Top 10 Best Restaurants on Maui | From Fine Dining to Casual Fare
Thanks to its rich history of cultural influences and popularity as a vacation destination, Maui has a surprisingly vibrant culinary scene. So many options came to mind for this list, but here are 10 standouts – many of which have Hawaiian-inspired menus with a contemporary spin, an emphasis on locally sourced ingredients, and breathtaking island surroundings.
It seems fitting to start with the #1 fine dining restaurant in the U.S. for 2022! Offering “new American cuisine in a contemporary bistro setting,” Lahaina Grill features signature items like sautéed mahi-mahi with local Kula spinach, herbed mashed potatoes, gorgonzola, pancetta, and chardonnay beurre blanc – along with everything from Kona coffee-roasted rack of lamb to porcini-portobello mushroom ravioli. Also voted best Maui restaurant for 29 consecutive years in the Honolulu Magazine readers’ poll, Lahaina Grill serves dinner nightly. For an extra-special experience, parties of six to eight can opt for the chef’s table, sampling an individualized menu with wine pairings while taking in the views of historic Lahaina Town.
Mama’s Fish House
A semi-finalist for the 2018 James Beard Foundation Awards, Mama’s (on Maui’s north shore) was also voted the second most popular restaurant in the U.S. on OpenTable, and has appeared in Tripadvisor’s national top 10 list of fine dining restaurants. Thanks to daily farm-to-table deliveries, their lunch and dinner menus change constantly – but the fresh, locally caught fish is consistently the star of the show. Mama’s boasts not only exceptional Polynesian-influenced cuisine and gorgeous views of Kū`au Bay, but a peaceful oceanfront setting and even a fascinating history (spoiler alert: it’s been owned by the same family since 1973). It’s no wonder they’re typically fully booked three to six months in advance!
The also-award-winning Merriman’s provides another fine dining experience in the kind of spectacular surroundings only found on Maui. Their three-course prix fixe dinner menu of Hawaii regional cuisine includes 90% locally grown or caught ingredients, and the ocean-view lanai restaurant is so picturesque that it also enjoys great popularity as a wedding venue. Reservations are a must for this Kapalua resort area gem, on the island’s west side.
In a scenic open-air setting at the Fairmont Kea Lani in Wailea, Kō offers a uniquely Hawaiian- and Asian-inspired menu with items like seafood lau lau, grilled octopus, Korean braised short ribs, and red curry chicken. Over 90% of the fish, beef, and produce served at Kō’s lunch, dinner, happy hour, and Sunday brunch is locally sourced.
Located in the Shops at Wailea on Maui’s south side, Lineage features innovative Asian-American cuisine, from small bites and share plates to creative cocktails and sake. It has been highly awarded since its doors opened in 2018, serving dinner only in a not-to-be-missed atmosphere.
Hali`imaile General Store
Hali`imaile General Store has offered farm-to-table “casual fine dining” in a quaint upcountry setting since 1988. Tuesday through Saturday for lunch and dinner, land and sea dishes full of Hawaiian and Asian flavors appear in modern preparations. Fun fact: the restaurant’s 1920s-era building actually was once a general store for the area’s pineapple field workers.
From this point on in our list, the dining experience gets a little more relaxed and low-key – but the food remains fantastic. Star Noodle serves up inventive and fresh noodle dishes, as well as Asian-rooted share plates, for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday. In operation since 2010, it moved to its current location in 2020, oceanfront on lively Lahaina’s Front Street – which means that it’s now also a great place to also catch a stunning sunset!
This kama`aina favorite first opened in 1989 on Maui’s north shore, but locations have been added more recently in Kihei (south Maui), Lahaina (west Maui), and Waikiki and Kailua (on O`ahu). Paia Fishmarket has something for everyone who loves fish, from fresh catch plates, sandwiches, and salads, to fish tacos, quesadillas, and pastas. Choose your fish, choose your preparation, and enjoy!
Owned and operated by a Big Island-born two-time Top Chef finalist, this takeout-only establishment in central Maui is open for lunch and dinner, Tuesday through Saturday. Tin Roof features native Hawaiian food with a nod to its Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, and Filipino influences. Although the menu also includes noodles and salads, Tin Roof’s “kau kau tins” are especially popular, complete with a flavorful protein, rice, and a side of salted cabbage.
A zero-waste vegetarian and vegan restaurant, Moku Roots is possibly the most unique entry on this list. Serving both lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday, as well as lunch on Sunday, this Lahaina eatery provides a selection of plant-based bowls, wraps, and sandwiches with many locally grown ingredients.
Of course, incredible restaurants are just one small part of Maui’s appeal! Contact me today to learn more about life on this one-of-a-kind island.
Leslie Mackenzie Smith, REALTOR(S), RS-42147