Dining Delights on the Island of Maui

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In Lahaina, walking along a side street a young woman asked us to look at a lovely little knife she bought as a gift for The One for their first Christmas together. This random encounter gives a connection to a place that lasts after the beautiful sunsets have faded.

So do incredible meals if you’re into food the way my husband is.

At the Shops of Wailea

We wound up here more than once because of the proximity to our hotel. There are a variety of restaurants, including:


Both the food and the service are extraordinary and complement the open-air setting. We were happy to find such a wonderful, locally owned place in proximity to our restaurant-lacking hotel. Order the Lobster Cannelloni and Linguine with Clams—both are delectable. And don’t be alarmed if a little bird stops by to say hello.

Tommy Bahama’s

Not only was it a surprise to find there was such a restaurant (Conveniently located next to his store.) but also to discover especially how good the cuisine tastes. But don’t, as we heard someone did, eat there six out of your seven nights on Maui. What a shame, with so many places to experience.

Whaler’s General Store

Surprised? There were times that we didn’t feel like going out for dinner, especially after a big lunch. This delightful store has a broad selection of prepared foods, a helpful staff, and some of the best Poke we’ve had. We sampled three nights of this delicious, quintessential Hawaiian food sitting on our balcony and watching the sunset.

I mentioned a couple of restaurants on the Haleakala Crater and Rainbows blog: Kula Lodge and the Ulupalakua Ranch Store.

Mama’s Fish House at Paia.

This was an arbitrary recommendation from another guest at our resort. He said it was a bit pricey, but delicious. Truth is that the food and service are impeccable, but (for us) it was quite expensive. The location makes you want to linger for the peacefulness of it.

Another delight was Cafe O’Lei Kihei.

It is busy and boisterous and great fun. It is upstairs and from the street front, looks very narrow and small. Don’t be deceived! Climb the stairs and check out the menu with options for a variety of taste buds. They offer everything from sushi to onion soup to crab cakes. Watching the staff interact and support each other is a bit like a dinner show.

Cafe O'Lei Kihei
Cafe O’Lei Kihei

And the last appetizing thing we had, was what we saw from the infinity pool at the hotel…the full back of a whale as it arced out of the water ever so briefly. Maui, truly a tasty place to visit—for eyes and for stomachs.

Also published on Medium.

22 Responses

  1. Jeannette Paladino
    | Reply

    I envy your trip to Hawaii. I still haven’t been, but now that I’m living in sunny Florida, near the beach, I feel I’m living in another nirvana!
    Jeannette Paladino recently posted..Preparation and Practice Are Key to a Successful WebinarMy Profile

    • Rose Mary Griffith
      | Reply

      I always think of NYC as being as gray as Pittsburgh during the winter, Jeannette, so I would imagine being in sunny Florida is a truly welcome change!

  2. William Rusho
    | Reply

    Love the description of food. I have read your review of the islands, the view, weather, etc. and now the food.
    I am sitting in a snow storm today, eating some cup-a-soup. I am soooooo jealous of you right now.
    Thanks for sharing.
    William Rusho recently posted..Medieval/Renaissance Faires 2017My Profile

    • Rose Mary Griffith
      | Reply

      It’s only 22 in Pittsburgh today, William, so I too wish I were in Hawaii right now enjoying some of those delicious foods. Stay warm!

  3. Doreen Pendgracs
    | Reply

    I remember being at several of the places you’ve listed when we were in Maui, Rose, and that was quite a number of years ago! Nice to see they’re still surviving and thriving. How I should love to return to Maui.
    Doreen Pendgracs recently posted..surviving the impact of cancerMy Profile

    • Rose Mary Griffith
      | Reply

      I’m glad to hear these places have longevity, Doreen. That’s wonderful to know. Hope you get back there soon!

  4. Erica
    | Reply

    Glad to you found such great restaurants on your trip. Personally, I have to avoid gluten so it makes eating on vacation much more difficult. I miss the days from when I was a kid where I could just sit down at any new restaurant and see what they have to offer. I would love to visit Maui. It seems like you had an amazing trip.
    Erica recently posted..Groupon Coupons For Healthy SavingsMy Profile

    • Rose Mary Griffith
      | Reply

      I don’t have a gluten intolerance, but try to avoid it as much as I can because of my thyroid issues. After eating gluten foods, I don’t feel well. So I was pleased on this trip by how many gluten free options there were. It was a surprise.

