We can’t say enough good things about Da Kitchen. They’ve got convenient locations, a welcoming atmosphere, cute staff, and the food is amazing. The portions are ginormous, which is great because everything is so freakin’ delicious. Local food is the ultimate in comfort food, reminding us of home and family gatherings. Da Kitchen takes those memories and wraps them in yummy. Even when life brings us so down low that we realize the hole in our hearts (and arteries) would be generously filled by a fried spam musubi, Da Kitchen is there, waiting like an old friend.
286 Kupuohi Street
Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii 96761
Last year’s best new restaurant has kept on top as this year’s best restaurant. It’s no wonder: Chef Sheldon Simeon was a James Beard finalist this year, and voted Chef of the Year by his peers in the Aipono Awards. What keeps MauiTime readers voting for this place was their exceptional Asian food concepts, high quality cocktails and the clean and contemporary ambiance. The Singapore noodles, Vietnamese crepe, garlic noodle and saam are just a few of the dishes on the menu all exceptionally prepared whether you are in for lunch, dinner or take-out.
10 Wailea Gateway Place, Wailea-Makena, HI 96753
Beer and pie sounds like a weird combination, but at Monkeypod Kitchen they work beautifully together to make the newest of Peter Merriman’s concept restaurants successful. Thirty-six beers on tap, served over an amazing handcrafted bar and with foods created with sustainability in mind, the restaurant is both contemporary and island-style. Their homemade pies are spectacular, but sadly seasonal.
1913-H S. Kihei Road
Kihei, HI 96753
Maui likes to swill spirits in a swanky little Kihei bar that transcends island or metro. Order handcrafted cocktails while you forget what lies outside and absorb the Ambrosia atmosphere. Featuring state of the art lighting, Happy hour 5pm to 9pm and live nightly entertainment, oblige Ambrosia as they supply Maui’s vibrant nightlife pulse. It’s also thee place to shake what your mama gave ya.
Debi Varga, Hang Loose Lounge
333 Dairy Road, Kahului
Deb treats her customers like family and that’s probably what endears her fans to the Hang Loose Lounge. This chilled-out Maui bar at the Dairy Road center is where you will find their cheap drinks and canned beers, as well as those bucket seats at the bar all quite old school. They don’t serve food, but will allow you to bring your own take-out (that’s BYOTO) and sometimes customers will cook their own food and bring it in to share, as well.
William Sythes, Ambrosia
1913 S. Kihei Rd.
William is a dedicated bartender, efficient as hell, with a great cocktail repertoire. He hails from the martini lounge of Ambrosia, where you will find him many nights in white button shirt and black slacks sleeves rolled up and Boston shaker in hand fixing Lilikoi Martinis or Manhattans. Whatever your poison, Bill slings it in style
Mala Ocean Tavern
1307 Front St., Lahaina
Mala Ocean Tavern is aptly named as it sits right on the sea at Mala, so close that if the tide is right you just might get splashed. This view is amazing, regardless of the time of day. The sunset is incredible as it sets over the island of Lanai. Arrive earlier in the day and you might observe turtles swimming and grazing. Since all this sightseeing will certainly stimulate your appetite, it’s lucky that you’re in good hands with Chef Mark Ellman, Judy Ellman and Ben Klein providing the food. The specialties are internationally inspired menu of small plates, with whole grains, organically and locally sourced ingredients, all expertly prepared.
Maui Taco’s latest and greatest take on the burrito is international. You will find a monthly themed burrito like Chinese, Greek and Korean. But they always serve great fresh Mexican burritos as big as your head, made with quality ingredients and offered at the right price. Which is your favorite? The Paia, La Perouse or Napili?
Mama’s Fish House
799 Poho Place
Paia, HI 96779-9708
Seafood is at the heart of Mama’s Fish House Polynesian-inspired cuisine and they exhibit it by serving the best seafood dishes on the island. Papa’s Three Fish Sashimi is just one way to enjoy this exquisite display at Mama’s: each fish has its own special sea salt treatment and garnishes–the Uku comes with coconut chili and Molokai Pink Salt and the Ahi has star anise daikon and kukui nut salt, to name two out of the three. Their fish entrees on the menu names the fishermen who proudly brought in your fish and explains where they caught it. There is nothing fishy about the way Mama’s Fish House approaches a meal. They use only the freshest ingredients, and presentation is always magnificent.
