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High on the hill overlooking the Kapalua resort, this restaurant exudes casual elegance. Young, Lahaina-born chef Ryan Luckey makes good use of the island's bounty, with dishes featuring Maui pineapple, Roselani ice cream, Maui Cattle Company beef, greens and vegetables from Waipoli and Nalo farms, and local, sustainable fish. If you've had enough of the gorgeous ocean, mountain, or resort views, you can watch the chef and his crew in the shiny exhibition kitchen, as they assemble their specialties like pistachio-wasabi crusted rare ahi tuna, Maui farmer's chopped salad, and the Maui pineapple-glazed 14-ounce pork chop. www.pineapplekapalua.com. Credit cards accepted.
A couple of blocks off Front Street in Lahaina, this small restaurant packs a powerhouse of a menu with pizza, pastas, salads, and sandwiches. Heaping plates of reasonably priced, flavorful food make this low-key place a perfect alternative to an expensive night at the resort. House favorites include the cheesy baked penne in tomato cream sauce, and the linguine in clam sauce with lemon butter. There are nightly specials like the osso buco on Wednesday, made with lamb instead of veal and served with fettuccine and salad. Two can easily split a salad and entrée and leave completely sated. www.pennepastacafe.com. Credit cards accepted.
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 fresh fish for the best prices on this side of the island. Four preparations are offered and, on any given day, there are at least four fresh fishes from which to choose. For the non-fish fans, there are burgers, chicken, and pasta. The side dishes—Cajun rice, home fries, and the amazing hand-cut crunchy cole slaw—are all as delectable as the main event. You can have a beer or a glass of wine, too, as long as you stay inside, of course. www.paiafishmarket.com. Credit cards accepted.
A Maui landmark for almost seven decades, one of the island's last true mom-and-pops is best known for its hot dogs, homemade Spam musubi (a slice of Spam on top of a block of rice, all wrapped in nori), and boiled peanuts. Don't overlook the plate lunches—Kalua pork, mochiko chicken, and breaded teriyaki beef are best sellers—and the burgers. Full, local-style, hearty breakfast plates are just $3.99. There are also smoothies and shave ices in so many flavor choices, you'll have to go more than once to try them all. Credit cards accepted. No dinner.
Sophisticated outdoor dining on the beach (no, really on the beach) and creative Island cuisine using local, fresh-caught fish and greens and veggies grown in the restaurant's own Upcountry Oo Farm (and, quite possibly, picked that very morning)—this is the Maui dining experience you've been dreaming about. Start with the award-winning appetizer of prawn and basil wontons, move on to any of the fantastic fresh fish dishes, and for dessert, finish with the banana pineapple lumpia served hot with homemade banana ice cream. www.pacificomaui.com. Credit cards accepted.
Here you can enjoy a lovely ocean view while feasting on authentic Indian cuisine. Appetizers like papadum chips and samosas are served with homemade chutneys. There are 10 breads—naan and more—that come hot from the tandoori oven, along with six mix-and-match curries, lots of vegetarian selections, kebabs, and biryanis. Live music on Tuesday and Saturday evenings is a big draw, as is the Sunday brunch buffet. www.monsoonindiamaui.com. Credit cards accepted.
This hard-to-find restaurant tucked into a courtyard serves some seriously excellent food by chef Justin Pardo, formerly of Union Square Café in New York City. He uses locally grown and produced ingredients, and in a nod to healthful eating, prefers reductions and infused oils rather than butter. Representative dishes include the cold curried watermelon gazpacho (in season) with either seared scallops or a lump crab cake, and the slow-cooked Maui Cattle Company short ribs, which are downright dreamy. www.marketfreshbistromaui.com. Credit cards accepted.
For almost four decades, Mama's has been the Maui destination for special occasions. A path of gecko-shaped stones leads through the coconut grove past the giant clamshell and under the banyan arch to an ever-changing fantasyland of Hawaiiana kitsch. True, the setting couldn't be more spectacular, and yes, the menu even names the angler that reeled in your fresh catch, but the dishes are decidedly dated in terms of preparation and presentation—and the prices are off the charts. But if you're looking for an overall experience, make a reservation and celebrate your special occasion here. www.mamasfishhouse.com. Reservations essential. Credit cards accepted.
One of the go-to places for airport comers and goers, this popular Italian restaurant also draws a steady crowd of local residents. Meatballs, sausages, and sauces are all made fresh in-house; the owner was a butcher in his former life. There's a long list of sandwiches that are available all day, and the salads are definitely big enough to share. Note that food substitutions or special requests are not appreciated here. Credit cards accepted.
It may seem an odd mix: sushi and deli. But this is a cute place on Makawao's main drag, with a lovely patio out back where you can sip an espresso and snack on pastries, sandwiches, or any of the sushi rolls. The menu is much longer than you might expect and the fish is, of course, always fresh. The most popular rolls are the 007, a spicy tuna roll topped with ebi, avocado, and unagi sauce, and the Rockin' Roll, a traditional California roll wrapped with tuna and covered with baked scallops. Credit cards accepted.
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Oahu: Hau Tree Lanai
Maui: Mama's Fish House
Kauai: The Beach House