Best Restaurants and Bars, Food and Drink on Maui
Best Happy Hour
People have really taken a liking to happy hour bartender Dino and his obnoxiously loud bucket gong. Maui Brews offers a popular happy hour with drink specials and cheap food from 3-6pm everyday. Sure it might cut into your work day, so quit!
Friday happy hours are especially jovial thanks to the no cover live entertainment they offer from 5-9. Jonah Livin’ Band has been playing to the Friday faithful for ages and helping to keep the spirits high. Other nominees include Life’s a Beach, Kahului Ale House, Moose’s, Margarita’s, and Compadre’s Taco Tuesday.
Komoda Store and Bakery
Makawao’s Komoda Store and Bakery has been satisfying sweet tooths for over fifty years, and Mauians are quick to root for the home team, especially one that is a legend in the minds of several generations. So its no surprise that our readers gave the nod to Komoda’s, though there excellent choices to choose from. Runner ups include Stillwells, Simply Sweets in Wailuku, Moana Bakery & Cafe in Pa`ia, Colleen’s in Ha`iku Bake Shoppe, Buns of Maui in Lahaina and Safeway stores island wide.
Kahului Ale House
Jerome Metcalf’s Kahului Ale House has garnished a loyal following since it’s inception and it paid off in this competitive category. Readers wrote in with their favorites, and many were close to where they hang their hat. Lots of entries in this one, and runner ups include (in order): Maui Brews, Charley’s, Casanova, Moose’s The Sly Mongoose, the Yacht Club, Leilani’s and the list goes on…
Cheeseburger in Paradise
Who knew? It seems that Maui Time readers knew, and selected Kimo’s and Cheeseburger in Paradise as Maui’s Best Burger recipient. The competition came from all sides, with Bubba Burgers and Johnny’s Burger Joint tied for second place and Pa`ia Fish Market holding onto third place. When asked to describe the Front Street burger face-off, one curious onlooker explained that it “must be something about eating red meat and watching a Lahaina sunset!”
Best Coffee Shop
Seattle beans? Not so! It seems that Starbucks offers some of Maui’s finest coffee beans and other local products to our coffee drinking population, and MT readers have shown their support. Second, third and fourth places went to The Coffee Store, Anthony’s, Java Jazz and Maui Coffee Roasters for their impeccable work. Go for the gold next year!
If the thought of a Lemon Caper Mahi Mahi lunch makes you smile, you probably voted for this west side gem. Honokowai Okazuya packs em in daily, and some diners have given up buying groceries all together. Runner ups include Take Home Maui, Safeway, Mr. Sub, Casanova and Down To Earth.
Best Dessert and where
Chocolate Souffle at Roy’s
Lots of entries on this one, with readers after dinner preferences ranging from the ordinary to the opulent. This year’s winner was a strong competitor and made off with an early lead. Other nominees include Mañana Garage’s Ice Cream Sandwich, cream horns at Stillwell’s Bakery, the Pizookie at BJ’s Pizzeria, and three separate Tiramisus from Casanova, Mulberry Street and Marco’s. Post-mortem votes for Avalon’s Carmel Miranda were duly noted.
Some like it deep dish! Lahaina’s BJ’s Pizzeria waded through a sea of pizza delivery kitchens to take top honors in this year’s Best Pizza category. The Chicago Style pizza served above Front St. still holds a special place in many reader’s hearts. The local competition was close behind, however, with Maui Pizza Cafe, Shaka Pizza, Colleen’s, Pizza Fresh and Pizza in Paradise looking to capture the crown next year.
Best Plate Lunch
Aloha Mixed Plate
With more than a handful of competitors, the Best Plate Lunch category was going to be a battle. Da Kitchen, Cupie’s, L & L Drive Inn and Honokowai Okazuya made a quick run for the finish, but it was Aloha Mixed Plate who lived up to their name and took first place. Props out to Sam Sato’s, Norm’s, Kitadas, Manila Foodmart, Local Boy’s and Nagasako’s.
Best Shave Ice
Tobi’s Ice Cream & Shave Ice
People are especially loyal to their favorite shave ice store (believe me, I was pulling for Lorraine’s in Kahakuloa), and Tobi’s faithful customers let us know that this south side spot should get the prize. Several votes came in for Annie’s, Tutu’s Snack Shop on Hana Bay, Tom’s Market in Waiehu and even Lorraine’s, but it was Tobi’s at the top.
The whirl of blenders and mashing of wheat grass grinders was music to Maui’s ears in this category. With its’ second location in Kihei, Jamba Juice increases its Smoothie hold on Maui and the California company’s concoctions continue to satisfy the thirsts of Valley Isle residents. Runner ups include Take Home Maui, Jabooka Juice, Maui Grown Market, Anthony’s and Pauwela Cafe.
In what could have been a six-way tie, Roy’s in Kahana nosed ahead at the buzzer to take top honors in the Best Service category. The close race was between A Pacific Cafe (Kihei), The Anuenue Room at the Ritz-Carlton, Nick’s Fishmarket, Mama’s Fish House and The Waterfront in Ma`alaea. The folks at Roy’s obviously pride themselves on the quality of their service and it shows; congratulations to all.
