Food is such an important part of travel to me. Yes, I’m one of those super annoying people who takes a picture of literally everything they are eating and posts it for the world to see! Why not right? I’m all for spreading the food love.
I’m actually writing from the couch at my lovely condo on Maui right now, admiring the calm palm trees and little myna birds cruising on the patio…just dreaming up what good food we will put in our bellies next! Maui is such a culinary mecca in its own right with so much diversity, it’s hard to choose where to go.
Since I’m not ready to post about my current trip just yet, here’s a rundown on where we ate on our last trip to Maui in 2013. On this trip, I’m looking forward to eating at a few favorite spots, but mostly, trying some new places around the island! (UPDATE: Check out our 2015 Maui Food Diary for more food reviews!)
MONKEYPOD KITCHEN – WAILEA
You only need to know two words here: Mai Tai. If this is your only reason to visit Monkeypod, do it. Their luscious dark rum Mai Tais topped with this amazing liliko’i (passion fruit) foam are to die for! Be sure to have a designated driver as they are quite strong. They have a great happy hour menu as well and we feasted on calamari, vegan Portuguese soup (I MUST try something if it’s vegan), the raw bar mixed plate (sesame ahi poke and organic Waihe’e macadamia nuts, poisson cru, tako poke), and the hamakua wild mushroom pizza. No complaints here!
MILAGROS – PAIA
One of my favorite spots. They have amazing black bean nachos and probably the best fish tacos ever! Well, at least to me. They give you a ton of food, and have delicious margaritas to wash it all down with. Husband also got the ahi burrito. Can’t really go wrong here 🙂
ONO GELATO – PAIA (Now called Paia Gelato)
I must confess, I want to go here every time I’m on the island. It’s just, well, gelato is like a little heaven in a cup and you just want to eat it up! I love the liliko’i flavor! I go to the one in Paia since it’s on the way to and from my mom’s house, but I spotted one in Kihei also, not too far from our condo (I WILL be frequenting that one). Definitely try out their tropical flavors!
CAPISCHE – WAILEA (Now called The Restaurant at Hotel Wailea)
I’ve dined here too many times to count because my brother worked here for many years. It’s always a special treat! They have wonderful ambiance at the restaurant, sitting up on a balcony with the most beautiful sunset views I have ever seen. It’s a small, boutique restaurant serving Italian fare with a little Pacific Island inspiration. My favorites here are the mushroom truffle risotto and their fresh catch fish, which is usually served with some delicious seasonal veg and whipped potatoes. I also love their beet salad served with goat cheese, crispy beet ravioli, and sherry beet vinaigrette. This would be a great choice if you are looking for a romantic dinner for two! Be sure to make a reservation and find out what time sunset is for the day so you can be sure to get that lovely view.
STAR NOODLE – LAHAINA
Kimchi WHAT?!!! The best. If you like kimchi, you must try it here. It’s soooo good. The pohole (fern shoot) salad was yummy, as was the buckwheat soba. Since I don’t eat meat (other than the occasional fish), I did not sample the ramen but am told by everyone else at my table it was wonderful. The chef here is Sheldon Simeon from Top Chef (a show that we adore, being total foodies). Definitely worth stop – a bit off the beaten path in a little industrial area. We will be stopping by here again on our current trip.
TORTILLAS – PAIA (Now closed but there is one in Lahaina still)
If you are looking to grab a quick bit to eat, Tortillas is a good stop. They have a Chipotle-inspired menu with a few more options. Very good. It looks like the Paia location is now closed, but there is still one open in Lahaina. Since Chipotle hasn’t made its way to Hawaii yet, this would be a good alternative. And what can I say, burritos are best eaten with a beer 🙂
COCONUT GLEN’S – ROAD TO HANA
I already inserted this gem into my post about Hana…but in case you didn’t read that, here is my review again.
What does Coconut Glen’s have to offer? Oh, just a variety of flavors of “ice cream” made from coconut milk. I was excited when I came across this while researching vegan food options on Maui. For one thing, it involves one of the most beautiful (and long…and windy – and I don’t mean wind like air, I mean windy like you might get car sick and want to heave several times) drives around. The Road to Hana on Maui takes you through hundreds of twists and turns in a lush, tropical rainforest environment on the east coast of the island of Maui. There are many fruit and/or smoothie stands along the way, but I had never encountered this one before – and I have taken the Road to Hana my fair share of times.
