360 Papa Pl., Kahului
Former Top Chef contestant and local Sheldon Simeon and his wife, Janice, opened Tin Roof in 2016 in Kahului, which is the closest thing you’ll find to a big city on the island (population: 26,000, give or take). It’s an unassuming noodle shack that serves delicious bowls of saimin (a popular island dish made of fresh noodles in broth, topped with green onion, soft-boiled egg, pork belly, and bean sprouts). It became such a hit that the Simeons plan to open a new spot nearby this year. The menu will pay homage to Sheldon’s Filipino heritage, while using only ingredients indigenous to Hawaii.
The Mill House
1670 Honoapiilani Hwy., Waikapu
A relative newcomer to Maui, the Mill House debuted two years ago in the rural Waikapu Valley. The restaurant sources most ingredients (avocados, carrots, fennel, papaya) from its own sixty-acre plantation or from nearby farms, so expect to be blown away by the vibrant flavors. For dinner, you can’t go wrong with the locally caught mahi-mahi or snapper.
780 Haiku Rd., Haiku
This sister restaurant to Paia Fish Market is more subdued—but no less delicious. While the space is small, the menu is mighty: Sashimi platters, excellent bowls, specialty rolls, and plenty of poke, all sourced from local purveyors wherever possible. Don't miss the Asian French Fries, served with wasabi aioli and furikake, or the Japanese fried chicken.
Paia Inn Café
93 Hana Hwy, Paia
This indoor/outdoor café—which is part of the sweet and sleepy Paia Inn—serves one of the town's best brunches, with a menu that spans from cardamon french toast to a breakfast board that includes both pork belly and lox. They source ingredients from local Maui farmers, and focus on whatever is hyper-fresh, as illustrated by an exhaustive array of fresh juices.
10 Wailea Gateway Place, Wailea
From the same group that's behind Merriman's (and conveniently close to the Andaz), Monkeypod has a straightforward menu of Hawaiian classics like poke and Kalua pork, plus a few great burgers and fresh fish. They're proud of having 36 beers on tap, and have great cocktails featuring unusual Hawaiian ingredients, like a Mai Tai with honey-lilkoi foam, and a "Pod Thai" with créme of coconut and lemongrass-cardamom syrup. There's a second location in Kapolei.
286 Kapuohi St., Lahaina
Chef Seldon Simeon won a season of Top Chef, and (in addition to being an excellent chef) is a bit of a local celebrity, which helps to explain why there are such long lines at his restaurant. That said, if you can make a reservation in advance, Seldon's take on Hawaiian Asian fusion, which includes well-executed ramen, udon, Singapore noodles, pad thai, and more, is widely considered to be one of the best meals on the island. There's also a healthy selection of share plates, like tempura shrimp, Vietnamese crepes, and yakitori, plus a full-service sake bar.
Paia Fish Market
100 Baldwin Ave., Paia
Another Paia town gem, this laid-back, seafood-centric dive with lots of light and communal tables serves what many agree are the best fish sandwiches on the island. Everything on the menu, from the Mahi in the fish tacos to the Ahi in the sashimi, is caught locally and prepped fresh the second it’s delivered every morning by local fishermen. And if seafood isn’t your thing, the burgers and chicken dishes are all sourced from neighboring Maui farms. There's a second location in Kihei.
Mama’s Fish House
799 Poho Pl., Paia
Sitting directly on the beach and a little more high-end than the hyper-casual joints you might find in the center of Paia town, Mama’s menu of rotating fish dishes that change according to the day’s catch (you’ll find the name of the fisherman who caught your fish right on the menu) can easily hold its own as one of the best seafood places on Maui. The restaurant’s sister B&B is a good place to get a room before hitting the road to Hana.
Paia Fish Market
1913 S. Kihei Rd., Kihei
This laid-back, seafood-centric dive with lots of light and communal tables serves what many agree are the best fish sandwiches on the island. Everything on the menu, from the Mahi in the fish tacos to the Ahi in the sashimi, is caught locally and prepped fresh the second it’s delivered every morning by local fishermen. And if seafood isn’t your thing, the burgers and chicken dishes are all sourced from neighboring Maui farms. There's another location in Paia.
1 Bay Club Pl., Lahaina
Peter Merriman was one of the pioneers of the local food scene in Hawaii—he was at the forefront of efforts to grow vegetables in the local volcanic soils, so they could be eaten fresh (rather than after a lengthy journey on a boat). Today, he partners with local farmers to serve his three restaurants, and there’s one each on Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island. The dining room and menu are dressed up without being overly stuffy, so it’s ideal for a nicer family or group outing. Try the upcountry salad (made with kale and butter lettuce from local farms), the fresh-caught mahi mahi, and vegetarian taro cake.
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