When you think of a lush island paradise with white sandy beaches and palm trees you think about Maui, Hawaii.Maui has become one of the worlds most popular travel destinations.Maui has year-around warm weather and warm waters that are ideal for swimming, snorkeling and all water sports.Maui is the second largest island in the chain of Hawaiian Islands.It has everything from lush tropical rain forests to dry desert like climates.You will find some of the best golf courses in the world on Maui as well as some of the finest beaches, restaurants and resort hotels.
You can get direct flights to Maui from most major airports in the United States. Travel deals and vacation packages are often available. VoyageMonkey posts these regularly. If you are going to enjoy all that Maui has to offer, getting a rental car is highly recommended if not a must. You will want to spend at least one or two road trip days while you are in Maui. You will want to be sure to take in all the sights. Maui is not very large, 727 square miles, so you can easily get around most of the island in a day. Lets start with where to stay.
Where to Stay
Maui has some of the best beach resort hotels in the world.Wailea and Ka'anapali are the most popular resort areas on Maui.Wailea is famous for its 5-Star resorts and Ka'anapali is famous for its long stretch of white sandy beach separated in the middle by Black Rock, a popular snorkeling spot.The Ka'anapali boardwalk offers two miles of beachfront for walking and exercise.The close by historic whaling town of Lahaina offers fine dining and entertainment.Most of the nicer beach resort hotels on Maui are fairly expensive.Its simply a matter of supply and demand.Here is VoyageMonkey's list (in no particular order) of where to stay to make the most of your Maui experience.
Grand Wailea Resort, Hotel & Spa (3850 Wailea Alanui Drive, Wailea). Part of the Waldorf-Astoria Collection, the luxurious 4.5-Star Grand Wailea is the perfect family resort getaway, yet romantic as well. The world-class resort sits on 40 lush tropical garden acres that border Wailea Beach, voted one of the best beaches in America. The ocean views are spectacular. There are 780 guestrooms. Kids love this resort for its mega-pool, its water slides, flowing 2,000-foot long river pool, and its camp programs. Adults will love to indulge themselves at the 50,000 square foot Spa Grande, a world-class spa. There are 6 restaurants with a variety of dining choices. There are 5 championship golf courses nearby and tennis. You can view priceless art throughout the hotel. Guest rooms average a spacious 640 square feet with full amenities and nicely decorated, including marble bathrooms and private balconies. The resort's standard room rate is generally expensive. Keep an eye out for occasional deals or vacation packages. VoyageMonkey posts great deals regularly. This resort is best for families and those liking the mega resort feel.
FOUR SEASONS, WAILEA
Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea (3850 Wailea Alanui Drive, Wailea). Located next door to the Grand Wailea Resort on Wailea Beach, this 5-Star hotel is perfect for couples and those seeking a luxurious romantic getaway with lots of pampering and personal service. Wailea has the sunniest whether on Maui as it's the driest part of the island. The Four Seasons is rated one of the top hotels is Hawaii. It features a palatial open-air design with reflecting pools, fountains and waterfalls. Private cabanas surround the pool area for that private romantic day enjoying the sunshine and ocean views. There is nightly entertainment and award winning 5-Star dining, including Chef Wolfgang Puck's Spago and DUO. Children enjoy their "Kids For All Seasons" program. Voted one of the top spas in America, The Spa at Four Seasons Resort Maui is an excellent way to unwind in a nurturing tropical sanctuary. The 380 guest rooms, including 75 suites, are decorated with modern luxury and Hawaiian sophistication. The majority of rooms overlook the ocean and have private balconies. The U-shaped design of the resort ensures good ocean views from most rooms. Standard room rates are expensive, however all amenities are free except for the spa. Everyone who stays at this resort loves it. The service is excellent. The only negatives we've heard is that some rooms are set back a little too far from the beach and that the ocean views from the pool area can be obstructed from all the private cabanas.
The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua (One Ritz-Carlton Dr., Kapalua). This 5-Star 445-room hotel offers the spirit of aloha with class and is home to the PGA TOUR season-opening Mercedes-Benz Championship. Its located just 10-miles north of the town of Lahaina. The ambiance is relaxed. The resort grounds are 54-acres. Guest rooms feature dark wood floors, marble bathrooms, flat-screen LCD televisions and Hawaiian inspired artwork. There are 107 residential luxury suites. Amenities include 36 holes of championship golf on two courses, tennis, a 10,000 square-foot tri-level swimming pool, a world-class spa with authentic Hawaiian spa treatments, fine dinning choices featuring formal and casual regional Pacific cuisine, beautiful ocean views and direct access to D.T. Flemming Beach, one of the top beaches. The spa includes a fitness center and outdoor shower gardens. The resort offers a children's pool, babysitting and a kids program. The two outdoor hot tubs are open 24-hours. Overall, the accommodations are first-class and the service is excellent. Golfers love this resort. This hotel is highly recommended. Rooms are expensive, but watch for promotional packages. Negative comments noted: The hotel is not directly "on" the beach (sits above the beach, set back on a knoll) so it's a short walk down to the beach, the pool is more popular; some drinks and food are overpriced; check-in can be slow on busy days; its not very lively (good place to read a book) so you drive a bit; and, they charge for use of the fitness center.
The Fairmont Kea Lani Maui (4100 Wailea Alanui Dr., Wailea). This 5-Star all-suite & villa ocean front resort sits on 22-acres of tropical landscape in Maui's beautiful Wailea (Polo Beach) in southern Maui. Its architecture comes across as slight Hawaiian-Mexican with its white arches. There are 450 guest suites & villas. The spacious 840-square foot one-bedroom suites feature oversized marble bathrooms with two sinks and deep soaking tubs, living room, two televisions, fridge & microwave, sofa-bed, and private balconies. There are 37 two and three bedroom luxury villas. Famous stars regularly stay in the villas. Resort amenities include the award-winning Spa Kea Lani, 24-hr. fitness center, three swimming pools (one adult pool), quality dining choices at four restaurants (Nick's Fishmarket is one of the top Maui restaurants), championship golf, a children's program, and an array of other recreational activities like snorkeling, kayaking, sailing, and diving. Adults have just as much fun on the pool water slide. The spacious pool cabanas provide fresh towels, pineapple, cool washcloths and other pampering services. Babysitting is available. The Fairmont's beach, Polo Beach, is small and very private (although it is a public beach). The Fairmont shares an oceanfront-walking path with the nearby Four Seasons, Grand Wailea, Marriott Wailea and Renaissance Resorts. Great place for a sunset stroll or morning walk. This is a first-class resort surpassing your expectations. The service will spoil you. The accommodations are expensive but you do get a suite (that's a good deal). Its perfect for that special occasion. VoyageMonkey highly recommends this resort. Watch for regular promotions and packages. Negatives noted: the spa is over priced; restaurant food choices can feel limited after a few days; pool umbrellas go fast on hot days; guests often feel nickel and dimed for certain amenities, like $75 for cabana rentals, parking and the overpriced Polo Grill.
Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa (200 Nohea Kai Drive, Ka'anapali). This 4-Star, 806-guest room, resort sits on 40 lush beachfront acres at the southernmost end of Ka'anapali Beach. Ka'anapali is the best resort beach on Maui. A paved beach walk connects your from hotel to hotel along the Ka'anapali strip. This hotel has spectacular views of the ocean and neighboring islands, Lana'i and Moloka'i. The guest rooms are spread out over three towers and include separate sitting areas, fluffy feather beds, and private balconies. The grounds are just beautiful with its tropical foliage, nine waterfalls, ponds & pools, and expansive tree-filled atrium. The property is home for swans, pink flamingos, penguins, and other exotic birds. Kids and adults love the water playground with it ½ acre pool, 150-foot pool slide, waterfalls, rope bridge and swim up cavern bar under the falls. This is one of the best pools in Maui. There are 5 restaurants and 2 bars. Amenities include a fabulous beach, scuba, snorkeling, tennis, 36-hole golf course, shopping, Hawaii's first ocean front spa, entertainment, Spats Nightclub, activities center, and the popular "Drums of the Pacific," Luau. The resort offers Camp Hyatt for children and Baby Sitting Referrals. Guest room rates are moderate to expensive. Children just love this place. Negatives noted: The pool area gets overly crowded; dining in the resort gets expensive and the food is "not that great" (except Son'z); the resort is a bit over priced for what you get and its starting to show its age and dated. However, if money is not an issue this is an exceptional family resort.
The Westin Maui Resort & Spa (2365 Ka?anapali Pkwy, Ka?anapali). This 4-Star 758-guestroom resort sits on 12 lush ocean front acres in the center of fabulous Ka?anapali Beach, adjacent to Whaler?s Village shops & restaurants. The resort has great Hawaiian ambiance and incredible views of the Maui Cannel and neighbor islands, Lanai and Molokai. Guest really love the central Ka?anapali Beach location of this resort. The tropical garden setting and Koi ponds are stunning. Flamingos and exotic birds make their home here. Most of the guest rooms in the two 11-story towers overlook the pools & gardens, the ocean, and the neighbor islands. Guest accommodations include 27 suites. All guestrooms are non-smoking. All rooms feature Westin's trademark pillow-top Heavenly Beds, which are extremely comfortable. The excellent service is full of the aloha spirit. Their Tropica Restaurant serves excellent Pacific Rim cuisine. The Westin features five restaurants and lounges, a luxury spa, and modern workout facility. The focal point of the resort is the 87,000-square-foot aquatic playground featuring five inter-connected swimming pools, swim-through waterfalls with hidden whirlpool and grotto, and two water slides (one of which features a 128-foot ride). Children and all guests love the pool area. This is one of the best & most popular pools on Maui. There is a great activities desk that is very helpful and many of the resort amenities are free, like complimentary self-parking. The Westin offers a Kids Club, and baby-sitting services. VoyageMonkey recommends this resort. Rooms are moderate to expensive. There is no additional charge for children under 18 sharing a guest room with parents. Discounts and upgrades are often available if you join as a Starwood Resorts member. Also check VoyageMonkey for regular discounts. Negatives noted: rooms are just standard size but nice; if you don?t like kids you will find many; and, the pool areas can be crowded in high season.
The Sheraton Maui (2605 Ka'anapali Pkwy, Ka'anapali). Situated on Ka'anapali Beach at Black Rock, this 510-guest room 4-Star resort offers a romantic Hawaiian setting. Great for honeymooners and families alike. It's a quieter atmosphere than the neighbor resorts to the south. The open-air lobby has a crisp cool look that is carried throughout the resort. The grounds have a very open tropical feel giving you that peaceful less crowded atmosphere. There are six buildings in all, some are six stories. The majority of the spacious rooms come with private balconies and some of the best ocean views on Maui. Some of the rooms are on Black Rock (a lava formation that rises 80 ft. above the beach). There are some "family suites" that cater to families traveling with kids. They offer a children's program and kids ages 12 and under eat for free when dining with parents. The swimming pool resembles a natural tropical lagoon, with rock waterways and wooden bridges. Private poolside cabanas are available for a fee. There is a really nice pool bar. Best of all, the hotel sits next to the 80-foot-high "Black Rock," from which divers leap in a traditional nightly torch-lighting ritual. Black Rock is one of the best snorkel spots on Maui. Guests at other resorts on the island come here to snorkel. You will find spectacular coral, many varieties of tropical fish, and large sea turtles. Guests have great access to north Ka'anapali Beach and the resorts north of Black Rock. The resort includes a really nice boutique spa offering quite an array of services. The staff is very friendly & eager to help. We recommend this resort for snorkeling enthusiasts. The resort is expensive but the service is good. Come here if you find a great deal. Check Starwood directly for specials or VoyageMonkey. Negatives noted: the resort is a little dated in some areas; the resort is pricey and there is a lack of affordable dining and drinks (although the breakfast buffet is good); if you are not crazy about other peoples children, lots of kids like most Maui resorts.
WESTIN OCEAN VILLAS
The Westin Ka'anapali Ocean Resort Villas (6 Kai Ala Dr., Ka'anapali). This luxurious ocean side resort is located 15 minutes north of the town of Lahaina on 14-acres at Ka'anapali's beautiful and pristine North Beach. The 7-story premier Hawaii vacation ownership property offers wonderfully spacious hotel accommodations. Guest rooms are modern and richly furnished including LCD televisions, oversized marble bathrooms, Jacuzzi tub, large shower, fridge & all cooking necessities and washer/dryer. The signature Westin Heavenly Beds are a dream. There are studios, one-bed room suites and full villas. All rooms are non-smoking rooms. The grounds are impeccable and the facilities are modern. Amenities include a magnificent 8000-square-foot lagoon pool, a serpentine pool, pool bars, hot tubs, tennis, fitness center, children's activity center, various moderately priced formal and family dining choices, and an unlimited array of activity options. There is an excellent snorkeling reef directly in front of the resort, full of tropical fish and colorful coral. Black Rock is just a short walk. The north buildings are very quiet and relaxing. Great for a romantic getaway. Most of the children like the south buildings with their recreation lagoon and water slide. The resort offers regular complimentary shuttle service every 15-minutes to Lahaina, Whaler's Village and the other local Starwood Resort properties. Self-parking at the resort is complimentary. Overall this is a great first-class vacation resort with excellent friendly service. Great for families and romantics. The resort is moderate to expensive. Good deals and package are regularly offered. Negatives noted: the coral reef is way to close to the beach making swimming a challenge; self parking can be a challenge with all the compact car stalls.
Marriott Maui Ocean Club (100 Nohea Kai Drive, Ka'anapali). This 4-Star vacation ownership resort property sits on 16 ocean front acres at popular Ka'anapali Beach. There are 311 spacious suites and 77 villas that are nicely decorated and include standard resort amenities like mini-kitchens. The grounds are bursting with lush landscapes and tropical gardens throughout the property. The resort's heart is a large multi-tiered 3.5-acre super pool with waterfalls, grottos, relaxing pool bar, and a large water slide. There are also several Jacuzzi's. There is a children's pool section, complete with sandy beach and a pirate ship to play on. Adults can find a smaller less crowded pool on the property to enjoy. The resort has an excellent fitness center and beach activity center for your water sports needs. The restaurants are good for families but pricey like most along the strip. Room prices are moderate to expensive. The resort is great for families with children. Overall this is a good resort with excellent ocean views, excellent & convenient beach location on Ka'anapali Beach, and good staff service. Children love this resort. Negatives noted: the pool gets over crowded; swimming at the beach is a challenge because of rocks a few feet off shore; food is pricey.
Montage Kapalua Bay (One Bay Drive, Kapalua). Located along the ocean in Kapalua, the 4-Star Montage Resort offers 50 spacious luxury residential style suites ranging from one to four bedrooms. Suites include private balconies, full kitchens, washer/dryers, soaking tubs, state-of-the-art technology, Wi-Fi, in-room safes, and much more. The property includes lush tropical landscape, cascading three level swimming pools, adults only pool, beach access, watersports & beach activities, world-class spa & fitness center, multiple restaurants and bars, general store, tennis, access to two championship Kapalua golf courses, and complimentary shuttle service around the Kapalua Resort. Amenities also include 24-hour room service, live entertainment, and concierge service. The service is extremely good. This is a great place for families and those that enjoy having a kitchen and the conveniences of home.
