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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.
Chef-owner Mark Ellman started Maui's culinary revolution of the late '80s with his restaurant Avalon, but Mala is a more than satisfactory successor. The place is adorable; the best tables are on the lanai, which actually juts out over the water. The menu reflects Mark's and his wife Judy's world travels with dishes influenced by the Middle East, the Mediterranean, Italy, Bali, and Thailand. Every single item on the menu is delicious, and there's a focus on ingredients that promote local sustainability. The cocktails and wine list are great, to boot. Another location of Mala is at the Wailea Beach Marriott Resort, but the Lahaina original is highly recommended. www.malaoceantavern.com. Credit cards accepted.
A Lahaina landmark created by "a man who loves to eat," Longhi's has been serving pasta and other Italian fare to throngs of visitors since 1976. That "man" is owner Bob Longhi, and although his children pretty much run the place now, his influence is still strong. Many of the classic dishes on the menu are his—prawns Amaretto, steak Longhi, and the signature lobster Longhi for two. The wine list is award winning and gigantic. Before the rest of Lahaina (or Wailea) wakes up, have yourself a cup of orange juice, a fluffy frittata, and some good, strong coffee to start the day. The in-house bakery shines with outstanding breakfast pastries, as well. There are two spacious, open-air dining levels; and there's a second Maui restaurant at the Shops at Wailea. www.longhis.com. Credit cards accepted.
This casual open-air restaurant set right on the Kaanapali beach walk is a good, reasonably priced dinner choice for anyone staying within the resort area. The signature calamari and coconut shrimp pupu are delicious and everything is artfully plated. Besides fresh local fish prepared four ways, choices include chicken, ribs, teriyaki beef, and fish tacos. Would you like fries with that? Try the ono-licious sweet-potato fries for a change of pace. The sunset views are great, the decor is, well, surf-y, and the service is pleasant. www.marriott.com. Credit cards accepted. No lunch.
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, because you don't want to 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.
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. With separate salad, pizza, bar and pupu menus, the variety of lunch options here is mind-boggling. Since this restaurant buys its fish from Lahaina Harbor anglers, the catch is always a good bet. www.lahainacoolers.com. Credit cards accepted. No dinner.
As suggested by our Facebook fans:
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Maui: Mama's Fish House
Kauai: The Beach House
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Outrigger Maui Eldorado
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