I Just returned from 8 days in Maui @ the 4 Seasons and would like to thank all for the reccomendations they shared from their past Maui trips. I thought that I might share my own dining experiences and my take on the restaurants I visited.
After arriving in Maui after a 12 hour east coast flight we arrived at the 4 Seasons resort. A beautiful beach resort that I would find more appealing as my time on Maui passed. Needless to say I was a little hesitant to eat at the 4 Seasons as many on this board have had less than stellar experiences at their restaurants. Regardless my wife was so beat from flying she refused to travel any further for a meal so the 4 Seasons it was. We decided to grab a quick bite at Pacific grill (the more casual eatery). My wifes pork quesadilla was outstanding as was my duck spring rolls. I had the Onaga fish that was tasty if not for the overwhelming "orange sauce". Overall not bad and I would dine their again just being more discreet and getting dishes that were simple and not complicated with a lot of sauces.
I ended up eating breakfast (twice) at the resort.....stayed with the cold offerings (cereals, breads, fruits, etc.) and was not disappointed. Had one meal at Ferraro's that was average for me but my wife's pasta was outstanding with a wonderfully complex tomato and basil sauce. Overall going simple again was a better choice. I do have to reccomend the View at sunset as it was extremely romantic.
I did eat at Spagos twice and both meals were just short of incredible!! I know, I know, most everyone on this board has nothing positive to say about Spago's but I can not say that any course was bad that I tried on my 2 visits. The Ono was light and delicate as was the sauce it was paired with. The Pork loin chop was meaty and moist. I had the most heavenly strawberry shortcake for desert. My wifes upside down pineapple shortcake was best I've tasted in my limited expoure to this desert. The tomato soup is one my wife raved on about for days, but the one dish she couldn't stop commenting on was the appetizer of fettuccini bolognese. This was as good as any bolognese I've tasted in Rome or Naples. Why ferraro's does not have this recipe on their menu is beyond me but it is one I would gladly order again and again. I know everyone complains about the service at Spago's.........never was a problem for us, and others about the price......again it is Hawaii and it is the 4 Seasons so the prices were not out of line as to what I expected to pay, but overall it was a wonderful experience on both visits.
My other restaurant travels included eating at Nicks fishmarket for my anniversary dinner. A wonderful setting sitting outside at sunset......I did feel a little rushed by the server, food was mostly good although I thought the Maui "wowee" (sp?) salad was highly overrated. I did have the steak and lobster special which was good but not great. I thought Nick's overall was good but I probably would not make the walk from the 4 Seasons again just to eat there.
We were lucky enough to grab a rezzie at the Haliemaile general store........very good meal. Staff was very accomodating and the food was worth the ride (45 mins from the 4 Seasons), I don't think their pineapple upside down cake was as good as the Spagos edition though.
But I still have not told you of the best meal I had on the island. That would have to be at Mama's fish house. Granted it is a good 45 mins to an hour from the 4 Seasons. Probably one of the best meals I've had in recent memory. Nothing was bad, I mean nothing. From the sweet potato fries to the Mahi stuffed with crab and Lobster with an incredible sauce. Even the salad of tomato's and maui onions with balsamic was extraordinary. The final touches of Coconut cheesecake with just a hint of coconut or the chocolate pie could not have been any better. It is worth going to Maui just to eat at this foodie heaven. If you can swing one meal here you will not be disappointed in my opinion.
Finally I will close this long disertation with some other observations of my trip. I had a quick lunch at Cheeseburger in Paradise in Lahaina.........burger was average at best, "world famous seasoned fries" were horrible in my opinion, onion rings were pretty good though.
Maui tacos was pretty good for the grilled fish taco, and my wife said the beef burrito was also tasty..be aware the surroundings are a little dumpy at the Kiehe branch.
So overall I would say that Mama's was my number one choice followed by Spago's and then Haliemaile's. One final thought is that if you take a quick trip to go to Mt. Kilhuea on the Big Island to see the volcano, as we did, don't plan on finding anyplace to eat between the airport in Hilo and the Volcano (which was awe inspiring).It's either fast food or nothing, which leads me into my final thought. How come you can't find a pizza place that serves a good pie after 9pm in Kihei? After returning from visiting the Volcano on the big island we were out of luck trying to find a non-chain pizza joint open after 8:45pm that would make us a pie. Seems to be a sad state of affiars from a bonafide pizza lover. Anyway those are my takes I hope they help someone else in their food adventures.