Best Asian Restaurant
You people like your Thai food! With two locations to please, Thai Chef is satisfying customers island-wide. The Chef maintained an early lead and never looked back. Saigon Cafe and Saeng’s Thai Cuisine both gathered respectable numbers, but our congratulations go out to Thai Chef for the winner in this year’s Best Asian Restaurant category.
Best Italian Restaurant
Ah, buona fortuna for our paisano in Makawao! Casanova’s delectable culinary delights from the mother land have struck a chord with Maui’s diners and they responded with their votes. The competition was no wet noodle, however, with Aroma D’Italia, (hey! justa like D’Antonio, eh?), Marco’s, Antonio’s, Mulberry Street, and newcomers Hop Tomato and Maui Pizza Cafe in the fray. Grazie alla cucina Italiana!
Best Mexican Restaurant
Wind up and take a swing, it’s Piñata time! With the competition from Polli’s, Cafe Navaca, Compadres, Maui Tacos and Mañana Garage breathing down their neck, Piñatas’ loyal following of lunch time eaters (and readers) voted them the cream of the Mexican crop. But, you know, if you can eat the entire Kitchen Sink burrito, I think you deserve an award.
Best Seafood Restaurant
Mama’s Fish House
No stranger to the winner’s circle, Mama’s Fish House is once again an award recipient for its exceptional food. Mama’s reputation for fresh fish and a professional preparation help set the standard for Maui’s high quality of seafood restaurants. Other standouts include The Waterfront, Nick’s Fishmarket, Pacific’O, Eric’s Seafood Grotto, Lahaina Fish Co. and Buzz’s Wharf.
Best Sushi Restaurant
Sansei Seafood & Sushi Bar
Surprised? Me neither. D.K. Kodama’s haven for those with a fondness for raw fish was a strong winner, though Kihei’s Isana Restaurant did gather a respectable number of votes. One visit to Sansei (especially during their frequent 50% off specials) should win over sushi purists and those with a creative craving. Other notable sushi houses include Oku’s (inside Kobe Steakhouse), Harry’s Sushi Bar, Nalu’s Sunset Bar & Sushi and Hapa’s Rockin’ Sushi.
Best Vegetarian Restaurant
Bring the Basmati and pass the Braggs, its time to eat healthy. A meatless institution on the north shore, The Vegan is known far and wide for it’s healthy grinds. The competition was stiff, and runners up include Down to Earth, Joy’s Place, Thai Chef and Westside Natural Foods. Best Vegetarian Restaurant looks to be a close contest and contestants should gear up for next year’s ‘Best of”.
Best Romantic Restaurant
Mama’s Fish House
Sunsets over the Pacific? Sandy stretches of white sand to peruse? Low light and soft music? Add them together and you’ve got the makings of the Best Romantic Restaurant category, going this year to Mama’s Fish House, who’s idyllic setting on Kuau Cove has made many a heart melt and probably heard more than one “I Do”. Other cuddly spots include The Waterfront, Swan Court at the Hyatt, The Anuenue Room at the Ritz-Carlton, Pacific’O, and Gerard’s in Lahaina. Keep the home fires burning until next year, contestants.
Best New Restaurant
Combine Cuban cuisine and a garage theme and they will come! Readers applaud Mañana Garage as the Best New Restaurant (opened in 2000) on Maui. Mañana’s unique menu, pleasant setting and accommodating hours helped propel this new restaurant to the top. Competition came from Merriman’s Bamboo Bistro, Moondoggies, Maui Pizza Cafe, Java Jazz and Fleming’s on the Green.
Best Business Lunch
Going for the one-two knockout, Mañana Garage steps back into the ring in the Business Lunch category. Their central Maui location, indoor/outdoor seating and generous lunch menu were the deciding factors in this gold medal. Next in line were Marco’s, Koho’s, Kimo’s, Maui Brews and Lahaina Coolers.
Best Restaurant for a Family of 4 Under $30
Oye amigo, trying to make your money stretch? Aren’t we all, and MT readers are budget-savvy when it comes to their restaurants as well. Maui Tacos has been bringing the healthy Maui Mex to the table for years, and now offer their inexpensive grinds to diners on the Mainland. Other nominees include Denny’s, IHOP, Aloha Mixed Plate as well as the occasional “not on Maui…” and “ha ha ha!!”. Very funny.
Best Restaurant when Someone Else is Paying
Mama’s Fish House
A bottle of your finest! What do you care? It’s someone else’s dime! Nominees for Best Restaurant When Someone Else is Paying are some of the finest (and priciest) dining establishments on Maui. No surprise that voters in this year’s ‘Best of’ awarded this prestigious award to Mama’s Fish House. Runner ups include The Waterfront, Nick’s Fishmarket, Swan Court, I’O, Plantation House Restaurant, Sea Watch, and the Bay Club. Rich tastes, indeed!