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"With the magnificent Pacific views and elegant Maui condos along the beach, our stay here was magical."
Where to eat on Maui? There’s certainly no shortage of restaurants and most of them step up to the plate (no pun intended) and deliver, but if you’re like me, you prefer a recommendation from a local. After all, I’m faced with this question all the time. And the possibilities run the full spectrum - from seafood buffets overlooking the setting sun through swaying palms to a juicy “Kula Burger” topped with fresh avocado and chipotle sauce. So, to embellish upon our Flavors of Fall special, I thought I’d take you on an appetizing tour of my favorite eateries on the south side of Maui – from Wailea to Kihei.
If you want to stay close to your vacation home in Wailea, you’re in luck. Bev Gannon’s, Mulligan’s on the Blue, Tommy Bahama and Longhi’s are all excellent choices with varied menus. Go during lunch for the best deals and ask for a table outside. Signature dishes include coconut shrimp and pina colada cake at Tommy Bahama, open face sandwiches on toasted Italian bread at Longhi’s, traditional Reuben, corned-beef and cabbage or Irish stew at Mulligan’s and island fish tacos and double Kobe cheeseburgers at Bev Gannon’s.
For dinner in Wailea, Monkeypod Kitchen is my favorite! The macadamia-crusted Mahi-Mahi is the best on the island – and since I’ve ordered this at restaurants all across the island, I know what I’m talking about! Live music and happy hour specials may bring you in but the food will keep you coming back.
For seafood lovers, the Makena Beach and Golf Resort’s Friday night seafood buffet is a must. Sushi, poke, several different types of fish served a variety of ways, side dishes, salad, chowder, lobster bisque and even prime rib are offered. Be sure to arrive before sunset as the view is spectacular.
You’re on vacation so why not splurge! Take a walk along the Wailea Beach Walk and check out the menus posted at the world-class resorts including the newly-opened Andaz, Wailea Marriott, Grand Wailea, Four Seasons or Fairmont Kea Lani. You’ll discover fantastic island dishes, and an ambiance with ocean views that rivals the most exotic locales.
Heading into Kihei, Five Palms is a quiet little hide-away for pupus (appetizers) and cocktails – right on Keawakapu Beach. Try the hot lobster dip!
Since this tour is geographical and not following the time of day, this next restaurant heading north that’s worth mentioning is where it’s at for breakfast – Fred’s Mexican Café (seriously!). Try the Hawaiian sweet bread French toast or mouth-watering omelets with a side of Portuguese sausage. You can substitute toast with a warm banana muffin or fresh fruit cup. Fred’s also serves excellent Mexican dishes in its open-air-yet-air-conditioned, ocean view dining room making Fred’s a great choice any time of day.
The other breakfast hot-spot is Kihei Caffe (that’s how they spell it) across the street from Kalama Park in Kihei. Try the local favorite “Loco Moco” or a “Veggie Scramble” and just ask for a to-go box when you order! Don’t try to get a seat before placing your order – that’s not how it works here. Somehow – I’ve yet to figure it out – after you place your order, a table opens up. No matter how long the line is – or how many tables are already sat. There’s some kind of science going on there that baffles me! The outdoor seating runs along the sidewalk of South Kihei Road. Before getting in the car, walk off breakfast with a stroll through Kihei Marketplace’s outdoor shops and kiosks or grab a coffee from Lava Java and sit and watch the fish swim in the Koi pond.
For that burger I mentioned earlier – we’re getting warmer! It’s right in front of Starbucks in the Kukui Mall Shopping Center at Stewart’s Burgers. This walk-up-window with outdoor seating has the best burgers in town! Juicy and bursting with flavor and served on a fresh-baked bun!
For family night - or if you want some comfort food with a beer while you watch the game - Pizza Madness is where you want to be. Choose from delicious pizzas, toasted subs and fresh salads.
It’s all ono! (delicious!)