How to Find the Best Maui Restaurants

A table at The Beach House restaurant in Kapalua Maui

A table with a view at The Beach House restaurant in Kapalua Maui

Since we’ve had the opportunity to visit all the islands, we’ve noticed Maui has more than it’s 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 vacation!

So, how do you find the best restaurants in Maui? It’s really not that difficult. There’s 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 Hawaii we love combining great food with beautiful scenery. Though Maui has many great restaurants with lovely image views, these are our favorite restaurants with excellent views.

  • 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.
  • Kimo’s sits on a prime ocean front space in Lahaina town with open-air seating. The atmosphere is lively.
  • There are two Mala restaurant locations in Maui — Mala Wailea in the Wailea Beach Marriott and Mala Ocean Tavern in Lahaina. Both have beautiful ocean and sunset views.
  • 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.
  • 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. We weren’t too impressed with dinner here, but for drinks and pupus with a view, it’s a great option.
  • 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 House.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Kula Lodge in the Upcountry is a favorite stop for breakfast after watching Haleakala sunrise.

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.

  • 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 is offering a three-course sunset dinner special for about $32 per person. You must be seated before 6pm. We chose the sunset dinner special and 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.
  • 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.
  • Amasia at the Grand Wailea is one of Alan Wong’s newest restaurants. The food is served family/tapas style.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  •  Star Noodle in Lahania is definitely worth a visit for their fresh Asian Fusion fare. Prices at Star Noodle are reasonable, too.

Other good restaurant choices are:

  • Best beach front restaurant where you can dig your toes in the sand: Barefoot Bar of Hula Grill on Kaanapali Beach. We  love Hula Grill’s Not-So-Ordinary-Ketchup with guava.
  • 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.
  • Best sushi: Sansei Restaurant and Sushi Bar located in both Kihei and Kapalua.
  • Great Makawao 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.
Maui Restaurant

A table for two in Hana at Traavasa Hana

Online Resourses and Apps

Yelp
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.

TripAdvisor

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

Guidebooks

Other Resources

——————————-

I know that there are several nice Maui fans who read Go Visit Hawaii. (Ahem, attention Kris and David!) So, please chime in with your favorite places to dine in Maui.

There are a couple of restaurants that I wouldn’t recommend to friends and family. So I’ll post those in the comments.

Going to other Hawaiian Islands? Check out our recommendations for Kauai restaurantsOahu’s restaurants and Hawaii’s Big Island restaurants.


Ohana Beach Rentals

About Sheila Beal

Sheila Beal is the founder and editor of Go Visit Hawaii. You can connect with Sheila Beal on Twitter, Go Visit Hawaii on Facebook, or Sheila Beal on Google+.

13 comments

  1. Here are a couple restaurants I would avoid:
    - Rusty Harpoon at Whalers Village in Kaanapali – neither the food or the service has been good here.
    - Swan Court breakfast buffet at the Kaanapali Hyatt. This place felt like grand central station.

  2. I know it would never make your list, but Bubba Gumps in Lahaina is on my list of picks. Yeah it’s cheesy, but it’s over the water and they have great coconut shrimp.

    Run, Forest run! :-)

  3. Ha! Andy – have you ever met a coconut shrimp that you didn’t like? ;-)

  4. I might start a new blog – ICanHasCoconutShrimp.com. ;-)

  5. I second your thoughts on the Rusty Harpoon. If you happen to be on Maui on a Saturday during College Football season and want to make friends with a few new drinking buddies while your wife’s having a spa day at the Westin, than go for it. If you’re looking for a nice dinner, forget it.

    In fact, turn around, Leilani’s is right behind you. :)

  6. And as for our favorites, Leilani’s is probably the best in Whalers Village if you happen to be staying in that area. We also like the fun vibe at Cheeseburger in Paradise in Lahaina and head over to BJ’s Pizzeria (also in Lahaina) when we’re homesick for some Chicago style pizza.

    We have to confess, though, that while we are Hawaiians at heart, we aren’t too fond of seafood, which I imagine puts us in the minority. We did stop at Kimo’s for the first time last week and it was a very nice atmosphere as mentioned here. Plenty of seating for larger parties, too (reservations for larger groups a good idea).

    Now, for a little plug for our favorite resort in Ka’anapali, the Sheraton Maui Resort. If you happen to be in the area and want to plan a very special evening, check out their website for the Dinner Under the Stars reservation. While it will set you back a few hundred dollars, we did it last year for our anniversary and it was absolutely unforgettable. **chills** Truly magical.

    Last, but not least, the Aloha Mixed Plate behind the Lahaina Cannery Mall was a great find. Some great local food and some decent prices. Definitely would recommend it for lunch, especially before a day of shopping on Front Street.

  7. Hi Kris – thanks for adding your recommendations. We like Leilani’s, too. We tend to go into seafood overload when we go to Hawaii.

    Regarding watching college football….I’d definitely choose the football over a spa treatment. I’m definitely a football chick. :-)

  8. Hi Sheila, you asked about our favorite Maui dining spots. We don’t dine out all that often when we’re in the Islands. When we do, our tastes are pretty simple. Here’s a list of a few of our favorite Maui places.

    Penne Pasta Cafe:
    180 Dickenson St., Lahaina
    Reasonably priced Italian food, including wine, served in fair portions. Order at the counter and they’ll serve you at your indoor or sidewalk table. Our favorite is the baked penne. Interestingly this place is owned by the same people who own Maui Taco. $8 to $15.

    Peggy Sue’s:
    Azeka Mauka Center, Kihei
    Burgers, fries, chicken, hotdogs, fish, etc., all served up in a 1950′s style diner atmosphere. The highlight of the place for us is the juke box full of oldies. Get there early, the place is small and it fills up fast. $10-$15

    Makawao Garden Cafe (Formerly Cafe O’lei):
    3669 Baldwin Ave, Makawao
    The menu is vegetarian friendly with an assortment of sandwiches, soups and salads, all on the lighter side. Our favorite is their great crab sandwich. The setting is a quaint little outdoor patio. Just shoo the chickens aside and pick a table under an umbrella. A great place for lunch. $8 to $15.

    Well, not an ocean view at any of these places, but you can always get the food to go. :)

    David

    PS – And how could I forget McDonalds and those great fried taro pies. ;)

  9. Hi David – thanks for your recommendations. They all sound tasty and light on the wallet – two very good restaurant qualities!

    I like the taro pies, too. There is something kind of fascinating about eating something that shade of purple. :)

  10. Is Kimo’s better than Lahaina Grill? Trying to find a nice place to take my wife for her upcoming birthday trip.

    • Lahaina Grill is a little “fancier” than Kimo’s, but it doesn’t have an ocean view like Kimo’s.

      • Thanks Sheila! Another option I just heard about was Merriman’s in Kapalua. How is that place?

        • To be honest, I wasn’t blown away by the food. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t awesome relative to the price. The views there are amazing, though. Personally, I’d prefer to go there for appetizers and sunset drinks out on their patio.

          Pineapple Grill has the best food on Maui, in my opinion. There’s just not an ocean view.

          The Plantation House is another one of our favorites. The food is excellent and the elevated, distant ocean views are beautiful. Get a reservation for opening time and you’ll probably get one of their tables by the open floor to ceiling glass doors.

          Both Pineapple Grill and Plantation House are linked in this article.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Please do not use keywords in your name. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Scroll To Top