Much of what is written here has been pulled directly off my Hearts In Hawai`i blog. For those who have been following my blog, this is a rehash.
Want the numbers? Here they are!
1. Leilani’s (93.00 pts)
In the atmosphere area, not quite up to Kimo’s standards. In the food area, better. My filet mignon was as good as any I’ve ever had, on a par with the one I had at Ruth’s Chris in 2012. It was placed on a bed of mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus, and was cooked to perfection. Patty was equally enthusiastic about her baby back ribs. Service was impeccable and extremely friendly. And since we each had an entree, we were able to utilize our coupon for a free Hula Pie. Excellent!
2. Cuatro (92.83 pts)
Visited: 2012, 2014, 2016
(2012) Everything about this experience was noteworthy. Cuatro is a small establishment, with about 15 tables inside and one table outside. We had reservations for 6:30 but arrived there fifteen minutes early. We were immediately seated; from that point, everything happened at a slow, mellow pace. It took only a few minutes for our server to show up with the water and ask if this was our first time at Cuatro. He then explained the four preparations they use with their fish.
But we weren’t there for the fish. We were there for the stuffed chicken breasts, after reading the praises of the authors of Top Maui Restaurants. We did spend some considerable time mulling over the choices of starters and salads. I was inclined to try the Spicy Tuna Nachos, which had won awards, but Patty really wanted no part of this. We then considered the Asian Style Pupu Steak, which was strips of marinated steak, with sautéed mushrooms in a spicy teriyaki sauce. We decided on this, and I also got the Tijuana Caesar Salad. Now, I’ve had numerous Caesars while in Maui; this one was equal in taste to the Kimo’s version, but there was more salad in this one. The Pupu Steak was tremendously tasty.
The chicken, stuffed with green chiliis and ham and spread out over pepper jack cheese, was amazingly good. This dish also came with mashed potatoes and vegetables on the side.
The service was very good.
Our 2014 and 2016 visits were equally impressive, and I found one of the best appetizers I ever had–Spicy Tuna Nachos! This is simply the best explosion of taste variety I’ve ever found. These alone are worth going there for, even if everything else on the menu sucked (which it certainly doesn’t!)
Our overall verdict on Cuatro? Our favorite place to dine in South Maui; give this place a view of the ocean, and it would be, by far, our favorite place to dine.
3. Honu Seafood & Pizza (90.75 pts)
Visited: 2012, 2014
(2012) We had discussed going elsewhere (specifically, Cool Cat Café), but decided to honor the reservation we had made. Are we glad we did! We had a waterfront table directly in the sun, which felt slightly uncomfortable, given how much sun I’d had earlier today. Later a few clouds rolled in which helped a great deal. The service here is top-notch, as they really pay attention to anything which may be lacking, be it water or soda. Patty had soup and salad, and thought it was excellent. I had the spicy sausage pizza, which is a thin-crust 12-inch, 8-piece affair. The sausage was outstanding, the sauce likewise. I also had a Virgin Lava Flow after dinner, while we shared some ice cream.
The atmosphere here, after the tiki torches are lit and the sun disappears, is supurb, equal to Kimo’s. Mark Ellman has hit a home run with this place! We will definitely be returning here.
(2014) Arriving just before our 6 p.m. reservation, we were immediately seated one table in from the “window”, featuring great views of the ocean and Lanai in the distance. We were hoping to be treated to a wonderful sunset but once again, we were disappointed.
This was our second best dining experience during this trip (Cuatro was first). We started with a half-order of Ahi Bruschetta. I wasn’t exactly keen to try this, not being the fish person, but this was an incredible appetizer! The way they prepared this, there was no fish taste, just yummy excellence. Patty followed this by ordering what I had two years ago, the Spicy Italian Sausage pizza. I got the Baby Romaine salad, Honu’s variation on a Caesar Salad, and then had the Kobe Snake River burger, which has an 8-oz beef patty with applewood smoked bacon and caramelized onions. Everything we had was delicious! I finished our meal off with coffee. Gerry, our server, even took our picture at the end of our meal. Cost was $74, pre-tip, and it was worth every penny.