736 Front Street
Lahaina, HI 96761-2402
We like our barbecue Southern Style and pit-smoked and served in huge portions. That’s why Famous Dave’s is Maui’s best. Between baby back ribs, chopped pork, St. Louis style ribs, and beef brisket, there is no end to the meaty barbecue goodness served here. The Feast is for the insatiable carnivore appetite, and consists of all of the above served on the lid of a garbage can.
Sea House Restaurant
5900 Lower Honoapiilani Road
Lahaina, HI 96761-8780
The pupu menu at Sea House Restaurant spares no sumptuousness, with 15 items served from 2 pm to 9 pm for just $5 or $6. Choose from Kalua pork tacos, poke nachos, shrimp and crab summer rolls, Polynesian chop salad and so much more. The gorgeous view from their open air lanai and restaurant is no ka oi, too.
Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse
900 Front Street,
Lahaina, HI 96761-2325
Phone: (808) 661 – 8815
3750 Wailea Alanui,
The Shops at Wailea,
Wailea, HI 96753
Phone: (808) 874 – 8880
Forty Five years ago a little lady named Ruth Fertel decided to mortgage her home and buy the Chris Steak House established in New Orleans in 1927. Add up the years and you have a beef steak empire built on the intuition of a single woman. What do women know? We know beef is delicious, especially the prime cuts sizzled and served at Ruth’s Chris SteakHouse with their signature pat of butter melted over it, accompanied by mouthwatering chopped salads, baked potatoes, sauteed mushrooms and asparagus with Hollandaise.
2511 South Kihei Road
Kihei, HI 96753
If you can stuff it between two slices of bread, 808 Deli has it on the menu. Design a sandwich the way you like and they are happy to build it, or choose from their selection of gourmet specialty sandwiches, Paninis and hot dogs with all the fixin’s. Either way you stuff it or slice it, 808 Deli has an award-winning sandwich and a bag of chips waiting for you.
Amigo’s Mexican Restaurants have been bringing their delicious tacos, burritos, chile rellenos and enchiladas to Kahului, Wailuku, Lahaina and Kihei in their casual and affordable restaurants. Consistently tasty whether you order from their food truck or visit their sit-down service, our readers keep Maui voting Amigo’s numero uno Mexi no matter where they are on the island.
127 Lahainaluna Road, Lahaina
When Maui residents want dinner, they choose the splendor of Lahaina Grill. Maui’s Best Dinner is served in this elegant and charming nouveau American bistro that has lists of accolades since opening in 1990. Amazing dishes that are presented beautifully include the Cake Walk, Seared Ahi and Foie Gras, Toy Box Tomato Salad, Filet Mignon and Coffee Roasted Rack of Lamb. They are more than enough to keep Lahaina Grill’s Facebook fan list growing.
South Shore Tiki Lounge
1913 S. Kihei Rd
Pizza is in a food group all its own, and even thought it may have originally come from Italy, Americans have embraced this cheesy doughy delight and made it all our own. South Shore Tiki Lounge does it Best on Maui, with their finger-licking pizza made with the finest island ingredients. Da Hawaiian has fresh pineapple and pig, South Shore Combo is a carnivores dream, Margherita is light and herbal, choose your favorite toppings and dig in.
Paia Fish Market
2 Baldwin Avenue # A, Paia
Is the fish sandwich at Paia Fish Market most epic when using the mahi or ahi? Do you like it plain or served with the blackened cajun spice? Coleslaw or without? Anyway you slice it, the Fish Sandwich here is consistently voted Maui’s Best. Big and juicy flavors are always amazing, and eating in their shared picnic table environment in their dining room will instantly make you friends. If you haven’t already, take the time to enjoy this bite of Paia paradise.
Down to Earth
305 Dairy Road
Kahului, HI 96732
The veggie meals at Down to Earth are voted best on Maui. Their hot bar has at least 10 different veg items at any given time, the deli is ready to prepare any of their sandwiches or smoothies, the salad bar is extensive and the grab-and-go section is totally convenient for necessities. The Kahului health food emporium opened their 9,000-square-foot location in 1997. Oh, and you won’t find any meat here: Down To Earth’s philosophy is strictly plant-strong dedicated.
