Since we’ve had the opportunity to visit all the islands, we’ve noticed Maui has more than its fair share of great Hawaii restaurants. On top of the ono (delicious) food, many of Maui’s restaurants also have beautiful views to enjoy while dining. That’s definitely a bonus to enjoy when you are on a Hawaii vacation!
So, how do you find the best restaurants in Maui? It’s really not that difficult. There are lots of great resources that we’ll explore here. We’ll start with our own recommendations. We really do our restaurant research when we visit Hawaii. We want to be able to provide you with a useful list for you to enjoy on your Maui vacation.
Go Visit Hawaii Picks
The following restaurants are ones that we particularly like. (Just a reminder, we’re not compensated in any form for choosing these restaurants. We like these restaurants based on our experience.)
Restaurants with nice ocean views: You go to Maui for the amazing scenery. When we go to Maui we love combining great food with beautiful scenery. Though Maui has many great restaurants with lovely views, these are our favorite restaurants with excellent views. We’ll organize this list by island geography with an emphasis on the major resort areas of West and South Maui.
West Maui (Kapalua, Napili, Kaanapali, Lahaina, etc.)
- Plantation House Restaurant (see our review) in Kapalua sits on an elevated, beautifully landscaped golf course with ocean and sunset views. We love Plantation House Restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but it’s an especially good value at breakfast and lunch. During humpback whale season in winter months, the elevated view offers a nice whale watching vantage point.
- Pacific’O is on the beach in Lahaina. They serve mostly locally sourced, organic ingredients.
- Kimo’s sits on a prime ocean front space in Lahaina town with open-air seating. The atmosphere is lively.
- Mala Ocean Tavern in Lahaina.
- Duke’s Beach House at Houna Kai Resort in North Kaanapali offers an open-air, casual atmosphere. save room for a hula pie dessert
- For appetizers and sunset drinks, Merriman’s Kapalua offers a gorgeous location.
- Hula Grill in Kaanapali is right by the beach. Their Barefoot Bar, which serves a limited menu, has tables in the sand.We love Hula Grill’s Not-So-Ordinary-Ketchup with guava.
- Leilani’s in Kaanapali is beachside. It’s very popular, though and sometimes the service feels rushed. This restaurant also serves the sharable hula pie dessert.
- For a budget-friendly restaurant with a great view,
- Aloha Mixed Plate on the waterfront in Lahaina offers great views and good local-style food. They’re open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We especially like their Kalua pork sandwich.
South Maui (Kihei, Wailea, Makena)
- At the Grand Wailea, Humuhumu (shortened) or Humuhumunukunukuapua’a sits on a salt pond beside of Wailea Beach. The sunset views framed by swaying palms makes for a lovely setting.
- Celebrity Iron Chef Morimoto has a restaurant in Maui. It’s Morimoto Maui at the Andaz.
- We normally put an emphasis on Hawaii regional cuisine for this list, but we make an exception with the Mediterranean cuisine at award-winning Sarento’s on the Beach, located at the Days Inn in Kihei.
Other Maui locations with ocean views
- Mama’s Fish House in Paia has a nice ocean view, but no sunset view. It’s the one restaurant that your friends who’ve been to Maui will likely ask you if you went to Mama’s Fish House. They have very good food on a beach front setting. Their seafood is so fresh that the menu changes daily to tell you which fishing boats delivered the day’s catches. It is pricey, though. It’s easy to over order here, so beware of that for your waistline and wallet’s sake. I’d caution you to order just a course at a time as the portions tend to be generous. To avoid crowds, I like dining here either very early or very late in evening. See my review on Mama’s Fish
Breakfast & lunch only places with good views
- Though only open for lunch, we love The Beach House on DT Fleming Beach in Kapalua at the Ritz-Carlton. Prices are on the high-ish end, but the beach is so beautiful, we don’t mind paying for the view.
- The Gazebo Restaurant is extremely popular for breakfast. People often report waiting for at least 45 minutes or more for a table. We thought it was okay, though maybe not worth the wait. Lot’s of people do think it’s worth the wait. Servings are extremely generous and the staff is friendly. We were told that the folks run Gazebo also own Koa Seaside Grill that’s located waterfront in Lahaina, with the same great food but without the crazy wait. Gazebo doesn’t have a direct website, but here’s a link to their Yelp reviews.