4. Koa’s Seaside Grill (90.50 pts)
We were seated railside but not upstairs as we had hoped. Still, the downstairs area features some tasty views of the ocean and we’re actually closer to the water than we were at Kimo’s. We can see the Lahaina Yacht Club and Lahaina Fish Company to the south from our table, with Kimo’s also nearby.
Their pupus (Korean steak) totally rock. My filet is good but the one I had at Leilani’s two years ago was better. Overall, it was an excellent dining experience. We’d like to return some day and try their breakfast menu out.
5. Cafe Portofino (90.50 pts)
Located at the Kauai Marriott on Kalapaki Bay, this restaurant is situated side-by-side with Duke’s Canoe Club. Same view as Duke’s, but Cafe Portifino is more upscale with slightly better service. The focus here is on pasta; Patty had the Spaghettini alla Marinara and I had the Penne Salsiccia (mine was more on the spicy side than hers). Both dishes were very well done and quite tasty. An excellent dining experience with a wonderful view of Kalapaki Bay.
6. Pi Artisan Pizza (89.50 pts)
A little confusing fact about their name; it changed twice in the year or so before we had the chance to eat there. First it was Pi Artisan Pizza, then Mauiano’s Italian Grill, then back to Pi Artisan Pizza. Why?
The answer is unimportant. What is important is the food here–specifically the pizzas which are as good as any we’ve had in Hawai`i (and we’ve had a lot of pizzas in Hawai`i!). These are personal pizzas, designed for one. That’s a good thing, because you won’t want to share. Yes, they’re that good.
We chose to dine inside. They have an outside patio area but it was hot that day, and it was near the end of our trip; we were sun-fried and wanted to sit inside where it was cool and darker.
Their sausage pizza rolls were a great way to start, but the real hit here was the pizza. Patty built her own Pi with sausage and pepperoni, and I opted for the Pi 3-Some, a meaty bonanza with meatballs, house-made fennel sausage, and pepperoni. Great, great, great!
Service was very good, and the prices were what you would expect on Maui. Nothing is cheap here–get used to it.
7. Pita Paradise (89.50 pts)
The only mistake we made here was arriving too early–lunch was still being served and they hadn’t made the transition to their dinner menu yet. But the lunch menu still features some very tasty offerings. Starting with the Bruschetta, very good but not quite up to Honu’s quality level. Patty ordered the Garden Fresh salad here and was quite impressed. After asking the waitress’s opinion on a few items, I ordered the Chicken Parmesan. It was a good choice on her (and my) part.
There are items on the dinner menu which aren’t on the lunch menu, but we were very happy with their lunch menu. In a small strip mall, there aren’t any views but the darker interior ambience is pleasing. Service was perfect, timely without being imposing or making us feel rushed at any time.
8. Casanova (89.25 pts)
Visited: 2010, 2012
(2010) We had been to Makawao twice for dinner on previous trips, opting for Makawao Steakhouse both times. We decided on a change of pace in our 2010 trip and found ourselves at Casanova, a nice Italian restaurant. My expectations of this place, for some reason, were a bit low. To be honest, I didn’t expect much from Casanova. I could not have been more wrong! This was my favorite dinner of that trip, while Patty still feels Longhi’s was the best. Whatever. I started with Caesar Salad, then went on to the Spaghetti Della Casa which came with four meatballs of a ground beef/veal mixture. Fantastic! All this for only $14. Patty had a 12″ build-your-own pizza with pepperoni and Italian sausage; she liked this a lot. Also, only $14. Total with beverages was just $40 pre-tip. Wow! The atmosphere here is nice; Casanova was a USO during WW2. The bar is hopping, the restaurant is filled with happily munching people. Great! Just great.
(2012) We had dined here two years ago and were blown away by the quality of their pasta on that occasion. Once again, it was very good, albeit not quite as outstanding as it was before. Patty decided to also get pasta, and both of our dishes were tasty as was the Caesar Salad and the bread.
9. Kimo’s (87.75 pts)
Visited: 1996, 2002, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016
Kimo’s is the only restaurant we’ve visited on every trip to Maui, which is a testament to how good their food, service and ambiance are.
