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When it comes to tropical destinations like Maui, most envision pristine beaches, water sports, and relaxing with a Mai Tai in hand. Along with that refreshing drink, this island has an incredible food scene with just about every dish imaginable, although there is a focus on Hawaiian and Asian fare with an abundance of fresh seafood. There’s no better way to enjoy it than at one of these restaurants, which come with those delicious tastes and an incredible view.
Mala Ocean Tavern - Lahaina
Mala Ocean Tavern is located right on the water in historic Lahaina overlooking the old Mala Wharf. Here for nearly two decades, every table offers a view of the waves, neighboring islands, and breathtaking sunsets. You might see turtles splashing around or a rainbow over the West Maui Mountains too. The daily brunch is considered one of the best on the island featuring breakfast entrees like Eggs Benedict, Mala Cristo with Hawaiian sweet bread, and Ube Pancakes with fresh berries and coconut syrup. Opt for the Lunch Small Plates like Seared Ahi Bruschetta or try the Spicy Ahi Poke Salad, or if you’re feeling hungry, go for the Wagyu Burger, Greek Pita Wrap, or Market Fish Plate with the catch of the day.
Mama's Fish House - Paia
Mama’s Fish House is world-famous and a local landmark on the north shore that sits right on the beach. Opened in 1973, many feel that it offers the most exquisitely prepared seafood in Maui. In fact, it’s even been named among the top 10 restaurants in the entire country by TripAdvisor. The menu changes with the season, ensuring the freshest ingredients for dishes like ahi ceviche with Tahitian lime and Kula blueberries, a crispy whole fish to share, and diver-caught Maui octopus. Enjoy all of it with an awe-inspiring ocean view. The downside is that it’s so popular you’ll need to make your reservations at least three months in advance.
Duke's Beach House - Lahaina
Duke’s Beach House is located at the Honua Kai Resort, just steps from the sand, with a romantic ambiance in an open-air venue with surfer decor, tiki torches, and sweeping views of the Pacific along Kaanapali North Beach. It’s a gorgeous setting, and the dishes are presented beautifully as well, with flowers and leaves on the plates of favorite items like furikake ahi steak, poke tacos, coconut shrimp, and a rotating menu featuring the fresh catch of the day. It may not be easy, but try to save room for the hula pie with hot fudge and macadamia nuts.
Pacific'o on the Beach - Lahaina
Located at the south end of Front Street in Lahaina, Pacific’o on the Beach is just steps from the beach, offering a view of the ocean and the island of Lanai in the distance. It’s known for its farm-to-table dining, with its menus changing seasonally to accommodate the fresh ingredients that are harvested locally, including produce grown upcountry at their own farm If you can time your reservation to catch a sunset view, the extreme is even more magical. Enjoy everything from the Blackened Fresh Catch to Simple roots Fried Chicken or the Wagyu Beef Short Ribs.
Fleetwood's on Front St. - Lahaina
Located right across from the Lahaina harbor, Fleetwood’s is owned by Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood, known as the place to “Go Your Own Way.” The sunset dining experience on the rooftop is the most coveted, with a special sunset ceremony held each day to mark the event. It includes a bagpiper that serenades the crowd to the tune of Queen’s hit, “We Will Rock You.” While that alone might be a reason to come, the meals are also unforgettable. One of the favorites is the three-course Go Your Own Way, where you’ll choose your starter from options like Coconut Curry Soup, an entree such as the fresh catch of the day, and a dessert, perhaps the Vanilla Bean Crème Brulee. If you want to hang out afterward, this is also a great place to dance the night away.
Huihui - Lahaina
An upscale beachfront restaurant, Huihui offers memorable open-air dining on Kaanapali Beach. It was created in honor of original Polynesian voyagers with many dishes created around ingredients from the sea to pay homage to them. Traditional recipes have a modern take for a unique presentation and a delicious fusion of flavors that attract locals and visitors alike. The dining room spills onto the outdoor patio providing unobstructed views of the Pacific, perfectly framed by the swaying palm trees. The innovative island cuisine includes items like Ahi Mac & Cheese and the Fish Lawalu where you’ll be introduced to the world of traditional Hawaiian cooking with fresh fish wrapped in a banana leaf and grilled until tender. Live entertainment and friendly service complete the total package.
