After spending two weeks on the island of Maui, I feel equipped to provide you the best Maui food guide. Due to Covid, our vacation to Maui was planned three different times, this gave me a lot of time to gather research on the best restaurants on Maui. Experiencing a decent food scene in Seattle, we had high hopes for Maui restaurants and I can honestly say that Maui’s must eats did not disappoint. Here’s a few things to note about the best restaurants on Maui:
- Maui restaurants are expensive–a dinner for two with an appetizer and a drink were always upwards of $100.00, very similar to big city food prices. When budgeting for a Maui vacation, if eating out is a priority, make sure to plan accordingly for Maui restaurant prices.
- Make dinner reservations ahead of time–we traveled when Maui was still doing dining at 30% capacity due to Covid so making reservations weeks before our trip was imperative. It’s much better to have a set dinner time than to wait around to be seated, so even if you’re not going during pandemic times, I still recommend planning ahead and making a reservation for your “must eat” spots.
- A lot of the higher end popular restaurants are located in Lahaina. Although I do not recommend staying in Lahaina itself, staying in close proximity to this area of the island was convenient.
- The service at restaurants in Maui is QUICK. I’m not sure if this is a Covid thing because they can only serve 30% capacity and they’re trying to get people in and out, but Maui has some of the fastest restaurant service I’ve ever experienced, we never felt like we were waiting for anything.
Best Maui Restaurants, Lahaina
A LOT of Maui’s top rated restaurants are located in Lahaina, so staying in close proximity to this town was important to us. Other than the food scene, I didn’t personally love this town; however, it’s still worth visiting because of all the dining options.
Fleetwood’s on Front Street
Starting this food blog featuring one of my top three favorite restaurants we ate at on Maui. Fleetwood’s is a classic and a must visit spot. This was our first big dinner on the island and it did not disappoint. This is Mick Fleetwood’s, the famous drummer from Fleetwood Mac, restaurant featuring a rooftop bar and ocean views. I’m actually a bit surprised this spot doesn’t have a higher Yelp review based on the experience we had. This is one of the spot’s you should definitely book a reservation for ahead of time!
There are a few Paia Fishmarket’s located on the island but the Lahaina location was the one we ate at, three different times. We LOVED this spot. We got the fish tacos and Mahi-Mahi charbroiled with Cajun rice each time we went and it was so fresh and some of the best fish we had on the island. This is a casual spot so it made it so convenient to pop in for lunch, they even had a drive through which was a game changer for us. This place had amazing service and the food was fresh every time, I cannot recommend this spot more for lunch!
If you’re looking for authentic Italian food on Maui, look no further than Sale Pepe. If you’re wanting that typical Maui restaurant with ocean views, this isn’t the spot. This restaurant doesn’t have the island vibe atmosphere like a lot of the others on this list but the food is incredible and was easily one of my top 3 favorite meals on the island. All the pasta was made in house and you can tell! I definitely do not consider myself a food snob, I eat just about everything and have a basic palette, but I am a bit of an Italian food snob and this place was sooo good. They had an extensive list of pasta options so I think there’s something for everyone.
Mala Ocean Tavern
If you’re wanting a small seafood spot overlooking the ocean, this is your spot! They have the cutest outdoor setup right on the water–this is another can’t miss restaurant for either lunch or dinner for the seafood lovers! Mala was definitely on the pricier end due to how small the portions were, but again the food here was amazing and another meal we raved about. The coconut shrimp, market fish plate, and fresh island fish sandwich were all delicious.
Other Food in Lahaina I recommend:
- Frida’s– A few locals recommended this to us! This was a Mexican spot with top-rated margs. Another restaurant with a cute patio facing the ocean and a fun atmosphere. We enjoyed it!
- Kimos–Right on the water and in the heart of Lahaina. Loved the ambiance of this place. They served carrot muffins to start and I’ve been thinking about them since. This is a nice family friendly restaurant.
- Lahaina Grill– I’m a little bummed we missed this spot because I’ve heard GREAT things about this place. Definitely more of an upscale restaurant with elegantly plated seafood, steak & Hawaiian dishes.
BEST OF MAUI RESTAURANTS, Pa’ia
Even if you’re not staying in Pa’ia, it’s definitely worth a stop to check out this little town. Pa’ia is a part of the north shore of Maui and filled with cute shops, a great restaurant scene, and a bit of a hippy vibe. This is the last major town on the Road to Hana, so it’s a great spot to grab a bite to eat on the way home from a long adventurous day. Pa’ia is also home to one of the most famous restaurants on the island: Mama’s Fish House.
Mama’s Fish House
If you’re interested in fine dining in Maui, you’ve likely heard of Mama’s Fish House. This is definitely a spot that requires reservations, even when restaurants eventually go back to 100% capacity because it is just that popular. I feel like I could write an entire blog post about this restaurant, but let’s keep it short and simple, this was the best food experience of the trip and likely the best restaurant I’ve ever been to.
Reading reviews for this place is so comical. You have about 85% of people raving about the experience and the other 15% saying it’s overrated and they did not understand the hype. I definitely am not apart of that 15%, I thought it was incredible. Let’s start out with discussing the atmosphere and grounds of this restaurant. It’s stunning from the moment you leave the parking lot. You walk on a beautiful path amongst a handful of palm trees and there’s a little secluded beach located right in front of the restaurant. I cannot forget to mention the picturesque bent palm tree. We were fortunate enough to have been seated outside and facing the beach so we had that picture perfect view for our whole dinner.
