Hawaii's melting pot of cultures has created a stunning variety of cuisine, with Maui being no exception. Local-style "plate lunches" are often a mixture of Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Hawaiian and even Portuguese ala carte items, served with "2 scoops" of rice and potato or macaroni salad. Fine dining may run the gamut from Japanese steak houses, to fine French Cuisine, to the ever popular "Pacific Rim" cuisine. Located between Japan and California, Hawaii fused ideas from both coasts to create something original. Because Pacific Rim cuisine focuses on Hawaii's numerous varieties of seafood, the following is a short list of fish you'll likely see on the menu. Be adventuresome with your choices, you're taste-buds deserve a vacation from the ordinary too!
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A big eye or yellowfin tuna. Ahi is often served raw as poke (chunked, marinated raw fish, Hawaiian-style), sashimi (sliced raw fish, Japanese-style) or sushi. It is also often served crusted and seared as a favorite entree in Hawaiian Regional Cuisine.
Skipjack or bonito tuna which is stronger tasting than `ahi often served as poke, sushi or cooked.
Akule [ah koo'leh]
A big-eyed or google-eyed scad fish which is most often served baked, fried, smoked or dried.
This Pacific blue marlin or broadbilled swordfish is often used when Ahi is not available. It is also known as kajiki in Japanese restaurants.
Enenue [eh'neh noo'weh]
A favorite fish of locals because of the strong seaweed aroma of its flesh. It is usually eaten raw.
Hapu`upu`u [hapu upu u]
Commonly called grouper or sea bass, this fish is is often substituted for more expensive fishes in Chinese restaurants which feature steamed fish. Its popularity as a "catch of the day" in non-ethnic restaurants is increasing.
Hebi [heh bee]
This is a mild flavored spearfish and is often served as a favorite entree in some of the better restaurants in Hawaii.
Mahimahi [mah'hee mah'hee]
A white, sweet, moderately dense fish is Hawaii's most popular fish and the one that is most often exported to the mainland.
Monchong [mon' chong]
A somewhat exotic fish with a flaky, tender texture and mild flavor. It is served broiled, sautéed or steamed.
`O`io [oh' ee yoh]
Ladyfish or bonefish is usually eaten either raw or mixed with seaweed as poke or used to make steamed fish cake.
Onaga [oh na' ga]
A mild, moist, and very tender ruby-red snapper is a favorite entree in many restaurants.
Ono [oh' noh]
"`Ono" means good or delicious in Hawaiian and this fish is a local favorite. It is also called wahoo. It is much like snapper, but a bit firmer and dryer. It is often served grilled or in a sandwich.
Opah [oh' pah]
A rich, creamy moonfish is served both as a raw appetizer as well as baked. Hawaiians consider opah to be a good luck fish, and often used to give it away as a gesture of goodwill, rather than sell it.
`Opakapaka [Oh' pah kah pah kah]
A pink or crimson snapper, this is a light, flaky fish that is a very popular entree. It can also be served raw in sashimi.
If you're looking for swordfish, this is what it is called in Hawaii. It is most often served grilled or broiled.
The Hawaiian name for albacore tuna, yet is much more flavorful when served freshly prepared in the islands.
Uku [oo' koo]
This is a gray, pale pink, snapper that is flaky, moist and very delicate when prepared properly.
Ulua [oo loo' wah]
A large trevally, or jack fish which is a firm-fleshed, flavorful fish also known as pompano.
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WEST MAUI RESTAURANTS (MODERATE TO EXPENSIVE):
BANYAN TREE at the RITZ CARLTON HOTEL - (669-6200) - Kapalua -
Located on the grounds of the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, so quality is of utmost importance. Romantic atmosphere, soft live music and delicious fare. Bring the Platinum card!
I'O - (661-8422) - Lahaina -
Located at the south end of Front Street in the 505 shopping center. Hip, tasty innovations from Chef James MacDonald Very tasty unusual preparations of several kinds of fresh fish, as well as other great entrees. Beautiful indoor décor, or sunset-view outdoor dining by the ocean. Try the Silken Purse appetizer.
