For all the beauty of the Hawaiian Islands, when it comes to dining, Maui is the stand out leader for chef inspired cuisine, putting it on the map as a foodie destination. With a multitude of available fresh fish like Ono, seasonal and unique produce, plus the beauty of island cuisine, that fuses sweet with savory effortlessly, you can find amazing dining options from Wailea to Lahaina. Additionally, the service you’ll receive on Maui is genuine, friendly and knowledgable. One of the things that is essential for travel to Maui is renting a car as most of our picks will have you covering all ends of the island. The good news is that for the most part, the island is so beautiful that you’ll not only get fine dining, but stunning scenery.
1. Pacific O’s: 505 Front St #114, Lahaina, HI 96761 808-667-4341 www.pacificomaui.com – It was
easy to pick Pacific O’s as one of our Top 3 restaurant picks as they are celebrating 20 years this year. With Chef Anton Haines at the helm, who specializes in Farm-to-Table cuisine, utilizing local farms on the island, Pacific O’s is a must-stop on your next visit to Maui. It doesn’t hurt that the stunning beachfront views will have you situated to catch a beautiful sunset or listen to the sounds of crashing waves as you enjoy seasonal and fresh cuisine, with superb island service.
We started with the Fresh Island Ceviche with Opah that had plenty of citrus accompanied with island chips. By a
new friend’s recommendation, who we had met along the way at the bar at Longhi’s in Wailea, we ordered The Tomato Stack. The ultra fresh salad incorporates Vine-ripened Olowalu grown tomatoes, sliced and layered with homemade buttermilk cheese and fresh basil topped with a Thai vinaigrette. Also if you get a chance order the Kula Sunset which has poached organic golden beets and hijiki salad, with beet juice reduction and basil oil.
For entrees try whatever is fresh and local. We had the Opakapaka (pink snapper) and Opah, which were both superb and light, served over a bed of fresh arugula salad, bean sprouts, and topped with avocado, Maui onion salsa, goat cheese, macadamia nuts and a bacon soy vinaigrette. The pasta dish that my Mother had was another winner which included Opah and Scallops, over tagliatelle, tossed with a cilantro pesto, crème fraiche,
shiitake mushroom, fennel and oven dried tomatoes.
Our meal was even more memorable by the stellar and friendly service, creative cocktails and exceptional wine list.
2. The Plantation House: 2000 Plantation Club Dr, Lahaina, HI 96761 808-669-6299
theplantationhouse.com – If you’re not staying in or near Lahaina, the journey to The Plantation House is worth the trek as you’ll be treated to stunning views of Maui along the way. Located within the Kapalua Resort, which overlooks the fairways of the award-winning Plantation Golf Course, The Plantation House gets our high marks for ambience, cuisine, and memorable service. We were fortunate to meet Chef Jojo Vasquez who also incorporates fresh, local and seasonal cuisine that is signature to the islands of Hawaii.
We picked winning starter dishes that included the Seared Scallops with golden raisins and bacon, Kampachi Tartare with edible nasturtium flowers and dashi soy and “surfing Dairy Farms” goat cheese. Our meal continued with one of the best ahi tuna dishes, which had alii mushrooms, ho’opono farms tatsoi, kaffir lime with vin blanc. For side dishes get the Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Cous Cous.
3. Capische: 555 Kaukahi St Kihei, HI 808-879-2224 www.capische.com – Located at the picturesque
Hotel Wailea at the top of the hill sits Capische, with views for days of the ocean and island, plus the utilization of fresh produce and herbs from their own farming operation called Wailea Organics. The menu which is described as not entirely Italian and not entirely American,
utilizes French techniques with the freshest ingredients that Maui has to offer.
For starters definitely go with the Crudo options as the fish is very fresh, with minimal, yet accented with acute flavors. If still in season make sure to get the Heirloom Haiku Tomato Caprese. The island grown tomatoes pair perfectly with the bufala milk mozzarella, kula onion, and basil, coriander vinaigrette. Pastas are very good as we had the Mushroom Truffle Risotto, with a blend of both white truffles and summer truffles, oyster mushrooms and parmesan. Both meat and fish entrees take advantage of the local and fresh fare, while the desserts are quite decadent.