The Best 7 Restaurants to Try in Maui
Fresh fish, home-grown produce, and local flavors combine in Maui, making every meal on the island an authentic Hawaiian experience. From casual dining experiences to award-winning eateries, don’t miss the chance to indulge in one of the best 7 restaurants in Maui:
Mama’s Fish House
With its prime waterfront location, Polynesian inspired decor, and perfectly-prepared seafood, Mama’s Fish House lives up to its reputation as one of the best restaurants in Maui. A family-owned establishment since 1973, Mama’s was founded on Maui’s north shore by an adventurous young California couple who resettled on the island. Floyd and Doris left San Diego in their 20s and sailed around the South Pacific with their young family before settling in Maui and opening the restaurant of their dreams (and the island’s first fresh fish restaurant). Mama’s has always been known for working closely with local fishermen to serve the freshest fish, and that still holds true today. Local catch like Mahi Mahi, Ahi, Ono, and Kanpachi grace the menu, prepared with traditional ingredients like lime, coconut, or crusted with macadamia nuts. All the dishes pair best with a Mai Tai or the family’s signature Bali Hai. If you want to eat here, you’re not alone–Mama’s is booked up 3-6 months in advance, so be sure to make a reservation!
Located inside Kapalua Resort at the end of Kapalua Bay Beach, the elegance of Merriman’s Kapalua is felt the moment you walk through the door. The spacious and airy interior gives way to a truly breathtaking lanai (open air veranda) and patio that offers stunning views over the bay. Chef Peter Merriman dedicates great time and creative energy into crafting elevated farm-to-table dishes through collaboration with local farmers, ranchers, and fishermen, resulting in elevated Hawaiian cuisine. The prixe fixe 3-course menu showcases Maui’s freshest seafood, meats, and produce with a choice of appetizers, entrees, and desserts. The macadamia nut crusted Mahi Mahi, pan-seared kona, and beef filet are three stand-out main dishes. Save room for the house-made Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream for dessert.
Paia Fish Market
Owned by local resident Moonstar (AKA Moon), and local surfing legend, Yuri Soledade, Paia Fish Market plays a major role in the authentic fresh fish restaurant scene on the island. Paia Fish Market is committed to supporting the local fishing industry and purchase their menu’s “Fresh Catch Plates” directly from local fishermen. While other international dishes like quesadillas and tacos make menu appearances, it’s the choice of fish (Mahi Mahi, Ono, Snapper, Salmon, Ahi, Opah), made to order in the diner’s choice of charbroiled, sautéed, Cajun style, or blackened, that are the real stand out items.
The quality food and true “aloha” spirit synonymous with the restaurant has earned Paia Fish Market so much of a following that Yuri and Moon opened two more locations on Oahu.
If you’re looking for the best fine-dining restaurant in Maui, this is it. Lahaina Grill – located in the historic center of Lahaina on the northwest coast–has earned countless awards, including Best Maui Restaurant for 29 years in a row! This contemporary bistro boasts elegance and class at every turn with walls adorned with sprawling floral paintings by local Maui artist, Jan Kasprzycki, and tables topped with fine china, crystal, and picture-perfect gourmet dishes. Opened in 1990, the 55-seat eatery—plus two chef’s tables reserved for serious foodies—has grown in size and reputation and now sits 130 guests. Veal and beef are the restaurant’s best-known dishes, specifically Osso Buco, rack of lamb, braised ribs, and filet mignon. There is, of course, wine to compliment every dish. Lahaina Grill is also known for their host of desserts–running the gamut from cakes and tarts to mousses and pies–so make sure to save room! Make a reservation (and bring your credit card–this place is on the pricier side) if you want to dine here.
This northshore Haiku nook doesn’t boast any ocean views, but that shouldn’t deter you from checking out the intimate Izakaya restaurant and sushi bar. Created by the same owners of Paia Fish Market, Moonstar Greene and Yuri Soledade, Nuka is a tribute to the beautiful simplicity of Japanese cuisine. Sushi Chef Hiro Takanashi delivers outstanding hand-rolled sushi, rice bowls, and soups while incorporating Haiku-grown produce and fish from local fishermen whenever possible. At Nuka, they also mill their own rice, which is how the restaurant got its name (Nuka means rice bran in Japanese). The cocktails and specialty rolls change daily and are always a hit, and the miso butterfish, Kushiyaki grilled skewers, and nigiri–made with the best cuts of fresh fish and Nuka’s own home-milled rice–are not to be missed.
Hali'imaile General Store
Don’t let the name fool you– Hali'imaile General Store, is not, in fact, a general store, but a beloved restaurant tucked amongst the pineapple fields in upcountry Maui. Before being converted into a restaurant by Beverly and Joe Gannon, the structure you see today was built in the 1920s and served as a general store, butcher, fish market, post office, and clothing store for the plantation workers who farmed the pineapple fields. Sticking with the historic name, Hali'imaile General Store serves up classic American comfort food like fried chicken sandwiches and BBQ pork sandwiches with some Hawaiian favorites like coconut fish curry and ahi poke bowl. With their vegetarian and kids’ (keiki) menu, this family-friendly establishment satisfies every preference in a peaceful and low-key setting.
Maui’s premier date night restaurant, Morimoto Maui boasts a whimsical setting on the island’s west coast with 180-degree views of the beach and ocean from every seat in the house. The beach-house-meets-modern-chic vibe is achieved with sleek albeit comfortable upholstered teak wood furniture, offset by a polished interior and terrace with contemporary sculptures. Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto plates sashimi and maki rolls along with choice entrees like his signature pork chop with applesauce, seared local fish, and Japanese wagyu. The cocktails are just as creative as the food, with fresh twists applied to old favorites. Try the molokini mule with yuzu and shochu or the “morimo-tini” spiced up with morimoto junmai sake.
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1. What is the meaning behind EAT PRAY MAUI?
EAT implies you're hungry. I want to encourage people to be hungry for success your own success not someone else's idea of success.
PRAY is my way of inspiring people to focus on and accomplish their dreams.
MAUI is a reminder of the beautiful place we are, and an invitation for our friends to "Live the island Life"
2. How did the idea for the business model come about?
I have a belief that in order to receive, you must first give. I believe in the power of "planting seeds" to grow what you want to create more of in your life. I have long held this idea for a clothing company, but knew that it wouldn't feel important to me unless I was using it as a vehicle for something higher, to help people in need, to motivate others to help and share what I have learned about MAUI.
Philanthropy is an important aspect of my life. I wanted to make it part of the DNA of my business. I, myself have been inspired by successful people who give back to their communities. So in alignment with that, I have partnered with organizations such as Kiva, Make a wish Hawaii and other charities in this venture. I am excited at the possibilities and hope to make as much of an impact as I can.
3. From where do you draw your inspiration?
I love playing in the ocean. I practice yoga and go hiking regularly. I find my connection in nature, and am outdoors as much as possible. I love listening to music and meeting new people and travel regularly. Spending quality time with my two daughters is one of the greatest joys of my life.
4. How do you resource yourself to continue to be creative?
I don't have any specific rituals, but we love to take trips to Kauai and California, where I am from Southern California and Santa Monica to be exact. Both of these places are beautiful, peaceful and magical. They inspire me with the energy the share, the ocean air and the vibrant colors of the environment. They are our go-to spots when we are able to take time away. We always come back to Maui feeling fully refreshed and rejuvenated.
EAT PRAY MAUI is uniquely inspired clothing business. Our first collection is a line of Trucker Hats and Snapbacks, with our inspiring EPM logo. Stay tuned! Our clothing line is due to launch in the latter part of 2017.