Best of Maui Restaurants and Bars

Best Bar

Dog and Duck

Lots of lively entertainment, cold drinks and fun pub atmosphere are at the heart of Dog and Duck in Kihei. So it’s no shocker that MauiTime readers voted it the best watering hole on the island. Bottoms up! 1913 S. Kihei Rd.; 808-875-9669;

Runner up: Ambrosia (JR)

Best Barista

Megan Kanekoa, Wailuku Coffee Company

Owner/operator Megan Kanekoa at Wailuku Coffee Company has created a coffee haven out of the Market Street cafe. Her love of the brewed bean means that strict quality control governs every cup that goes out. Apparently, MauiTime readers perked up and voted. 26 N. Market St., Wailuku; 808-495-0259;

Runner Up: Fasha Puckett, Starbucks (JR)

Best Barbecue

Fat Daddy’s

There’s nothing like a juicy, smoky, perfectly barbecued baby back ribs and our readers say you can find the best at Fat Daddy’s in Kihei. Their sides, like homemade coleslaw and tangy baked beans, make it a real southern experience. 1913 S. Kihei Rd.; 808-879-8711;

Runner Up: Beach Bums (JR)

Best Breakfast

Stella Blues

A heaping stack of their macadamia nut pancakes makes a legendary Sunday morning. Their air-conditioned dining room is a comforting cocoon from the early Kihei rays. So kick back, soak up the syrup and sip some of their excellent coffee. While Eggs Benedict are a normally a pretty sinful way to start the day, they’re so worth the calories here. 1279 S. Kihei Rd.; 808-874-3779;

Runner-up: Kihei Cafe (JR)

Best Burger

Cool Cat Cafe

Just when you thought you knew every single burger served at Cool Cat (and they’ve been winning this category enough for practically the entire island to know), they started serving a completely out-of-the-world concoction known as the Monthly Burger Special. This is cool even in the Lahaina sun. Apparently, nothing seems to stop Maui’s lust for these legendary burgers. 658 Front St. #160, Lahaina; 808-667-0908;

Runner-up: Teddy’s Bigger Burgers (JR)

Best Burrito

Maui Tacos

We thought we had it good with fresh tortillas in any flavor stuffed with Maui Tacos’ savory grilled and seasoned chicken, fish, pork or beef. But then Maui Tacos upped their game with new ethnic burritos, monthly specials, wraps and breakfast burritos. No wonder readers voted them the best. Who can keep up? Located island-wide;

Runner-up: Diamonds Icebar & Grill (JR)

Best Business Lunch

Pineapple Grill

MauiTime readers love the lush Kapalua landscape and the elegant, casual fine regional Pacific cuisine for a crunch-time lunch. Chef Isaac Bancaco focuses on the freshest ingredients grown on the island to bring the best flavors to your plate. Hey, no one should have to close a deal on an empty stomach. 200 Kapalua Dr.; 808-669-9600;

Runner-up: Bistro Casanova (JR)

Best Chef

David Paul

The mastermind behind the Princess and the Pea and dozens of memorable fine dining moments at David Paul’s Island Grill, Chef David Paul has captured MauiTime readers’ stomachs, hearts and votes. Paul isn’t afraid to reveal the magic of his kitchen, teaching cooking classes and publishing recipes. His passion for creating unique dishes from our island’s ingredients astounds Maui eaters. 900 Front St., Lahaina; 808-662-3000;

Runner-up: Ryan Urig, Banyan Tree (JR)

Best Chinese Food

China Boat

China Boat take the modern approach to their authentic Chinese dishes–specifically, no MSG. Instead, they use herbs from their private garden in the back of China Boat to flavor their incredible dishes. Their lunch special changes daily and are the perfect way to get your Chinese food fix. With their generous portions and friendly service, it’s no wonder MauiTime readers voted them best. 4474 L. Honoapiilani Hwy, Kahana; 808-669-5089;

Runner-up: Dragon Dragon (JR)

Best Dining with a View


Striking views of the sun dropping below the deep blue horizon replay every night at Pacific’o in Lahaina. No one here can resist the chance of seeing the green flash. And why not: Pacific’o boasts fine dining right on the beach, allowing diners to take in the all the Pacific’s beauty without getting sandy feet. What’s more, Pacific’o has its own farm on the slopes of Haleakala, giving its vegetables an especially delicious local flavor. 505 Front St., Lahaina; 808-667-4341;