Don’t get me wrong, this place is expensive, most would even say it’s ridiculously expensive and if you’re not someone wanting to spend $250+ on a dinner for two, then totally skip this spot; however, you’re likely reading this post because you’re some type of foodie, so in that case, make the reservation and go. It was one of the highlights of our trip and was without a doubt the best meal we had on Maui. The fish was incredible, the ceviche poke was delicious–I loved it even though I am not a poke lover. We even got desert which is very rare for us and the black pearl did not disappoint. I will say if fish isn’t really your thing, I would not be as enticed to come here. There are non fish items on the menu, but the options are limited. If you’re at all considering checking this place out, definitely do it, and go before sunset so you can enjoy all the views!
Other Food in Pa’ia I recommend:
- Island Fresh Cafe–Acaí bowls and bomb breakfast. This is a great spot to grab a quick bite.
- Flatbread Company–Highly rated pizza spot. This is the perfect place to come for a quick and casual lunch or dinner. It’s located right in the downtown area where all the shopping is.
Best of Maui Restaurants, Kihei
Kihei is a part of South Maui, located by the highly sought out Wailea. We stayed a week in Kihei and although there aren’t a ton of Maui’s best restaurants in Kihei, there’s a few spots worth checking out.
Coconut’s Fish Cafe
Starting nice and affordable with: Coconut’s Fish Cafe. Coconut’s is the perfect spot to grab some fish tacos to enjoy on the beach or your condo. They’re known for their fish tacos and although they have quite a bit of other food options, I’d say the fish tacos are the best thing on their menu. Some argue that Coconut’s makes the best fish tacos on the island, I beg to differ (I liked Paia’s Fish Market better), but they were definitely good, we had lunch here twice!
Miso Phat Sushi
Miso Phat Sushi was a last minute decision and we are so glad we ordered take out from here. We originally wanted to eat at Koiso, one of Maui’s most popular sushi spots, but I hadn’t made a reservation ahead of time and for to-go orders they request ordering the night before pick-up. This was one of the places that surprised us the most. Even though we ordered to-go the fish was so fresh. Luke is a bit of a stickler for sushi and even he raved about this place. I am typically only a sushi roll kinda gal and even I loved the nigiri. We got the salmon, yellowtail, and ahi tuna and they were all amazing.
Listen, I tried to take good photos of the food, but getting to-go sushi and eating in our poorly lit condo made it a little difficult, just take my word for it–this place was amazing. We ate at the Kihei location but there is also another one located in Lahaina.
Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice
I am well aware this is not a restaurant but you cannot travel all the way to Maui and not try the best shave ice on the Island. There are a few different locations and kid you not, this place is always packed with people. Rightfully so, their shave ice was amazing. Firstly, they shave and pack the ice into the cup like art. I literally watched them shape the ice with a stick to ensure it was a perfect little ball. Remember making shave ice as a kid and you need to eat it with a spoon because the ice was thick and chunky and you had to really force the spoon into the cup to get a spoonful? Yeah, well, not here. The ice was shaved so fine you didn’t even need a spoon, you could just lick it like ice cream. Then they drown the ice in syrup, not to mention there’s about a million different syrup flavors. I recommend getting ice cream on the bottom for an added little surprise. I feel like I should be a part of Ululani’s marketing team because I can rave on and on about how good this spot was.
Maui Brewing Co
Maui Brewing Co is another place you HAVE to visit in Maui. I enjoyed that this was in Kihei because Kihei is pretty quiet and there’s not a ton to do in the evening, so this was the perfect spot to hit up after being at the beach all day. It has a total family-friendly vibe and it’s located on huge property that can accommodate a TON of people. The food was typical bar food, you definitely come here more for the beer and vibes than to eat. The outside was decorated with market lights and they have a live music most nights, if not every night.
Other Food Recommendations on Maui
- Merriman’s Kapalua–An oceanfront restaurant with amazing views and farm-to-table food. A lot of visitors compare this spot to Mama’s Fish House in terms of price and the quality of food. I’ve only heard raving reviews about this place. This restaurant does a prix fixe menu, so be sure you check it out before you make the stop.
- Sansei–A seafood and sushi bar. People say this is a fun atmosphere, wonderful service and great sushi.
- Auntie Sandy’s Banana Bread— I cannot conclude this blog without the best sweet treat on Maui Island! Auntie Sandy’s iconic banana bread is the perfect snack to pick up on the Road to Hana. When driving the Hana Highway turn left after mile marker 16 to the Keanae Road. I recommend buying at least two loaves, one for the day and one for the next. We actually enjoyed the day old banana bread better 🙂
That’s a Wrap
That’s a wrap on the best restaurants on Maui! I still think about a lot of these restaurants–the ambiance, the food, the service, the perfect recipe for a good meal. Let me know in the comments if you have a favorite restaurant on the island. If you’re interested in more of my Maui recommendations, check out this blog I did for Magnificent World :). If you’re planning to do the Road to Hana, here are my recommendations.
Happy explorin’ and eatin 😉