Maui favorites: Maui No Ka Oi! 2016

 Maui No Ka Oi updated 2016



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 Masa at the sushi bar!

Pineapple Grill-  used to be great but changed hands and haven’t heard good things about it. Haven’t even bothered to try it since…


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. Very  noisy and busy! I much prefer Cane and Canoe!!

Cane and Canoe: my favourite place!! Amazing food fantastic service and super view!! Love the shrimp and grits and the ciopinno- the steaks are great and the fish are all fabulous!! The purple sweet potato buns are amazing!! Really can’t go wrong!

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 From 2-4 p

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!! People love 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 opened a 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.

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.

Joeys – just opened in Napili Marketplace in November 2016- haven’t been but supposed to be very good- local philipino food menu changes weekly


Farmers Market at Napili- just across the street from the Napili Market on Wednesday and Saturday from 8-11 am mornings is a local small farmers market- most things are grown in Kapalua and are organic

Farmers Market in Honokowai- 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.

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.

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 and many friends go all the time and couldn’t stop raving about it!

Wine Palette: fancy wines- food 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.


Taverna: Italian food in Kapalua. Nice pastas and pizzas – great tiramisu.

Sangrita- casual Mexican food in a strip mall in kaanapali . Freda’s in Lahaina is much better and has s view and is right on the water as opposed to this view of the parking lot!

Fridas: great fresh Mexican food right on the water in Lahaina! Mala and Honu are all owned by the same owner and all good and right on the water next to each other.

Paia Fish Company- great casual fish place right across from the giant banyan tree in Lahaina. Their original location in Paia is also great!

Sale Pepe: fantastic Italian food in Lahaina – very small. Amazing lasagna and great pastas and pizza! Just opened a new lunch place next door. No view it’s basically in a parking lot behind front street.

Yaziz food truck , Baya Bowls and other food trucks – amazing great fresh food trucks in a parking lot in Lahaiana — great for breakfast or lunch- closed Monday.

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! They do have an amazing dessert that’s looks like a pearl in an oyster.

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


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