Runner-up: Merriman’s Kapalua (JR)

Best Dinner


There are two Mala’s to choose from: Wailea and Lahaina’s Ocean Tavern. But no matter the side of the island, if you decide to taste Mark Ellman’s award winning menu you’ll find brilliant combinations of Mediterranean and Pacific cuisine with produce sourced from local farmers. Our readers would seem to love Mala’s attention to organic, free range and all natural, great food. 1307 Front St., Lahaina; 808-667-9394;

Runner-up: Lahaina Grill (JR)

Best Farmers Market

Honokowai Farmers Market

This market, stocked with fresh fruits and veggies right next to a health food store, got MauiTime readers’ Farmer’s Market vote. The West Side’s longest running farmer’s market–owned by former Maui County councilman Wayne Nishiki–also offers some of Maui’s best handmade products, too. 3636 L. Honoapiilani Hwy, Honokowai; 808-669-7004

Runner-up: Lipoa Street Farmers Market (JR)

Best Female Bartender

Arika Pace, Dog and Duck

Day drinking and happy hour good times have never been better than when you belly up with Arika at the Dog and Duck in Kihei. Her charm is undeniable, but her pouring skills are even better. When she’s behind the bar, your glass never runs dry. The popcorn at happy hour is free but be sure to order some of their great food: Arika’s take-out container drawings are a pleasant bonus. 1913 S. Kihei Rd.; 808-875-9669;

Runner Up: Candice Seti, Ambrosia (JR)

Best Fine Dining

Mama’s Fish House

We love the private beach, open air and gorgeous retro ambiance at Mama’s Fish House in Kuau. Fine dining is taken to a new level at Mama’s–their menu actually tells you what boat caught your fish. Even better is what Chef Perry Bateman does with those beautiful ocean proteins. The menu changes with the seasons but the crab-stuffed fresh fish is so popular that you shouldn’t feel guilty ordering it again and then following it up with the black pearl dessert. Your fine dining experience is amazing from the minute you turn in next to the iconic Mama’s dinghy on Hana Highway and lingers far after the valet hands you your car back. 799 Poho Pl., Kuau; 808-579-8488;

Runner-up: Spago (JR)

Best Fish and Chips

Mulligans on the Blue

Mulligans starts with giant hunks of white fish, covered in a crispy Harp beer batter, and then serves them with giant slab-cut steak fries. It’s a winning combination that our readers have long loved. They make their own tartar sauce, too, and it’s damn good. There is no shame in backing up an order with a Smithwicks Ale or one of their other 10 draught beers. 100 Kaukahi St., Wailea; 808-874-113;

Runner-up: Hula Grill (JR)

Best Fish Sandwich

Paia Fish Market

The humongous fish sandwich at Paia Fish Market comes with your choice of fish, their signature coleslaw and, if you like (which you probably will), an order of their tasty shoestring fries. The resulting fish sandwich satisfaction is unparalleled, so it’s no wonder MauiTime readers voted this, the mainstay of mouth-watering fish dishes, the best on the island. 100 Hana Hwy, Paia; 808-579-8030;

Runner-up: Coconuts (JR)

Best Food Booth at the Maui Fair

Chow Fun

You can thank the Wailuku Hongwanji Mission for this one. And a lot more people than just our readers will brave the long lines at the fair’s chow fun booth just to get a water cooler cone-sized serving of these scrumptious noodles. Those in the know stock up since the line is going to be there all weekend long (pints and quarts are just a couple bucks more).

