We’re back from a week on the fair island of Maui and since we used the Chowhound discussion here to make our plans, I wanted to pass back our experience.
We had some concerns about finding good places to go, given so many of the postings on this board seem to revolve around very upscale places, or places in hotels, or places that are only open for breakfast / lunch. We definitely tend more towards cheap / cheerful / local vs. fancy restaurants, so struggled a bit to find good places to go after dark…see what you think about how we did! BTW, we stayed on the West Side (Honokowai), so our choices are mostly over there.
SUNDAY – we got in very late Saturday night, so slept through breakfast before we slowly crept out in search of our traditional first meal on the Islands – Plate Lunch! Wound up down the street from our place at Ono Kau Kau (Honokowai) – classic local place, in a hole in the wall with sleepy service – but a great loco moco and solid katsu curry to get our trip started on a good note. Portions are huge! Prices very cheap. They had a very good looking breakfast, but we never managed to make it work since they don’t open until after 9:30. Dinner was at Star Noodle (Lahaina, uphill). How much money are these guys making??? Food was solid, service not great – we sat 30 minutes after our reservation, and though we ordered 3 apps and 1 entrée, everything arrived simultaneously at our table. Oh well. The ramen was very good. Also really enjoyed the mango-infused Maui wheat beer I drank.
MONDAY – Leftover Ono Kau Kau for breakfast, then hit the road for Hana. OK ice cream at Coconut Glen’s on the way out. Lunch was at Braddah Hutt’s BBQ (Hana), on the side of the road just past the town of Hana. I didn’t have high hopes – kind of a captive market situation – but actually, the BBQ pork was delicious! I wish this place was more convenient (it’s the opposite of convenient!) because I want to try more of their menu. Stopped at the Thai place on the side of the road on the way back to try to buy some cold drinks, so we didn’t eat there, but it smelled great – wish we’d had a chance to try it. Stopped at Paia Flatbreads on the way back to the west side for dinner. Fun place with a good beer selection, though I thought the pizza was just kind of OK.
TUESDAY – Leftover pizza for breakfast followed by kayaking at Olowalu, got off the boat hungry and stumbled across the road to Leoda’s for good sandwiches and pie. Fun place. Enjoyed the Pork, Pork…mmm Pork sandwich and a very solid burger. Their dinner specials look great! Afternoon snack at Ululani’s in Lahaina, massive and very good shave ice. Line was a bit long (like 30 minutes!) – suggest getting your fix at less busy Kanapali or Kihei location. We didn’t get hungry again until late, so everything was closing down, so we finished up with takeout from Honokowai Okazuya. Interesting place, slightly upscale preparation of local favorites, place was PACKED with people getting their take-out – call your order in. Pretty good loco moco, good grilled chicken.
WEDNESDAY – Leftovers again for breakfast (notice a trend? Portions are LARGE here), followed by snorkeling off Makena. Ended up at Coconut’s Fish Café (Kihei). This place is strange – seems like a generic franchise seafood place, but has a huge cult following on the online review boards. Wife had a pretty good ahi salad, I had a pretty good couple of chicken tacos…well, I guess it was pretty good. Followed up with more shave ice from Ululani in Kihei, and it was nap time! Wednesday dinner was a disaster, tried to get back to Leoda’s for their Wednesday night special, a country fried sirloin, but they were SOLD OUT by 7pm, rats! Then, tried to grab dinner at Aloha Mix Plates (Lahaina) instead…but because it was raining, they were only serving takeout. So, we got the takeout and ate it in the car. It was very good! I’d love to go back some time when they were actually serving in house, it looks lovely. Atmosphere in the parking lot was somewhat lacking, but did make our rental car smell good the next day. Drowned our disappointment in beers at the Maui brewery in Napili, and called it a night.
THURSDAY – Thwarted in our early morning beach run by rain, ended up grabbing lunch at Local Food in Lahaina (where were able to eat outside, because of course the sun came out immediately when we removed our swim clothes). More loco moco, and huge spam musubi. Saved our appetite all afternoon for our one splurge dinner, at Lahaina Grill. Chose it for the fancy dinner because (a) it’s not only a seafood place, and (b) not located in a hotel or resort, and no view whatsoever – so the food has to be good. And it was! Place is pretty old fashioned, um, classic at first glance, but actually the food we ended up with was all very well prepared and had modern flavor profiles. Wife had Maui Onion Soup and two appetizers (Poke and the Cake Walk trio of apps), I had a salad and the outstanding Kurobota pork chop. Good beer and wine selection. Great service. NOT CHEAP, but it was a great meal and a very enjoyable experience.
FRIDAY – Sad! Our last day. Grabbed good breakfast burritos at the Latin Market in Honokowai, then hit the road for Haleakala for a nice and very tiring hike. Stopped on the way up to grab to-go sandwiches from the Kula Marketplace (nothing special, but the store has all kinds of snacks). Ended our day with a pre-airport meal at Da Kitchen – great modern Hawaiian / Korean fusion and a very nice space. Also only 5-min from the airport, so very convenient before you head home.
Summary- I could very happily spend the rest of my life mixing afternoons on the beach with plate lunch and shave ice, until I died.