You have planned your once-in-a-lifetime vacation to Maui and now on to the fun part, researching where to eat on the island and not go broke in the process.
While my husband and I stayed at the Westin Ka’anapali we were overwhelmed with the massive amount of restaurants to choose from in Maui.
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I started my research on where to eat in Maui including the best restaurants in Wailea, the best Ka’anapali restaurants, the best restaurants in Lahaina, and some of the best fine dining restaurants on Maui.
Whether you’re after authentic Hawaiian lunch plates, the freshest seafood, farm-to-table fine dining, or restaurants with epic views, there’s a restaurant in Maui to suit your palette, mood, and price point.
Keep and I will also answer the following questions:
- Where do locals eat in Maui?
- Who has the best laui in Maui?
- What food is Maui famous for?
The Best Places For Local Food in Maui
Local food in Hawaii has a long, rich, and diverse history of culinary passion. “Local food,” typically refers to a combination of varying cultures that migrated to the Hawaiian Islands and took root in the local culinary scene.
1. Sam Sato’s Noodles & Plate Lunches
Next time you’re on vacation on Maui, do not miss out on a chance to eat some of the best local food on Maui at Sam Sato’s.
Located in Wailuku, this little, hidden gem has been owned and operated by the Sato family since 1933. Now run by the 3rd generation, this place is known best by locals, and less frequented by visitors.
If you can find Sam Sato’s in Wailuku, make sure you arrive on the earlier side because they are only open for breakfast and lunch.
2. Geste Shrimp Truck
Voted Best Food Truck on Maui for 2 years in a row, Geste Shrimp Truck is for sure the best shrimp truck at Kahului Harbor.
Both residents and visitors love Geste, most popular for the Any Flavor Shrimp Plates: Hawaiian Scampi, Hot & Spicy, Spicy Pineapple, or Lemon Pepper.
3. Eskimo Candy Seafood Market & Deli
Located in Kihei Town, Eskimo Candy Seafood Market & Cafe is one of the best local seafood restaurants on Maui, and they also have delicious plate lunches.
Favorite items are the Tempura and Coconut Shrimp, Homemade Crab Cakes; the Local Plate Lunch with Battered Fish; the Captain’s Platter served with scallops, coconut shrimp, oysters, fresh fish and calamari; and the Poke Bowl which comes with of ahi poke shoyu, spicy tuna, furikake, wasabi, shoyu, served over white rice, and topped with yummy wasabi aioli.
4. A Saigon Cafe
A Saigon Cafe in Wailuku has won the annual Maui Aipono Restaurant Award, and one of Maui’s best-disguised foodie gems.
The decor is a 1970’s Hawaiian-style roadhouse and the dishes are local-style authentic Vietnamese cuisine.
Expect friendly service and some of the best flavor-filled dishes in Maui if are looking for where to eat in Maui.
5. Tin roof
Tin roof is a local hot spot on Maui for delicious authentic Hawaiian cuisine. You will find Tin Roof just off Dairy Road in Kahului.
Tin roof is always packed so be prepared for a long wait at a tiny, tiny restaurant with very little seating.
6. Coconut’s Fish Cafe
Coconut’s Fish Cafe was a part of Travel & Leisure’s list of “Top 10 Places to Eat Like a Local” for the entire United States!
Coconut’s Fish Cafe in Kihei features a simple selection of tasty and reasonably priced seafood menu items.
7. Ono Kau Kau Mixed Plate
Still trying to decide where to eat in Maui. Ono Kau Kau Mixed Plate is another one of Maui’s exceptional local food spots and it is located in Lahaina.
Ono local Hawaiian-Chinese style grinds, this is not an upscale establishment and only has 4 tables, very affordable prices, and friendly staff.
If you like Spam Musubi, I hear they serve the best on the island.
8. Fish Market
The Fish Market in Honokowai is one of the best local food spots in West Maui! Don’t get it confused with ‘Honokowai Deli,’ the Fish Market serves local Maui fish menu items for lunch and dinner, 7 days a week.
They also sell freshly caught Maui seafood and fish fillets so this is definitely one of the best places to eat in Maui.
9. Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop
No trip to Maui is complete without a visit to Leoda’s! This is a favorite home-style comfort food spot on Maui. With its warm country chic décor and delectable mini pies, you will not be disappointed.
Located just near mile marker 14 at Olowalu Village, Leoda’s is a great place to stop on your way to Lahaina.
10. 808 Grindz Cafe
808 Grindz Cafe is located at the Old Lahaina Center, look for the hungry hordes of happy folks lined up outside from 8:00 am until noon.