Andaz Maui at Wailea (3550 Wailea Alanui Drive, Wailea). This 15-acre luxury beachfront resort by Hyatt Hotels offers a hidden sanctuary along a crescent shaped shore. The resort offers 297 luxury guest rooms & suites, and 7 luxury 2-4 bedroom villas, all with private balcony, well-appointed stylish furnishings, opulent bathrooms with ocean and garden view showers, and full luxury amenities. The resort includes the full service upscale Awili Spa & state-of-the-art fitness center, four impressive cascading infinity pools, private adult pool and other swimming pools, lovely Mokapu Beach, sedan service, meeting facilities & business center, recreational activities and water sports, lounges & bars, and wonderful onsite dining options like the highly-acclaimed Morimoto’s Restaurant which features exquisite Pacific Rim Fusion cuisine, and Ka’ana Kitchen serving local island comfort food. You’ll find easy access to nearby Wailea golf courses, restaurants and shops, and the friendly concierge service can help you with all kinds of reservations, tee times and booking activities. This is a great resort to escape for luxurious relaxation and pampering.
KA'ANAPALI BEACH HOTEL
Here are some nice 3-Star and 4-Star hotels that are also on the beach and offer good value & deals from time to time.Be sure to check VoyageMonkey for regular deals and promotional packages.
The Wailea Marriott (Wailea)
Honua Kai Resort & Spa (Ka'anapali)
Ka'anapali Beach Club Resort (Ka'anapali)
The Ka'anapali Beach Hotel (Ka'anapali).
Aston Ka'anapali Shores (Ka'anapali)
Napili Kai Beach Resort (Napili)
Activities & Things to Do
Lets start with some popular day trips and points of interest to visit while in Maui.A good day trip is to journey to the "up country" area of Maui and visit Haleakala, a 10,023 foot-high dormant volcano.Haleakala is a 30,058-acre national Park.Visiting the crater at the top is a great photo opportunity.You will find breathtaking views of Maui and the neighboring islands.There are guided bicycle tours that ride down the volcano.It does get cold up there so layer your clothes.On the slopes of Haleakala you will find many farms, stables and "old Hawaiian" style towns.You can get a feel for old Hawaii and how the locals live.Taking an up country horseback ride is a popular activity for many visitors.You can also get adventurous and experience the thrill of a zipp-line ride and zipp over cliffs and valleys at the Haleakala Ranch.If you are visiting up country for the day the best restaurant to try is the Haliimaile General Store in Haliimaile.It serves Hawaiian Regional Cuisine and has won many awards.
Driving the famous road to Hana is a very popular day trip.Remember, the trip to Hana is not about the destination but rather the journey.The actual town of Hana is very small with not much activity.Its like a town that time forgot.You can start your journey in Pa'ia, a small little historic plantation town in central Maui a few minutes east of the Kahului airport.Pa'ia has many small craft shops and art galleries featuring local artists.You may find some ex hippies from the 1960's.It’s worth a stop.I've heard that country singer Willie Nelson sometimes hangs out there.The full trip to Hana and back takes up around a full day.The drive is very scenic down a narrow road along the coast.You'll drive over countless old bridges and pass by waterfalls, freshwater pools, black sand beaches and lush tropical rain forest foliage.You can stop and walk through the tropical Ke'anae Arboretum.This is one of the most beautiful drives you'll ever take.Some people make only part of the drive, taking in a few waterfalls and then turn around.That's fine too.Cheaters often take one of the many helicopter excursions offered and see Hana that way.Some of your best photos of Maui will be taken along this drive.If you'd like to spend the night and not rush back make a reservation at the Hotel Hana-Maui.On the way back stop by Ho'okipa Beach known as the windsurfing capital of the world.Sit and watch the windsurfers tackle the surf.The best windsurfers in the world make a pilgrimage to the Beach.Make it a plan to dine at the famous Mama's Fish House restaurant along the road just outside of Pa'ia.Mama's is the best restaurant in Maui.
If you remember the movie "Raiders of the Lost Arc" the Iao Valley State Park might look like a familiar spot.This lush tropical rain forest valley located just 4 miles west of Wailuku features an ancient 2,250 phallic pinnacle (the Iao Needle) that rises up from a stream.This is a great place to hike and take in the scenery.The park is a sacred place to Hawaiians.The local story goes that this was the site of many ancient bloody battles and the bones of ancient warriors are scattered here.The Iao Needle acted as a natural alter and Hawaiian chiefs were laid to rest here.If you visit Kahului for the day, this park is not far.
FRONT ST., LAHAINA
You can't visit Maui with out visiting the historic whaling town of Lahaina.This is a romantic small town with many early 1900's buildings, a small harbor and its famous Front Street.Along Front Street and the many side streets you will find magnificent dining, bars, nightlife, local art galleries and plenty of shopping.Many of the shops are unique and feature local arts and crafts.There are also plenty of T-shirt and swimwear shops.You will find top Maui restaurant in the heart of town as well as many casual eateries serving good reasonably priced meals.At the south end of town along Front St. in a small park sits a gargantuan Banyan Tree that is spread out over the entire block.This spot is great for photos.
SHOPS AT WAILEA
Other excellent shopping can be found at the Cannery Mall in Lahaina, Whaler's Village at Ka'anapali Beach and The Shops at Wailea.For less touristy shopping there are various spots in Kehei, Maui Mall in Kahului and Queen Kaahumana Center in Kahului.
By far the most popular thing to do while in Maui is to check out its spectacular beaches.You will find some of the best beaches and snorkeling in the world on Maui.Here is a list of some of the best beaches to visit while in Maui.
Ka'anapali Beach.Located in west Maui minutes north of Lahaina, this beach offers miles of white sand, a paved boardwalk, resorts & dining, and lots of beach activities.This beach is for those looking for action.
Wailea Beach.Located in south Maui, this beach is in the dryer part of the island so it gets more sun.It's a beautiful white sand beach that stretches from the Grand Wailea Resort to the Four Seasons Resort.It's a great beach to people watch and for beach activities.
Makena Big & Little Beach.One of the longest beaches in Hawaii, these beaches feel secluded and often are.Located down a small road, Big Beach's long stretch of white sand is breathtaking.It's a great swimming beach but can get rough.Little Beach (clothing optional) is a secluded cove just around the north rocks of Big Beach.It’s a great place to snorkel and find sea turtles.
Ho'okipa Beach.This is one of the best windsurfing beaches in the world.It's a beautiful beach and a great place to watch the professional windsurfers practice.Its in north Maui minutes east of the Kahului Airport.
D.T. Fleming Beach Park.Located just north of the Ritz-Carlton Resort in Kapalua, this beach park is excellent for picnics and body surfing.It's a good beach for families.
Honolua – Molule'ia.Just a few minutes north of Kapalua, this beautiful protected marine reserve provides some of the best snorkeling & swimming and it is also a popular surfing beach.
Kapalua Bay.This beach has beautiful clean sand, clear water and lots of lava rocks that make it a perfect snorkel spot.
Napili Bay.This is one of the most beautiful and scenic bays in Maui.The small white sand beach is gorgeous and there is great snorkeling on the edges of the bay.You can enjoy a good meal at one of the local resorts' beach restaurants.
Sugar Beach.Located between Ma'alaea and Kihei, this beach is a beautiful white sand beach that is popular for windsurfing, swimming and taking in the sun's golden rays.
Launiupoko Beach Park.Located minutes south of Lahaina, this pristine black sand beach has green lawns and a swimming pond for children.Families love to picnic here.