Leilani’s On the Beach
2435 Kaanapali Parkway Building J
Kaanapali Maui, HI 96761
It’s no surprise that Leilani’s fish tacos have been voted the best on the Island. They offer Pacific-caught ono that’s Cajun rubbed and served with pico de gallo, TS Restaurant-style. They are simple but complete, and always on the menu. On Leilani’s Taco Tuesday you can eat them for $4 with Tecate and Margaritas on special for $4, and while you’re there you get to support the Beach Legacy of Aloha program, which helps fund Maui community organizations that serve the island’s at-risk youth, comfort kupuna, protect the environment and perpetuate ocean sports. Win win.
600 Office Rd., Kapalua
1881 S. Kihei Rd.
Nobody can beat Sansei’s award winning sushi. Their inventive rolls, award winning chefs and always fresh and delicious fish are impossible to beat. Kama’aina nights, and half price early bird specials make their culinary experience approachable for everyone.
Old Lahaina Luau
1251 Front Street
Lahaina, HI 96761-1723
Chee Hoooo! Locals know the best luau show to attend is the Old Lahaina Luau. The Mai Tais flow like a river, the feast is fit for a chief and the dancers will blow your mind. In old Hawaii, it took a village to prepare the luau celebrations, and today the Old Lahaina Luau continues that tradition by working as a team to create authentic Hawaiian cuisine from the imu pig to the lomi salmon to the haupia. This is one place where trying the poi is required, and Polynesian paralysis is to be anticipated.
The corporate smoothie rules! Jamba Juice had our kids chanting the words Jamba Juice before they even knew what a smoothie was. These tall frozen drinks are such a welcome treat in the summer heat, and Jamba covers all the smoothie food group bases with rich and creamy, like the Moo’d, Berrylicious, Tropical Mango and Citrusy Orange. Their newest acai line packs a Brazilian punch, and there is nothing better than that to start your day.
Wailuku and Kihei
The lunch menu never fails at Cafe O’Lei so consistent that Maui readers voted it best. Fresh macadamia-crusted mahi, caesar salads, tofu stir fry, crab salad on foccacia, onion soup, burgers–it’s all delicious. Plus the prices are affordable. With several restaurants around the island to choose from, you’re never far from an award winning lunch at Cafe O’Lei.
5315 Lower Honoapiilani Road
Lahaina, HI 96761-9005
Breakfast starts at 7:30am sharp at Gazebo, and the menu is served through 2pm and then they close.Their breakfast is served right: hearty potatoes, giant omelets accompanied by toast, piles of pancakes, mounds of fried rice. It’s all done from their magnificent perch on the south end of Napili Bay, which offers a breathtaking view of the ocean all around you. But you probably won’t even notice the view with that big delicious breakfast in front of you.
Aloha Discount Liquor
2439 S Kihei Rd Ste 109A
Kihei, HI 96753
Aloha Discount Liquor has been voted in as Maui’s spot to score adult beverages. Looking for flip-top Grolsch? They got ‘em, along with a great selection of other choice brews, unusual spirits and great deals on beer and wine. The selections of specialty tobacco and tiny bottles of spirits are exceptional, and everything is fairly priced. This place is perfect for the spirits enthusiast or just the bloke stopping by to pick up a six pack for the beach.
Maui Coffee Roasters
444 HANA HWY STE B
Kahului, HI 96732-2315
People who are passionate about coffee find themselves at Maui Coffee Roasters, where the coffee is brewed to perfection. They have great deals on the Maui Coffee Roasters card like buy five coffee drinks and get one free, buy 10 sandwiches and get one free and lots more of that nature. Or you can buy a pound of coffee and get a hot coffee free. But it’s not the free stuff that we care about from Maui Coffee Roasters, it’s their persistent dedication to excellent coffee, and they serve it up quick and delicious with some of the best customer service on the island.
Maui Swap Meet
310 West Kaahumanu Ave., Kahului
It costs just 50 cents to get into the Maui Swap Meet. There you will find fresh fruit and vegetable stands teeming with produce. The fruits and veggies are affordably priced. It’s the spot to stock up on your Maui grown goods. Mr. Talamai’s coconuts, Mr. & Mrs. Silvestre Tumbaga’s Bananas, Ed Sato’s Kula Strawberries and Jaime Shishido’s leafy Kula greens are just a few of the choice items to look for.