Runner-up: Malasada (JR)

Best Happy Hour

Betty’s Beach Bar

This place, located at 505 Front Street in Lahaina, gives you two chances to sample their awesome happy hour: 2-5pm and 9-11pm. The specials include $4 Maui Brew Co. and Kona Brew beers, $2 margaritas and $3 MaiTais. There’s no better way make your hour a happy one than by taking advantage of deals like that. I would have kept it all to myself, but MauiTime readers voted it best. 505 Front St., Lahaina; 808-662-0300;

Runner-up: Three’s Bar and Grill (JR)

Best Health Food Store

Mana Foods

For more than a quarter century, Mana Foods has been the grocery store of the North Shore with a hot food deli, bakery, dry goods, humanely raised meats and organic produce. They are serious about their task of bringing healthy foods to Paia without gouging their customers’ wallets. Spread the Mana–our readers certainly are. 49 Baldwin Ave., Paia; 808-579-8078;

Runner Up: Hawaiian Moons (JR)

Best Italian Food


With more than 25 years of serving award-winning food in Makawao, Casanovas is the top pick for Italiano with MauiTime readers. Is it the bold pasta dishes, brick-oven baked pizza, addictive foccacia, malanzane, funghi, calamari fritte, the wonderful wines or Maui’s best Upcountry nightlife? Regardless, Casanova’s is Maui’s masterpiece. 1188 Makawao Ave.; 808-572-0220;

Runner-up: Basil Tomato (JR)

Best Japanese Food

Tokyo Tei

Visiting Tokyo Tei on Lower Main in Wailuku is a bit like stepping through a door to Japan. The sizzling hot tempura, noodle dishes and ramen served in lacquer with chopsticks can whisk you there with a single taste. Every meal is served Japanese style, with miso soup, rice and hot tea. The restaurant has spanned several generations on Maui, but was started in 1934 by a sumo wrestler who moved here by boat. Sumo wrestlers know how to eat, and that tradition remains to this day. 1063 Lower Main, Wailuku; 808-242-9630;

Runner-up: Japengo (JR)

Best Fusion

Three’s Bar and Grill

Three’s in Kihei offers a triple dose of fusion: Southwestern flair hits Pacific Rim and Hawaiian cuisine and bam! That makes for a winning menu. Let’s not forget their awesome raw bar, flatbreads and crafted cocktails. Contrast is key here with three dining rooms to set whatever mood you’re in: al fresco, indoor or surf lounge. The three chefs behind Three’s, Jaron Blosser, Travis Morrin and Christopher Cody, are proving their theory of diversity is a winning one. 1945 S. Kihei Rd.; 808-879-3133;

Runner-up: Ko (JR)

Best Late Night Menu

Lahaina Cafe

There’s only one place to get a steaming bowl of noodles, egg rolls, tofu, barbecued chicken and fried rice to sup up your over-exerted late night happy hour triumphs, and it’s Lahaina Cafe. It helps that the food is excellent. By the way, you don’t have to stay up late to eat here–they serve all these delicious dishes during the day, too. 843 Wainee St., Lahaina; 808-667-6655;

Runner-up: Foodland in Kihei (JR)

Best Server

Annie Neikirk, Southshore Tiki Lounge

There are actual mathematical formulae for determining good service (“the amount of personality on display will be inversely proportional to the amount of money you’re spending, not including a base level of cordiality,” according to, and I’m pretty confident that the Tiki Lounge’s Annie Neikirk tops them all. I know this not because I’ve done the math (I got into journalism for a reason), but because she always smiles at me and has always gotten my order right. What more do you want? And she never, ever commits that cardinal sin of restaurant service: asking how you’re doing when you’ve got a mouthfull of food. Okay, maybe a couple times, but they were weird accidents of universal coincidence or something. 1913 S. Kihei Rd.; 808-874-6444;

Runner-up: Crystal Sato (AP)

Best Local Distiller/Brewer/Winemaker

Maui Brewing Company

Pinch me: award-winning beers made on Maui sounds like a dream. Actually, it’s for real. You can get all the different craft brews they can come up with at the Maui Brewing Company brew pub in Kahana, or just pick up a six-pack at the store. Still in disbelief? They offer super cool tours of their Lahaina brewery and their tasting flights will keep you in check. 4405 Honoapiilani Hwy, Kahana; 808-669-3474;

Runner-up: Haleakala Distillery (JR)

Best Local Cheap Eats

Blue Moon Cafe

Our readers have great eyes, because Blue Moon Cafe in Kihei was closed for a month recently (it was some financial thing that seems to have resolved itself). In any case, Blue Moon is once again open and offering some of the best meal deals in South Maui. Their breakfasts especially seem popular with the locals. 362 Huku Lii Pl., Kihei; 808-874-8600

Runner Up: Sam Sato (AP)