A very popular day trip is to take the family out to the Molokini Crater and Turtle Town on a snorkel sail.The Molokini Crater is the half-rim of a dormant volcano that rises above the ocean waters a few miles off the coast of southern Maui.The crater is a marine preserve and is full of spectacular coral and abundant with exotic sea life.You may get lucky enough to see a small White-Tip Reef Shark swim along the bottom.They never bother any of the snorkelers.This is also a great place to scuba dive.Tutle Town is just off the shore between Makena and Wailea. It's a reef that is home to giant Green Sea Turtles. There are many excursion companies that have daily sails to the crater and Turtle Town.Many of them are located at the Ma'alaea Harbor north of Kehie.One of the best excursion trips is by "Pride of Maui."If you want to dive, Maui Dive Shop provides dive and snorkel trips to Molokini, Turtle Town, as well as several other popular dive and snorkel spots. The Ma'alaea Harbor, as well as Lahaina Harbor, is a great place to get a deep sea fishing charter.Maui has some of the best fish and the sport fishing is excellent.
While visiting Ma'alaea Harbor, children love the aquatic education experience at the Maui Ocean Center Aquarium Park in Ma'alaea.The aquarium features a clear acrylic tunnel through a 750,000-gallon open ocean exhibit.You will find exhibits of living native ocean coral, interactive touch pools, green sea turtles, various regional tropical fish, and experience close encounters with sharks and stingrays.At the Ma'alaea Harbor you can grab a casual lunch at Buzz's Wharf.They have good shrimp dishes.
MANELE BAY, FOUR SEASONS
Day trips to the neighbor island of Lana'i are a great way to spend a day.There is daily passenger ferry service from Lahaina.The island is not very populated and there are just two Four Seasons resorts and one small hotel, a few restaurants, and a small 1920's-era town.You can get a real sense of old Hawaiian culture with a visit to this peaceful island. On Lana'i you can purchase an inexpensive shuttle pass that will take you between the harbor, Lana'i City, and the Four Seasons resorts. On Lana'i you can play golf at your choice of two courses, horseback ride, hike, snorkel, scuba dive, rent a jeep for the day or take a 4x4 island tour. Other than that, the island is very quiet with not much activity or amenities. Bring water and snacks. If you visit Manele Bay and the pristine beach that is shared with the Four Seasons Resort you may get the opportunity to swim with Dolphin in the wild. The waters off the beach is a popular hang out for these playful dolphin as they splash around with the snorkelers. The island is only 8-miles from Maui so the ferry ride does not take long. A good tour operator with daily excursions from Maui is Trilogy. You can enjoy a catamaran sail which includes snorkeling and lunch at the Trilogy Activity Center on Lana'i.
Golf enthusiasts simply love this island paradise.Maui and its neighbor islands of Lana'i and Moloka'i have over 20 golf courses.Green fees can range from moderate to outrageous.The resort areas have sensational golf courses.Kapalua Bay has three courses, Ka'anapali has two courses, Kehei has a reasonably priced course, Makena has two courses, and Wailea has three courses.There are also other great courses outside the immediate resort areas in central Maui and up country.People venture to Maui from all over the world just to play golf.
Between the months of December and April Maui gets its annual largest visitor to the island, the great Humpback Whale.These 45-foot 40-ton gentle creatures migrate from Alaska every year to mate and give birth to their young.Whale watching is a must if you are in Maui during whale season.Until you've seen one close up in the wild it is hard to appreciate their size and majestic gracefulness.These creatures are intelligent and curious.They will often swim up to whale watching boats just to see what is going on.The more noise you make the more curious they get.There are many excursion companies that offer whale watching trips.Some of the various catamaran sails will pick you up right off the beach in front of some of the major resorts.Otherwise you can find excursions in Lahaina Harbor or Ma'alaea Harbor.Often with the naked eye you can simply see these magnificent creatures just off the beach or from your hotel room balcony.They do come in fairly close to the shore from time to time to give you a show.
The traditional Hawaiian Luau is something you should experience at least once.They generally include authentic Hawaiian cultural music and dance (Hula) along with a traditional feast featuring kalua pig (pig cooked slowly underground), other native Hawaiian dishes and plenty of Mai Tai's.The most popular Luau is the Old Lahaina Luau at 1251 Front St. in Lahaina.This extraordinary Luau is authentic and maintains traditional cultural integrity.Other popular Luau's include "Drums of the Pacific" at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa (Ka'anapali) and the "Feast at Lele" at 505 Front St. (Lahaina).
For the real adventure seeker, rent a Harley.These motorcycles can be rented throughout the island.If you do, be safe.Remember there are plenty of car drivers looking at scenery.Hawaii has no mandatory helmet laws so you can ride free with your hair in the wind.Sometimes you see someone riding along wearing a bathing suit and flip-flops.Use your head.Contact the Maui Eagle Riders rentals or the Harley Davidson dealer to rent a bike for the day.If you really want to cruise Maui in style and turn heads, get one of these awesome machines for the day.
You will never run out of things to do on Maui, particularly your dining options.
Dining on Maui
You will find some of the best dining on Maui.This has become a culinary Mecca for chefs experimenting with the fusion of Pacific Rim, Mediterranean and old Hawaiian flavors. If you like excellent fresh seafood Maui is the place for you.Most of the fine restaurants offer fresh fish caught daily by local fisherman and the finest ingredients using farm fresh locally grown organic produce.Many of the restaurants on Maui can be expensive, even some of the not so good ones.Although you can find some real good familiar mainland restaurants on Maui that are popular, like Kobe Japanese Steakhouse (Lahaina), Spago's (Wailea) and Ruth's Chris Steakhouse (Lahaina), the unique Maui restaurants are a better island dining experience.VoyageMonkey asks the locals what is good and then checks them out.Here is VoyageMonkey's list of favorite restaurants in Maui to fit your mood.
MAMA'S FISH HOUSE
Mama's Fish House (Pa'ia).Mama's is in our opinion the best all around restaurant in Maui.The food and Island ambiance is simply the best around.This is the quintessential Maui dining experience.Mama's is located on a secluded pristine palm tree lined white sandy beach.The valet will park your car as you walk down to the beach.The garden setting around the old building is simply beautiful.The building is modest with that open airy Hawaiian look and feel.The interior decor and detail really gives you that tropical old Polynesia island feel.There are fresh cut floral arrangements through the dining room.Mama's has a full bar serving up the best tropical drinks on the island.Some visitors like to just stop in for that special drink and enjoy the setting.Every dish served will make your mouth water.Their menu includes the names of the local fisherman that caught your meal that day.The Mahi-mahi stuffed with lobster, crab, Maui onion, and baked in a macadamia nut crust is out of this world.The seared Ahi sashimi and crab cake appetizers are simply delicious.The service is always great and the staff is always friendly and eager to please.Mama's falls into the justifiably expensive category.Well worth it for the dining experience.Plan on dining here for that special occasion.Mama's is located at 799 Pho Place, Pa'ia, on Maui's North Shore.Mama's is a bit out of the way but worth the trip.