Delicious Maui restaurants without prominent ocean views: Every great Maui restaurant can’t boast direct ocean views. There are plenty of wonderful, open-air restaurants with pleasant environments and/or views. We recommend the following restaurants for their great food and atmosphere.
West Maui (Kapalua, Napili, Kaanapali, Lahaina, etc.)
- Pineapple Grill in Kapalua is an award-winning restaurant set on Kapalua Bay Golf Course with distant, peek-a-boo ocean views. Do save room for their famous pineapple upside down cake, because it is worth the trip alone. Here’s a money saving tip for you: Pineapple Grill sometimes offers a three-course sunset dinner special. You must be seated before 6pm. We chose the sunset dinner special which was $32 when we were there and we thought it was exceptional and you just can’t beat the value. If they don’t immediately offer you the sunset dinner special menu, ask for it. We think Pineapple Grill serves some of the best food in Maui.
- Star Noodle in Lahania is definitely worth a visit for their fresh Asian Fusion fare. Prices at Star Noodle are reasonable, too.
- Sansei Restaurant and Sushi Bar located in both Kihei and Kapalua.
South Maui (Kihei, Wailea, Makena)
- Monkeypod Kitchen in Wailea serves fresh, tasty, locally-sourced food at relatively reasonable prices. Monkeypod is one of Peter Merriman’s restaurants and in our opinion, it’s his best and also his least expensive. Save room for one of their cream pies that are made fresh daily.
- Nick’s Fishmarket in the Fairmont Kea Lani in Wailea offers a lovely open-air setting with white linen-covered tables under a trellised-canopy and the stars. Save room for dessert, because you’ve got to see and taste their flaming strawberry dessert.
- Caffe Kihei is a popular breakfast spot in Kihei. They’re located across the street from the beach.
Other great Maui restaurant choices are:
- Hali’imaile General Store offers a very tasty menu with a unique Upcountry setting. I think it’s a nice place to grab lunch the day you leave because it’s about 10 minutes away from the airport. See my review of Haliimaile General Store.
- O’o Farm offers a wonderful tour of their organic gardens and prepares a fresh lunch.
- Best places for freshly made sandwiches and picnic supplies: Honolua Store in Kapalua and Aina Gourmet Market in Honua Kai resort. This store is good for picnic supplies, too. You can take your food to the beach or dine on one of their outdoor picnic tables.
- Kula Lodge in Maui’s upcountry is a favorite stop for breakfast after watching Haleakala sunrise.
- Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie has great food and is know island-wide for their tasty pies.
- In Upcountry at Makawao the famous bakery, T. Komoda Store & Bakery, is a pastry lover’s dream. T Komoda is famous for their cream puffs, malasadas and long johns.
- A unique and refreshing sweet treat from the road to Hana: Ice cream made of coconut milk at Coconut Glen’s . Their coconut ice cream is all natural and served in a coconut shell with a spoon carved out of a coconut shell. Coconut Glen’s is located between mile markers 27 and 28 on the road to Hana.
Online Resourses and Apps
You can research lots of reviews from Yelp.com before you go to Maui. Also, you can download their app to your smart phone to find restaurants while you’re on Maui.
Hundreds of TripAdvisor members have reviewed and rated Maui restaurants. You’ll find a mixture of reviews written by local residents as well as visitors. I’ll organize TripAdvisor reviews by geography and concentrate on the areas where you’ll likely be staying or sight-seeing.
TripAdvisor’s West Maui Restaurants (includes Kapalua, Kaanapali, and Lahaina)
TripAdvisor’s South Maui Restaurants
TripAdvisor’s Central Maui Restaurants
TripAdvisor’s East Maui
TripAdvisor’s Upcountry Maui
- I’ve found the restaurant recommendations in the Maui Revealed Ultimate Guidebook to be reliable, though very limited in the number of restaurants they include.
- Fodor’s also has an interactive list of Maui restaurants. In addition to their own ratings, they have incorporated user ratings.
- Hale Aina Awards 2014/2015 (Scroll down to find the list of Maui Restaurants)
- Maui No Ka Oi dining guide
There are a couple of restaurants that I wouldn’t recommend to friends and family. So I’ll post those in the comments.