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Fragrant tea and coconut-ginger chicken soup begin a satisfying meal at this excellent Thai restaurant, set unassumingly in the middle of a shopping mall. The care and expense that goes into the decor—glittering Buddhist shrines, elaborate hardwood facades, fancy napkin folds, and matching blue china—also applies to the cuisine. Take an exotic journey with the fantastic pad Thai, special house noodles, curries, and crispy fried chicken. Can't decide? Try the family dinners for two or four. The fried bananas with ice cream are wonderful. There's a second location in Kahului's Maui Mall, a perfect choice before or after a movie at the megaplex. www.thailandcuisinemaui.com. Credit cards accepted. No lunch Sun.
In a very short time this wonderful spot has become one of Maui's best restaurants. It's way up above the highway in a light industrial park, but don't be discouraged by the location. Take the drive and you'll find a hip place and a welcoming staff that knows the meaning of "aloha." There's a communal table in the center of the room, smaller tables around the perimeter, and comfortable stools for those who like to eat at a bar. Menu musts include the Ahi Avo, pan-roasted brussels sprouts with bacon and kim chee purée, and really any of the noodle dishes, especially the Lahaina fried soup (fat chow fun, pork, bean sprouts). The cocktail list is fabulous and the lychee martinis served here may be the best on Maui. www.starnoodle.com. Credit cards accepted.
It's a marriage made in Hawaii heaven. The California cuisine of celebrity-chef Wolfgang Puck is combined with Maui flavors and served lobby level and oceanfront at the luxurious Four Seasons Resort. Try the spicy ahi tuna poke in sesame-miso cones to start, and then see what the chefs-in-residence can do with some of Maui's fantastic local fishes. Finish with a little wild lilikoi (passion fruit) crème brûlée with white chocolate-macadamia nut biscotti. Oh, it'll cost you, but the service is spot-on and the smooth, Asian-inspired decor allows the food to claim the spotlight. Credit cards accepted. No lunch.
Come on, how can you come to Hawaii and not go to a tiki bar? And this one—tucked into Kihei KalamaVillage—is consistently voted "Best Bar" by the readers of Maui Time Weekly. During the day, sit on the shaded lanai to enjoy a burger, sandwich, or, better yet, one of their delicious specialty pizzas, crafted from scratch with sauces made from fresh Roma tomatoes and Maui herbs. Their pies have been voted "Best Local Pizza" by those same Maui Time Weekly readers for three years running. Seven nights a week, the tiny bar area lights up with a lively crowd, as DJs spin dance tunes under the glowing red eyes of the lounge's namesake tiki. And you can order food right up until midnight. www.southshoretikilounge.com. Credit cards accepted.
If you're celebrating a special occasion and want to splurge, this just might be the place for you. You'll descend a grand staircase into an amber-lighted dining room with soaring ceilings and a massive artificial lagoon complete with swans, waterfalls, and tropical gardens. Must-haves on Chef Geno Sarmiento's contemporary, Mediterranean-influenced menu include ahi saltimbocca; goat-cheese ravioli with Kula corn, edamame, and Hamakua mushrooms; and grilled beef tenderloin marinated in coffee and served with Parmesan-garlic fries. The restaurant claims the largest wine cellar in Hawaii with 3,000 bottles. www.sonzmaui.com. Credit cards accepted. No lunch.
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Oahu: Ocean House Restaurant
Kauai: Plantation Gardens