Pineapple Grill (Kapalua).Located at 200 Kapalua Dr. the Pineapple Grill sits in the groves of Norfolk Pines overlooking the golf greens at Pineapple Hill and the ocean.The restaurant is upscale yet casual and comfortable with its tasteful decor, making guest feel at home.The display kitchen is lively and the food presentations are imaginative.The diverse menu is innovative Pacific island cuisine with a great wine list, including wines by the glass.The Pineapple Grill creates a world-class dining experience, island style, using wonderful flavors, fresh produce and other ingredients that are grown on Maui and throughout Hawaii.The menu includes Pistachio-Wasabi Pea Seared Rare Ahi, Lemon Porcini Dusted Opakapaka, Maui Coffee Roasted Duck Breast & Confit of Duck Leg, Maui Cattle Company Beef Rib Eye Steak, and lemongrass Creme Brule. Overall, the food & service is great and always consistent.You'll enjoy the excellent spacious ambiance and the views are spectacular.The prices are moderate.The Pineapple Grill is always recommended by island locals as a great restaurant.
is a favorite for a romantic sunset dinner, and the food is delicious.Merriman's
sits on the edge of a sandy beach perched over the Pacific.The view is spectacular.A big beautiful deck stretches out towards
the water.With Merriman's great view
and full bar, happy hour at sunset is very popular.The decor uses relaxing soft island tones accented
by a sleek contemporary look.Formerly
of the Hula Grill in Ka'anapali, Chef Peter Merriman provides a genuine Hawaii
Regional dining experience, serving the freshest ingredients from local farmers
to bring you the unique flavors of Hawaii.This is not your typical "Hawaiian
Food" it's the flavors of Hawaii.Fresh
off the boat seasonal sushi grade fish, grass fed island meat and local farmed
produce. The menu showcases Hawaii's
farms and ranches by keeping "Fresh and local" as the theme.The appetizers are great, an appetizer
sampler plate is a good start. Entrees
are delicately prepared to bring out distinctive flavors.I was
fortunate enough to try the wild island boar which was fabulous.The wine list is very good and the staff is
very knowledgeable about the wines and especially the food.The service was very good.Prices are moderate to expensive.One of Maui's ten-best restaurants.
The Lahaina Grill. This is another special dining spot and a favorite of many locals and visitors to the island. When you get to Maui and ask the locals for their favorite restaurant or to give you the name of the best restaurant in Maui, the Lahaina Grill or Mama's will usually be mentioned. The Lahaina Grill is located on the first floor of the Lahaina Inn just off of Front Street in downtown Lahaina at 127 Lahainaluna Road. The food is contemporary American cuisine with a selection of over 350 wines and excellent desserts. Local Maui artists adorn the walls of the elegant contemporary bistro setting with murals and paintings. The owner/chef, Jurg Munch, spent time in Thailand, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Australia. There is a hint of these Pacific Rim influences in the cuisine. The Lahaina Grill uses only the freshest ingredients produced by local farms and the seafood is caught fresh by local fisherman. They use all natural organic meats. Quality is the name of the game. The restaurant is famous for its Maui Onion Crusted Seared Ahi served with Vanilla bean Jasmine rice and apple cider-soy butter vinaigrette. Definitely one of the top restaurants on Maui. This is one for that special occasion. Your meal can be expensive but the food and service is really excellent. The restaurant can feel a bit cramped at peak hours and get a bit noisy.
The Plantation House (Kapalua).This is our favorite restaurant in the moderately priced fine dining & ambiance category.You can describe it as casual island elegance.Located at 2000 Plantation Club Dr. in Kapalua, this restaurant sits on the Kapalua Plantation Golf Course hillside overlooking the ocean and the neighboring islands.The view from this restaurant is spectacular, particularly at sunset.The restaurant is very open with high ceilings.The food creations of the Executive Chef, Alex Stanislaw, are some of the best on Maui.The cuisine is innovative Mediterranean style blending fresh traditional local island flavors.It's the Mediterranean meets Hawaii.The fresh seafood is caught locally and the ingredients are locally farmed.You have your choice of fish selection for the day that can be prepared about a half a dozen different styles from the menu using various Mediterranean recipes.The menu includes organic natural steaks and free range chicken dishes.There is a great wine list and a full bar & lounge.The food is excellent and the service is really good.The ambiance and view are hard to beat.This is a great restaurant that is not overly expensive.The food is excellent and the service is really good.The staff is genuinely friendly and makes this a comfortable place.The restaurant is also a great place for breakfast, serving up several unique styles of eggs benedict on an extensive breakfast menu.
Roy’s Ka'anapali Bar & Grill. Roy’s is located at 2290 Ka'anapali Parkway in Ka’anapali. This is a casual yet elegant bar & grill, serving up some of the best Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine. Located on the Ka'anapali Golf Course, the restaurant is very open and roomy with a view of the golf greens. Award winning Chef Roy Yamaguchi creates food that is artistic with its vibrant colors, bold exotic flavors, Asian spices and ultra fresh island ingredients. The menu has a strong focus on seafood, with daily specials, a prix fix menu, and there is an extensive award winning wine list. The appetizers are a delight. Many guests come in to have drinks at the bar and savor the appetizers. The Hawaiian Blackened Island Ahi and Roy’s Classic Trio dishes are superb. The deserts are a nice finish to a perfect meal. The restaurant is very popular and with the open kitchen can get a bit noisy. The food is excellent and the service is good. The staff is knowledgeable about the menu items and the wines. The restaurant is moderately expensive but highly recommended.
PACIFIC'O & I'O
Pacific'O (Lahaina).Pacific'O is located on the waterfront at 505 Front St. in Lahaina.Pacific'O is contemporary Pacific cuisine. It is basically Pacific Rim cuisine focusing on quality fresh seafood, meats and local organic produce.The food presentations are spectacular.The restaurant has an excellent wine list, specialty Martini's and extensive menus that are unique.The restaurant strives for the freshest of ingredients.To insure only the best quality the restaurant established an organic farm, O'o Farm, located in Kula Maui.Nearly 100% of the restaurant's produce and herbs comes from the farm.Much of the fresh fish comes from the Lahaina Harbor, walking distance from the restaurant.First pick off the fishing boats ensures the best quality of fish.The restaurant offers ocean front dining and has outdoor patio dining a few feet from the beach.Some of the entrees include Crispy Ahi, Hapa Hapa Tempura, Lemongrass Coconut Fish crusted with Sesame Paste, Coconut Macadamia Nut Fish and Scallops wrapped in Jalapeno Bacon.The restaurant offers a great island dining experience.The only negatives noted is that Pacific'O covers it white table cloths with plexiglass that forms water from the chilled glasses, the silverware is inexpensive, and they use wooden disposable chopsticks.At the moderately expensive prices these things could be improved to enhance the dining experience.Overall the restaurant is highly recommended.Great food and good service.The restaurant also operates the Feast at Lele, a Luau adjacent to the restaurant.Food is an integral part of the performance with various traditional dishes coordinated with each of the four acts.This is the best food served at any Luau on the island.
Nick's Fishmarket (Wailea).Nick's Fishmarket is situated off the courtyard at the Fairmont Kea Lani Resort in Wailea.Nick's is an award winning upscale innovative classic seafood restaurant.The restaurant offers a variety of fresh island seafood, Maui Cattle Company Steaks & Veal and boasts a beautifully displayed award winning 2000 bottle wine cellar offering vintages from around the world.Specialties include Opah, Ahi, Opakapaka, Swordfish, Mahi-Mahi, live Maine Lobster and Filet Mignon.Large comfortable private booths and romantic Mediterranean decor surround the dining room.Elegant outdoor patio dining is available under a trellis.There is a casual cocktail bar serving popular tropical drinks, wine by the glass and appetizers.Your seafood experience is enhanced by an 800-gallon aquarium.Nick's is open from 5:30 to 10:00 pm.There is a "no beach wear" dress code requiring collared shirts and slacks for men and nice casual attire for women.Nick's Fishmarket has excellent food and service and is expensive, particularly with a bottle of wine.Nick's also has two sister restaurants on Maui, Sorento's on the Beach in Kihei and Son'z at Swan Court in Ka'anapali.Both are also notable top Maui restaurants with great food and ambiance.
