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Reviews:  So Many Maui Restaurants, So Little Time

Reviews: So Many Maui Restaurants, So Little Time

avatar   Stacy
Trip Date 08/16/2017
Posted On 05/04/2018 19:26:37

Destinations | Reviews | Hawaii | Maui | Dining | Restaurants | Breakfast | Dinner | Luau

Our visit to Maui was only three short days, so the number of restaurants at which we had the opportunity to dine was very limited. Additionally, most of our meals were so filling, we only ate two meals each day - giving us more time to explore the island.

Breakfast at Gazebo Restaurant

5315 Lower Honoapiilani Road; Napili, Maui, HI 96761

Breakfast on our first morning was at Gazebo Restaurant highly recommended by my friend and former colleague, Ava. The drive to the restaurant from our Kihea Airbnb was about 50 minutes, but Ava said it was a "must do" (even with a long outdoor wait for a table). As expected, our wait was almost exactly an hour - the building was a small gazebo turned into a restaurant, and apparently their fan club grew in recent years through social media recommendations.

The restaurant's claim to fame was their Macadamia Nut Pancakes, so we both ordered similar breakfast dishes as neither of us wanted to miss out! Scott chose Banana Mac with a side of scrambled eggs, and my choice was the Combo Pancakes (macadamia pancakes with pineapples and bananas). The pancakes arrived with a "very healthy" serving of whipped cream and no butter (yay - I don't like pancakes drowning in butter as they so often are served). The total cost of our breakfast was $31.00 (including a tip for the server). Two pancakes did not sound or look like that much, but I could not even finish my meal. If we went back again, I would try to talk Scott into splitting both an order of pancakes (he can choose the flavor) and a half order of the Fried Rice Plate. The pancakes were thick, fluffy and very tasty (especially with coconut syrup), and I saw several tables with the fried rice that also looked great!

The Gazebo's Macadamia Nut Pancakes

The Gazebo's Macadamia Nut Pancakes

Dinner at Old Lahaina Lu'au

1251 Front Street; Lahaina, Maui, HI 96761)

The Old Lahaina Lu'au was more than just a meal - it was an evening of entertainment which included dinner and an open bar. Once escorted to the "eating house", we chose from a large selection of traditional Hawaiian cuisine served buffet style including:

  • Fruits and Salads: Island Crab Salad, Pohole Salad (greens, onions & tomatoes in vinaigrette), Lomilomi Salmon (tomatoes, onions & salmon), Poke 'Ahi (marinated raw ahi tuna with onions) and Fresh Island Fruits
  • Breads: Banana Bread and Palaoa (dinner rolls)
  • Vegetables and Sides: Stir Fry Vegetables, Fried Rice, Sweet Potatoes, Mea'ai Ola Pono (taro, sweet potato and tofu with pineapple salsa and garlic chili vinaigrette), Lu'au Kalo (taro leaf stew) and Poi (steamed, mashed taro root)
  • Entrees: Pua'a Kalua (imu roasted pork), Laulau (taro leaf wrapped pork), I'a (Maui style fish), Pipi Ko'ala (grilled beef steak), Chicken Long Rice (shredded chicken, onions, ginger and rice bean noodles in broth) and Moa (marinated chicken with pineapple and sesame seeds)

Buffet Dining at Old Lahaina Lu'au

Buffet Dining at Old Lahaina Lu'au

The dinner feast included unlimited return trips to the buffet plus an assortment of island desserts delivered to our table:

  • Hawaiian chocolate chili pepper brownies
  • Passion fruit cake
  • Lavender lemon shortbread cookies
  • Haupi (Hawaiian coconut pudding)

Assorted Dessert to Share at Old Lahaina Lu'au

Assorted Dessert to Share at Old Lahaina Lu'au

A variety of drinks flowed from the open bar during dinner as well as throughout the entire evening including sodas, juices, wines, beers, and mixed drinks. We tried both a Mai Tai (just ok) and a Lava Flow (Pi'a Colada infused with strawberry) which we really enjoyed.

Breakfast courtesy of Old Lahaina Lu'au

The surprise gift of two mini loaves of banana bread, coupled with drinks purchased on our snack run shortly after our arrival in Maui, was perfect for our second morning's breakfast. We enjoyed our meal dining on the large private patio just off of our Airbnb room - saving both time and money!

Dinner at Da Kitchen

425 Koloa Street, Suite 104; Kahului, Maui HI 96732

Earlier this year we were lucky to catch a rerun of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives featuring restaurants in Maui (Season 25, Episode 1), so we gave a couple of them a try. Da Kitchen had one of the largest selections of menu items that I have ever seen. In addition to a large double sided, printed and laminated menu, they had a chalkboard with additional items from which to choose - it was almost overwhelming. After much deliberation I narrowed my choices down, asked our server for recommendations and finally settled on the Garlic Shrimp & Pork Fried Rice. Scott, usually very quick to make a selection no matter how big the menu, even had trouble making his final choice, but after asking a couple of questions, he settled on the Kalua Pork Sandwich served with sweet & sour sauce and a scoop of Potato Mac Salad.

Our meals arrived rather quickly, and the portions were generous. The serving of pork on Scott's bun was more than ample, his salad (a mixture of potato and macaroni salads) was a typical sized scoop, and my bowl of rice (fried with bacon, Portuguese sausage, Spam, green onions, more shrimp than I could count and served with a large triangle of garlic bread) was more than enough for one person. We both agreed that the flavor combinations were excellent and, with a little of Scott's help, most of my meal was devoured. Including a yummy cup of Dole Whip that we shared for dessert, the total cost of our dinner was $41.00 including tip. Da Kitchen was not overly crowded during our visit and we did not have to wait for a table, however our choice of arriving at about 3:30 PM (between the typical lunch and dinner dining hours) served us well.