The atmosphere is kind of a small-town café going Hawaiian.
Open for breakfast and lunch, the menu is varied and definitely, value-priced. For breakfast, they have a full page of American-style egg dishes, local food choices, eggs benedicts, loco mocos, griddle cakes, and waffles.
11. Tobi’s Shave Ice:
Everyone loves Tobi’s Shave Ice! Tobi’s offers much more than shaved ice so don’t let the name fool you into overlooking this as a viable stop for authentic Hawaiian cuisine.
Tobi has one of the best “Poke Bowls” on Maui! They offer tender and super fresh Ahi along with a variety of flavors from ginger (sweet), wasabi (spicy), and some with a mayo base.
12. Mama’s Ribs & Rotisserie
Located at the end of the Napili Plaza strip mall in West Maui, Mama’s Ribs & Rotisserie have been cooking up the best BBQ dishes on Maui since 1999.
If you love fall-off-the-bone baby back ribs, moist and tender juicy rotisserie chicken, tasty Portuguese bean soup, hearty chili, wraps, a variety of salads, and yummy desserts, you’ll adore this Maui local spot.
Ka’anapali Restaurants & Places to Eat in Lahaina
1. Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar
Stop by Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar for fresh seafood, saki, and more.
You’ll want to try their award-winning dishes, like the Asian Shrimp Cake and Panko-Crusted Fresh Ahi Sashimi. (808) 669-6286
2. Merriman’s Kapalua
Merriman’s in Kapalua offers absolutely stunning views, with open-air seating and live music. Their dinner presentation is perfect for a night out on the town. (808) 669-6400
3. The Burger Shack
The Burger Shack in Kapalua offers burgers, shakes, and a beachfront bar. Kids will love the walk-up style service and the over-flowing shakes. (808) 669-6200
4. Sea House Restaurant
Stop by the Sea House Restaurant for open-air dining and fresh, sea-to-table cuisine. Chef Alexander Stanislaw crafted the award-winning menu at this establishment. (808) 669-1500
Taverna Italian Eatery was created to be a gathering place. Pleasing to the eye and the palate; comfortable for the body and yes, the pocketbook; heartening to the soul.
Join us for fresh house-made pasta, wood-fired pizzas, and other favorite Italian dishes in our lovely and rustic open-air restaurant.
Enjoy a meal outside on the spacious patio with views extending across the greens to the ocean, and up into Mauna Kahalawai, the West Maui Mountains. (808) 667-2426
6. The Plantation House
High above the Kapalua coastline in Hawaii, on the island of Maui, sits The Plantation House Restaurant, a thoroughly modern blend of traditional plantation-style atmosphere, old-fashioned Hawaiian hospitality, and the finest in island cuisine.
The Plantation House Restaurant has earned a reputation among Maui restaurants for serving innovative cuisine in a picturesque setting with breathtaking views.
The restaurant is proof that fine dining can indeed blend well with Maui’s casual island style. Great for Mother’s or Father’s day brunch. (808) 669-6299
7. Leilani’s on the Beach
Right on Ka’anapali Beach is Leilani’s on the Beach, offering great food, views, and brews!
Their Chilled Seafood Platter is perfect for families and groups, and their Taro Hummus puts a fun island twist on a classic snack.
Stop by Leilani’s for Aloha hour from 3 pm – 5 pm and enjoy deals on beer, wine, and tropical drinks. Leilani’s only uses locally caught or certified sustainably raised fresh fish, so you know you’re getting great quality. (808) 661-4495
8. Roy’s Ka’anapali
Roy’s Kaanapali serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. Their cuisine is international, with hints of Hawaiian influence throughout.
The plating and presentation at Roy’s Kaanapali are beautiful and the views are spectacular. Dine at the bar or a table, overlooking the 18th hole of the Kaanapali Golf Course! (808) 669-6999
9. Pacific’O Restaurant – Lahaina
Dine at Pacific’O Restaurant in Lahaina for an unforgettable beachfront dining experience. Celebrating over 25 years of business, Chef Greg Harrison presents a delectable menu of local favorites utilizing a farm-to-table approach.
Just a taste of any of Chef Harrison’s dishes will leave you understanding his mantra, “To learn, to live, to love, and to leave a legacy.” (808) 667-4341
10. Mill House Restaurant
Unlike any other location or restaurant found on the Hawaiian Islands, The Mill House Restaurant has a prime seat at the Maui Tropical Plantation with unparalleled views of the Waikapu Valley.
Centrally located, you can get to the Mill House within around a 30-minute drive from almost anywhere you might be staying on Maui: 808.270.0333
11. Da Kitchen
Da Kitchen has made its way into the heart of locals all over the island, and it’s not difficult to see why.