Our first visit to Kimo’s was on our wedding night in 1996. There have been several since, nearly all of them noteworthy. If you can get a spot on the rail overlooking the ocean, get it! It’s worth the wait, which can be in excess of an hour on some nights, even if you have a reservation. If not, the service is still great, and the food is very reliable. Is it the best food on Maui? No, but the proximity to the ocean, the sunset views and the romantic ambiance after they light the tiki torches make the food taste even better.
(2004) Siting at an oceanfront table at night, with a light breeze and the lit torches, being attended to in almost perfect style, with food as good as you’ll ever find, this explains why Kimo’s gets our top rating. Their Polynesian Chicken is fabulous. Their steak is almost equally so. Patty’s steak and shrimp was outstanding. Their Caesar Salad is the best we’ve had anywhere; this coming from a guy who, as a rule, doesn’t like Caesar Salad. Dessert? Try their huge hula pie.
(2007) The quality of my Polynesian Chicken has been better in the past. After the main entrees, we shared a Hula Pie for dessert (yet another tradition). If you’ve ever been to Kimo’s, Duke’s or the Hula Grill, you’ve seen these and probably eaten one. They’re magnificent; if you’re on the Weight Watchers system, you don’t want to know how many points one of these bad boys is!
(2008) As a birthday treat, we returned to Kimo’s restaurant on Front Street for dinner. We make it a point to come here for dinner whenever we visit Maui. Kimo’s is a special place for us, being where we ate dinner on our wedding night in 1996. It’s still the same Kimo’s with the same awesome sunset views. We were lucky enough to have a table right on the railing, overlooking the ocean. The setting of the sun and the lighting of the tiki torches were the backdrop to what normally would have been a nearly perfect evening. The only downside tonight was the quality of the food. My Polynesian Chicken was good, make no mistake, but it wasn’t up to the quality I’d come to expect from Kimo’s. Service was good. Overall, this is still one of our favorite restaurants (free Hula Pie due to it being my birthday helped somewhat), but it’s been better in the past.
(2009) Good food and service, wonderful sunset views, and nostalgia (this was where we had our wedding night dinner in 1996). I didn’t like the Polynesian Chicken I had last year, so went for the Teriyaki Sirloin, and was pleased with the choice. Patty had the steak and shrimp, one of her favorite choices. The atmosphere at Kimo’s, while nice very early in the evening, becomes extremely romantic once the sun sets and they light the tiki torches. This is one of the two restaurants we most highly recommend of anybody coming to Maui.
(2010) Kimo’s is a very special place for us, being we ate dinner there after we got married fourteen years ago. Arriving there just in time to see the sunset and the tiki torches lit. It’s nearly perfect. Ron, our waiter, does a great job–he is laid back but prompt with everything. I had the Teriyaki Sirloin, Patty had the Kushiyaki, which we both enjoyed. Dessert? What else but their Hula Pie? Coffee afterward capped off an outstanding dining experience.
(2012) We don’t get seated until about 6:45 due to our request for a table alongside the railing, so we kick back and wait at the bar. The sun is just setting as we’re led upstairs to our table. It turns out to be as good a meal as we’ve ever had in Hawai`i. Service by our waiter, Sean, is perfect. In the time we take to eat, the sky goes from sunset to pitch black. Amazing how quickly it gets black once he sun goes down here, I think it’s due to Hawai`i’s proximity to the equator.
Our meals are also perfect. They start by bringing a basket of bread rolls and carrot muffins. I have two and a half muffins, being the pig I am. The Caesar Salad is equally tasty but seems smaller than it has in the past. My Teriyaki Sirloin is done just right (medium well), coming with mashed potatoes. Patty equally enjoys her Kushiyaki, which is steak, chicken, squash, pineapple, onions and peppers. For dessert we get a free Hula Pie after explaining to Sean that Patty’s birthday isn’t today but was yesterday, we couldn’t make it last night due to Hapa, etc. etc. A group of wait staff comes over with the Pie and sings Happy Birthday to Patty. Cute!
We’re totally stuffed and happy by the time we leave.
