Maui Restaurants

For a place the size of Maui, there’s a lot going on when it comes to the dining scene, from ethnic holes-in-the-wall to stunningly appointed hotel dining rooms, and from seafood trucks to oceanfront fish houses with panoramic views. Much of the food is excellent, but some of it is overpriced and touristy. If you’re coming from a "food destination" city, you may have to adjust your expectations.

Follow the locavore trend, and at casual and fine-dining restaurants choose menu items made with products that are abundant on the island, like local fish, beef, venison, onions, avocados, cabbage, broccoli, asparagus, hydroponic tomatoes, myriad herbs, salad greens, kalo (taro), bananas, papaya, guava, lilikoi (passion fruit), coconut, mangoes, strawberries, and Maui pineapple. You can also look for treats grown on neighboring islands, such as mushrooms, purple sweet potatoes, and watermelon.

"Local food," a specific and official cuisine designated as such in the 1920s, is an amalgam of foods brought by the ethnic groups that have come here since the mid-1800s and also blended with the foods native Hawaiians have enjoyed for centuries. Dishes to try include lomilomi salmon, laulau, poi, Portuguese bean soup, kalbi ribs, chicken katsu, chow fun, hamburger steak, and macaroni salad. For a food adventure, take a drive into Central Maui and have lunch or dinner at one of the "local" spots recommended here. Or get even more adventurous and take a drive around Wailuku or Kahului and find your own hidden gem—there are plenty out there.

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  • 1. Ba-Le Sandwiches & Plate Lunch

    $ | Vietnamese

    It began as a French-Vietnamese bakery on Oahu and has branched into popular small restaurants sprinkled throughout the Islands. Some are kiosks...Read More

  • 2. Da Kitchen

    $ | Eclectic

    This extremely popular purveyor of all food "local" is bright, shiny, comfortable, and just minutes from Kahului airport. Try the signature...Read More

  • 3. Hana Fresh Market

    $ | American

    Directly in front of (and associated with) Hana Health, you'll find rows of tables laden with delicious and organic fresh salads and entrées...Read More

  • 4. Kihei Caffe

    $ | American

    This unassuming popular spot across the street from Kalama Beach Park has a breakfast menu that runs the gamut from healthy yogurt-filled papaya...Read More

  • 5. Komoda Store and Bakery

    $ | Bakery

    One of Makawao's landmarks is Komoda Store and Bakery, a classic mom-and-pop shop that has changed little over the last century. If you arrive...Read More

  • 6. Paia Fishmarket Restaurant

    $ | Seafood

    If you're okay with communal picnic tables, or taking your meal to a nearby beach, this place in funky Paia town serves, arguably, the best...Read More

  • 7. Polli's Mexican Restaurant

    $ | Mexican

    A Makawao staple since 1981, Polli's is set in the town's only intersection. The margaritas are legendary, and the enormous fajitas, burritos...Read More

  • 8. Sam Sato's

    $ | American

    Every island has its noodle shrine, and this is Maui's. Dry mein, saimin, chow fun—they all come in different-size portions and with add-ins...Read More

  • 9. Star Noodle

    $ | Asian

    This local favorite—despite its industrial park location— is one of Maui's most popular restaurants. A communal table in the center of the room...Read More

  • 10. Tin Roof

    $ | American

    Celebrity chef Sheldon Simeon has taken the fame he earned on Top Chef and opened this immensely popular lunch counter in a small Kahului...Read More

  • 11. Tokyo Tei

    $ | Japanese

    Tucked in the back corner of a covered parking garage, Tokyo Tei is worth seeking out for wonderful local-style Japanese food; at lunch you...Read More

  • 12. Ululani's Hawaiian Shave Ice

    $ | Café

    Ululani’s has elevated this simple Hawaiian treat to gourmet proportions with superfine ice shavings and homemade syrups in exotic flavors—guava...Read More

  • 13. Aloha Mixed Plate

    $ | American

    Freshly remodeled but still true to its roots, this longtime Lahaina oceanfront classic is run by the same group of wonderful folks who bring...Read More

  • 14. Beach Bums Bar & Grill

    $ | American

    Its proximity to Maalaea harbor means this joint is always jumping, and the look is funky, beachy, and kitschy. The draw here is definitely...Read More

  • 15. Café des Amis

    $ | Eclectic

    The menu at this budget-friendly café is a little neurotic—in a good way—featuring Mediterranean and Indian dishes, but the food is fresh and...Read More

  • 16. Cafe Mambo

    $ | Eclectic

    Paia is one of Maui's most interesting food towns, and this colorful, airy, and brightly painted hangout is right in the thick of things. The...Read More

  • 17. Choice Health Bar

    $ | Vegetarian

    A tiny takeout window in Whalers Village, this healthy eatery may be the satellite version of the larger Lahaina restaurant, but it's the perfect...Read More

  • 18. CJ's Deli & Diner

    $ | American

    Chef Christian Jorgensen left fancy hotel kitchens behind to open a casual place serving simple, delicious food—mango-glazed ribs, burgers,...Read More

  • 19. Farmacy Health Bar

    $ | Eclectic

    Set in Wailuku's historic downtown, this casual stop is the place to check in for an acai bowl, heaping kale salad, or tempeh and avocado sandwich...Read More

  • 20. Grandma's Maui Coffee

    $ | American

    If you're taking a drive through gorgeous Upcountry, this is a great place to stop for a truly homegrown cup of coffee and a snack. The baked...Read More

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