DUO AT FOUR SEASONS
DUO Steak and Seafood (Wailea).DUO, located at the Four Seasons Wailea Resort, specializes in premium Surf & Turf fine dining.It features prime aged cuts of steak, fresh island seafood and local island produce.There are spectacular ocean views at this poolside garden setting restaurant.Dine by romantic candlelight and the shimmer of crystal, silver and fine china. Chef Noel Badillo's open kitchen atmosphere fuels anticipation over each course of the meal.The menu includes Oysters Rockefeller, Seafood Tower for Two, Japanese Kobe beef Tenderloin, Free-Range Veal, Big Eye Ahi Tuna, Opakapaka, and Keahole Maine Lobster.You can order Kobe Beef Sashimi as an appetizer.The international wine list is impressive, including wines by the glass, and the cocktails are superb.DUO is a fine dining experience.Your meal can be expensive but the food is excellent and the service is hard to match.The restaurant serves a gourmet breakfast buffet in the morning.
Humuhumunukunukuapua'a (Grand Wailea Resort, Wailea).This exotic Polynesian thatch-roof hut restaurant (named after Hawaii's State fish) floats on top of a tropical saltwater lagoon on the grounds of the Grand Wailea Resort.The spectacular sunset views really enhance the unique dining experience.Award winning Chef Michael Lofaro has the ultimate Polynesian & Hawaiian atmosphere for dining.There is a 2100-gallon aquarium at the full bar that serves excellent exotic tropical drinks and pupus.For dinner just pick your Spiny Lobster straight out of the lagoon.The menu includes traditional island dishes such as Laulau, a dish of Hawaiian steamed fish in leaves.So what about the food?Is it good?This restaurant gets very mixed reviews on the food and service.Ask any local.You either love it or hate it.Here is the problem.We think it's "good food" but not great for the price.One thing that is consistent is the spectacular atmosphere, awesome ocean views, great drinks and the high prices.VoyageMonkey recommends this restaurant as an excellent place to come and enjoy an exotic tropical drink and appetizers at sunset.Try the seared Ahi on lemongrass stalks.Enjoy this place for the hard to match ambiance.Some of the best on Maui.There is also live music nightly to enjoy.Why take a chance on a full meal at those prices.Maui is full of excellent food to throw money at.
TS Restaurants: Duke's Beach House (Honua Kai Resort, Ka'anapali), Kimo's (805 Front St. Lahaina), Hula Grill(Whaler's Village Ka'anapali), and Lailani's (Whaler's Village Ka'anapali, 2435 Ka'anapali Parkway). These are four good sister restaurants of the TS Restaurants group, owners of Duke's at Waikiki Beach in Honolulu and in Kauai. Each of these four Maui restaurants are located oceanfront, include patio or deck dining and have great views. They serve traditional Hawaiian seafood, steaks, prime rib, lobster and local island dishes. The atmosphere is casual, the local decor is enjoyable, and the food & service is good. All four are very popular places to hang out, have pupus & cocktails and enjoy a terrific casual meal. Their happy hours are lively. Prices are reasonably moderate. A good place for family dining. All four can also be perfect for that romantic evening as you watch the sunset. The restaurants are famous for their Hula Pie, a concoction of Macadamia nut ice cream piled high on chocolate cookie crust topped with chocolate fudge whip cream and more macadamia nuts (good for sharing). We often skip dessert at other restaurants and stop by Kimo's for coffee and split a Hula Pie on the romantic deck. These four sister restaurants are all fun good-value dining. Live music is often provided on weekends and certain weeknights.
CAFE O'LEI, KIHEI
Café O’Lei (2439 S. Kihei Rd., Kihei.Café O’Lea is another jewel with multiple locations.This is one of the better moderately priced casual restaurants on Maui and a local favorite serving up creative Pacific Rim delights of seafood, sushi, pasta, lamb and steaks.The appetizers alone can be a great meal if you share a few different appetizers with a friend.They make one called the Café O’Lei Tower, made with tempura, Ahi sushi roll, coconut shrimp and calamari rings.Popular dishes include blackened Mahi-Mahi, sesame-seared Ahi, Macadamia Nut crusted Mahi-Mahi, medallions of beef tenderloin or the braised Colorado lamb shank with roast garlic, rosemary polenta and local vegetables.The food is attractively arranged on rectangular plates.Each entrée comes with a complementary salad with basil vinaigrette dressing.The restaurant has a decent wine selection and serves good Martini’s and tropical drinks. This is a great restaurant for a reasonably priced meal.
MALA OCEAN TAVERN
Mala Ocean Tavern (Lahaina, 1307 Front St., near Mala Ramp).Mala Ocean Tavern is the creation of Chef Mark Ellman.Mala is a small rustic shack-like oceanside tavern serving small plate style tapas and fresh organic dishes of Mediterranean and Pacific Rim flavors.A very casual local restaurant.The tavern has a full bar, specialty Martini menu and good wine list.Outdoor dining is on a deck over the water looking out at the islands of Lanai and Molokai.Here you can watch the local sea turtles come to feed on nearby seaweed.There are a lot of reasonably priced small plate dishes and some moderately expensive entrees.The unique menu includes seared sashimi with shitake mushroom ginger sauce, steamed clams in ginger garlic black bean sauce, and their specialty whole wok fried local fish with shitake mushrooms and snap peas on organic brown rice.The food is excellent and the service is good.A great restaurant for casual dining.There is also a Mala's at the Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa in Wailea.
The Gazebo (Napili).Located at the Outrigger Napili Shores (5315 Lower Honoapiilani Rd), this seaside Gazebo serves up some of the best reasonably priced breakfast and lunch.The Hut style restaurant is small and sits next to a small swimming pool overlooking Napili Bay.The restaurant is very popular among locals and visitors.There is usually a line to get in but it's hard to beat this view.The extensive menu includes banana-coconut and macadamia nut pancakes, shrimp melt or Mahi-Mahi sandwiches and large island salads.The portions are large and the service is quick & friendly.A great low-budget eating experience.After your meal you can stroll down and enjoy the beautiful Napili Beach.At the other side of the beach you'll find the Sea House Restaurant at the Napili Kai Beach Resort, which is also a good place for breakfast, lunch, dinner and awesome oceanfront views.
ALOHA MIXED PLATE
Aloha Mixed Plate (Lahaina, 1285 Front St. near Mala Ramp). We've driven by this numerous times on previous trips. It doesn't look like much. However, if you ask local people on the streets, grocery store clerks and hotel Bellman where they eat, this name came up several times so we had to take a look. Once you walk behind the foliage-covered fence you find outdoor patio dining right on the ocean and you can hear the Old Lahaina Luau entertainment next door. There is a casual full menu of seafood and traditional local dishes usually served with rice and macaroni salad on paper plates with plastic forks. This is island comfort food in an ultra casual but nice deck environment. You'll find crispy coconut prawns, kahlua pork, and fried coconut dessert. The food is good, plentiful, cheap, and the service is OK. Good place for a cheap casual meal on a deck overlooking the ocean. Great for a no frills low budget meal. Cocktails are served only on the upper deck.
Tiki Terrace (Ka'anapali Beach Hotel, 2525 Ka'anapali Pkwy).This popular open-air casual patio dining spot is popular with locals and visitors alike.Locals often stop by for a meal and sit at the Tiki Bar to socialize and listen to the music.They perform live authentic Hawaiian music and Hula every evening.After the show you can dance to Hawaiian music on the patio under the stars.Drink prices are reasonable.The restaurant and resort believe in "keeping it Hawaiian."The menu focuses on local fresh seafood and traditional Hawaiian cultural favorites like Kahlua Pig and Huli Huli Rotisserie Suckling Pig.Every morning they serve an all-you-can-eat buffet brunch that is a good value (don't plan on eating again until dinner).The food is authentically good and so is the service.This restaurant is recommended for casual moderately priced good value dining with free island entertainment.