Best Local Coffee House

Maui Coffee Roasters

Phenomenal coffee, great baked goods, sandwiches, bagels and wraps make us yearn to sit in Maui Coffee Roasters’ free wi-fi zone with all the laptop loungers. Their take-home and ship-out shiny pound packages of coffee are irresistible. They have an incredible selection of coffee grown throughout the islands, and all of the fancy equipment to brew it they way you like it. Stop in for coffee and breakfast, but come back later for the happy cappy hour, too, when cappuccino is just $2. 444 Hana Hwy., Kahului; 808-877-2877;

Runner-up: Wailuku Coffee Company (JR)

Best Kama‘aina Deal


MauiTime readers love the generosity of Capische?’s kama‘aina deal: buy one get one half off. Capische?’s unique intimate garden and lanai tables high up on the Wailea hill make the best of Mother Nature’s ambiance. The stunning food is also beyond genre. Chef and owner Brian Ethredge remains on the cutting edge of foodie creativity, feeding his menu with the restaurant’s own garden at Hotel Wailea. 555 Kaukahi St., Wailea; 808-879-2224;;

Runner-up: Pulehu (JR)

Best Local Food

Da Kitchen

The biggest platters of chicken katsu in the State of Hawaii can be found at Da Kitchen. Our readers are devotees of local food, so they know what’s good. You can order all the local food favorites here, and bruddah, if you no can finish, no worries–just take-em home. 425 Koloa St., Kahului; 808-871-7782 / 2439 S. Kihei Rd.; 808-875-7782;

Runner-up: Aloha Mixed Plate (JR)

Best Local Hot Dog

Spanky’s Riptide

The Spankys dog has not quite been around a year, but it was meticulously researched and tested by foodie and Spanky’s owner Adam Clarke. The dogs are served hot in a bun and you do the rest at their dress-up-your-dog bar. We’re talking serious stuff here: multiple flavors of mustard, pickles, tomato, different mayos, onions, hot sauces and more. Yeah, I’m feeling sorry for those folks who don’t eat hot dogs. 505 Front St., Lahaina; 808-667-2337;

Runner Up: Fukushima Store (JR)

Local Ice Cream

Ono Gelato

Gelato has less fat and a creamier texture than ice cream, which apparently makes a big difference to our readers. Ono Gelato has taken the island by storm after their Paia store went in and we became enamored by their handmade, organic and gourmet flavors. My daughter knows their flavors by heart, and will tell you in great seriousness that Sandy Beach is the best. But that shouldn’t stop you from sampling the rest. 115 Hana Hwy., Paia; 808-579-9201 / 1280 S. Kihei Rd.; 808-495-0287 / 815 Front St., Lahaina; 808-495-0203;

Runner-up: Roselani (JR)

Best Local Pizza

South Shore Tiki Lounge

Is it their crispy crust, the little parmesan they sprinkle on it or the exotic toppings and tasting sauce? Pizza is not just pizza at South Shore Tiki Lounge, it’s the best according to our readers. Tiki has taken the art of pizza to great heights, giving us not only a supreme pie, but also a great place to enjoy it that also offers live entertainment and great drinks. 1913 S. Kihei Rd.; 808-874-6444;

Runner-up: Pizza Madness (JR)

Best Place to Buy Adult Beverages

TIE: Hawaii Liquor / Aloha Discount Liquor

One reviewer on Yelp called Hawaii Liquor the “BevMo of Maui,” and we’ve got to agree. While not nearly as big as the Mainland chain, Hawaii Liquor is the island’s superstore for alcohol. But then readers also enjoy Aloha Discount Liquor, with its smaller selection but excellent customer service. Those guys know booze, and they still find a way to stock harder-to-find items. Hawaii Liquor: 270 Dairy Rd., Kahului; 808-877-8778; / Aloha Discount Liquor: 2439 S. Kihei Rd.; 808-874-8882 (AP)

Best Local Sandwich

808 Deli

The idea behind this great deli is to make great sandwiches, and that’s just what 808 Deli in Kihei does. Hot or cold, meat or veggie, with mayo or not, panini pressed or fit between white or wheat bread, every sandwich is made to order. And now for the fifth year in a row, MauiTime readers have decided that that’s how they like it. 2511 S. Kihei Rd.; 808-879-1111;

