On our second trip to Maui (just returned home on Sept 10) we aimed to skip most of the expensive places and eat more locally, focusing mainly on ethnic eats in Kihei, Wailuku, Kahului, and Upcountry. Here's a report:
Tokyo Tei - 1063 E. Lower Main Street - Wailuku
Great homestyle Japanese food, specializing in tempura and teishoku meals. No sushi. Housed in a funky medical building with doctor's offices and hostess bars. The whole Lower Main Street area has some very intriguing places.
Wei Wei BBQ and Noodle House - 210 Imi Kala St. - Wailuku
Good mix of Cantonese BBQ, Japanese and Hawaiian. Tasty BBQ pork.
Tasty Crust - 1770 Mill Street - Wailuku
Famous for hotcakes (served since 1944) but also open for lunch and dinner. We had a cheap, good breakfast there. Full of locals and wonderfully authetic diner atmosphere.
Who'd the Boss? 2051 Main Street - Wailuku
Reasonably priced island cuisine bistro with nice fish dishes.
Polli's - 1202 Makawao Ave - Makawao
Excellent, reasonable, fresh Mexican cantina fare with a pleasant atmosphere.
Makawao Steak House - 3612 Baldwin Avenue - Makawao
Overpriced for just okay steak and rather amateurish service. Not recommended. They have a tea room that serves high tea, which looks nice but we did not go.
Hali'imaile General Store - 900 Hali'imaile Road - Hali'imaile (Upcountry)
Had an excellent lunch at this place, which could be called a Hawaiian Chez Panisse, with its emphasis on fresh local produce and innovative cuisine. Nice wine list. Will definitely go back here. Lovely atmosphere. Not cheap but not outrageous. Website: www.HaliimaileGeneralStore.com
Aroma D'Italia Ristorante - 1881 S. Kihei Rd - Kihei
Decent, reasonably priced Italian with good homemade meatballs.
Vietnamese Cuisine - 1280 S. Kihei Rd - Kihei
Good, reasonably priced Vietnamese. Good soups.
KKO (Kaui Ku Ono) - 2511 S. Kihei Rd - Kihei
It has the fresh fish, the sunset views, nice outdoor seating, competent friendly service, all for reasonable prices.
Horhito's - 41 East Lipoa St - Kihei
Innovative Mexican cuisine at reasonable prices with an emphasis on fish dishes. Cantina decor with Mexican antiques, murals, and twinkling lights. A nice find.
Hanafuda Saimin - Azeka Mall - 1279 S. Kihei Rd - Kihei
Finally I got to taste saimin and I was not disappointed. Noodles are a lot like ramen and the broth is like some Cantonese won ton soup base with Cantonese-style BBQ pork. Also serves sandwiches and assorted plate lunches. Highly recommended.
Canton Chef - Kamaole Shopping Center - 2463 S. Kihei Rd - Kihei
Tasty Chinese cuisine at reasonable prices.
China Boat - 4474 Honopiilani Road - Kahana
Very good Chinese food with an emphasis on seafood.
Food Court in Maui Marketplace - 270 Dairy Rd - Kahului
Any restaurant here is probably a good bet for tasty, cheap eats. I had a great chicken plate lunch at the Vietnamese place and my husband had a good pho. L&L Plate lunch place is also here as well as Fernando's Mexican and a Chinese place. Was packed with locals on the weekend.
Roy's Kahana Bar and Grill - Kahana Gateway Shopping Center
A good friend's sister-in-law works here so we paid a visit. We'd been to Roy's in Spanish Bay (Monterey, CA) and knew the food would be good and it did not disappoint. High prices but high quality for Roy Yamaguchi's famous Hawaiian/European/Japanese fusion cuisine. My husband had a unique sake tasting menu. Dramatic atmosphere with 40-foot ceilings but no view.
Excellent, professional service and nice wine list.
ALOHA and MAHALO!