Maui Food + Drinks Worth Seeking

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Pacific Ocean Maui

The sun set over Ka'anapali on Maui's west coast during Hawaii Food & Wine Festival.


Hawaii’s second largest island strikes a good balance between Oahu’s commercialism and the Big Island’s agrarianism. They have world-class hiking and mountain biking, plenty of culinary rewards circling the resorts of Wailea and Lahaina, and more down-home fare in the middle. Learn about 18 places to eat and drink on Maui, listed in alphabetical order.

Huli Huli Chicken

Chicken Maui

Red sand beach and kiawe grilled chicken? It’s hard to beat that combo. In 2012, Russell Kaho’okele founded this humble huli huli chicken stand, which features a grill framed by cords of kiawe wood near the vivid beach. Order in a bamboo hut under kamani trees that drop fruit that will pelt your head if you’re not careful. Sit inside at communal bamboo tables or outside at picnic tables. Each chicken is juicy, with smoky skin and a bath of savory sauce.

MUST ORDER: Huli Huli Chicken

Joey’s Kitchen

Filipino Food Maui

Chef Joey Macadangdang, who grew up in the Philippines and spent two decades working for Roy Yamaguchi, opened his eponymous restaurant in the sunken Whalers Village food court. The colorful space features a wood counter with speckled top, tile walls, and yellow booths with tables touting miniature boomerangs. Blackboard menus yield Hawaiian comfort foods prepared with precision. Poke stars hamachi and comes tossed with local ingredients like ogo, pohole fern, and sweet Maui onion. Pork loin sports a complex sauce that contains tamarind and coffee. Filipino influences factor into dishes like pancit, a noodle stir-fry with vegetables and chopped shrimp that benefits from a squeeze of calamansi.

MUST ORDER: Hamachi Poke Bowl, Huli Huli Chicken, Pancit, Pork Loin & Coconut Shrimp

Kula Bistro

Fried Chicken Maui

Chef Marc McDowell presides over this casual restaurant and bakery at the mouth of Maui’s Upcountry. Kula Bistro features an olive green facade and a dining room with cream colored walls, panoramic paintings, and necessary network of ceiling fans. Sandwiches and salads are both possible, though you can easily go bigger. Honey dipped chicken is a good value, with three crisp-crusted pieces plated with steamed rice and potato salad. Fresh catch changes daily, but could include firm monchong, which is available served over Caesar salad. For dessert, raid a pastry case loaded with baked goods, cakes and a particularly good lilikoi cheesecake with tangy, creamy filling and Graham cracker crust.

MUST ORDER: Fresh Catch of the Day over Caesar Salad, Honey Dipped Chicken, Lilikoi Cheesecake

Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop

Bakery Maui

This ambitious bakery and cafe, a sister to Star Noodle and Aloha Mixed Plate, is located just south of Lahaina. The space features reclaimed wood planks, a high-top table crafted from an old shipwreck, and a blackboard touting contributing farms all help build the establishment’s charm. So do a packed pie display case, boxes of house-made bread and a series of sandwiches made on said bread. Chicken and waffles and the Lahaina Dog are just two of executive chef Marcus Whisenant’s more recent revelations. Saving room for pie is imperative, especially banana cream, Maui pineapple mac nut, or a flaky apple hand pie.

MUST ORDER: Chicken and Waffles, Club Sandwich, Roast Pork Hoagie, Fried Salad, Seared Ahi, Apple Hand Pie, Banana Cream Pie, Chocolate Cream Pie

Maui Pie

Pie Maui

Kellee Houghtaling and husband Ryan applied lessons learned from her parents’ pie stores in Michigan, opening Maui Pie in a Kihei Strip mall in 2015. The glass-fronted space features wood tables on the patio and an interior with tan and pink walls lined with colorful Island style images. Maui Pie produces a ranges of pies with either pastry or crumb tops. Fruit fillings change with the seasons, but could involve big pieces of peach and strawberry. They also bake chicken pie pots and lilikoi pie, which is similar to Key lime, only more Hawaiian.




Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

Blog Comments

This looks like it’s written by someone not from Maui. I’d only recommend a couple of these restaurants.

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