Food is one of the largest single items in any trip to Hawaii. You can easily spend hundreds of dollars a day feeding your family. There are, however, some great places to eat in West Maui which can save you some of those much needed dollars. Here are some of my personal favorites.
The best hamburgers in Hawaii are found at one of the Cheeseburger Restaurants in Hawaii. Don't get these restaurants confused with the mainland company operated by Outback Steakhouse in partnership with Margaritaville Holdings, parent to Jimmy Buffett's six-unit Margaritaville Cafes. In Lahaina, they still retain the original name of Cheeseburger in Paradise. The location is perfect, right on Front Street with great ocean views. The food is great and the decor is really something to behold. It's a must stop for most West Maui visitors.
One of the best things about a vacation in Hawaii is getting to eat really freshly caught fish. The Maui Fish Market sells fish for you to take back to your condo and cook (along with the marinades, seasonings and cooking tips), and also offers a full menu of cooked meals. Chances are the fish was caught that same day right off the coast of Maui. You can call in your order and it will be ready when you want to pick it up. Sandwiches and plate lunches are all in the $10-15 range. Fish Market Maui is located in the AAAAA Retail Center at at 3600 Lower Honoapiilani Road in Honokowai, just past the Star Market on the right.
This is one of my favorite places to get a great meal anywhere in the world. While you can eat in, this is primarily a take out place and the crowds line up out the door to do just that. The original chef-owner was once a chef at Mama's Fish House. He's gone, but the food remains as good as you'll find anywhere. Entrees include Chicken Katzu, Kung Pao Chicken, Mongolian Beef, Teriyaki Steak, Mahi Mahi, Fish 'n Chips, Ono, and Broiled Salmon. You also get fresh stir-fried vegetables and rice. For about $12-15 you get a really great meal. They are located in the AAAAA Retail Center at at 3600 Lower Honoapiilani Road in Honokowai, just past the Star Market on the right.
If you're at Ka'anapali Beach and looking for a casual, reasonably priced place to eat lunch or dinner, check out the Hula Grill Barefoot Bar. The Café menu offers lunch and dinner service with an array of appetizers, specialty sandwiches, fish tacos, grilled fresh fish and pizzas from their Kiawe wood-burning oven. They're open for lunch daily from 11:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. and for dinner from 4:15 - 11:00 p.m. Alpha (Happy) Hour is from 3-5:00 p.m. daily. The Barefoot Bar is located in Whaler's Village right along the beach walk.
If you're in Lahaina and want a nice lunch or dinner that won't break the bank, go to Kimo's. They're located right on the water at 845 Front Street in the heart of historic Lahaina. Their Lanai offers great views of the ocean and it's a great spot for lunch. It's also a very popular spot for after dinner cocktails and entertainment on weekends. Their dinner menu features fresh Hawaiian fish, prime rib, prime steaks and, of course, their original Kimo's Hula Pie. So what is Hula Pie? It's "macadamia nut ice cream piled high on a chocolate cookie crust topped with chocolate fudge, whipped cream and more macadamia nuts." It's also to die for.
Located just opposite the Hula Grill Barefoot Bar where Whaler's Village ends at the Ka'anapali Beach Walk, Leilani's On The Beach offers spectacular views of the islands of Lanai and Molokai during the day and beautiful sunsets in the evening. Leilani's has a Beachside Grill with a menu of casual fare and live entertainment. It's a great spot to just sit and watch the people go by on the beach walk. They also have a slightly more expensive open-air dining room where the house specialties include prime steaks, fresh Hawaiian fish prepared a variety of ways, crab legs and rack of lamb. Kimo's Original Hula Pie is served here also. Both Kimo's and Leilani's are owned by T S Restaurants.
It always puzzles me why so many travelers never consider eating at a resort restaurant unless they're staying at the resort. Some of the best food in Hawaii is found at the top resorts. The Westin Maui Resort & Spa at the Ka'anapali Beach Resort has two fine restaurants, tropica and my personal favorite, the 'OnO Bar & Grill. Located poolside in the interior of the resort, 'OnO offers a wonderful tapas dinner menu. Not sure what you want to eat or how hungry you are? Tapas are the answer. Based on the Spanish concept of smaller appetizer selections, tapas also make a great dinner. Order several and you'll have a wonderful time. 'OnO is open for dinner from 5-10:00 p.m. with Happy Hour from 5-6:00 p.m. and again from 10-11:00 p.m.
Pizza in Hawaii? Absolutely. As much as I enjoy fresh fish, I need a change every so often and if pizza or other Italian favorites are what you're hungry for, then Pizza Paradiso is your place. It's been frequently cited for having the best pizza on Maui in such publications as the Frommers Guide to Maui and Hawaii for Dummies. They also have great pasta offerings that I've enjoyed several times. They're located at 3500 Lower Honoapiilani Road in the Honokowai Marketplace just a few steps down from the Star Market.
With sweeping views of the coastline, the islands of Lana'i and Moloka'i and the Kapalua Plantation Golf Course, the award-winning Plantation House Restaurant is hard to resist. It's one of the most scenic restaurants on Maui. Chef Alex Stanislaw blends the rustic simplicity of Mediterranean flavors with local island ingredients to create his own Hawaiian-Mediterranean cuisine. The menu emphasizes Hawaii's fresh fish, with dishes enhanced by the bounty of fresh produce and herbs grown in nearby Kapalua Farms. It's a great spot for an affordable breakfast or lunch, both served until 3:00 p.m. Dinner is served nightly from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The Plantation House Restaurant is located on Plantation Club Drive in the Kapalua Resort.
For being one of Maui's most highly regarded restaurants with a multi-award winner chef, Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar at the Kapalua Resort is amazingly affordable. Pupu (appetizer) and sushi prices start at just $2.95. Dinner entrees start at $15.95. There's a discount if you eat between 5:30 and 6:00 p.m. There's something in almost everyone's price range. The cuisine here is part Hawaii Regional Cuisine and part Pacific Rim with strong Japanese influences throughout. The awards and recognition that they have received seem almost endless - "Best Sushi," "Best Maui Restaurant," "Chef of the Year - Ivan Pahk," "Best Seafood"... They are open for dinner nightly from 5:30 - 10:00 p.m. with extended hours on Thursday and Friday.
Located at one of my favorite resorts, the Napili Kai Beach Resort, the Sea House Restaurant is located right on the bay. Sunsets here are spectacular. Breakfast here is one of the great deals on Maui. How can you beat two eggs, 5 strips of bacon, hash browns, toast, juice and coffee of tea for $9.95? I've also eaten dinner here several times and never been disappointed with the delicious Pacific Rim cuisine. I especially enjoy sitting at the bar for dinner chatting with other patrons. Music is offered nightly at 7:00 p.m. They offer an early bird (before 6:00 p.m.) special three-course dinner menu nightly.