PACIFIC'O - (667-4341) - Lahaina -
Located directly across the walkway from it's sister restaurant, I'O. Great fish, ridiculously fresh. Keep an eye out for fishermen carrying your dinner in right off the boat. Great oceanfront setting, get a table outdoors. Live jazz on Friday nights.
KOBE JAPANESE STEAK HOUSE - (667-4341) - Lahaina -
Large Teppanyaki style steak and seafood temple just feet from Front Street in Lahaina. Entertaining chefs, awesome filets and seafood make for a fun night. Check out the sushi bar if there's a wait.
PLANTATION HOUSE - (669-6299) - Kapalua -
In Kapalua's Plantation Golf Course Clubhouse. Wonderful food in an elegant setting. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but make a reservation for the awesome sunset views. Pricey Kapalua atmosphere, but worth it.
ROY'S KAHANA BAR & GRILL - (669-6999) - Kahana -
Pacific Rim done right. Located in the Kahana Gateway shopping center, upstairs. Great seafood creations and the apps are interesting enough to keep you busy. Save room for the Chocolate Souffle, but make sure to order it early in the meal, decadence takes time!
CASCADES - (661-1234) - Kaanapali Beach -
Great fish preps, service and sushi bar in the Hyatt Regency Hotel.
DAVID PAUL'S LAHAINA GRILL - (667-5117) - Lahaina -
Owner Chef David Paul Johnson has created an award winning restaurant serving Pacific Rim cuisine with style. Great service, come for a glass of red and some apps at the bar. Reservations highly recommended.
CHEZ PAUL - (661-3843) - Olowalu -
Located just out of town (before Lahaina) on main highway. Elegant French cuisine created by people who know. Excellent service.
SPATS - (661-1234) - Kaanapali Beach -
Located in (under) the Hyatt Regency in Kaanapali. Offering Northern Italian cuisine in large mafia-style booths and stained glass. Nice wine selection.
JAMESON'S - (669-5653) - Kapalua -
Located across the lower road from the Shops at Kapalua, in the Kapalua Bay Club Golf Clubhouse. Good for lunch or dinner.
LONGHI'S - (667-2288) - Lahaina -
Pricey, oral menu, when all the seafood eventually tastes like "fish in butter". Try the meats or prawns instead. Or better yet, come for breakfast!
GARDENIA RESTAURANT - (669-5656) - Kapalua -
Locals know about the Friday evening seafood buffet, featuring an abundance of chowders, cold seafood appetizers, hot fish dishes and of course crab legs! Save room for the dessert buffet. Located in the lower lobby of the Kapalua Bay Hotel.
THE BAY CLUB - (669-8008) - Kapalua -
On the southern arm of Kapalua Bay, romantic, piano atmosphere located on the water. Top notch cuisine and amazing service. Very expensive. Make a reservation and go when they open at 6:00 for a sunset view.
SWAN COURT - (661-1234) - Kaanapali Beach -
Just like the name says, dine amongst the swans. The Hyatt's finest (and most expensive) restaurant, but we prefer Cascades if the Hyatt is the destination.
GERARD'S - (661-8939) - Lahaina -
Delightful French owner-operated restaurant in a quaint Inn. Fronting one of Lahaina's busiest streets, yet far removed from the hustle and bustle. Enjoy some champagne at your porch-side table before being amazed at the French sauces and cuisine. Very expensive.
SANSEI - (669-6286) - Kapalua -
Worth a visit. Award winning sushi and seafood creations on an extensive menu, where "everything is good". Try their two “Taste of Lahaina Award Winners” Mango Crab Salad Hand roll with Peanuts and Thai Vinaigrette or Asian Rock Shrimp Cake with Crusty Chinese Noodles & Ginger-Lime Chili Butter & Cilantro Pesto. Granny Smith dessert is mind-boggling. Located in the Shops at Kapalua.
REILLY'S - (667-7477) - Kaanapali Beach -
Good steaks and seafood (though we wish they'd bring back the Alaskan King Crab legs!). Located at the entrance to Kaanapali, in the Golf Clubhouse.
