Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Favourite Maui Restaurants

One thing Maui does not lack is restaurants, and over the years we have compiled a list of some of our favourite ones. My husband has been on a low fat diet since a heart scare about 6 years ago, so we always make sure there are vegetarian or low fat choices on the menu before we decide to stop and eat.
When we are craving a hamburger, The Cool Cat Cafe in Lahaina is where we head. It is no surprise that they apparently have been voted "Best Burger on Maui" for five years running. My favourite here is the "Jail House Rock" burger which comes between two wonderful fresh slices of french bread and is smothered in grilled mushrooms and onions. For an extra splurge you can order a basket of half fries half onion rings. (Heh, I'm not on a low fat diet yet!) My husband who loves veggie burgers is impressed by the choices they have and he usually goes for one named after Jack Lalaine, the old fitness guru? I remember my mother exercising with his TV show and he is still alive at 94. The restaurant itself has a funky 50's sort of theme, and sells real icecream milkshakes (like they used to make them) and root beer floats. The setting, overlooking the famous Lahaina Banyan Tree, makes this the perfect place to stop for lunch. If you are interested in dinner they have live music here every night.

When we used to stay at Maui Sands on the Lower Honoapiilani Rd. we discovered the Honokowai Okazuya and Deli. It is a take out place so you can call in your order and enjoy a fantastic meal in your condo or on the beach. The Kung Pao chicken is to die for and my husband's favourite is the Mahi Mahi Lemon Caper broiled.

Also on the West Side, The Sea House on the beach at Napili Bay is a gem of a place. You can have a wonderful ocean front lunch and watch whales at the same time. My very favourite item on the menu here is the Coconut Crusted Prawns. They are huge and delicious, especially when you dip them in the yummy sauce. Guess what Mr. Fitness himself has? You guessed it, he chooses the low fat fruit salad and cottage cheese.

For fine dining on the West Side, The Plantation House Restaurant in Kapalua on the Plantation Golf Course is our favourite. A few years ago, while having lunch with our friends and their teenage son Kevin, we looked out of the window and there was Michael Jorden, getting out of his golf cart about 100 yards away. Kevin was so excited he could hardly contain himself.

Swan Court in the Hyatt although pricey is lovely for a special treat. It sits on a man made pond with swans swimming almost right to your table. We went there once for my birthday and I have a special memory of a beautiful Hawaiian dancer doing the Hula just for our table. The breakfast buffet there is also quite a spectacular event.

We also love Canoes, just north Lahaina town, because every Sunday from 3:00 to 6:00 they have live jazz in the lounge. If you stay and have the early bird special in their restaurant before 6:00 you get a 3 course meal for a very reasonable price.

There are also many great restaurants in Kihei. Stella Blues, in the Azeka Makua centre, is a mainstay for reasonably priced, breakfast, lunch or dinners. The food is consistently excellent and my favouite sandwich on the lunch menu is the BLT with fresh roasted turkey. Fresh is the key for me because one thing I don't like is when restaurants use processed meats in their sandwiches. 

The Cafe O' Lei, in the Kihei Rainbow Mall, has to be one of the most popular restaurants on the south side so make sure you make a reservation. It is pricey but the food is fabulous and the service is excellent!

Mulligans on the Blue is another favourite of ours. It is located on the Blue Golf Course in Wailea across from the Fairmont Hotel.  If you like entertainment during dinner don't miss Joyce and Gord, a fantastic Jazz duo, who play there on Monday nights. (Call first to make sure they are going to be there)  Famous local entertainer Willie K also has a dinner show there on Wednesdays.

Kihei has a wide variety of restaurants to suit every budget. We haven't tried them all yet but if you just drive down South Kihei Road you can find, Thai, Chinese, Mexican, Greek and almost any type of food your little heart desires.
I can't leave this blog without a mention of some North Shore and Up Country restaurants. The Paia Fish Market has excellent fresh fish at bargain prices, and Cafe Mambos, with it's easy going ambiance, is another great place to get a burger, as is Charlie's on the main drag just as you go out of Paia towards Hookipa. Charlie's is a favourite hang out of Willie Neslon, so if you get lucky, he may drop in and play a few tunes. If you keep driving towards Hookipa lookout you will come to the famous Mama's Fishhouse, which is a classy, very pricy, restaurant on the beach with valet parking, and scrumptuous food.
In Makawao, up in cowbow country we recommend Casanova Italian Restaurant and in Kula our favourite is at The Kula Lodge. Situated at an elevation of 3200 ft. the restaurant overlooks beautiful tropical gardens, and spectacular sweeping views from mountains to the ocean.
This just about wraps up our favourite Maui restaurants. If you have a favourite Maui restaurant please leave a comment and let us know what we have been missing.
If you need a vacation rental to stay in while on Maui check out this website.

1 comment:

  1. We like Stella Blues too. In fact when we had the first Maui Tweet-up with Jeremiah Owyang, I chose that venue: http://www.amauiblog.com/2009/01/first-maui-tweet-up-photo/

    And my husband did a post on their burger :) :

    And yes, Cafe Ole is great too. Aside from Kihei, they have one is Kahului at the Maui Lani's Dunes Golf Course and in Wailuku Town next to Iao Theater.

    Very good discussion and recommendations. Thanks!