(2014) Kimo’s is, and always has been. one of our favorite Maui restaurants. They get dissed at times (especially on Trip Advisor reviews, which proves you can’t always believe what you read) for their service and food. To be sure, we have almost always received top notch service here. The food (with one exception) has been very good on our eight previous visits. The atmosphere–views of the ocean and, if you time it right, the sunset–takes a back seat to no one. With respect to the timing, we like to call in advance and request a rail-side table, and try to get there so we are seated within a half hour of sunset. The sun sets, the tiki torches are lit–it’s a special time for us.
Why is this such a special time for us? In large part, because we dined here on our wedding night 18 years ago. Why did we eat here on our wedding night and not a more upscale place such as Pacific`o? We’re not totally sure. As I recall (and I’m recalling something which nearly two decades ago), we saw Kimo’s on the Maui Visitors Channel and it looked good to us. Whatever. It was a memorable experience that night and we have had several since.
Just like we planned, we wait for about 15 minutes before being seated on the rail. The sunset this night is decent, not great. Then the skies opened up for about fifteen minutes and they had to roll the awnings out. But this is Maui, and within a half hour of the rains starting, they stopped, the skies cleared and the awnings were rolled back.
Kimo’s had gotten somewhat more expensive over the past few trips. Everything here is now a la carte, including their excellent Caesar Salad. They still serve up free bread, including those tasty carrot muffins!
Our server’s name is Ryan and he did a tremendous job. He was able to walk that sometimes fine line between being overly attentive and inattentive. He also allowed us to use the free coupon Remy from the Lahaina Shores’ Expedia desk gave us to get a free Hula Pie, which is redeemable if you purchase two entrees. Patty wanted the Fisherman’s Chowder pupu, but it only came in a small bowl. So she ordered two and they put it into a larger bowl! It turned out to be more than she wanted, but hey, she ordered it! But they did count it as an entree, thus, free Hula Pie!
Patty had ordereed the Kushiyaki in the past and really enjoyed this entree. I thought it was worth a try–I wasn’t much in the mood for just steak or just chicken. Their Polynesian Chicken is no longer on the menu, and I miss that item. The Kushiyaki features grilled filet steak, chicken, squash, pineapple, red peppers and onion, all laid out on a bed of rice. Now I know why she liked this so much, it was great! Our total bill was $70 pre-tip, and we think this is a very good value.
(2016) Arriving at 6:30, we tell the hostess we’d like a rail-side table so she gives us a beeper and says one will be available but doesn’t know when. So we head to the bar and converse with a couple; she’s originally from Minneapolis but they’ve lived her for 30 years. Two spots open up at the bar so they sit, ending our short chat. We retreat toward the front entrance and wait. And wait. And wait. Finally the beeper goes off and we’re led upstairs to our table. It’s on the rail but not in a spot I particularly like as it’s between two section, one which extends outward thirty feet or so. It cuts down considerably on our ocean view. Our waiter, Ronnie, does a very good job (nearly the entire staff here is top-notch), explaining the fish which are available and how they are prepared. I consider the monjong but decide on the Kushiyaki. This was a mistake. The steak is very fatty–other than that, it’s as good as I remember it being two years ago. The carrot muffins and Caesar Salad are excellent. We decide to forego the Hula Pie for dessert.
10. Kula Bistro (87.00 pts)
If you are in this area doing an activity, a stop at Kula Bistro should be done. While it lacks the views and atmosphere of the Kula Lodge, it has two things going for it which Kula Lodge lacks–food quality and prices. The interior of this place is pleasing enough despite the views of only the road next to the restaurant. Get their Chicken Parmesan, probably my favorite in Hawai`i!
11. Three’s Bar & Grill (87.00 pts)
This place can be slightly difficult to find, tucked away on South Kihei Road, but once you get you’ll be glad you took the time to find it. My palette is still salivating over the Hawaiian Lasagna I had here (not currently offered, but if you ask for it, they might still be willing to make it). On our next visit, however, we’ll sit at an outside tables. The interior was a little too “cozy” as we could hear everything said at the next table, as they could also hear us. This isn’t the ambiance I’m seeking. But basically, Three’s offers wonderful food at a decent Maui value.