VINO - (665-1201) - Kapalua -
Fine Italian cuisine and large selection of wines "on tap" (you'll see when you get there). Located at 2000 Village Road, in the Kapalua Village Golf Course Clubhouse, a short distance from the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua
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WEST MAUI RESTAURANTS (AFFORDABLE TO MODERATE):
HULA GRILL - (667-6636) OR (661-3894) - Kaanapali Beach -
On the beach in Whalers Village. Catch sunset from the "Barefoot Bar", set in sand. Great dinners and happening location.
ERIK'S SEAFOOD & SUSHI - (669-4806) - Lahaina -
On Wainee street side of the Old Lahaina Center in Lahaina. A bargain if you go from 5 PM to 6 PM for the Early Bird specials: a complete dinner for $13-$15 from a limited list of entrée choices. Good variety of fish and French influenced Island Cuisine.
TIKI TERRACE at the KAANAPALI BEACH HOTEL - (667-0124) - Kaanapali -
Hawaiian food served in an open air Hawaiian hotel. Music begins at 6 PM, and features a 1-hour hula show with singers beginning at 6:30 every night.
SEAHOUSE at the NAPILI KAI BEACH RESORT - (669-1500) - Napili -
Great sunsets, good service, on the sand on beautiful Napili Bay. Friday night is the kids hula show and menu, so try Saturday!
FISH AND POI - (442-3700) - Napili -
Same creative owners as Café O'Lei in Lahaina, located in the Napili Shores condo (formerly Orient Express).
KIMO'S - (661-4811) - Lahaina -
On the water on Front Street. One of the flagship restaurants and sister to Hula Grill and Leilanis on the Beach in Kaanapali. Casual tables downstairs or full blown dining room upstairs. Great fish preparations. Ask about the Hula Pie for dessert.
LAHAINA FISH COMPANY - (661-3472) - Lahaina -
Two stories of fish and more fish. Actually, the menu is very diverse and the clientele includes locals and visitor alike. Catch a cocktail at the Hammerhead bar while you wait for your over-the-ocean table.
CAFÉ O'LEI - (661-9491) - Lahaina -
Creative menu located on the water on Lahaina's Front Street. Worth a stop, try the fish preparations on today's catch.
PIZZA PARADISO - Whalers Kaanapali: (667-0333) - Honokowai: (665-0055) -
Two locations to overcharge you: Whalers Village and Honokowai Marketplace. Voted the best pizza on Maui by somebody, apparently.
RUSTY HARPOON - (661-3123) - Kaanapali Beach -
Mediocre food and service in a sports bar atmosphere. Located almost on the beach in Whaler's Village.
BUBBA GUMP - (661-3111) - Lahaina -
If you cant get enough of the movie, then this is the place for you. Located on (and over) the water at 889 Front Street with great sunset views. And of course shrimp, shrimp and more shrimp.
FISH & GAME - (669-3474) - Kahana -
Brew pub with fresh meats and seafood. Warm, woody atmosphere and friendly bar. Early bird specials, located next to Outback, in the Kahana Gateway shopping center.
GIOVANI'S TOMATO PIE - (661-3160) - Kaanapali -
Italian restaurant at the entrance to Kaanapali. Family style atmosphere. Food not overly spectacular.
CJ'S DELI & DINER - (667-0968) - Kaanapali -
One of the newer entries, has the feel of good, executive-chef food at paper plate prices. Located on the main Honoapiilani Highway, in the Fairway Shops. They even have a Hana Box Lunch to go with cooler.
THE FISH MARKET - (665-9895) - Honokowai -
Got a kitchen in your condo? Make a stop here to pick up a wide selection of treats from the sea, they can even do all the prep and spicing for you. They provide you with your choice of several toppings or marinades for the fish, and even give you a disposable pan to bake it in. Really fresh fish! Located on the Lower Honoapiilani Road, a couple miles north of Kaanapali.
