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Article Source: Copyright © 2012 by Fodor’s Travel, a division of Random House Inc. All rights reserved.
Slow down as you drive through the little roadside village of Olowalu, about 15 minutes before Lahaina town if you're coming from the airport, so you don't miss this adorable farmhouse-chic restaurant and pie shop where everything is prepared with care. Old photos of the area, distressed wood, and muted colors set the mood. Have a sandwich or a burger with Kula onions. All the breads are home baked and excellent, and most ingredients are sourced locally. Don't get too full: you must try the pie. The banana cream is out of this world, or dig into the yuzu-lemon tart. www.leodas.com.
At the top of many best-restaurants lists, this expensive, upscale bistro is about as fashionably chic as it gets on Maui. The food and service are consistently excellent and the place is abuzz with beautiful people every night of the week. The Cake Walk (little samples of Kona lobster crab cake, sweet Louisiana rock-shrimp cake, and seared ahi cake), toy-box tomato salad, and Kona-coffee-roasted rack of lamb are a few of the classics customers demand. Newer items include Marcho Farms center cut all-natural veal osso bucco and seared California lion-paw scallops. The full menu—including dessert—is available at the bar. The interior is as pretty as the patrons. www.lahainagrill.com. Credit cards accepted. No lunch.
It's been a popular, casual spot with locals since it first opened—several owners ago—in 1989. And to be around that long, they've got to be doing something right. You can get everything from huevos rancheros to local-style fried rice at breakfast; plate lunches, salads, wraps, and more for lunch; and fresh fish, chicken, steak, and pasta for dinner. If that's not enough for you, there are separate pizza, pupu, and bar menus. In the truest sense of the phrase, there's something for everyone. Since this restaurant buys its fish from Lahaina Harbor anglers, the catch is always a good bet. www.lahainacoolers.com. Credit cards accepted.
Year after year, Koho proves itself as a casual, family-friendly restaurant still worth recommending. If Hawaii had city-style diners, this would be Maui's version. For those looking for a hearty breakfast, a business lunch, or a quick, simple dinner, this is a great choice. Burgers, sandwiches, salads, sizzling fajitas, and pastas are all menu staples. Credit cards accepted.
This small, unassuming place across the street from Kalama Beach Park has a breakfast menu that runs the gamut from healthy yogurt-filled papaya to the local classic, loco moco—two eggs, ground beef patty, rice, and brown gravy—and everything in between. And the best thing about it is that the breakfast menu is served all day long. Prices are extremely reasonable and it's a good spot for people-watching. This is a popular place with locals, so you may have to wait for a table, depending on the time and day. www.kiheicaffe.com. Credit cards accepted. No dinner.
For a quiet, light dinner, or to meet friends for a cocktail and some ultrafresh sushi, head to this handsome restaurant on the lobby level of the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua. You have your choice of sushi, sashimi, and a list of rolls. The especially good Kai special roll combines spicy tuna, yellowtail, and green onion. In keeping with the hotel's commitment to the culture, the restaurant's design was inspired by the story of Native Hawaiians' arrival by sea; the hand-carved ceiling beams resemble outrigger canoes. www.ritzcarlton.com/kapalua. Credit cards accepted. Closed Tues. and Wed. No lunch.
The younger—okay, some would say "hipper"—sister restaurant of Pacific'O just across the walkway, focuses on fresh fish and produce from the owners' Upcountry farm. The influence, though, comes more from the Mediterranean than Asia. The nautical decor is contemporary, the menu is clever, the patio tables are truly beachfront, and the service is good. One of the partners—Stephan Bel Robert—is a wine connoisseur, so the lists at both restaurants are fantastic and surprisingly well priced. www.iomaui.com. Credit cards accepted. No lunch.
Chef-restaurateur Beverly Gannon's second restaurant—named for her husband, Joe—serves up classy comfort food alongside Island-inspired dishes (think ahi carpaccio, Joe's favorite meat loaf, and pumpkin seed-crusted fresh catch). Don't miss Joe's pastry chef daughter Cheech Shurilla's chocolate bread pudding. The wine list is user-friendly and features selections from both well-known and boutique vineyards. The restaurant overlooks the Wailea Tennis Center and is adorned with lots of fun memorabilia from Joe's days in show biz. www.bevgannonrestaurants.com. Credit cards accepted. No lunch.
You don't have to wrestle with the restaurant's formidable name (it's Hawaii's state fish); simply tell the valet or concierge you're going to Hoo-moo-hoo-moo. The Polynesian-style thatch-roofed, open-air restaurant "floats" atop a saltwater lagoon. It's exotic, romantic, and well suited for special occasions. Dinner is accompanied nightly by heavenly sunsets. Obviously, fresh fish dominates the menu here, but there's also Kobe beef, lamb, and even a vegetarian plate. Order the "Growing Future Farmers Salad"—$1 of each one sold goes to the Maui County Farm Bureau program of the same name. For dessert, try an over-the-top coconut rice pudding tower or Humu hula pie. www.grandwailea.com. Credit cards accepted. No lunch.
A bustling and family-oriented spot on Kaanapali Beach at Whalers Village shopping center, this restaurant designed to look like a sprawling '30s beach house represents a partnership between TS Restaurants group and Hawaii Regional Cuisine pioneer chef Peter Merriman. They serve up large dinner portions with an emphasis on fresh local fish—try the macadamia-nut crusted catch, fire-grilled ahi steak, or coconut seafood chowder. Just in the mood for an umbrella-adorned cocktail and some pupu? Go to the Barefoot Bar, where you can wiggle your toes in the sand while you sip. The beach is called "Dig Me"—you'll understand why after just a few moments. www.hulagrill.com. Credit cards accepted.
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