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. 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

  • 2. 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

  • 3. Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar

    $$ | Asian

    One of the most wildly popular restaurants in Hawaii with locations on three islands, Sansei takes sushi, sashimi, and contemporary Japanese...Read More

  • 4. 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

  • 5. A Saigon Cafe

    $$ | Vietnamese

    Locals have been flocking to this off-the-beaten path gem for years, lured in by the reliably delicious Vietnamese cuisine served family-style...Read More

  • 6. 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

  • 7. Charley's Restaurant & Saloon

    $$ | American

    A Maui institution since 1969, Charley's is known for satiating your cowboy-size breakfast appetite: omelets, pancakes, and sausage biscuits...Read More

  • 8. Frida's Mexican Beach House

    $$$$ | Mexican

    No matter the cuisine, serial restaurateur Mark Ellman always delivers, as he does yet again with his third oceanfront eatery along Front Street...Read More

  • 9. Mama's Fish House

    $$$$ | Seafood

    Set in an intimate location on the beach, Mama's has been the Maui destination for special occasions for almost four decades. A path of gecko...Read More

  • 10. Nuka

    $$ | Asian

    This off-the-beaten-path izakaya-style Japanese eatery is worth the trek to sleepy Haiku. Diners flock here for the eclectic menu that includes...Read More

  • 11. Sale Pepe

    $$ | Italian

    Aromas from a wood-fired oven lure you into this cozy Italian restaurant set just off of Front Street, and the wine list tempts you to stay...Read More

  • 12. South Shore Tiki Lounge

    $ | American

    Consistently voted "Best Bar" (and "Best Pizza") by locals, this tiki bar—tucked into Kihei Kalama Village—serves burgers, sandwiches, and delicious...Read More

  • 13. The Mill House

    $$$ | Eclectic

    The food is so fresh at this Waikapu standout that while seated at your mountain view table you can see the fields where the food was grown...Read More

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