James McDonald, Pacific’o Restaurant
505 Front Street, Lahaina
Maui loves Chef James, and voted him Best Chef this year. His work is prolific, with a part in Pacific’o and I’o Restaurants, O’o Farms, Feast at Lele and Aina Gourmet Market. James finds inspiration working with locally grown ingredients from O’o farm, seafood from our ocean and many other fine foods. McDonald pushes the envelope in the culinary industry, and we like that.
Paia, Kihei, Lahaina
Ono Gelato took Maui by storm last year, installing their incredible frozen treats in Kihei and Lahaina. What makes their gelato so good? They make it fresh daily and use local fruits, organic dairy products and recyclable containers.
Mai Tai Lounge
839 Front St,
Lahaina, HI 96761
What is the secret to a good Mai Tai? They say its all in the rum. At Mai Tai Lounge in Lahaina, their Mai Tai wins top honors for the fourth consecutive year. Serving it in classic tiki cocktail tradition with the proper barware and pupu platters is just part of the picture–their top shelf liquor does the rest. This open air, roof top restaurant is like no other on Front Street.
1770 Mill Street
Wailuku, HI 96793
This Wailuku diner really does make the best pancakes and you can’t beat their cheap prices. Sure the inside isn’t fancy but do you need that much of an atmosphere when all you really want is to scarf down a short stack with butter and syrup and wash it back with coffee? The pancakes fluff up like a cloud, are bigger than your face, and are in high demand. Sounds good to us.
4566 Lower Kula Rd
Cafe 808 is high up in Kula, but their menu selection is worth the trip. Your choices of around 20 different plate lunches may astonish you, but the real joy is eating it. Everything is traditionally served in giant portions with scoops of rice and mac salad. The mahi plate is awesome, the kalbi is tender and sweet, the steak is delicious. You can’t go wrong with any of them. Their large dining room is casual and busy, but its where upcountry folk come to chat over the best plate lunches on Maui.
1188 Makawao Ave
From ambiance to the passionate Italian food, Casanova’s Maui is Maui’s best Italian restaurant. A wood burning oven bakes pizza, fine wines flow and Casanova’s fine Italian cuisine has been a tradition in Makawao for over 20 years. In the early hours you will find their deli serving delicious coffees.
49 Baldwin Avenue
Paia, HI 96779
Mana is an incredible grocery store serving the North Shore and the rest of Maui from their Baldwin Avenue location. The store is small but it’s a lesson in efficiency. They have so many goods packed in there it’s magical. Mana has been open for the past 25 years and started with the philosophy of selling local produce and fruits way before it was a popular notion. Mana also sells locally manufactured goods, bakes their own bread and pastries, has their own butcher, sells organic clothing lines, and has a great beauty section. Their hot foods bar offers an amazing selection of veggie delights like the spanikopita, teriyaki tofu and more. This is a market for the people by the people, and you voted it best.
Cool Cat Cafe
658 Front St # 160
Lahaina, HI 96761-1265
Cool Cat’s invincible hold on Best Burger on Maui starts with fresh ground beef seasoned and made into a patty that is cooked perfectly and served on a fresh baked bun with their house sauce, crisp pickle, cheese, lettuce, onion and tomato. Say hello to the Leader of the Pack and don’t forget to order a basket of seasoned fries. Their burger menu goes over 10 deep, mixing it up with different buns, cheeses and fillings, so no matter what you’re in the mood for, this burger comes at you dressed up and made to order. You can count on Cool Cat every time for great service, fun atmosphere and validated wharf parking.
33 Lono Ave # 150
Kahului, HI 96732-1608
Bistro Casanova is fairly new to the scene. It will be celebrating two years this upcoming September, but Maui has already voted it best. This elegant Kahului lunch spot has an beautiful air conditioned dining room and a terrific menu that Central Maui hasn’t seen the likes of in ages. The bread sticks that come with each meal are addicting, as are their ice teas and fritti of potato, ahi or calamari. Salads and sandwiches showcase cuisines from Italy, France and Spain. Paninis, pastas and crepes round out the offerings. Their great cocktail menu clenches your power lunch, or if you need power of another sort, their espresso is wonderful.
