We are planning a trip this summer for about 10 days to Maui and Big Island; we'll probably be spending at least a couple days each in Lahaina or Kapalua and Hana on Maui, and in Kailua-Kona and Volcano Village on Big Island. We're looking primarily for food that's fresh, creative and local (each of those equally valued). High-end and low-end are all welcome, though we are not overly eager to do big-resort dining unless it's genuinely special. On the other hand, I know this may go against the plate-lunch ethos, but we’re less concerned with quantity than quality, though value is always appreciated. Japanese, Vietnamese, Filipino and Thai food, as well as any local specialties, are also welcome.
I know the dilemmas of going to a tourist destination, as a tourist, and hoping for non-touristy dining experiences (we live in Miami Beach), but that's the goal. We're mostly just hoping to avoid the caesar salad / fried calamari / petite filet mignon kinds of uninspired menus.
I've done a good bit of research, here's what is on the list so far, with some specific questions along the way:
LAHAINA / KAPALUA (listed roughly in the order of our interest):
Mala Ocean Tavern
Aloha Mixed Plate
Pacific'o / I'o
Further afield (KIHEI / KAHALUI / PAIA):
(I’m assuming these places are generally too far to trek for dinner if we’re staying in Lahaina / Kapalua, but may be potential lunch stops during daytime travel):
Mama’s Fish House
A Saigon Cafe
Paia Fish Market
(We were planning to spend 2-3 days there; the more I research the more it sounds pretty desolate; two questions: (1) are these roadside places daytime only or are they open for dinner; (2) we will have a kitchen, are there places we can stock up to cook for ourselves?)
Thai Food by Pranee
Nutcharee’s Authentic Thai Food
Jen’s Thai Food
Clay Oven (Hana Farm - Fri / Sat)
Travaasa Hana - Ka’uiki / Paniolo Lounge
Rapanui Island Cafe
Da Poke Shack
Okolemaluna Tiki Lounge (I know there’s a recent thread on this)
Island Lava Java
Huggo’s on the Rocks
Further afield on Big Island:
(am I right that Waimea / Kamuela is probably too far a commute for dinner from Kailua-Kona?)
Allen’s Table (this seems like exactly the kind of place I’m looking for)
Brown’s Beach House
Monstera Noodles & Sushi
Ken’s House of Pancakes
So … thoughts on any of the above, places to cross off or add to the list, logistical advice?
Also: recommendations for farmers markets, farms that can be visited, good places to stock up for cooking at home for a night or two, and any local specialties we shouldn’t miss would all be welcome.
Many thanks in advance, and shout out if you're ever coming to South Florida.