  5. Sushmita
    | Reply

    I haven’t explored much yet, want too 😉
    And exploring food from various locations is one of my favorites.
    Thanks for sharing dear 🙂
    Sushmita recently posted..10 tools you need to know about, for Effective Social Media Marketing.My Profile

    • Rose Mary Griffith
      | Reply

      I know you have the travel bug, Sushmita. Hope you get to see a lot of new places this year!

  6. Bola
    | Reply

    Eventhough Mama’s Fish House at Paia is pricey, the meals look scrumptuous. Travelling and food always go hand in hand.
    Bola recently posted..Train Strikes Can Make You Unusually HappyMy Profile

  7. Jeri
    | Reply

    Culinary adventures are the best! Good finds often come in the most unpredictable ways. In Innsbruck, I should have known better than to automatically go with the place the hotel staff recommended, but I was tired at the end of a long day. Suffice to say my first experience eating es cargot was of the it’s so salty variety I can barely eat it variety. When it came to a good dinner in Munich, I found a place on TripAdvisor that had a handful of rave reviews. The place had no website or any online presence. The restaurant was set in a guy’s house. The chef brought each of eight courses to the table himself and had a busser to assist. It was affordable and hands-down the best meal I’ve ever eating. Boise actually has a couple of good Hawaiian restaurants I dine at from time to time too.
    Jeri recently posted..#AuthorInterview: Colleen M. StoryMy Profile

    • Rose Mary Griffith
      | Reply

      Jeri, I love your story of dining in the fellow’s house! What grand fun and a unique experience. I’m envious!
      We try hard to avoid obvious tourist traps when traveling–the prices are always higher and the food is not always notable. I love the little out of the way places.

  8. Marquita Herald
    | Reply

    You were being kind when you referred to Mamma’s as a “bit pricey” RoseMary, but without question is it one of my two favorite restaurants on the Island. The other one is Five Palms in Kihei. It’s tucked away in a condo but is ocean front, the food is spectacular, service is impeccable and the prices are far more reasonable. When I lived there it was my #1 spot for Sunday brunch. I wish I’d thought to mention it to you before you left. Anyway, add it to the list for your return or for anyone who might be thinking about a trip to Maui.
    Marquita Herald recently posted..Are You Burying Your Light Behind a Mask of Modesty?My Profile

    • Rose Mary Griffith
      | Reply

      Ha, Marquita! At first, I wrote “incredibly expensive” but then I realized that to some segment of the world, Mama’s wouldn’t be too costly. Glad that you live in my realm and think it’s a pricey place, too. Drat that I didn’t think to ask you for specific restaurants on Maui. Ah well, as you can see, we ate well while there!

  9. Phoenicia
    | Reply

    I am with your husband on this one. One of my favourite parts of travelling has to be eating. I enjoy tasting food from across the world. Granted, some I have not always enjoyed but I will try it (within reason mind).

    The meals pictured here look tasty, particularly the lobster and linguine. You cannot beat a nice Italian meal!

    • Rose Mary Griffith
      | Reply

      Italian food is my favorite, Phoenicia. If I ate as much of it as I want, I’d weigh 400 pounds. I have food-experiment limits since I don’t eat pork, poultry or meat…or anything that looks like what it was when it was alive–unless it’s a vegetable! Picky, picky.

  10. Donna Janke
    | Reply

    How nice to have a good selection of restaurants within walking distance. I also like the option of having a prepared food from Whaler’s on the hotel balcony.

    • Rose Mary Griffith
      | Reply

      I think the balcony dining was my favorite spot of all! Nothing better than wine, husband and watching the sun drop into the ocean.

  11. Susan cooper
    | Reply

    Hi Rose, in my trips to Hawaii I have yet to come across a really good restaurant. Glad you had better luck than me. I’ll try your suggestions next time I’m there.
    Susan cooper recently posted..Slow Cooker Rice Pudding: #RecipeMy Profile

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