Looking for the best local restaurant in Maui? Then you’re in the right place. We’ve handpicked the most exquisite local eateries on the island, which we’ve wrapped up into a bite-sized list for your culinary pleasure.

    With an eclectic mix of Polynesian, Asian, American, and European influences, the local food scene on Maui varies from sumptuous seafood creations to laidback fast-food treats. In any case, there are always at least 2 things in common: it’s hearty and it tastes great – so get ready to eat like a Maui local and savour the flavour of the island state’s delicious food variety.

    1

    Mama’s Fish House

    An upmarket haunt serving fish caught fresh from the sea

    • Food
    • Budget

    Mama’s Fish House isn’t exactly an undiscovered gem but, as scores of hungry patrons pack out this sophisticated Paia spot each night, they must be doing something right. That being said, reservations are necessary. The venue has become a local landmark in recent years because it plates up the freshest seafood in town. Case in point: the menu rotates with the catch of the day, and the busser can tell you exactly when and where your meal was reeled in.

    It’s definitely on the pricey side, so don’t come expecting a low-cost feed. Still, with sweeping ocean views, glossy wood décor, and yummy fresh seafood, it’s the go-to option for locals looking to celebrate a special occasion.

    Location: 799 Poho Pl, Paia, HI 96779, USA

    Open: Daily from 11 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +1 808-579-8488

    Map

    photo by Navin75 (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    2

    Lahaina Grill

    Some folks say it’s the best restaurant on Maui

    • Food

    Lahaina Grill has been voted the best restaurant in Maui by a local Honolulu publication for 22 years running, and it’s not hard to see why. The charming 55-seat bistro opened its doors back in 1990 to critical acclaim, and its exceptional cuisine has seen the spot skyrocket in popularity ever since.

    Of course, you’ll need a reservation to dine at this historic venue, and a night out won’t be cheap. Nonetheless, their well-presented Pacific Rim cuisines coupled with an elegant atmosphere – think fine china and vibrant local art – make Lahaina Grill worth the splurge. Add a portion of poke to your order and save room for dessert.

    Location: 127 Lahainaluna Rd, Lahaina, HI 96761, USA

    Open: Daily from 5 pm to 9 pm

    Phone: +1 808-667-5117

    Map
    3

    Hali’imaile General Store

    A historic general store and homely Hawaiian restaurant

    • Food

    The Hali’imaile General Store used to sell goods to the workers of the surrounding pineapple plantations, and you can still see hints of its citrusy history today. In 1988, the venue evolved into a restaurant/general store and quickly became famous around the island for its extraordinary farm-to-table cuisine.

    Tasty Hawaiian classics adorn the menu: risotto and kula corn, roast chicken with Molokai mash, and the roast duck with pineapple chutney are our pick of the bunch. Pop into this homely venue after watching the sunset from the tip of the nearby Haleakala volcano to cap off a perfect day.

    Location: 900 Haliimaile Rd, Makawao, HI 96768, USA

    Open: Monday–Friday from 11 am to 2.30 pm, Saturday–Sunday from 5 pm to 9 pm

    Phone: +1 808-572-2666

    Map

    photo by Jon Konrath (CC BY 2.0) modified

    4

    Star Noodle

    Exquisite Asian-style noodles

    • Food

    Star Noodle proves Asian influences are still alive and well in Maui’s culinary scene, with a steady stream of locals slurping up steamy bowls of noodles at this famous fusion locale. Flavours from Japan, Singapore, Korea, and the Philippines adorn the menu; standout favourites include tangy adobo ribs and tasty Vietnamese crepes.

    Pair your meal with a glass of sake or an in-house cocktail (try the lychee martini) and order a serving of mango pudding or malasadas for dessert. The old barnyard-style building has been spruced up with polished hardwood furnishings and rattan wicker chairs to evoke an aura of countryside chic.

    Location: 286 Kupuohi St, Lahaina, HI 96761, USA

    Open: Daily from 10.30 am to 10 pm

    Phone: +1 808-667-5400

    Map
    5

    Kula Bistro

    An all-day café serving traditional Italian fare

    • Food
    • Budget

    Casual and affordable, Kula Bistro whips up a delicious range of Italian faves like panini, pizza, and pasta to a largely local clientele. The service is spot on, and this all-day café is BYOB, so feel free to bring along a 6-pack and make the most of your afternoon.

    Other standout dishes include the fresh seafood and the beef stroganoff; grab an entrée of bruschetta or calamari steak if you fancy a proper good fill up. Oh, and the ice cream sandwiches and chocolate cake go down a treat for dessert.