LAHAINA COOLERS - (661-7082) - Lahaina -
Try the fish tacos or "Evil Jungle Pasta", local hang just blocks from Front Street. Located on Dickenson Street. Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
KAHANA GRILL in the KAHANA SPORTS CLUB - (669-3539) - Kahana -
Healthy gym-diner offers tasty breakfast and lunch items and smoothies. Located in the Valley Isle Resort on the Lower Honoapiilani Road. Owner-chef Mark used to be a chef at Roy's.
THAI CHEF - (667-2814) - Lahaina - (874-5605) - Kihei -
Some of the best Thai cuisine on Maui with two locations. BYOB. Old Lahaina Shopping Center (Bank of Hawaii, Maui Myth & Magic Theater) and in the Rainbow Mall (2439 S. Kihei Road). Same menu lunch & dinner.
LEMONGRASS - (667-6888) - Lahaina -
Off the beaten path, but worth the look. Head inland a whole city block from the Hard Rock Cafe and ask around. Delicious Vietnamese dinners.
MOOSE MCGILLYCUDDY'S - (667-7758) - Lahaina -
Located in the middle of Front Street, with an upstairs balcony to watch the action from. Generous portions of pub grub by day, happening nightclub after dark.
PENNE PASTA CAFÉ - (661-6633) - Lahaina -
Affordable Italian restaurant in the heart of Lahaina, a couple blocks back from Front Street. Great Caesar salad creations.
CASTAWAY CAFÉ - (661-9091) - Kaanapali Beach -
Catch 2-for-1 Tuesday Pasta dinners with the locals. Good breakfast spot just feet from the water at the Maui Kaanapali Villas condo.
LEILANI'S - (661-4495) - Kaanapali Beach -
In the Whaler's Village Shopping Center, on the beach, across from it's sister restaurant, Hula Grill. Casual bar area (lunch and dinner) downstairs with live music and lively crowd at the bar. Higher priced seafood and steaks served in the main dining area (dinner only) upstairs.
CHINA BOAT - (669-5089) - Kahana -
Extensive Chinese menu, located on the "lower road" in Kahana (4474 Lower Honoapiilani Road).
HARD ROCK CAFE - (667-7400) - Lahaina -
Just like the Hard Rock you've been to in (insert city name here) _____________, but located across the street (and unobstructed from) the ocean.
PIONEER INN - (661-3636) - Lahaina -
Historic hotel and grub shop located next to Lahaina harbor and the Banyan Tree in Lahaina. Watch the fisherman and visitors come in with the tide.
ALOHA MIXED PLATE - (661-3322) - Lahaina -
When on Maui, don't miss the local lunch favorite, the "plate lunch". Generous portions of pork, beef, chicken, or fish, with two scoops of rice and a scoop of macaroni salad. Million dollar location on the water with plates under $10. Located across the street from the ocean side of the Lahaina Cannery Mall.
BJ's CHICAGO PIZZERIA - (661-0700) - Lahaina -
Deep dish pizza overlooking Lahaina harbor and the bustling Front street action below. Live music and good deep dish Chicago style pizzas, salads and the best Mai Tai around.
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SOUTH MAUI RESTAURANTS (MODERATE TO EXPENSIVE):
NICK'S FISHMARKET - (879-7224) - Wailea -
Top notch service in the Fairmont Kea Lani Hotel in Wailea. Amazing seafood creations, but the beef and poultry is also worth a look. Open-air ambiance and yes, very pricey.
HUMUHUMUNUKUNUKUAPUA'A - (875-1234) - Wailea -
Don't worry about spitting this name out, everyone knows it as "Humuhumu". Great "island-hut" ambiance, over lobster traps and ponds. Located in the Grand Wailea hotel. Get an oceanfront table for the amazing sunset.
FIVE PALMS - (879-2607) - Kihei -
Located in the Mana Kai condos, at the south end of Kihei. Great food and service, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Great sunset views from the dining room, very expensive.
SEAWATCH - (875-8080) - Wailea -
Located on Wailea's Golden Emerald golf course, serving Great food, beautifully presented, beautiful views.
