Maui No Ka Oi

That translates to Maui is the Best! Having spent all my life coming here on vacation and the last three winters here I am often asked for recommendations on where to go here. So here is the Maui list!

I always stay on the west side of Maui- Napili or Kapalua. To all you who say that the weather is bad- not true – it is the more traditional part of the island- more like the Maui of past- no high rises and not like the big city. If you want that then go ahead and stay in Wailea. Of course the only place to stay is at Napili Kai Beach Resort- it is by far the best place on earth with the most amazing staff there is.

Places to Eat:

Sansei is our favorite- it’s in Kapalua and the sushi is amazing and the people who work there are so wonderful. I go every week that I am there -at least once a week! They have an early bird discount but you have to go around 430 to line up but the line ups are fun and you meet lots of nice people. They do take reservations but not on Sunday or Monday nights. Favorites are dragon roll, angry rainbow roll with spicy tuna, Napili roll, ahi carpaccio, miso butterfish, dynamite prawns. Ask for Frank or Jason at the sushi bar!

Pineapple Grill- Very good fish specials.

Merriman’s- in Kapalua- right on the water- gorgeous views, very good service and food- not cheap though- upscale food and prices but always great. Lobster is my favorite but all the fish is great. Brad loves the truffle fries. The chocolate purse is the best dessert but go for the haupia ice cream with it instead of the vanilla.

The Sea House- this is right on the water at Napili Kai so can’t beat the views. Food for breakfast is excellent- the pancakes with coconut syrup and if you are really being decadent the macadamia nut chocolate pancakes!!! Lunch is good too and dinner ok. They have a nice happy hour where all the pupus are reduced in price till 5 pm. Ask in the lobby for a free caesar salad coupon with dinner before you go in!

The Gazebo- down at the other end of the beach from Napili Kai- this place is super busy and popular- only open for breakfast and lunch- lineups for breakfast are usually about 45 minutes long- huge portions!!! Pancakes with a ton of whipped cream!! Geoff loves the fried rice- again an enormous portion!! They do take out if you don’t want to wait or go for brunch as it does slow down later on as well. They just opened a new place in Lahaina on Front Street called Koa that is supposed to be the same good food with no waiting and they are open for dinner.

Iron Imu BBQ- Great very casual place for take out or eat in- not on the water- just down the way from Napili Kai. Super fresh bbq chicken, ribs, great garlic shrimp- my favorite, blackened local fish, sausages, with great sides especially the corn pudding. They just opened in December 2013 and I hope they make it as it’s so nice and close and the owners are very nice. Food is super fresh- they do it all on their bbq trucks that are outside. Great coleslaw with dried cherries. Brad loves the mac and cheese and chicken. Go here and not Mama’s down the way- this is way better!!!

Maui Taco- very casual but very fresh made to order and good- especially if you have kids. Fish tacos are great made with local fish. Big salsa bar. Becca loves the mango fish salad. Been going here since the kids were tiny and its great for an easy cheap dinner in Maui. I go about once a week when I am here for the winter.

Farmers Market at Napili- just across the street from the Napili Market on Wednesday mornings is a local small farmers market- open from 7-11 am – most things are grown in Kapalua and are organic

Farmers Market in Honokowai- OUR FAVORITE THING!! Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings from 7 am till 11 am- local fruits and veggies, guacamole, salsas, coconut bagels, breads, etc with tons of free samples and great people. Have been coming here for years and years. Becca’s favorite place in Maui! They also have a store where you can get most of the things when the market is closed there. Strawberry papayas and pineapples are great.Coconut bagels, lilikoi cream cheese, their homeade guacamole also fantastic. The mexican deli across is also good for tamales and super cheap. Bad Ass Coffee also across is good to get your morning going.

The Fish Market- also in Honokowai- great fresh fish- half is a fish store with local raw fish and prepared fish- such as amazing poke, ceviche and salads. Other half of the store has cooked things- great seared ahi sandwiches and tacos.

China Boat- very good chinese food and they are one of the only places that delivers so I love that! Great house chow mein with fat noodles, kung pao shrimp also very good.

Pizza Paradiso- Honokowai- good pizza and greek food- also gelato.

Roys- Kaanapali- Great local food- Becca loves this place and eats often at their LA location too! This is a new location since last year- still excellent food but very noisy.

Lahaina Grill- Lahaina- amazing food and service- pricy- not right on the water but just off Front street in Lahaina, Must try is the Road to Hana chocolate dessert! It is unreal!!

Ono Gelato- great local flavors like lilikoi and coconut gelato. They also make amazing croissants if you are lucky enough to find them- almond, brie and chocolate. They have a nice deck you can sit out back on and eat your gelato right on the water too! Also a big selection of Toms shoes for some reason..

Star Noodle- Lahaina- way up the road from Walgreens in the middle of no where but great food! The chef came third on Top Chef Seattle! Ahi avo, shrimp tempura, garlic noodles, Lahaina fried soup, pork buns, miso salmon- can’t really go wrong here! Very small and very busy place!! They do take out.

Leoda’s Pie Shop- owned by same people as Star Noodle- on the way to the airport or about 15 minutes outside of Lahaina- amazing ahi sandwich- great pies- they make all their own breads and pies and all. So wish it was not so far from me as would go much more often! People always stop and get a sandwich for the plane on the way home here.

Maui Adventure Cruises- if you want to go see the whales this is the one to use.

Hula Girl snorkel to Molokini and sunset cruises- supposed to be the best by far with a five star kitchen where they make you lunch or dinner- My cousins went and couldn’t stop raving about it!

Wine Palette: Just opened November 2013- fancy wines- a small list of appetizers mostly cold and you can paint on canvas with acrylics or also do wine bottles, wine glasses and other things while you drink. Becca loved doing this! Next to Sansei in Kapalua.

Sangrita- brand new February 2014- supposed to be yummy.

Costco- has all sorts of Maui things you don’t find on the mainland- bulk mac nut chocolates, a huge poke bar, surfboards, etc! Next to the airport in Kahalui.

Paia- past the airport- fun old town- very hippieish with neat stores to look at and shop. Fun way to spend a day if you are bored of sitting at the beach. Good places to eat are The Fish Market and Cafe Mambo. Nice bikini store for those of you young and skinny enough to wear one!

Makawao; also past the airport- again a funky old town- this one was a cowboy town. Great art galleries such as Sherry Reeves and glass blowing stores. Komodo Bakery is very popular- they have great stuff- particularly the coconut danish and guava malasadas as well as donuts on sticks and great buns but you have to get there early or they sell completely out. Breakfast at the Market Fresh Bistro and make sure to try the Lilikoi spread there- its like sunshine in a jar! Get some spices at the Volcano spice shop.

Saturday mornings from 7 am on there is a big swap meet near the airport- lots of amazing local flowers, foods and local crafts.

Sunday mornings usually at the civic center in Lahaina there is a craft fair that is fun with local things as well but check to make sure its on as not every weekend and never in November as they hold the big basketball tournaments there.

Hale Male restaurant is also great but I would avoid the overpriced Mamas Fish house unless you are going solely for the views- the food and the service are not worth it at all!

Let me know if you are coming by to visit- I should be there from November on hopefully again!

Aloha!