Our only true fine dining meal of the trip was at Merriman’s, which I reviewed separately in another post. Mostly we ate takeout lunches and did happy hour apps and drinks. We tried Mai Tais at many restaurants both fancy and modest and our favorite Mai Tai was at the South Shore Tiki Lounge in Kihei. Their food was not bad for casual tropical bar food, either. We were disappointed in the Mai Tai (and the service in the bar) at the Ritz Carlton and it was expensive.
One great find was Bruddah Hut’s BBQ in Hana. Its just past town on the left as you are headed on to the Oheo Gulch pools. This is just a guy with a BBQ and grill set up in his front yard, so its literally street food. There are some plastic tables and chairs and food is served on paper plates. He has pork, beef and fish, grilled or BBQ’d, as plate lunch or in tacos. We got the pork tacos and took them to Hamoa beach and devoured them with a couple cans of Maui Brewing Company Blonde Ale. They were delicious tropical tacos, tender and moist shredded pork in a tortilla (choose flour or corn), shredded cabbage, and a sweet and tangy grilled tropical salsa. The salsa had capers (not too many) which gave it an unexpected twist and some of the fruit and peppers were grilled before being chopped up, so it was a very good homemade salsa. Bruddah Hut had a mild and a spicy version of his salsa. I love finding great food in unexpected places. We stopped on a whim and were glad we did.
Honolua General Store was surprisingly good. It’s very inexpensive for the quality of food they are serving, all the more surprising because its on the grounds of the Kapalua resort and seems to be a part of the resort. We had the grilled Mahi Mahi sandwiches. They were encrusted in furikake and served with a (too salty and too garlic-y) pesto mayo (or maybe it was the furikake+pesto which made it too salty?). If they’d tone down the pesto a bit, this would have been fantastic. A good quality roll, greens and tomato rounded out the sandwich nicely. It was a nice twist on the mostly ordinary Mahi Mahi sandwiches we had elsewhere.
We had a couple rather ordinary, (relatively) inexpensive lunches at the Lahaina Fish Company (good lunchtime Mai Tai special!) and Duke’s in Lahaina, not bad, not great, but tasty enough for a casual quick lunch by the ocean.
We didn’t go out to breakfast at all, even though we were right next to the Gazebo, because we had a kitchen in our condo at Honokeana Cove with a wonderful view from our lanai. So I made macadamia nut pancakes with coconut syrup every day. We had pineapple and mangoes that we bought at the fruit stand in Olowalu, which were high quality but overpriced (pineapples $10-15, mangoes 3 for $5) compared to other more out-of-the-way fruit stands on the island we found (like Ono Farms fruit stand in Hana). Still the fruit was excellent and it was convenient to stop right off the highway. Chez Paul has closed, it was all boarded up. Try the smoothies at the Olowalu General Store, they were pretty good, at least they hit the spot on a warm afternoon after the beach!
We bought fish to cook ourselves from The Fish Market Maui in Honokowai. It was pricey, but super-fresh. We actually got some fresh Mahi Mahi from the Napili Market grocery store and it was also very good for a lot less money.
We did a takeout lunch from the Paia Fish Market. My ahi sashimi was just fine, but my wife loved her fish tacos because instead of a hunk of fried or grilled fish, they shredded the cooked fish and blended it with the salsa and the cabbage, so all the flavors were evenly distributed. The prices are good there, as well.
On the road to Hana, we stopped at Halfway to Hana for banana bread because we had read it was so good. Well, it was mediocre banana bread, not moist, and we soon found out that banana bread on the road to Hana is available about every 4 miles or so! Further down the road, when we saw the homemade sign that read “Now this is the banana bread you’ve been looking for” we laughed and resigned ourselves to not getting the awesome banana bread of Hana. Oh well.
We had appetizers and drinks at the Paniolo Lounge in the Hotel Hana. Its such a pretty setting there. The food and drink is at typical resort prices but good quality. We had a pizza with mushrooms, carmelized onions, parmesan and blue cheese. It was a thin rather crispy crust which was OK. We felt there were too many strong flavors on the pizza. It was supposed to have fresh basil, but came out instead with a few flakes of thyme. I think the thyme was a better match with the mushrooms and onions than basil would have been, but there was not enough thyme to make an impression and this pizza would have been better without the blue cheese. I liked their tropical drinks made from quality juices and they were serving some local beers (a passion fruit wheat beer) that I had not seen elsewhere. The setting is really what makes this spot great, just extremely lush and tropical, sunny and breezy and very quiet and relaxing. And we were there too early for the live Hawaiian music, that would’ve made it even better!
Paia Fish Market
100 Hana Hwy, Paia, HI 96779
Maui, HI, Maui, HI
Fish Market Maui
3600 Lower Honoapiilani Rd Ste Ha, Lahaina, HI 96761
502 Office Rd, Lahaina, HI 96761
South Shore Tiki Lounge
1913 S Kihei Rd Ste L, Kihei, HI 96753