ROY'S KIHEI - (891-1120) - Kihei -
Same great Roy's cuisine found at the flagship Kahana location, Pacific Rim defined! Located In the Pilani Village shopping center in Kihei.
TOMMY BAHAMA'S - (875-9983) - Wailea -
In the Shops at Wailea shopping center. Island Style Corporate formula serves up good food with great views (sit outside).
SARENTO'S ON THE BEACH - (875-7555) - Kihei -
Located at the south end of Kihei (2980 S. Kihei Rd.) before Wailea. Used to be Carelli's On The Beach (2001). Excellent food and service. Very expensive but very good.
SPAGO - (879-2999) - Wailea -
Wolfgang Puck is everywhere, even Maui. Located in the elegant Four Seasons, Wailea. High prices indoor or outdoor seating with amazing sunsets served up at no charge.
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SOUTH MAUI RESTAURANTS (AFFORDABLE TO MODERATE):
ALEXANDER'S - (874-0788) - Kihei -
Fish and chips with fresh Mahi Mahi, Ono or Ahi to choose from. Affordable prices, open for lunch and dinner.
JAWZ FISH TACOS - (874-8226) - Wailea -
Started as a taco wagon on the way to Makena, now has two locations and a monster salsa bar. Try the Habanero salsa with pineapple and carrots. Located in Akeza Marketplace next to Bank of Hawaii.
MAUI ONION - (879-4900) - Wailea -
Poolside cafe at the Renaissance Wailea Resort. Try the onion rings.
PACIFIC GRILL - (874-8000) - Wailea -
Four Seasons Hotel eatery. Affordable (for Wailea!) lunches.
CEVOLI'S MOTORCYCLE CAFE - (874-8377) - Kihei -
Funky biker cafe serving "American fare with Italian zest". Affordable prices and you can get your Harley shirt on the way out the door.
CAFE KIOWAI - (874-1111) - Wailea -
Located in the Maui Prince Hotel, on the way to Makena. Excellent casual lunch.
PALM COURT - (879-4900) - Wailea -
In Renaissance Wailea hotel. Catch the breakfast buffet full dinner because there is no lunch.
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NORTH SHORE/UPCOUNTRY RESTAURANTS (AFFORDABLE TO MODERATE):
MAMA'S FISH HOUSE - (579-8488) - Paia -
The best fresh fish preparations on Maui, and possibly the most expensive as well. If its in the budget, give Mama's a try, oceanfront location and "old Hawaii" surroundings make for an enjoyable evening. Mama's is located on the Hana Highway, a few miles past Paia and before Haiku. Sunset views are top notch, so make you're reservation accordingly.
HALIIMAILE GENERAL STORE - (572-2666) - Haliimaile -
Award-winning creative preparations of delicious seafoods and meats. Chef Bev Gannon hit a homerun with this one. Located upcountry. Take a left at the signs to Haliimaile on your way up the Haleakala highway (before Makawao). Open for both lunch and dinner on weekdays, but weekends are dinner only.
KULA LODGE - (878-1535) - Kula -
Cozy ski-chalet type lodge in chilly Kula. Great fresh "Kula greens" and entrees. You're best bet for a bite after catching a sunrise from atop Haleakala. Close to the entrance to the park. Amazing views. Try the Maui Onion soup.
CASANOVA - (572-0220) - Makawao -
In Makawao (Upcountry). Well prepared Italian-Island style dishes in pleasant upcountry atmosphere.
PAIA FISH MARKET - Paia -
Some of the best fish lunches I can remember have been at the Paia Fish Market. Kitchy atmosphere serves locals and visitors alike. Get the catch of the day served up in a bun for lunch. Affordable eats on the corner of Hana Highway and Baldwin Avenue.
IMPROMPTU CAFÉ - (579-8477) - Paia -
Try the fish tacos when in Paia. Breakfast and Lunch only.
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CENTRAL MAUI & MAALAEA RESTAURANTS:
WATERFRONT - (244-9028) - Maalaea -
In Maalaea. Underrated and off the beaten path but worth the trip. Don't miss the table-prepared Caesar salad and amazing fish preparations. Get an outside table to overlook Maalaea Bay.
