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Golf is golf, and Hawaii is part of the United States, but Island golf nevertheless has its own quirks. Here are a few tips to make your golf experience in the Islands more pleasant.
If you are a fish or shellfish lover then this is the place for you. One of the most wildly popular restaurants in Hawaii with locations on three islands, Sansei takes sushi, sashimi, and contemporary Japanese food to a new level. Favorite dishes include the mango-and-crab-salad handroll, panko-crusted-ahi sashimi roll, Asian shrimp cake, Japanese calamari salad, and Dungeness crab ramen with Asian-truffle broth. There are great deals on sushi and small plates for early birds and night owls. This busy restaurant has several separate dining areas, a sushi bar, and a bar area, but the focus is squarely on excellent food and not the ambience. www.sanseihawaii.com. Credit cards accepted. No lunch.
The flavors of Old Mexico are given new life here, where no fewer than nine chilies are used to create the salsas. The owner, a former high-end food and beverage pro, spent three years visiting authentic eateries in 40 Mexican cities before opening this place. Tucked into an older and unfancy mall, the restaurant requires you to order at the counter and fill your own disposable beverage cup at the soda fountain. But as soon as you bite into a chipotle-citrus rotisserie chicken plate or, really, anything on the menu, you'll forget all about the plastic cutlery—and the fact that the only view is of a parking lot. The brilliantly colored, clever decor—a collection of worn-from-duty tortilla presses, now hand-painted—coupled with consistently excellent food makes up any deficiencies. www.cilantrogrill.com. Credit cards accepted.
You can tour Maui's only winery and its historic grounds, the former Rose Ranch, and sample such wines as Ulupalakua Red and Upcountry Gold. The top seller, naturally, is the pineapple wine, Maui Blanc. The tasting room is a cottage built in the late 1800s for the frequent visits of King Kalakaua. The cottage also contains the Ulupalakua Ranch History Room, which tells colorful stories of the ranch's owners, the paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) tradition that developed here, and Maui's polo teams. The old Ranch Store across the road may look like a museum, but in fact it's an excellent pit stop. The elk burgers are fantastic. www.mauiwine.com. COST: Free. OPEN: Daily 10--5; tours at 10:30 and 1:30.
Hawaii's favorite casual, eat-in, or takeout restaurant, Zippy's was founded more than 40 years ago. Today Oahu has more than two dozen locations from which to choose, but Maui waited a long time to get one. It's a 24-hour-a-day, diner-type place with a big menu. Spaghetti with chili, oxtail soup, Korean chicken, chicken katsu, noodles, burgers, and burritos are just a few of the tasty menu options. Napoleon's Bakery counter up front serves its only-in-Hawaii-style turnovers, pies, cakes, and pastries. www.zippys.com. Credit cards accepted.
As far as hotel restaurants go, this beautifully appointed, oceanfront restaurant serving modern Hawaiian fare is as cool, calm, comfortable and delicious as it gets. Start with an exceptionally creative cocktail—the martinis are superb—or a glass of wine from a long, excellent list. You then must indulge in the dreamy golden potato gnocchi with Meyer lemon cream, or the Pacific bouillabaisse with Kona lobster. Fish choices are plentiful. Tropica also offers lots of specially priced cocktail and dining options that will save you some bucks. And for the dining experience of a lifetime, reserve far in advance to get one of six tables on the beach. Yes, on the beach. www.westinmaui.com. Credit cards accepted. Closed Mon. and Tues. No lunch.
It's more "Island-style" than Hawaii, and yes, it's a chain, but the food is consistently great, the service is filled with aloha, and the ambience is just so Island refined. Try the Loki-Loki tuna poke (fresh ahi napoleon with guacamole, capers, soy sauce, and sesame oil), the Island Cowboy (a grilled eight-ounce tenderloin filet with red wine demi-glace, roasted garlic, and Maytag bleu cheese, served with grilled lemon garlic asparagus and roasted fingerling potatoes), or any of the local fish preparations, equally well accompanied. The Copper Island crab bisque is worthy of a cross-island drive, as are the desserts. www.tommybahama.com. Credit cards accepted.
Getting there is half—well, maybe a quarter—of the fun. Tucked in the back corner of a covered parking garage, Tokyo Tei is worth seeking out for wonderful Japanese food. At lunch, you'll rub elbows with bankers and construction workers; at dinner, three generations might be celebrating Tutu's (grandma's) birthday at the next table. This is a bona fide local institution where, for more than six decades, people have come for the food and the comfort of familiarity. The freshest sashimi, feather-light yet crisp shrimp, and vegetable tempura piled high are all the items that locals love. www.tokyotei.com. Credit cards accepted. No lunch Sun.
The name of the restaurant comes from the three young chefs who met working at a Wailea restaurant, only to decide in 2010 to strike out on their own. Each has a distinctive style (Hawaiian, Southwestern, and Pacific Rim), but somehow it all works. The food is good, with a large selection of salads, burgers, and flatbreads for lunch; fresh fish and steaks are served at dinner. There's also a raw bar, sushi, ceviche, and poke. The space is as big as the menu with three separate dining areas, plus an outdoor patio. www.threesbarandgrill.com..
Executive chef Tom Muromoto is a local boy who loves to cook modern, upscale Hawaiian food. He augments the various fresh fish dishes on his menu with items influenced by Hawaii's ethnic mix. This casual, open-air restaurant is the only place on Maui—maybe in Hawaii—where you can have a Native Hawaiian combination plate that is as healthful as it is authentic. Sunday brunch is renowned here, and if you're around for a holiday, chow down at the amazing holiday brunch buffets. www.kbhmaui.com. Credit cards accepted. No lunch.
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