Guide to Maui, Hawaii
My brother and sister-in-law are currently on their honeymoon in Maui, Hawaii, and I am 1) writhing with jealousy, 2) extremely happy for them, and 3) compensating for not being there by writing you this guide, hoping it will make me feel better.
I travelled to Maui quite frequently as a child, and it is not only a place that is near and dear to my heart, but one that is factually one of the most beautiful places on earth filled with both relaxation and adventure. Maui boasts outstanding food, culture, people, and nature; you simply cannot help but fall in loved with the place. Furthermore, out of all the Hawaiian islands, Maui has a distinct and praiseworthy quality where it has built up a society with plenty of activities, while still remaining tropical and remote enough to be authentic.
So the question is not if you go, but when you go, these are the top places you need to hit:
- With multiple locations sprawled throughout Hawaii, this contemporary Japanese restaurant is a favorite among locals, and for good reason. 1) The food is flavorful and inventive with fantastic presentation. 2) There is such a wide range of items, and they are all expertly executed. From their simple and refreshing Mango Crab Salad Roll, to their unique and award-winning Asian Shrimp Cake with Ginger Lime Chili Butter and Cilantro Pesto, almost every menu item is a winner. You will need to go here multiple times (for dinner, happy hour, and dinner again in that exact order).
- Favorite Items: Mango Crab salad Hand Roll, Asian Shrimp Cake, Panko Crusted Fresh Ahi Sashimi, Cajun Seared Walu Sashimi, Lobster & Blue Crab Ravioli, Seared Foie Gras Nigiri Sushi, 69 Roll
- Yelp has consistently rated this place one of the best places to eat in the U.S., and while I do not always agree with Yelp, I would never argue this rating. This low-key taco joint isn’t even located inside a brick and mortar. Instead, it is a truck outside surrounded by casual seating, and they are serving up some fantastic tacos like the Funked Up Fish, Korean Steak, and Spicy Shrimp. When they have it, they also make a mean Patty Melt with Maui Caramelized Onions and Cheese.
- Star Noodle is an Asian Fusion restaurant that roots itself in Hawaiian and Japanese cuisine, and yes, that combination is as good as it seems. The dishes here are pretty simple, and the chef lets the quality of ingredients here truly shine. Make sure to order a bunch of items, share it family style, and do not miss out on trying one of their fresh noodle dishes where they are made in-house daily.
- Favorite Items: Garlic Noodles, Filipino “Bacon & Eggs”, Ahi Avo, Local Saimin, Malasadas
- So L&L is a fast food franchise, but before you go judging or leaving this page, hold on a minute. This place is nothing like McDonalds or Burger King, and it certainly deserves to be on this list just like the other spots. Not every great meal has to be bougie or supremely artistic. L&L bases itself on serving up Hawaiian Barbecue Plates, where you will get Rice, Macaroni Salad, and a choice of Protein. It is a packed entrée that tastes great, fills you up and does not make you feel gross afterward. This spot is the perfect out-of-airport meal when you are starving and want something quick. You’ll go and want to go back, even just as a snack.
- Favorite Items: BBQ Mix, Loco Moco, Spam Musubi
- It is one of the best ice creams you will ever have. I understand that is a bold statement, but it is one that I will stand by day after day. The flavors are strong, yet not too intense. The ice cream itself is creamy yet light in texture. Once you taste it, you will understand me and want to indulge in it all day long.
- Favorite Items: Kona Coffee, Heavenly Hana, Nene Tracks
- Right on Maui’s North Shore, Mama’s Fish House is not only a delicious place to dine, but a fantastic spot for sight seeing and taking in Hawaii’s gorgeous beach fronts. It is a family owned restaurant, where fresh fish is delivered daily by their fishermen directly to the restaurant. On the menu each night, it lists the fishermen’s catch, as well as where it came from. The menu genuinely reflects and embodies Hawaiian/Polyneisan culture and cuisine, in a way that is truly authentic. The food is on the pricier side, but the combined quality of ingredients, unique preparations, and spectacular ambience make the price well worth it.
- Favorite Items: Mama’s Ceviche, Macadamia Nut Crab Cakes, Mahi Mahi, Ahi, Polynesian Black Pearl
- Hotel restaurants are either a hit or miss, and this one is definitely a hit. Japengo is located within the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa, and it is serving Asian-inspired cuisine in a beautifully designed restaurant that allows you to experience and appreciate the surrounding natural beauty of Maui. This place is certainly expensive and is one that you have to be willing to splurge on, but it certainly is delicious.
- Favorite Items: Steamed Manila Clams, Vietnamese Style Kurobuta Pork, Blackened Ahi Roll, Honolulu Roll
- As a kid, this place was my playing ground for ten days once a year. Some of my best childhood memories are at this resort, so know I am bias when I tell you it is one of the greatest resorts in the world. But bias aside, from the colorful and sprawling gardens to the expansive “water-park” like pools, it really is a sight that I can bet will take your breath away. If you don’t get to stay here, then at least eat a meal here (preferably breakfast). Go with the buffet or a la carte, and sit right outside of the main dining room overlooking the ocean. It is a spectacular view in an already gorgeous setting, and that is all you can ask for.
Well, that’s it for now fam. Writing this did make me feel better, but as I finish, I will probably immediately check my brother’s Instagram story, and the cycle of mixed feelings will start all over again. Hopefully, I can get back there soon so I can add to this list and share more about this magical island.