Runner-up: No Ka Oi Deli (JR)

Best Luau

Old Lahaina Luau

Cheee Hoooo, luaus are great fun, but for you the venerable Old Lahaina Luau is second to none. Their gorgeous Mala location, fantastic Hawaiian food buffet and the digging-the-pig-out-of-the-imu demonstration would be enough, but I’m sure the Mai Tais and gorgeous dancers have something to do with their win, too. 1251 Front St., Lahaina; 808-667-1998;

Runner Up: Royal Lahaina Luau (JR)

Best Lunch

Cafe O’Lei

Cafe O’Lei, which has locations across the island, has the recipe for lunch down. Chilled brewed ice tea or other cold beverages are served in a blink of an eye while you peruse their menu. You can choose from the cheeseburger, a variety of huge salads, the crab club sandwich, the macadamia nut-encrusted mahi or any of their wonderful daily specials. They’re all good, and the prices are so reasonable you can come back again tomorrow.

Runner-up: Dog and Duck (JR)

Best Mai Tai

Mai Tai Lounge

The Mai Tai Lounge stays true to the tiki drink tradition with its Mai Tai, though the exact recipe is closely held secret. The results are the same, though, and everyone loves to tipple the Lounge’s quintessential Hawaii drink. Their ocean view rooftop lounge is also the perfect space to tie one on, too. 839 Front St., Lahaina; 808-661-5288;

Runner-up: Southshore Tiki Lounge (JR)

Best Male Bartender

Bret Patterson, Diamonds Icebar & Grill

MauiTime readers love Bret’s pour, according to the votes. He’s got a cold beer and a Jager shot at the ready, so what are you waiting for? It’s happy hour somewhere in the world right now, and Bret will be only too happy to serve you. 1279 S. Kihei Rd.; 808-874-9299;

Runner-up: Joe White, 100 wines (JR)

Best Mexican Food


Of all the places on Maui to get good Mexican food (and there are a lot), our readers have consistently chosen Amigo’s. And why not? They have burrito al pastor, chile relleno, enchilada, beans and rice, tacos, chimichangas, guacamole and really fresh salsa. We may be thousands of miles from Mexico, but there’s just a few miles between you and the nearest Amigo’s. Located island-wide;

Runner-up: Maui Tacos (JR)

Best New Restaurant


Our readers were pretty clear on this: Lorenzo and Michelle Fabiani have created Maui’s best new restaurant, but they made it look easy with their simple Italian menu and impressive bakery. Breakfast, lunch and dinner, paninis, burgers, linguine and pizzas are all served in this casual and homey space that includes a full bar. Eventually you’ll find yourself stopping by to check the cupcakes of the day or to have a glass of prosecco. 95 E. Lipoa St., Kihei; 808-874-0888;

Runner-up: Leoda’s Kitchen & Pie Shop (JR)

Best Noodle Shop

Star Noodle

Let’s just read from the menu: garlic noodles, ramen, udon, Singapore noodles, saimin and soba. No noodle is too big or small here. Chef Sheldon Simeon has proven that the noodle is more than just a pasta. In fact, at Star Noodle, it’s something of an edible art. MauiTime voters say Star Noodle is the best, and we’re not sure many on Maui would blame them. 286 Kupuohi St., Lahaina; 808-667-5400;

Runner-up: Ramen Ya (JR)

Best Pancakes

Tasty Crust

The big fluffy pancakes come flying out of the Tasty Crust kitchen on top of plates that can barely hold them. The pancakes’ soft, fluffy texture and warm, homemade flavor wins us, and our readers, over every time. We don’t need special syrups or whipped cream to make our pancakes good, but we do need Tasty Crust’s special recipe stacks and a scoop of their butter. That works. 1770 Mill St., Wailuku; 808-244-0845;

Runner-up: Gazebo (JR)

Best Pau Hana

TIE: Milagros Food Company / Monkeypod Kitchen

Chips and salsa, a good margarita and some people-watching is the perfect Northshore pau hana at Milagros. But over in South Maui, pau hana at Monkeypod Kitchen involves handcrafted cocktails and gastro pub pupus like truffle fries and flatbreads. MauiTime readers just couldn’t make up their minds, possibly because both are just that good. Milagros: 3 Baldwin Ave., Paia; 808-579-8755; / Monkeypod: 10 Wailea Gateway Pl.; 808-891-2322; (JR)