The authentic part about your little ice cream cup is that if you get it “there,” it comes in a coconut shell bowl. To go – you get a disposable cup. Choose the shell. They recycle. They also give you a “spoon” aka pieces of coconut husk to scoop up your treat. Talk about being eco-friendly. Had to try the lilikoi (passion fruit – my favorite flavor, EVER). It was just ok. Tried the chocolate chili – it was magical! They have you ring a bell if “its the best ice cream you have ever had.” My brother rang the bell just for giggles. While its hard to say its the best, it certainly was delicious! A little pricey (5 bucks a pop), I would say its a worthy stop on this journey around Maui.
TUK TUK THAI – HAIKU
Wanting a little yummies close to home (home meaning my mom’s house), we wandered over to Tuk Tuk for some pad thai. At the time, they were serving out of a little colorful school bus but I think they have since moved to a different location across the street. We have a slight obsession with Thai food back in Cali, so I can’t turn down a request for Thai. Ever. They have (or at least had) a small menu to choose from and the pad thai seemed to be the most appealing. It was kind of pricey for lunch, but so is everything on Maui. It was not bad, but not my favorite Thai dish I have eaten. Maybe I just don’t like pad thai? I would love to go back and try their curry. This place is pretty highly rated on Yelp so lots of people love it!
I have been hearing about this place for the past couple of years from a few people. I decided to check it out. It is, after all, practically just around the corner from my mom’s house in Haiku. First and foremost, this place is all about the kombucha, which is a fermented drink that is designed to boost your energy, and also contains antioxidants. We did a tasting (which we got for free since we were first-timers; otherwise, its 50 cents a taste). Our favorite flavor was the lilikoi (passion fruit), so we ended up with a quart of that ($11, $8 refills thereafter). They have three flavors on tap every day and you can check out their Facebook page for their daily menu.
They also serve a limited menu, which changes daily. Most of their food and desserts are pre-prepared and are in their refrigerator section. Some items may be made to order. Also, Most of the food they offer there is vegan. I decided that I would try out one of their desserts, the chocolate mousse pie. I have to say I was a little hesitant to try it…vegan baked goods…It wasnt too bad actually. It is not something that I would jump for joy over; however, it was a nice supplement to a dairy-laden chocolate mouse pie. It had a bit of a nutty flavor to it, probably because one of the ingredients is cashews.
The liliko’i cheesecake. Nuff said. Can you see a pattern here? Liliko’i is perhaps my most favorite flavor of all time!! We made a stop up here on the way up to the Haleakala Crater one day and had the crab cake panini and ahi sandwich. We decided to take a cheesecake to go since we were so full! I don’t like a real sour tasting cheesecake…generally, I don’t care much for cheesecake at all. This one has a perfect balance. Call ahead to see if they’ve placed this delectable dessert on the menu for the day.
FLATBREAD PIZZA COMPANY – PAIA
I remembered Flatbread as always being a crazy busy stop in the small hippie town of Paia. It’s not a restaurant I grew up eating at, relatively newer to the area…within the last decade I suppose. Driving by the restaurant, there are always lines out the door and views of such a lively dining room. It had been a few years since I tasted this pizza. Being on my vegan mission, I knew they had an option here to choose from. No cheese of course, and a bunch of veggies, including tomatoes, mushrooms (which I have recently acquired a VERY MILD taste for), basil, and onions. Not too bad. .My only complaint is that the pizza got very soggy quickly. Other than that, the flavor was great – and a great option for vegans in the area. My husband and mom ordered the fennel sausage pizza and the kalua pork one (I believe).
Their salad is also vegan if you order it without the cheese (though it does come with goat cheese on it). I did write an email to the company just to confirm their pizza dough and salad dressing was vegan, and the manager there quickly replied that it was! In fact, she also said “We value and try hard to make our products friendly for our vegan, vegetarian and gluten challenged friends.” Way to go Flatbread 🙂
Flatbread Pizza Company also has multiple locations in the U.S.
CHEESEBURGER IN PARADISE – Lahaina (Note, only the Wailea location is open currently)
It’s hard to pass up this semi-iconic restaurant location. Back in the day, when I used to eat meat, I remembered their burgers being pretty delicious. I was of course delighted to find out that they have a veggie burger on the menu there as well made out of black beans. MMMMM!!!! Chipotle black bean guacamole burger. Yes please. Love the views of the ocean also, as the restaurant sits right on the water. A lovely meal to enjoy after a morning whale watch, perhaps? With a Planter’s Punch?
PITA PARADISE – WAILEA
Last but not least, Mediterranean delights! They have delicious pitas with meat or fish, or even better, spicy falafel! I love their pita bread. It’s just delicious. And their meals come with a side of rice pilaf. They also have a cool Happy Hour menu with some nice tropical drink selections (because when you’re in Maui, why not enjoy a cocktail? Or two?).
Stay tuned for more posts about Maui!
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UPDATE: Click here for our 2015 Maui Food Diary!