Dinner & Dessert at Da Kitchen

Dinner & Dessert at Da Kitchen

My friend Ava and her husband visited Maui just a couple of days after we watched Triple D (and about three months before our trip), so I shared our learnings from the show with them. Ava gave high praises about their experience at Da Kitchen as well - she and her husband shared the Notorious B.I.G. Moco (hamburger, chili, 2 eggs, mushrooms, onions, Spam, cheese, bacon, Portuguese sausage and fried rice), and they had enough leftovers for breakfast the following morning!

Da Kitchen's Notorious B.I.G. Moco

Da Kitchen's Notorious B.I.G. Moco

Breakfast at Kihei Caffe

1945 South Kihei Road; Kihei, Maui HI 96753

We were hoping for a quick, nearby restaurant for our last breakfast on Maui, and a Google search did the trick by finding the highly rated Kihei Caffee. The restaurant, located at the Kihei Kalama Village, served breakfast (5:00 AM - 2:00 PM) and lunch (11:00 AM - 2:00 PM) and operated on a cash only basis. The rather extensive menu was displayed on large overhead chalkboards in the restaurant lobby / ordering area, with printed, laminated versions also available to peruse while waiting in line to order.

So many Choices at Kihei Caffe

So many Choices at Kihei Caffe

While not out the door, the line seemed quite long at our 9:00 AM arrival, however it moved fairly quickly. As requested, we waited in line together and then placed and paid for our order (# 5 - French Toast; add bananas and macadamia nuts - for each of us) before finding a table. I have to admit that we were a little nervous that we would not be able to find a table, however, as their signs promised, it worked like a charm. After a very short wait, our plates were delivered to our table - each with three very thick slices of French toast plus lots of chopped macadamia nuts, a sliced banana and a scoop of butter (ugh - I forgot to request "no butter"). After dousing my breakfast with Coconut Syrup, I ate every last bit of food on my plate (except for the butter, of course) and was stuffed. Our $22.00 breakfast for two was flavorful, filling and fantastic - the only complaint that I have about the restaurant is the tiny plastic cups that they provide for self-service water!

Kihei Caffe's French Toast

Kihei Caffe's French Toast

Dinner at Fat Daddy's Smokehouse

1913 South Kihei Road; Kihei, Maui HI 96753

We first learned about Fat Daddy's on a rerun of Diners, Drive- ins and Dives (Season 25, Episode 1), and with Scott's love of barbecue, made giving it a try a top priority.

Scott's Triple D Pose

Scott's Triple D Pose

We always say that we are going to order one meal and share it so that we cut down our calorie intake and don't leave restaurants feeling overly stuffed, and we finally did just that at Fat Daddy's (well, kind of). After consulting with our very knowledgeable (but possibly a little too attentive) server, we settled on a 1/2 rack of St. Louis-style pork ribs (not really a single serving!) plus two sides - Mac'n'Cheese and cornbread. With a generous serving of macaroni, a mini-loaf of cornbread and six meaty ribs, our $30.00 meal selection (including tip) turned out to be perfectly sized for the two of us. All three a la carte items arrived just as described in the menu, were well prepared and very tasty.

Dinner to Share at Fat Daddy's

Dinner to Share at Fat Daddy's

Highly Recommended Restaurants for Future Maui Visits

With only three dinners to eat during our short Maui stay (including our pre-reserved lu'au), we did not have nearly enough time to get to all of the restaurants that came very highly recommended. Since we already had tentative plans to hit both Da Kitchen and Fat Daddy's (both praised by both Guy Fieri on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives and my friend, Ava), we saved the following list of restaurants recommended by our Airbnb host for a future visit:

5 Palms Restaurant

2960 South Kihei Road; Kihei, Maui HI 96753

Located right on the Maui coastline, 5 Palms had a great happy hour menu offered from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM and 9:00 PM to 10:00 PM (times change seasonally) with discounted drinks, sushi and pupus (appetizers).

Nalu's South Shore Grill

1280 South Kihei Road, Suite 132; Kihei, Maui HI 96753

Located in Azeka Shopping Center, Nalu's served breakfast, lunch and dinner with live music / dinner shows (reservations recommended) throughout the year.

Sea House Restaurant

5900 Lower Honoapiilani Road; Lahaina, Maui HI 96761

Between 2:00 PM and 4:30 PM daily, Sea House offered discounted drinks and a large selection of pupus (appetizers) all at discounted prices.

Star Noodle

286 Kupuohi Street; Lahaina, Maui, HI 96761

In addition to our Airbnb host, Star Noodle was also recommended by a couple who we met while on Kauai. The restaurant served lunch and dinner (house made noodles and Asian dishes) and was open seven days each week.

Three's Bar & Grill

1945 South Kihei Road, Suite G; Kihei, Maui HI 96753

Offering breakfast, lunch and dinner from the three chef-owners' three cuisines (Hawaiian, Southwestern and Pacific Rim), Three's was featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives on July 21, 2017.

Hawaiian Lu'au"

If you are considering a luau during your stay on Maui, read our post titled "Review: Old Lahaina Lu'au" for an overview of the evening including our impressions of the event.

Restaurants in Maui, Hawaii

What are your favorite restaurants on the island of Maui?

Reviews:  So Many Maui Restaurants, So Little Time


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