Eat Your Way Through Maui's Fresh Food Scene

By

On the island of Maui, Ka'anapali beach resort may be best known for its fine sands, crystalline waters, and sublime views of Lanai and Molokai. But the island-style food here, as well as in nearby Lahaina, is also worth writing home about. Whether you crave seared ahi, local kalua pork, or Spam musubi (yes, that's a thing), here's where to eat when you're on the island. 


Hula Grill

Located in bustling Whalers Village, Peter Merriman's Hula Grill serves meals beachside in its open-air dining room and in its Barefoot Bar. For less than $30, try the chef's daily tasting menu of pupus, an entree, and a dessert. Eating light? There's plenty of fish—fresh ahi sashimi, or poke tacos with Maui onions and chili flakes—as well as the lovely Kama'aina kale salad with local cheese and citrus and Maui honey vinaigrette.  //  2435 Kaanapali Pkwy, Lahaina, hulagrillkaanapali.com

(The Loco Moco with Filipino embutido at Joey's Kitchen in Whalers Village)

Joey's Kitchen 

After some 20 years as a chef at Roy's Ka'anapali, Joey Macadangdang recently opened his own casual spot in the food court of Whalers Village. Here you'll find reasonably priced, authentically local fare, such as tasty fish sandwiches made from ono, mahi mahi and ahi; huli-huli chicken, lau lau (a pork mixture wrapped in taro leaves); and embutido (Filipino meatloaf).  //  2435 Kaanapali Pkwy H 16, Lahaina; 808-868-4474, facebook.com

(Leilani's pan-seared ono with lemon risotto and opal basil gastrique) 

Lelani's

Sister and neighbor to Hula Grill, the kitchen at Leilani's is the domain of chef Ryan Lucky. Start with Hana-grown tomatoes with fresh local burrata, pickled onion, radish, basil oil, and lava salt; progress to the pan-seared catch with lemon risotto and seasonal vegetables; and top it all off with a Lilikoi Pono Pie, served with Kula strawberries and Maui honey. Go ahead and indulge: The pie is gluten-free with no refined sugar or dairy.  //  2435 Kaanapali Pkwy, Lahaina, leilanis.com 

Japengo 

Japengo (Hyatt Regency Maui) Tastemakers Dinner: Omakase Sashimi (big eye tuna, hiramas, hirame, uni, and zuiki)

If you're staying at the Hyatt Regency in Maui, you're in luck. If not, Japengo is worth the visit. Chef Gevin Utrillo, who hails from nearby Lahaina, cooks up a cuisine influenced by Hawaii's Pacific Rim cultures. The sushi bar here is also wildly popular. Call ahead to inquire about the intimate tastemaker dinners, small group dining excursions in Maui cuisine with presentations by local food producers.  //  200 Nohea Kai Dr, Lahaina, hyatt.com/japengo

 

(a spicy ahi roll at Roy's)

Roy's Ka'anapali

With fine dining in a golf course setting, Roy's is a Lahaina mainstay that has long been at the forefront of Hawaiian regional cuisine. Order a la carte or go big with the prix-fixe menu ($57)—think unagi-butterfish dragon roll, glazed beef short ribs or macadamia nut-crusted opah, and your choice of dessert (we recommend the chocolate soufflé).  //  2290 Kaanapali Pkwy, Lahaina, royshawaii.com

Paliolo

Even Hawaii has caught on to the food truck craze. At the Westin Ka'anapali Resort Villas, this casual sports-bar and grill prepares its eats in a food truck–style kitchen. Paliolo is a great place to gather to watch the game over tropical drinks and pupus such as fish tacos, tempura shrimp, and bibimbap-style tater tots with kalua pork, tobiko aioli, and micro cilantro.  //  6 Kai Ala Drive, Maui; westinkaanapali.com/paliolo

(Seared ahi tuna sandwich with wasabi cream on foccacia at Relish Burger Bistro)

Relish Burger Bistro

Next to the Westin Resort Villas is the Westin Maui Resort & Spa, where the poolside Relish Burger Bistro offers American favorites with an island twist ono-licious, local-style meals. Chow down on saimin (a Hawaiian noodle soup); Spam musubi (it's like sushi-ish): and Portuguese sausage with kimchi edamame. Their pork sliders and seared ahi tuna on foccacia are soul food, Hawaiian-style.  //  2365 Kaanapali Pkwy, Lahaina; westinmaui.com/relish

(Spinach poblano enchiladas at Sangrita Grill)

Sangrita Grill and Cantina

Sangrita, inside the Fairway Shops, is the popular Mexican food spot of local celebrity chef Paris Nabavi, whose artistic flair shines in this colorful eatery. Start with pomegranate guacamole and mahi-mahi ceviche pupus before digging in to smoked wild salmon tostaditas, burritos made with rotisserie chicken, grass-fed Maui steak. The poblano enchilada is also a winner.  //  2580 Kekaa Dr, Lahaina; sangritagrill.com

Hank's Haute Dogs

When you've had all the fish and pupus you can handle and begin to crave mainland food, head to Hank's Haute Dogs, poolside at the Sheraton. Here you can munch an authentic Chicago dog, chili dog, bratwurst or Polish sausage with a variety of homemade fries. Feeling adventurous? Try the wild boar dog with cran-apple relish, black pepper-thyme Dijon, and lettuce. It's truly a dog lover's paradise.  // 2605 Kaanapali Pkwy, Maui, Hawaii; hankshautedogs.com

DON'T MISS A BAY AREA BEAT! SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER.

Related Articles