The Mill House at the Maui Tropical Plantation (1670 Honoapi’ilani Hwy, Waikapu). The Mill House is the ultimate contemporary farm-to-table restaurant experience. The restaurant uses mostly hand-picked produce from its own plantation and select local Maui farms & ranches. The meats are butchered in-house. The menu varies regularly to assure the freshest meal possible. The pastas are super fresh and the seafood and meats are mostly sourced locally or from nearby islands. Each dish served is a work of art, and the taste is even better. The plantation setting is beautiful. The décor is elegant yet casual with large wood tables, a large wooden bar, multi-colored tile floors, arched doorways opening to the patio, and simple artwork. The is outdoor patio dining area overlooks a beautiful lake, the plantation grounds and West Maui Mountains. The Mill House feature a spectacular wine list and their cocktails are made from scratch. The service is professional, efficient, and friendly. The Mill House is open for lunch and dinner daily. Prices are moderate to expensive. Reservations are highly recommended.
Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar (600 Office Rd., Kapalua). The most popular Sushi Bar is Sansei in Kapalua (evident from the long line at the door). The setting is lively and fun. The sushi is super fresh and the ingredients are top quality. Sansei is often described as New Wave Asian, part Japanese, part fusion and part Hawaiian cuisine. The creative menu will please any palate. You'll find Panko-crusted Ahi Sashimi, Asian Shrimp Cakes and Tempura-fried Ice Cream with chocolate sauce for dessert. Their sauces are innovative like their ginger-lime butter and cilantro pesto. You'll also find more standard items for the less adventurous like the Grilled "Fresh Catch of the Day" over Kula Greens and Cracked Peppercorn Grilled New York Steak. This is great food. Highly recommended. The prices are moderate and there is an early bird discount before 6:00 pm. There is also a Sansei located in Kihei and one in Waikoloa.
Longhi's (Wailea Shops & Lahaina).Longhi's opened at 888 Front St. in Lahaina in 1976.Since then it has been a long established favorite family run dinning spot serving great food with good service.We'd describe the menu as Hawaiian Italian.Some of the dinner items include nightly pasta specials, veal scollopini, fresh Hawaiian catch fish, prime steaks & chops, potato battered crab cakes, grilled Swordfish with mango, papaya salsa, and rosemary garlic mashed potatoes, along with rack of lamb and goat cheese leek ravioli.Longhi's has an excellent wine list to go with any meal.Many people come in for cocktails and the fabulous appetizers.Breakfast is also very popular at both locations.Treat yourself to the popular lobster benedict and a Mimosa.Lunch includes an extensive salad menu.The casual atmosphere is cheerful yet elegant.Prices are moderately expensive but the food and service is never disappointing.
Kono’s on the Green (Kihei). Kono’s sits on a hill with a panoramic ocean view above Kihei at the Elleair Golf Club. The ambiance is comfortable and relaxing. You’ll find lounge chairs and couches to relax and enjoy some cocktails at sunset before your meal. There is an outdoor patio for dining and happy hour cocktails. The restaurant serves a fusion of island, Japanese, and European cuisines. Chef Kono Akao specializes in Japanese and European cuisines. The chef uses fresh island fish, meats, and seasonal local ingredients and herbs to prepare a variety of fusion dishes. The menu includes Ahi Carpaccio, steamed clams, roasted beet salad, seafood scampi pasta, fresh fish, rack of lamb, grilled rib eye & chops, Maine lobster tail, pancetta wrapped scallops, thin crust artisan pizza and burgers, wonderful desserts, signature cocktails from the bar, and a nice wine selection. This is great dining with an awesome view, excellent service, and reasonable prices.
Pulehu, an Italian Grill (Ka'anapali, Westin Ocean Resort). The award winning Pulehu serves contemporary Italian cuisine prepared with fresh local ingredients. Pulehu means cooked over an open flame in Hawaiian language. The restaurant setting is beautiful. The modern open air dining room overlooks a beautiful Koi pond and tropical garden giving you those great Hawaiian vibes. The menu features fresh island caught fish, meats, poultry, traditional influenced pasta dishes, and wood-fired stone oven pizza. The dishes are great for sharing. You will want to try several signature appetizers, the braised short ribs and Kona Lobster, followed by a selection of savory traditional Italian desserts. If you get a chance, try a dish that includes the Risotto. Pulehu also serves cocktails and has a nice wine list to compliment the menu. The service is very good at Pulehu and the staff is friendly and knowledgeable about the menu and preparations. The prices are affordable to moderate with entrees starting at under $20.00. Pulehu is a strong recommendation for really good Italian Food.
Taverna (2000 Village Rd., Kapalua). Taverna Urban Drinks & Italian Eats is situated on the Kapalua Golf Course overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The menu is eclectic Italian cuisine with an island twist. It is very pleasing to the eye and the palate. The seafood is fresh local catch and the meats are prime quality. The pastas are home-made fresh and the artisan pizzas are wood-fired. The menu includes an array of appetizers, share plates, and items such as lobster ravioli, seafood risotto, Veal Ossobuco, grilled T-Bone steak with roasted onions, stuffed Zucchini, stone oven roasted chicken, seafood salad, and beef carpaccio. The rustic open air restaurant features patio dining or indoor dining with an ocean or mountain view. The beautiful large 32-chair bar features craft cocktails and local beers. The wine list is very nicely paired with the cuisine. The décor is beautiful woods, high ceilings, and a very relaxed open airy feel. The service is outstanding and the prices are moderate. This is a great restaurant that won’t break the bank.
Hali'imaile General Store (900 Hali'imaile Road). This delightful award winning upcountry jewel is the creation of Executive Chef Bev Gannon who also operates the excellent Joe's Restaurant in Wailea (be sure to try Joes's while in Wailea). This tiny roadside cafe is often boasted as some of the best food on Maui and collects rave reviews internationally. Hollywood celebrities find the General Store a great reason to visit upcountry Maui. Bev describes the food as eclectic American with Asian overtones or Hawaiian regional cuisine. Entrees include gourmet crab pizza, blackened Ahi, seared diver scallops, coconut seafood curry, and Orange Ancho Chili Marinated Pork Tenderloin. Vegetables and fruit are locally grown and Maui Cattle Company beef is served. Dessert includes Caramelized Plums and Mango Glazed Cheesecake. The ambiance is cute and casual, upcountry style, and the food is excellent. The short drive up the Haleakala Highway is well worth it.
Gannon's, A Pacific View Restaurant (100 Wailea Golf Club Dr., Wailea). A dining experience where traditional island flavors are prepared with a taste of sophisticated culinary elegance. Award winning chef Bev Gannon, of the Hali'imaile General Store and Joe's of Wailea, has taken the best she has to offer and brings it to you in a beautiful setting overlooking the Pacific Ocean and golf greens of Wailea. The innovative menu includes Shrimp Stuffed Crabcake with lemon Dijon sauce, Pecan Crusted Mahi, Tandoori Loin of Lanb, Braised Short Ribs, as well as a mouth watering selection of signature desserts. The wine list is not extensive but offers a very nice selection for pairing. The decor is rich in textures with accents of marble, lava, bamboo, and tasteful artwork. Dine beneath grand ceilings lit by modern chandeliers, while you gaze out floor to ceiling glass doors at the Pacific, or eat on the terrace. The restaurant's trendy "Red Bar" is a popular stop for drinks and offers a appetizing bar menu. Prices are moderate. We rate the food as fabulous, the service very good, and the view one of the best dining views on Maui.
