap" on top.

I didn't try every place on Maui, but so far the shave ice at Ulani's is the winner! Be sure to do ice cream on the bottom and a "snow cap" on top.

Coconut’s Fish Cafe - There are two locations in Kihei - both in unassuming strip malls. This place was one of my favorite lunch spots on the island. Reasonable prices and so many yummy options. The fish tacos are to-die-for!

You will never eat fish tacos like the ones at Coconut's. SO GOOD.

You will never eat fish tacos like the ones at Coconut's. SO GOOD.

Hawaiian Moon Grocery - For all your natural food needs in Kihei. Large grocery store and deli, with a stellar salad bar. Grab a to-go container, and pack up your provisions for the day. A great first-stop before heading out on The Road to Hana if you're staying in Kihei.

Joy's Place - This little strip-mall spot isn't fancy (think plastic table clothes, accoustical ceiling tiles and bad fluorescent lighting), but if you're craving a healthy and fresh meal, you'll leave feeling satsified. Excellent smoothies and juices too.

Maui Taco - This little strip mall spot doesn't have a lot of seating, but get your meal to go, and hit up the beach right across the street. Huge portions and a salsa bar to dress up your tacos any way you like.

Ka’ana Kitchen - This upscale spot in located in the swanky Andaz Resort in Wailea. We debated between eating here and Morimoto (also in Andaz) but chose here simply due to the fact that we were able to get a reservation. Another pricy ($100+ per person) type of place, but well worth the cost. The cocktails were perhaps the best I've ever had (which is saying a lot, because I feel like I've had some pretty damn good cocktails). The one pictured below involved jalapeño infused liquor which was seriously spectacular. The food is tapas style, with small dishes, and you can finish with entrees and dessert if you're still hungry. (Of course we had dessert. YOLO.)

MISC AREAS

Coconut Glen's - Road to Hana, mile marker 27.5. This little stand serves up super tasty vegan ice cream made from coconut. The service left a lot to be desired (in fact the cashier was a certified bitch who seemed to despise the tourists), but the deliciousness made up for it (or maybe I was just hungry due to the very limited dining options along the Road to Hana).

Island Style Tacos - Road to Hana, mile marker 29. This little food stand had some tasty tacos and was a much welcomed stop on the Road to Hana. There are several other dining options clustered together in this makeshift, roadside dining mecca, but this is the only one we tried.

Food stand sit-on-a-picnic-table style dining! The best!

Food stand sit-on-a-picnic-table style dining! The best!

For next time:

Morimoto, Wailea (at Andaz) | Spago, Wailea (at The Four Seasons) | Monkeypod, Wailea (recommended for happy hour) | Lahaina Grill, Lahaina | Pacifico, Lahaina | T. Komodo Store & Bakery, Makawao

BEST OF 2016

BEST OF 2016

TRAVEL GIFT GUIDE

TRAVEL GIFT GUIDE