There are some places that you aren’t going to find through yelp or a maui dining guide. Food is not fancy, there are no sunset views, bells and whistles, or poolside beverages. At Diamond’s Icebar & Grill your cold pint of beer is served with a cute smile and not much else unless you have ordered lunch. During the day lots of beardy lips take sips, and the I’ve-paid-my-dues crew here might not have a lot to say to smart phones and four square check ins, but I know they hang their hats where the gettin is good. Its an unpretentious bar, sports on the TV’s and a rock and roll playlist over the speakers, a check-your-attitude-at-the-door kind of place. A Kihei version of Cheers where Randi Schnider, manager and the twinkle behind the bar knows everyone’s name and has your drink ready before you sit down.
Its Tuesday and Randi is pushing fajitas. They are on special and a sizzling platter of peppers and onions with your choice of chicken steak shrimp or fish go whizzing out of the kitchen and right by me. The air conditioning is thankfully brisk at high noon in Kihei and the floor to ceiling windows give just the right amount light so I dont have to wear my sunglasses inside. I am wavering on spicy chicken wings or a shrimp surf wrap both sound good with the cold Stella Artois draft I am sipping. Meantime my sister orders a giant burger and fries that comes on an onion bun with cheese and all the fixings.
Time flies if you have been having fun at Diamond’s since they opened around three years ago, and the restaurant has grown up a bit. Chef Jorge Galaviz commands the kitchen and has matured the American menu to include some his homemade Mexican specialties and hybrid recipes from Horhitos. His burritos are epic proportions of fillings like the chile verde, chicken, grilled fish or veggies stuffed in a delicious flour tortilla with rice and beans. Every mexican item comes in a solid vegetarian version. The combo platter is a colossal tour de Mexico for just 11.50 for two or $14.50 for three items.
Their huge menu is a something-for-everyone kind of approach, and where they aim to please they hit the mark by keeping it fresh and simple or fried. The steamers are wonderful combination of brothy and briny with garlic and lemon and bread. They have great fries, and when you add enchilada sauce and cheese on the pile of fried natural cut potatoes, joila its Texas Fries. The wrap is one of those mixed breed foods, is it Mexican or American? Is it a hot or cold meal? I don’t really care, the fresh shrimp, lettuce and chipotle mayo are always crisp inside, and the portion is enough for two meals for me.
The happy hour and nightlife here gets this north end of Kihei at Azeka Makai rocking. From 3 to 5 chicken and ground beef tacos are a dollar then again from 10 to 11pm. Happy hour for cocktails is 3 to 7. There are always drink specials all day too from $3 margaritas and plenty of tequilas to go with all of their Mexican specialties, plus beer to bourbon shots and Jager. Check their facebook page to keep up with their latest. In fact Jager does so well here (its the top selling Jager bar in the state) that Randi, Diamonds manager and Jager lover, is throwing a Jager Fest on July 20th. A raucous bash DJ’d by Illz where everyone can win lots of Jager schwag (not just the cheap stuff mind you), nobody goes home empty handed and of course you swill lots of that dark herbal aperitif in $6 bombs.
This Friday the 13th The Vince Esquire Band plays at 10pm, food goes till midnight and PBR is on special for 3 bucks and Camerena Tequila is $5. This is where my sister and I go to polish our sucky shuffleboard skills lubed up by tequila. Other bar sports here involve pool sticks and balls, and tournaments are Thursdays at 6:30. On Sundays Gina Martinelli plays at 6 pm and Mondays Gomega at 10. Every Saturday the party is always different. For private functions parties Diamonds has a lush upstairs lounge that overlooks the restaurant and stage. No leather jacket and bandana required to enjoy the rock and roll vibe here, but don’t be surprised if you see one.
Diamonds Icebar & Grill
1279 S. Kihei Road
Kihei, HI 96753