Best Plate Lunch

Aloha Mixed Plate

Fresh pig from the imu and authentic Hawaiian food served by the seashore is where it’s at. When sampling a plate lunch, Aloha Mixed Plate is undisputed as the best the island has to offer. The Hawaiian plate is sized bambucha to manini–it doesn’t have to be one-size-fits-all appetites. But their menu includes veggie stir fry, chow fun, chow mein, shoyu chicken and kalbi, all of which spans the rainbow of flavors that makes local cuisine so eclectic and colorful. 1285 Front St., Lahaina; 808-661-3322;

Runner-up: Da Kitchen (JR)

Best Pupus

Tie: 100 wines / Sea House

100 Wines and Sea House Restaurant tied as the best places on the island to dig into some pupu. At the new 100 wines, their sharing menu got you all excited over the exotic European old world charm and the huge wine selection to go with their tartines, macadamia nut brie, and brussel sprouts pupus. But you also love the Sea House Restaurant and its old school Napili charm. Their pupu menu starts at 2pm and features more than 25 little plates like the Maui Beach Balls, sesame seared ahi and the tender barbecued lani ribs, all between $5 and $6. With options like these, we’ll be skipping dinner. 100 Wines: 325 Keawe St., Lahaina; 808-661-6181 / Sea House: Napili Kai Beach Resort, 5900 L. Honoapiilani Rd., Napili; 808-669-1500

Runner-up: Tiffany’s (JR)

Best Restaurant

Lahaina Grill

The epic dining room of Lahaina Grill is in the historic Lahaina Inn, yet somehow the restaurant’s blend of the contemporary and nostalgic strike up a casual compromise, highlighted by great splashes of Jan Kasprzycki art. The menu similarly weaves together several genres and styles, creating dishes that we adore: the Cake Walk, ahi foie gras, chile relleno, coffee roasted lamb, line caught mahi and triple berry pie. The chemistry at Maui’s best restaurant is just impossible to beat. 127 Lahainaluna Rd., Lahaina; 808-667-5117;

Runner-up: Banyan Tree (JR)

Best Seafood

Honu Seafood & Pizza

Honu’s seafood style calls on foodie traditions from both mainland American coasts like shrimp po’boys and perfectly cooked seafood cocktails and reinvents them with Chef Mark Ellman’s flair. There are six different cocktails, including lobster, Dungeness crab and shrimp, as well as fried oyster sandwiches on fresh baked flax sweet breads and Ellman’s signature whole wok fried fish. Honu’s seafood menu is anything but pedestrian, and so close to the sea you might just get splashed. 1295 Front St., Lahaina; 808-667-9390;

Runner-up: Mama’s Fish House (JR)

Best Cocktail


Ambrosia is a lounge, pure and simple. They don’t have a kitchen, which means the bartender can concentrate on just making drinks. That’s all they do, and they do it well. Whether you want shots, a lilikoi martini or lemon drop, they can do it. Do you like your drink dry, up, neat or chilled? Makes no difference, because the bartenders Bill, Jessica, Candice (the owner) or whomever is there will take great care to satisfy your special thirst. 1913 S. Kihei Rd.; 808-891-1011;

Runner-up: I’o (JR)

Best Resort Kama‘aina Deal

The Grand Wailea

Free validated valet parking and buy-one entree-get-one-half-off at Humuhumunukunukuapua‘a is one way the Grand Wailea lets locals know that they’re are more than welcome to enjoy the beautiful resort. Another is their discount of 25 percent off for weddings and banquet events and 15 percent off the spa. Want to linger a bit longer? Room rates start at $299 for Maui residents, too. And you thought you were just coming for the lobster. 3850 Wailea Alanui Dr.; 808-875-1234;

Runner-up: Royal Lahaina (JR)

Best Shave Ice

Local Boys

It’s definitely not a snow cone because there’s not all that much snow in Hawaii. No, this shave ice is just light, flaky, ice cold, packed down and as sweet as your auntie. Maui says Local Boy’s got the best, and Lahaina and Kihei locations make it easy to get one. Roselani ice cream in the bottom is the way to go. 624 Front St., Lahaina; 1941 S. Kihei Rd.; 808-344-9779;