Four Seasons Resort, Wailea
When Chef Wolfgang Puck opened Spago Maui a decade ago, he might have known he was changing the fine dining game on Maui. This gorgeous is restaurant has a sea anenome muraled lounge, and fine ocean views from every vantage point. Although Spago is a corporate entity, you will notice the aloha spirit philosophy has been embraced. The bar is magnificent, as are the cocktails made behind it. Executive Chef Cameron Lewark continues to be inspired by the local Maui ingredients coming in to his kitchen, and we love eating the Asian fusion dishes on this menu that are like no other on the island. General Manager Jacques Perwin and Beverage Manager Luke Alcon are busy seeing to it that your experience at Spago is phenomenal. Kamaaina discounts run year round, so call ahead and bring your ID’s when you want to enjoy the best fine dining voted by Maui.
Aloha Mixed Plate
1285 Front Street
Lahaina, HI 96761
Aloha Mixed Plate is a one of a kind local food stop. Their food is gourmet, not your standard local fare. Prepared with great ingredients and the most generous portions for their prices Maui locals can’t get enough of their food. Their dining room is mother natures best, open air ocean side lanai dining on Front Street Lahaina, with plenty of parking just out front. You can’t beat their belly bomb mini plates, starting from just $3.95. They post daily specials on their facebook page, like last Friday’s honey walnut shrimp, so you will never get tired of their menu.
Alexander’s Fish & Chips
Kahului and Kihei
People are crazy about fish and chips, its one of those irresistible comfort foods, and it comes to us courtesy of the Brits from about the mid eighteenth century. Fresh filets of fish batter dipped and fried crisp on the outside, served on a bed of potato fries. Here on Maui Alexander’s is famous for their fish which comes in three pacific island styles, ono, mahi and ahi. You can mix it up and add fried shrimp, calamari and even throw in some veggies. If you are not feeling the fried, they can grill your fish too. At Alexander’s you get your fish and chips your way.
275 W. Kaahumanu Ave
The ramen noodle shop is a Japanese phenomenon. There, huge stock pots of secret ingredient dashi are poured into bowls of noodles, meat and veggies. There are noodle shops everywhere, but we have only a few on Maui, and Ramen-ya is our favorite, voted by readers as the best noodle. I hope the happy hour free gyoza didn’t sway your vote.
Nagasako Okazu-Ya Deli
845 Wainee St., Lahaina
Not all spam musubi are created equal. Nagasako Okazu-Ya makes theirs like a rice sandwich, with rice on either side of the slab of fried spam, and the seaweed goes all the way around the whole business like a blanket. Why does this make it the best? We only know that its delicious, the rice creamy and starchy against the salty bite of seaweed outside and savory spam inside. It’s the perfect breakfast sandwich.
70 E Kaahumanu Ave, Kahului
Dragon Dragon is one of Maui’s nicest Chinese restaurants, with sit down service and those spinning lazy susans in the middle of big party tables. They have all the Chinese favorites: fried rice, crispy duck, ma po tofu, Singapore noodles and more.
136 Dickenson Street
Have you ever seen a teppanyaki chef make a volcano? It’s a highlight here at Kobe where the dark smoky interior reminds me of beloved Tokyo eateries. Your meal isn’t complete without the ching ching of the teppan chefs chopping food on the grill top in front of you and then tossing your food here and there while it’s on fire. It’s quite a show.
Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice
Shave ice is an art which can go terribly wrong. The ice can be chunky, you can have so much syrup that it’s sickeningly sweet, or worse, not enough syrup, leaving you with a tasteless blah of ice. But when done right, the ice is lighter than angel kisses and the syrup to ice ratio is so perfect it could make unicorns cry. That said, try not to hit any PDA angels or depressed unicorns, when you stop by Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice. Not only do they use pure cane sugar for their syrups, their add-ons (including fresh mochi and Roselani ice cream) are the bomb.