Fleetwood’s (744 Front St., Lahaina). Fleetwood’s is rock drummer Mick Fleetwood’s restaurant and nightclub that brings a vibrant energy and good casual international food to Front Street. Fleetwood’s features a main dining room floor, nightclub, and a roof-top bar with casual bar dinning and spectacular ocean view. The roof-top is perfect for sunset cocktails. The main menu designed by celebrity chef Scott Leibfried, includes a selection of international appetizers, salads, artisan flatbread pizzas, burgers, English fish & chips, and more formal entrees such as coffee rubbed NY steak, grilled lamb chops, and local fresh grilled fish. The roof-top dinning includes burgers, fish tacos as well as various appetizer plates. The wine list includes Mick Fleetwood’s own wines which are also sold at the on-site retail shop. The restaurant has a nice selection of wines by the glass as well as a grand menu of signature cocktails. The food is good and the service is good, but most of all, the place is a fun place to unwind with friends.
Honu Seafood & Pizza (1295 Front Street, Lahaina, next door to Mala Ocean Tavern). Winner of OpenTable.com’s Diner’s Choice Award, Honu serves trendy Pacific Rim, American and Mediterranean cuisine. Honu is owned by Chef and author Mark Ellman of Mala Ocean Tavern. Honu is a family owned café operated my mark, wife Judy and daughters Ariana and Michelle who mange the restaurant. The restaurant sits on the ocean’s edge and boasts a fantastic 180 degree ocean view of the islands of Lanai and Molokai, which is perfect for sunset dining. The restaurant is very warm, open and inviting with sleek decor. Honu features super fresh seafood from Hawaii as well as seafood from the mainland coastal regions. Popular dishes include Ahi bruschetta, shrimp cocktails, Oysters on the half shell, fresh steamed mussels, crab Louie salad, clam chowder, grilled Octopus, whole wok fried fish, pan roasted Quail, whole cracked crab, various seafood sandwiches as well as Naples style thin crust brick oven pizza, including an amazing lobster pizza. Honu works with local Framers to obtain the freshest organic ingredients. Honufeatures a full bar, over 50 Beers, as well as a wide selection of fine wines. The food is fabulous and the service is fair to good. The prices are expensive to moderate, which is typical of most Maui ocean front restaurants with views as good as this.
Cane & Canoe (At the Montage Resort, Kapalua). Cane & Canoe is an elegant restaurant with a spectacular open air ocean view patio and dining room. It serves modern Hawaiian cuisine with all its Asian and multi-cultural influences. The décor features rich woods, linens, Island architecture, cotemporary island furnishings and local beautiful floral displays. The menu features fresh catch island seafood, top grade meats, and locally grown island produce. The food presentation is very artistic. Each bite is complex and flavorful. The fine wine list will have many choices to compliment your meal and the tropical island cocktails are perfect for enjoying the sunset views over Kapalua Bay. The desserts are delicious. The full service luxury bar is an elegant place to hang out and relax. The food is some of the best Hawaiian food on the island and the service is excellent. They also feature live music most nights. Prices are moderate to expensive and the portions are lot large. This is a great restaurant for that special evening.
Castaway Café (on the beach at Aston Ka’anapali Villas Resort, 45 Kai Ala Dr.). Since 1994, this hidden Maui gem has offered an intimate place to dine away from the crowds and enjoy an ocean front open-air Hawaiian atmosphere with great affordable family style international food and a full bar with specialty tropical drinks (happy hour from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.). The Castaway serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, accompanied by relaxing views of the Pacific Ocean and the Islands of Lanai and Molokai. The dinner menu includes fresh salads, pasta dishes, coconut shrimp, fresh fish catch of the day, a grilled mixed seafood platter, garlic panko crusted shrimp, braised beef short ribs, bacon wrapped pork chops, burgers, and grilled tender New York steak. The Castaway offers delicious desserts and a Wine Spectator Magazine award winning wine list. The friendly staff provides excellent service with a true Aloha spirit. You can really relax here and take your time at this feel good cafe. The Castaway Café is one of the most affordable ocean front restaurants on Maui. Locals refer to it as a “Best kept Secret” on Maui. Visitors who find the Castaway always come back.
Frida’s Mexican Beach House (1287 Front St., Lahaina). Frida’s is owned and operated by the same owners as Mala Ocean Tavern and Honu Seafood next door. Frida’s serves authentic gourmet Mexican Cuisine as well as some Central and South American dishes. They use local ingredients from Maui farms and ranched, as well as fresh catch fish. The menu includes many appetizers and small plates, as well as main dishes like fish Veracruz, Tiger Prawns mojo de Ajo, grilled Spanish Octopus, and other traditional Mexican dishes. The restaurant features an open air dining room, outdoor deck, and a large bar overlooking the ocean and the islands of Lanai & Molokai. The bar includes a large selection of Tequilas as well as tropical cocktails. The Ocean Front dining provides a spectacular view, especially at sunset. The décor is traditional Mexican and festive, filled with portraits of its inspiration, Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. The service is quick and friendly, and the prices are moderate. The food is some of the best high-end Mexican food on the island.
Captain Jack’s Island Grill (672 Front St., Lahaina). From the same owners as the Cool Cat Café, Captain Jack’s provides great comfort food at reasonable Front Street prices. The upstairs open-air restaurant provides views of the action on Front Street, the Lahaina Banyan tree and the Lahaina harbor. Captain Jack’s is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and offer such favorite dishes as steak and eggs, Philly cheese steak sandwiches & Ruebens, Fresh catch grilled fish, Angus beef burgers, Macadamia nut crusted fish, sautéed shrimp, rib-eye steaks, sirloins, baby back ribs, roasted chicken, Fajitas, pastas, salads, great appetizers & desserts, nice wines and a full bar with plenty of tropical drinks and specials. The ambiance and décor is very comfortable with soft wood colors and beautiful wooden tables and bar. The restaurant provides nightly live entertainment during dinner. The staff is very friendly and the service is good. This is a great restaurant to relax and enjoy a good meal at affordable prices.
A few other casual dining places that are popular include Koa Seaside Grill on Front Street in Lahaina, and the Lahaina Fish Co. also on Front St. in Lahaina which are both popular tourist spot for their oceanfront dining. Lahaina Pizza Company (formerly BJ's Chicago Pizza) on Front Street in Lahaina is the best Pizza in Maui and a great place to dine with kids. Cheese Burger in Paradise on Front Street Lahaina and the shops at wailea serves an excellent burger and has live entertainment. Star Noodle in Lahaina is super popular for its Asian food. On the water's edge on Front St. in Lahaina, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. is a family favorite with a great ocean view and reasonable prices. Fred's Mexican Cafe in Kihei is a popular spot for Mexican food served in a fun environment. A fun spot with dinner specials every night and great after hours music is Moose McGillicuddy's Pub & Restaurant located in Kihei. Also in Kihei, the 808 Bistro and Nalu's South Shore Grill both serve great food. Kids love Cool Cat Cafe on Front Street which has nightly music and entertainment. Pa'ia Fish Market in Pa'ia is a good stop for very casual picnic bench style fresh catch and sandwiches (also with locations in Kihei and Lahaina). The Fish Market Maui in North Ka'anapali on the Old Honoapi'ilani Highway is a good place for inexpensive seafood dishes like fish & chips and fish tacos. In Kahana you can get a reasonably priced meal with a great ocean front view at the Sands of Kahana Resort's Beach House Restaurant, or enjoy an awesome Burger and local beer at the Maui Brewing Company. Also in Napili you will find Beach Bums BBQ and Island Grill, perfect for casual dining. Maui Tacos has multiple locations and serves awesome fish tacos. Tourists love Sorento's on the Beach (Kihei), Five Palms Beach Grill (Kihei), and Black Rock Kitchen at the Sheraton in Kaanapali. These three favorites are pricey but have great food and have good ocean views. You'll find many bargain eats and dining specials around Maui. When in Maui, simply ask the locals.
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