Runner-up: Ululani’s (JR)

Best Smoothie

Jamba Juice

What makes a good smoothie? At Jamba Juice, it would seem to be great service and that great flavor you’ve come to expect. Jamba gets voted best smoothie year after year, with longtime favorites like Chocolate Moo’d and new flavors like acai berry capturing our taste for fruity beverages. Located island-wide;

Runner-up: Wailuku Coffee Co. (JR)

Best Spam Musubi


It always comes as a surprise to those new to island culture how much we love our Spam. If you want to see Spam creativity, look no further than the annual Spam cooking contest at the Maui Fair. And everyone who arrives on Maui has to try that old breakfast staple: Spam Musubi. Seriously, I think it’s written in the state constitution. Anyway, the rice and pan-fried Spam (sometimes flavored with teriyaki) that are smashed into a plexiglass rectangular mold and then wrapped in seaweed makes one of the island’s best delicacies. Say what you want, but you have to admit its pretty ono. Located island-wide;

Runner-up: Minit Stop (JR)

Best Steak

Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse

Ruth’s Chris steaks are properly aged, grilled, and a dab of butter is added for the most delectable flavor. They come to the table still cooking and sizzling on the plate. Is it just the beef in mouthwatering cuts like Cowboy Ribeye, Filet and New York that we love here? Maybe, but the best steak is made better with a chopped salad, creamed spinach and a bit of grilled shrimp. 900 Front St., Lahaina; 808-661-8815 / 3750 Wailea Alanui Dr.; 808-874-8880;

Runner-up: Lahaina Grill (JR)

Best Sushi


Sansei has turned more non-believers into sushi lovers than any other sushi restaurant in Maui. D.K. Kodama started in a little spot in Kapalua that exploded into a beloved, award-winning restaurant. While the original Kapalua location has grown, new restaurants in Kihei, Hawaii Island and Oahu have made the Sansei name synonymous with sushi and is now recognized as one of the nation’s top 10 sushi restaurants. Incredible rolls like the Kapalua “Butterfry” Roll and the Sansei special, to say nothing of their great late night sushi happy hour, keep Sansei dominating this category year after year. 1881 S. Kihei Rd.; 808-879-0004 / 600 Office Rd., Kapalua; 808-669-6286;

Runner-up: Kai Sushi (JR)

Best Vegetarian

Choice Health Bar

Readers know superfoodie spot Choice Health Bar in West Maui is the best place to get the most amazing vegetarian goodies around. Owners Emily Kunz and Katherine Dahm have searched the island high and low for the best produce and serve it to you live. Their fresh juices, smoothies, acai bowls, raw food, vegan treats, plate specials and soups are high in nutrients and really showcase Mother Nature’s flavors. Who says healthy food is boring? Spice up your life with a visit to Choice. 1087 Limahana Pl., Lahaina; 808-661-7711;

Runner-up: Joy’s (JR)

Best Vietnamese Food

Saigon Cafe

Once again, our readers are clear. Now Saigon Cafe’s Vietnamese cuisine may surprise you, since it includes items like make-your-own burritos, which come with wraps that you cook in water at the table, but they’re still delicious. Prefer to be lazy? Clay pots just require a spoon. Oh, and everything here is served with a side of smart ass–in fact, one night my waiter’s wit outmatched mine. They rack up extra points with their Vietnamese beer and authentic down-to-the-house-made-sauce routine. 1792 Lower Main, Wailuku; 808-243-9560

Runner-up: Asian Star (JR)

Best Fish Tacos

Maui Tacos

When you want a fish taco, our readers want nothing less than the fresh marinated fish Maui Tacos grills and serves with their fresh greens and specialty cilantro-jalapeno sauce. Order on their soft corn tortilla shells or crispy style, with or without beans and rice. Want to add heat? The salsa bar lets you choose from six different fresh salsas in varying degrees, plus fresh cut cilantro and lime. That’s what makes Maui Tacos the best. Located island-wide;

Runner-up: Leilani’s (JR)

[PHOTO: Sean M. Hower]