Serving up a mixture of traditional Hawaiian dishes with a flare, expect big portions and delicious flavors in a relaxed, BYOB setting.
Try the Kalua Pork Sandwich, Chicken Katsu, Fried Spam Musubi, or Loco Moco for a heavenly food experience fit for paradise. And maybe wear stretchy pants.
12. Leoda’s Pie Shop
Most people miss this cozy spot on the drive into Lahaina but look for Leoda’s Pie Shop on your right-hand side (if coming from Kihei or Kahului) the next time you’re headed to Front Street.
Using only fresh Maui ingredients, Leoda’s offers what they call “glorified grandma comfort food,” including sandwiches, salads, pot pies, burgers, hot dogs, and an assortment of delicious personal-sized dessert pies like Apple Crumb, Olowalu Lime, Banana Cream, Chocolate Macadamia Nut, Praline, Berry, Pumpkin and Coconut Cream.
13. Kihei Caffe
Located directly across from Kalama Park, Kihei Caffe is a great place to grab some breakfast on your way to the beach.
Informal outdoor seating, inexpensive, large portions, and local twists on breakfast favorites make this place memorable.
Try the Banana Macadamia Nut or Pineapple Coconut french toast made with Maui sweet bread and you’ll stop wondering why this place is always so busy.
Enjoy people watching from the patio with a cup of coffee and take it easy for a nice morning, island-style.
The Best Luaus in Maui
Enjoying a Hawaiian luau is a great activity to plan into your vacation – especially for first-time visitors.
If you are considering a luau, we want to give you an idea of what to expect along with advice to help you make the most of your experience.
How much does a luau cost?
Though the cost of a luau can vary by island and venue, plan on a minimum of $90 to $100 per adult. Most luau companies consider an adult guest to be anyone 13 years and older.
For children between the ages of 6 to 12 years, plan to spend a minimum of $60 per child. Children age five years and younger are usually provided free entrance along with a paying adult.
What’s included in a luau?
The cost of a luau usually includes a buffet dinner, drinks, a Polynesian dance and music show, and gratuities. Many, but not all luaus include a lei greeting.
What Happens at a typical Luau?
- Most luaus offer some sort of lei greeting. The higher-end luaus greet guests with a fresh flower lei or nice kukui nut lei. Some luaus offer a shell lei, while a few luaus provide no lei at all.
- Drinks are normally offered and included in the price of the luau. Normally luaus offer an open bar, but the cocktail selection may be limited to Mai Tai and a few other iconic tropical drinks. Bear in mind that the lines at the bar can be quite long during peak demand. Do not expect to get tipsy because there is very little alcohol in the cocktails.
- While guests arrive, Hawaiian arts and crafts demonstrations are usually set up around the luau grounds.
- Most luaus have an imu ceremony prior to guests sitting down for their meal. An imu is an underground oven that cooks meat, normally pork, with hot coals.
- There may be some sort of Hawaiian musical entertainment as people take their seats at the dinner tables. With the exception of the Feast at Lele, you should expect to share a large table with strangers.
- Luau serves dinner in a buffet style which includes kalua (chopped) pork, which roasted in the imu. Fish and chicken dishes are also normally included.
- After dinner, the Polynesian dancing show begins with featured costumes, music, and dancing from all the major Polynesian island cultures.
- The grand finale of a luau normally ends in a Samoan Fireknife dancer.
Here is a list of my top Luaus in Maui:
- Wailea Marriott Luau
- Royal Lahaina Luau
- Sheraton Luau
- Hyatt Luau
- Feast at Lele Luau
- Westin Luau
- Ka’anapali Beach Hotel Luau
Conclusion of Where to Eat in Maui and The Best Restaurants in Ka’anapali
Maui is blessed with a culinary scene unlike anywhere else in the world. You’re just as likely to find Filipino flavors as you are a burger by the beach, or Pacific Rim medleys of sushi and fish from award-winning, island-based chefs.
Try a local hole in the wall for affordable island favorites, or splurge with a plate of fresh island fish that was caught offshore that morning.
Satisfy your sweet tooth at Maui’s best bakeries—or simply get some shave ice—and sample a wide range of global cultures whenever you sit down to dine.
The best restaurants in Maui offer an exotic blend of savory dining. With its own farms, sugarcane plantations, and fresh seafood caught daily, the dining scene has an impressive range.
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What did you think about my list of where to eat in Maui and the best restaurants in Ka’anapali? Did any of your favorite restaurants make my list of the best restaurants in Maui?
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