Just thinking about the chow fun at the Maui County Fair brings me to a mouthwatering halt. The fat-glistening wide fun noodles with white, little flecks of green onion and ground beef clinging to them and bean sprouts always insist on being difficult with the chop sticks. You’re lucky if there is no line to claim your cone, cup or quart container. Wailuku Hongwanji usually sponsors this booth and their recipe is revered. Even though they’re popular they seem to make enough for everyone–even the folks who stockpile containers to bring home.
Maui Brewing Co.
910 Honoapiilani Hwy, Lahaina
Bravo to Brewers Scott Frietas, Kim Lutz, John Walsh, Rai Johnson and Dan Reading supported by the cellar operations team of Dan Badgley and Chris Newman and the rest of the hard working crew at the Maui Brewing Company’s brewing room and brew pub. It’s their hops handiwork that has the island voting Maui Brewing Co. the top of the brew. It doesn’t matter whether your favorite is Bikini Blond, Mana Wheat, Big Swell or Coconut Porter–we all agree that this is the Best Local Brew around. Garret Marrero and Melanie Oxley head this craft brew dynasty of Maui with their hopping pub in Kahana and tasting room in Lahaina.
A Saigon Café
1792 Main St
Wailuku, HI 96793
A Saigon Cafe made news this past year when they erected a sign on their rooftop, the first sign they have put up since they opened in January 1996. Their tricky location is now marked, but Mauians already know where to find authentic and delicious Vietnamese cuisine created by Jennifer Nguyen. The menu is extensive and includes salads, vermicelli, clay pot, whole fish, appetizers and coffee drinks.
310 Hookahi St., Wailuku
I’m just a girl so I don’t really know what goes on at Hostess Bars, but obviously you do because you voted Saigon Palace best for Hostess Bar action on Maui. It must be fun. Wait, that champagne on the menu seems awfully expensive…
Emily Swearingen, South Shore Tiki Lounge
1913 S. Kihei Rd.
Even people who’ve only been served once by Emily, who works at the South Shore Tiki Lounge in Kihei, know that she is bright, attentive and sweet as a Mai Tai. She mostly works days now, but we can remember Em working Friday and Saturday nights at the Tiki–a time when the small, kitschy bar gets slammed with people mingling, dancing, ordering pizza and imbibing alcoholic beverages. The best servers on the island would cave under such pressure, but Em was there weekend after weekend, never faltering.
Jesse Wenkoff, Starbucks
845 Wainee St # 213
Lahaina, HI 96761-1688
Have you seen a writer in the morning before their coffee? It’s not pretty. Jesse graciously handles caffeinated monsters or lack thereof with a quick order and no lip, making him Maui’s favorite barista in the world. Wenkoff was one of the Kaahumanu Center Starbucks’ most recognizable personalities in 2010 until he jumped ship to the Old Lahaina Center Starbucks next to Foodland this past January. There he is loving the west side vibes and change of pace.
Kahului Ale House
355 East Kamehameha Avenue
Kahului, HI 96732-2437
Kahului Ale House got a new owner last year and quite a facelift, new lounge area and entertainment stage with a new vibe to go with it. Apparently Maui has noticed voting Kahului’s cool tavern best for Pau Hana. Stop in whenever your Pau Hana happens to be and wind down with their cold beers, drinks and food.
3 Baldwin Avenue
Paia, HI 96779
You want North Shore undercurrents and tequila for Happy Hour! From 11 am through 6pm, Milagro’s rocks the best Happy Hour on Maui. That is a full seven-hour stint of $3 house margaritas and drafts with the best service Paia has to offer. Take a break from the swilling and load up on their gourmet southwestern menu with exceptional seared ahi dishes, tacos, salads burritos and breakfast, lunch and dinner.
815 Haiku Rd
Delectable hot dogs have been done for more than 25 years at Fukushima Store in Haiku. Don’t come in expecting fancy Chicago dog options; they have a special recipe called “everything” that has their tasty mayo sauce, pickle, onions and plenty of Fuk’s aloha. And that is the best.
300 Maalaea Rd.
Maalaea, HI 96793
This Maalaea outpost has great barbecue, eight beers on tap, great prices and a faithful following, but technically it’s not a kamaaina deal. But their prices are so good they fooled you into thinking you are getting great kamaaina there all the time! From 3 to 6 pm the place gets even better with Happy Hour when certain beers on draft are $2.50 and Mai tais and margaritas are just $3.50.