    Location: 4566 Lower Kula Rd, Kula, HI 96790, USA

    Open: Sunday–Friday from 11 am to 7 pm, Saturday from 11 am to 8 pm

    Phone: +1 808-871-2960

    Map
    6

    Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice

    The finest shave ice on the island

    • Families
    • Food
    • Budget

    Ululani has got the shave ice market cornered in Hawaii, with half a dozen or so branches on the island of Maui alone. For the uninitiated, shave ice is made by literally shaving ice off a block and infusing it with sweet or creamy toppings – the perfect afternoon treat on a scorching Hawaiian day.

    Although the local delicacy is eaten all around the state, Ululani has earned a reputation for its unwavering attention to quality – only 100% cane sugar, filtered water, natural purees, and premium concentrates used here. You might have to line up if its hot outside, but these refreshing icy treats are well worth the wait.

    Location: 61 S Kihei Rd, Kihei, HI 96753, USA

    Open: Daily from 10.30 am to 6.30 pm

    Phone: +1 808-877-3700

    Map
    7

    Da Fish Shack

    Unbeatable fish tacos served fresh near the beach

    • Food
    • Budget

    Da Fish Shack does filling portions of budget-friendly fried seafood to travellers on their way to Hana, an isolated community on the eastern tip of the island. The fish tacos are at the centrepiece of this humble roadside stall, although the nachos, fish fingers, and shrimp scallops are equally divine.

    The man behind the fryer is Brian Maser, a Maui native who’s worked kitchens in prestigious culinary destinations around the world. Aim to get here well before sundown and grab your feast to-go so you can dine picnic-style on an adjacent beach.

    Location: P2X7+C8 Hana, Hawaii, USA

    Open: Monday–Friday from 11 am to 4.30 pm

    Map
    8

    Poi By The Pound

    Maui’s best poi and other filling Hawaiian treats

    • Food
    • Budget

    Poi By The Pound is a hit among Maui locals who come to devour heaving portions of hearty Hawaiian cuisine. If you’re feeling peckish, then give their signature Hawaiian plate a try: chicken long rice, mac salad, pork lau lau, kalua pork, poke, lomi salmon, and poi.

    Mere mortals who can’t eat such a mountain of food should opt for the boneless kalbi ribs instead, although it’s worth sampling their poi because it’s easily the best on the island. The cosy diner-style venue resides in a nondescript strip mall in Kahului and gets especially busy during the lunch hour rush.

    Location: 430 Kele St, Kahului, HI 96732, USA

    Open: Daily from 6.30 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +1 808-283-9381

    Map
    9

    The Mill House

    Farm-to-table cuisine in an exotic setting

    • Food
    • Nightlife

    The Mill House is about as scenic as gastronomy gets, with a picture-perfect location in the heart of the Maui Tropical Plantation. Eating alfresco among the lush, flower-laden farmland is a sensory treat, while the glossy indoor space is decked out with chic island-style décor.

    Its rotating menu evolves with the seasons and focuses on fresh produce plucked straight from the plantation. Vegetarians get an array of plant-based dishes to gobble down (the creamy taro-leaf risotto is the stuff of legend). Carnivores, however, will have to be content with their organic pork and beef delicacies, peppered with tangy herbs and served on slab plates. Do the 7-course chef’s table event if you can, which is a hit with the locals on Friday and Saturday nights.

    Location: 1670 Honoapiilani Hwy #1, Wailuku, HI 96793, USA

    Open: Daily from 11 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +1 808-270-0333

    Map
    10

    Merriman’s Maui

    Fine dining in Maui from an internationally renowned chef

    • Couples
    • Food

    Merriman’s is a much-loved mainstay in Hawaii and the Maui locale doesn’t disappoint for its elegant atmosphere and superb regional cuisine. The romantic restaurant lures lovebirds with candlelit tables, a crackling fireplace, smooth live music, and epic ocean views – keep an eye out for humpback whales breaching in the distance.

    But what really satisfies is the food, which follows a farm-to-table philosophy and comes courtesy of Maui’s top artisanal producers. Expect to find a tempting selection of classic Hawaiian favourites on the menu, from Kahua Ranch lamb to Keahole lobster and everything in between. It’s a little on the pricey side, though well worth it to sample Chef Peter Merriman’s world-famous fare.

    Location: 1 Bay Club Pl, Lahaina, HI 96761, USA

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 3 pm to 9 pm, Sunday from 9.30 am to 1.30 pm and from 3 pm to 9 pm

    Phone: +1 808-669-6400

    Map
    Harry Stewart | Contributing Writer

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