Cafe OʻLei at The Mill House - Wailuku
Cafe OʻLei at The Mill House is renowned for its romantic dining scene. This one is unique in that it doesn’t offer an ocean view, but from the terrace, you’ll see a beautifully landscaped pond with ducks floating around while palm trees framing emerald mountains that are often shrouded in mist and clouds loom in the distance. It sits in the center of the Maui Tropical Plantation with relics dotted throughout the interior reflecting the plantation’s past, including a locomotive. The menu features fresh island cuisine with creative flair, including pork belly bao and sauteed mahi mahi. Don’t miss one of the unique specialty cocktails like the Cane Fire Martini made with lilikoi puree, citrus vodka, and Hawaiian chili pepper water.
Morimoto Maui - Kihei
Be sure to book ahead for this one as many compete for the sunset view every evening at Morimoto Maui. It offers an open-air beachfront location and a tranquil atmosphere for enjoying Japanese fare whipped up by a master, paired with the fresh bounty of Maui. Popular items include the surf and turf and Rock shrimp tempura. The raw bar is a must-try and this is also the place to go for mocktails, a refreshing drink and dessert in one. All are made using fresh, local ingredients like the Yuzu Mint Refresher with yuzu citrus and lilikoi mango juice with just the right amount of mint.
Star Noodle - Lahaina
Located along the oceanfront in Lahaina right on Front Street, you’ll need reservations to dine at Star Noodle, but it’s worth the effort for its mouthwatering dishes with something to please every palate, fabulous cocktails, and serious sake – there’s a full sake bar with all the best sake varieties, including Zipang Sparkling, Hiro Red Label, and Yuri Masamune Honjozo. It’s a mix of a casual ramen joint and fine Asian fusion shared plates best started with an order of pork buns. By pairing up noodles and shared plate delights, you’re sure to build a meal to remember, perhaps with bites of the Miso Salmon, Steamed Pork Buns, and Teriyaki Chicken in between all of that noodle-y goodness.
Ferraro’s Bar E Ristorante - Kihei
Located in South Maui at the Four Seasons Resort in Wailea, Ferraro’s Bar E Ristorante sits along the oceanfront, offering “proposal-worthy” alfresco dining. The menu features Italian and Pacific Rim fusion dishes with everything from gnocchi with lobster to pappardelle lamb ragu. The Wellness Menu includes vegetarian and vegan options, ensuring that just about every taste and requirement is met. All can be enjoyed with a soundtrack of live music and a spectacular ocean view that’s even more magical at sunset. Conde Nast sums it up well: During sunset, the candlelit tables by the ocean are so impossibly picture-perfect you’ll feel like you’re starring in a rom-com.
Duckine - Lahaina
Offering indoor and outdoor dining with an ocean view, Duckine is a nod to a popular local Hawaiian expression, ‘Da Kine’ which means everything and nothing at the same time, combined with the restaurant’s key ingredient, duck. The Chinese influence comes from the restaurant that was previously here and a local favorite. It offers a fantastic Happy Hour menu with many items for just $5, including Waygu burgers and shrimp baos that can be paired with some incredible refreshing cocktails. A wide range of options are available on the regular menu, like Crispy Duck Leg, Pressed Duck Loco Moco, Char Siu Pork Chop and the always popular Poke Bowl.
Monkeypod Kitchen - Kaanapali
Monkeypod Kitchen has quickly become one of the local favorites in Maui with a combination of a cool atmosphere, beautiful sunset views and exceptionally friendly service. A farm-to-table eatery and bar, it also hosts great local music and one of the best cocktail and beer lists on the island, including 36 different craft beers on tap. The menu is wide-ranging, with a focus on Hawaiian classics with modern flavors, including the specialty: Kiawe Grilled Ahi. You can’t go wrong with the fish tacos either, but you’ll want to save room for dessert, the coconut cream or banana pie is to die for.
Plantation House Restaurant - Lahaina
Located in the clubhouse of the Plantation Course, the Plantation House Restaurant blends award-winning Hawaiian-Mediterranean fare with superb service and awe-inspiring views from the 19th hole. It sits high above the Kapalua coastline, taking advantage of the breathtaking tropical vista from its unique vantage point that includes the north shore of Maui, the surrounding pineapple fields, and the islands of Lanai and Molokai. Every evening, a magnificent array of colors painted by the island’s magical sunsets over the Pacific are enjoyed too. It boasts one of the most extensive wine lists on Maui, with the menu emphasizing fresh fish with dishes that are enhanced by the bounty of fresh produce and herbs grown at nearby Kapalua Farms.