Hali’imaile General Store
900 Hali'imaile Rd., Makawao
Bev and Joe Gannon’s story sounds more like something you’d daydream from a cubicle than reality—they were producers and managers in Los Angeles when Bev decided to go to cooking school and they both made the move to Maui to start their catering business. They opened Hali’imaile General Store in the ‘80s, and while their restaurant group has continued to grow, the store is still the local favorite. You’ll find the restaurant among the pineapple fields in a historic building that was built in the 1920s to serve camp workers—the décor is subtle and light, with big wide windows at the front. As for the food, Bev does her best to source all of her ingredients on the islands, rather than importing them from the mainland—she relies heavily on local specialties like Kalua pork, fresh island fish, and coconut.
Hāna Ranch Provisions (Closed)
71 Baldwin Ave., Pāʻia
Hana Ranch reminds us a bit of Cabo’s Flora Farms. Almost all of the food served at the quaint to-go counter and in the dining room comes from their farm and ranch, a 3,600-acre cattle ranch and organic farm in East Maui. They’re dedicated to responsible farming and livestock practices, aiming to be not just sustainable but regenerative, leaving their land and community better with each project. The food at their counter (sandwiches, juices, pastries, and meats/sausages) is ridiculously fresh and easy for grab-and-go lunches, but if you have time, swing for a full meal in the dining room to try signature dishes like their rice bowls, short ribs, and the now-famous Hana burger, which is served on a brioche bun.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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