For a while, Central Maui has been lacking a sit-down Mexican cantina. Enter Fernando’s Mexican Grill, which recently opened in the Queen Kaahumanu Center. The restaurant was originally developed by Oahu’s Auntie Pasto’s restaurants, then it was Vietnamese joint, Lemongrass. The footprint is large and unfettered; sit up at the bar or grab a booth. Adding to the authenticity are the waitresses’ uniforms—very viva la Mexico with ruffled, brightly colored skirts.
Fernando’s is named for partner Fernando Cardona, who tells me it takes hours to make his traditional refried beans. The time and care shine through—the beans are incredible, full of flavor and texture. The Mexican rice is always done just right too, with fluffy, spiced peas flecked here and there for color. My current addiction is the pork al pastor, marinated in adobo, cooked on a spit, served chopped fine with onion and cilantro in tortas, tacos or burritos. My favorite treatment is the burrito, served here with those incredible beans and rice on the side.
You can find all of the usual authentic Mexican favorites on the menu: tacos, enchiladas, mole, verde, carnitas. And, as with any Mexican joint worth its salty, chips and salsa are on the house.
(Also worth noting: Fernando’s is dabbling in the nightlife scene and offers regular entertainment, in case you’re not in the mood for the movies or the Fun Factory.) Maui Time Weekly, Jen Russo
Fernando’s Mexican Grill
Queen Kaahumanu Center, Kahului, 871-5999