Did you know that there are over 550 Restaurants in Maui? That's a lot of choices!
To put that into some perspective:
New York City (famous for its dining choices) has over 7,300 restaurants. But when you factor in population and tourism, Maui has 4 times the number of restaurants, per capita, than New York City!!!
With that many choices & from only one day to a couple of weeks on the island, how do you decide which restaurants in Maui to try?
Not to worry! There are plenty of worthwhile restaurants that will provide you with some mouth-watering meals during your visit! But let's face it, the decision can be a little overwhelming!
So what do you do?
Simple: All you really need to do is ask around and before you know it, you've found a perfect spot.
Better yet, if you know what you are looking for before you head out to eat, there's no doubt you'll end up someplace worth your time and appetite.
When Kim and I were looking for a casual, higher end restaurant, with a view of the ocean, where we could sample local flavors and regional cuisine (globally speaking) ... we came up with a major winner in ALL categories: Mama's Fish House in Paia.
Mama's is Maui treasure for sure. And it's easy to see why it's so popular!
Not anywhere near Paia? No worries! There are great restaurants in each town and in every region.
For example, when we looked for the same kind of casual, higher end restaurant but instead of a view of the ocean, we looked for an inland view of the countryside filled with rustic charm we came up with another winner: Haliimaile General Store!
"Important" factors like cuisine, distance and view may not seem so important when you've been swimming or snorkeling for a couple of hours. Since at that point all you are wearing is a wet swimsuit and sandals, the single pressing question isn't where, what or who...the question is:
Will they serve us?
The answer, more often than not, is: YES they will!!! It's Maui! Casual is a way of life!!
Within this group of eager to please, ultra-casual establishments, there are some wonderfully casual eateries that are worthy of your time and patronage!
For example: If
you are one of my “sun worshiping” friends whose idea of vacation is a
sandy beach, a colorful cocktail, beachwear and sunglasses I've got
some great places for you to try. (These choices work great for the soaking wet snorkeler too!)
What makes these choices work? Most beach-goers are looking for quick, ultra casual, easy and tasty MOBILE food on the go.
Even when they sit down, they are looking to keep it quick and easy. The following are a few suggestions of restaurants in Maui that meet the "quick and casual" requirements...
If you find yourself hungry on the island and you want some serious comfort food at a great price....boy, have I got a place for you!
Tacos in Lahaina, is the best cheap food in Maui (at least as far as I'm concerned)
Walk up, place your order with the owner, watch your food get prepared, have a seat and dig in!
Please understand, this isn't even a food truck...more a food cart... and is definitely more "outside the box" than any traditional restaurants in Maui, but Maui is lucky to have it..
To find it you need to pay attention or you will literally miss it. But once you find it, you'll never forget it.
I have four words that I want you to memorize as they relate to Ono Tacos, "TRY THE FISH TACOS!"
To learn more about Ono Tacos and why its our top choice for cheap restaurants in Maui, click here!
When you are looking to cool off, nothing is more refreshing than Ululani's Hawaiian Shave Ice in Lahaina.
Oh buddy, is that shaved ice great on a hot, sunny day!
This was one of the first restaurants in Maui I went to and I was hooked from the word GO!
My favorites are pineapple and passion fruit while Kim's is coffee. But they have a flavor to suit everyone....including the man who put "tiger blood" on the map: yep, they've got that "flavor" too! (I'm pretty sure there isn't actual tiger blood in it)
Not to be outdone, Local Boys West and Local Boys South also has some fantastic shaved ice treats! You can find them in Lahaina (west) and Kihei (South).
Wednesday June 13, 2012 - Local Boys West now has seating on Front St. Check out their new picnic tables and enjoy a hotdog, some chili & rice and most definitely their shaved ice!
Oh, it's gelato you want? Good choice! We head back to, OH YES! Lahaina to Ono Gelato Company Lahaina. You can literally get full on the samples! I was so taste drunk my first time, I almost didn't finish my order.....almost!
In the mood for some hawaiian coffee love on the go, then get yourself over to The Coffee Store Napili. Kim is a HUGE fan of this place. I'm all about the coffee, but don't forget the cream puffs, brownies and the pineapple upside down cake! Yum! (is anyone else's mouth watering?)
Looking for some fresh fare without spending an arm and a leg, you can't miss with Coconut's Fish Cafe in Kihei. The fish taco is simple and delicious!! They are all about fresh and the proof is in the product. I haven't had a single thing on the menu that I didn't like!
I love a good sandwich! I also love the lack of time it takes to prepare. If you feel the same, you have got to try 808 Deli in Kihei! They have been voted “Best Sandwiches in Maui” four years running (2008-2011) in the Maui Time Weekly Reader's Poll. What makes that significant is that's mostly voted on by locals!
If you go the path of so many travelers, eating exclusively at restaurants in Maui on your vacation can get pretty costly. In fact, Maui restaurants can take quite a “bite” out of your travel budget.
By the Numbers
The average couple spends around $150 per day eating out at restaurants in Maui. The breakdown of breakfast/lunch/dinner varies from survey to survey, but the end result is pretty consistent.
That means that if you plan on eating out during that week-long vacation, you and your partner should expect to spend on meals (a meal includes: one inclusive course/tea, coffee or water/no dessert and no alcohol) on average, $1050.00..... Adding any of those amazing appetizers, tremendous tropical tiki drinks or delectible desserts will obviously skew that number a wee bit higher :)
Stop the Insanity! No matter who you are, you can cut the cost and not lose the “flavor” of the eating experience.
That kitchen that came with your condo is like free money! Take advantage of it (past using it to keep the beer, wine and soda cold).
It's your vacation, but if you do have a budget and a limited amount to spend on airfare, hotel, shopping and activities, the food is a great place to find extra money without missing out!
Do you have a great story about this? What about your set of criteria for choosing a restaurant on vacation? Do you have any photos of some out-of-this-world dish that you'd like to share? Share it!
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