ROMEO'S CAFÉ - (242-1667) - Wailuku -
Local style food in local style town. Located at 740 Lower Main Street in Wailuku, with low prices.
A SAIGON CAFÉ - (243-9560) - Wailuku -
Got a hankering for some tasty Vietnamese food? Get your spring roll down to 1792 Main Street, Wailuku for a sampling.
SEASCAPE - (270-7000) - Maalaea -
Located in the Maui Ocean Center (aquarium) in Maalaea. Serving generous lunches.
MANANA GARAGE - (873-0220) - Kahului -
This is the place to eat in Kahului. Cuban meets Pacific Rim meets California Cool in a dark alley and this is the result. Get it spicy and feel the burn. Great margaritas, live music and indoor/outdoor seating. Makes a great spot for lunch too. Practically hidden at 33 Lono Avenue (corner of Kaahumanu) in the green Kahului Office Building next to the Kahului Shopping Center, just a block from the Queen Kaahumanu Center.
MARCO'S GRILL & DELI - (877-4446) - Kahului -
In Kahului near airport. Art deco deli and italian eatery with somewhat forgettable features.
SAENG'S THAI CUISINE - (244-1567) - Wailuku -
Some really good Thai. Extensive menu, friendly staff. Located at 2119 Vineyard in Wailuku.
QUEEN KAAHUMANU MALL - FOOD COURT -
On second floor of Queen Kaahumanu Shopping Center in Kahului. A wide variety of affordable restaurants; features Japanese, Korean, Mexican, Chinese, BBQ, pizza, plate lunches & sushi.
SUSHI GO - (877-8744) - Kahului -
Catch the sushi as it drifts by you on a conveyor belt. Adjacent to the food court, upstairs at the Queen Kaahumanu Shopping Center in Kahului.
MUSHROOM RESTAURANT - (244-7117) - Wailuku -
Located in a backpacker's hostel, this is a little non-tourist restaurant, at 2080 Vineyard (near Church Street) in Wailuku. Serving up cheap and tasty local food for lunch or dinner. Worth the stop.
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PIZZA PLACES: (Not Maui's strong point, however)
BJ's Chicago Pizzeria in Lahaina
Dollies Pizza, in Kahana (four miles north of Kaanapali Beach)
Shaka Pizza, Kihei
Pizza Hut on Honoapiilani in Lahaina
Pizza Paradiso, Whalers Village and Honokowai Marketplace in Honokowai
DeanO's Maui Pizza Café, Kihei
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GARDENIA RESTAURANT at KAPALUA BAY HOTEL - (669-5656) - Kapalua
TROPICA RESTAURANT at WESTIN HOTEL - (667-2525) - Kaanapali
PRINCE COURT at MAUI PRINCE HOTEL - (874-1111) - Wailea
TIKI TERRACE at KAANAPALI BEACH HOTEL - (667-0124) - Kaanapali Beach
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DAILY BUFFET BREAKFASTS:
VA BENE RESTAURANT IN THE MARRIOTT HOTEL - (667-1200) - Kaanapali Beach
SWAN COURT RESTAURANT IN THE HYATT REGENCY HOTEL - (661-1234) - Kaanapali Beach
SHERATON HOTEL - (661-0031) - Kaanapali Beach
RITZ CARLTON KAPALUA - (669-6200) - Kapalua
PACIFIC GRILL RESTAURANT IN THE FOUR SEASONS HOTEL - (874-8000) - Wailea
PALM COURT RESTAURANT AT THE RENAISSANCE WAILEA (formerly Stouffer) Hotel - (879-4900) - Wailea
WAILEA MARRIOTT OUTRIGGER (formerly Aston Wailea) Hotel - (879-1922) - Wailea
GRAND WAILEA - Grand Dining Room - (875-1234) - Wailea
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*Portions of this part of the paradisemaui.com Maui Guide are derived from "Jon's Maui Info" at www.mauihawaii.org.
(Copyright © 1998-2018 Jon Blum. All rights reserved.)