12. 808 Grindz Cafe (86.50 pts)
808 Grindz opens at 7:00 and you want to make sure you’re among the first people to be let in the door when they open. I’m told the tables (eight of them) fill up very fast, so we were in line ten minutes before opening. As hoped, we were first in line, and this line filled up quickly. By the time we were seated and placed our order, the line outside the door was a lengthy one.
Patty had the Granola & Yogurt, I ordered the Country Omelet, a two-egg omelet with onions and Portuguese Sausage. Country Potatoes and toast are served on the side. It was excellent.
This is a great place to load up on tasty, inexpensive food before heading out on whatever activity you have planned for the day.
13. BJ’s Chicago Pizzeria (86.17 pts)
Visited: 1996, 2002, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009
BJ’s changed to Lahaina Pizza Company prior to our 2010 visit. While the owners were the same and they claimed the pizza was the same, BJ’s was superior. No question about it. The drop-off in quality is why we have separate reviews for BJ’s and Lahaina Pizza Company
(2004) Located on Front Street in Maui; their pizza here is tremendous but ask for it with extra sauce. Otherwise, you get stewed tomatoes in lieu of the sauce, which is good but not great. Their spaghetti takes a back seat to nobody (other than possibly Pizza Luce in Duluth and Minneapolis). Service is good. The atmosphere is okay; we’ve never eaten there at night so don’t know if it’s different after dark. If you get there in the late afternoon and sit at the window, you’re at the mercy of the sun which can be hot.
(2007) We get pupus and then a 14″ pizza. We tell the waitress (a very nice one, by the way) to hold the stewed tomatoes in favor of extra tomato sauce. She laughed and knew we’d read Maui Revealed. How funny is that? Apparently, many others have followed the same good advice. The pizza was awesome, better than anything we have in Duluth.
(2009) BJ’s Chicago Pizzeria on Front Street still gets our vote as Maui’s best. It’s a deep-dish pizza, the crust is flaky and light, and they don’t skimp on the toppings. We always choose sausage and pepperoni as our toppings and have never been disappointed. A medium pizza (six big pieces) will always leave us with leftovers for the next day’s lunch. The only possible downside to their pizza is that it’s somewhat salty (probably due to the large amount of pepperoni). It could use less pepperoni and more sausage. The Maui Revealed’s advice to have them hold the stewed tomatoes in favor of more tomato sauce is highly recommended by us, by the way. A sign of the economy’s downturn was evident upon arrival at BJ’s, as only one other table was occupied at 5 p.m. It was a recurring theme throughout our stay.
14. Lahainaluna Cafe (86.00 pts)
Located off Front Street next to Ulalani’s Shave Ice, this place features a cute ambiance (you order your food and wait for it at one of the umbrella covered tables nearby. Lahainaluna Cafe is a great place to get a small or large plate lunch. Teri-fried chicken bites were excellent.
15. Duke’s Waikiki (86.00 pts)
Visited: 2007, 2010
What a fantastic setting this is, with views of Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head! A railing table with the views I’d mentioned earlier, and a buffet featuring fruits, juices, sausages, breakfast potatoes, bacon, eggs benedict, made to order omelettes. At $15 per person, this was an outstanding choice.
16. Joe’s Bar & Grill (86.00 pts)
We had read much of this place owned by Bev Gannon and wanted to see if the hype worth it. And it was–for the most part. The atmosphere here is very nice, despite the setting overlooking the Wailea Tennis Courts. So, as you dine, you can hear the whacking of tennis balls nearby. However, this isn’t nearly as intrusive as I thought it would be, and it was sort of fun watching amateurs’ attempt at playing tennis!
Service here was perfect–they didn’t overdo it, servers were friendly and the delivery of our ordered items was done in a timely fashion. Servers here are anything but snooty, in contrast a bit to Pulehu and Bistro Casanova.
As for the food, my Southwestern Caesar was interesting–and very delicious! The much heralded meat loaf, however, fell somewhat short. The beef mixture was very good, but the BBQ sauce rather overwhelmed the whole thing. It was too much. The bed of mashed potatoes was perfectly done, however.
Patty started with the Prime Rib Quesadilla and really enjoyed this appetizer. She also liked her Joe’s House Salad featuring a fruit vinigarette dressing.
The overall verdict on Joe’s was good–Patty liked the food more than I did, I liked the atmosphere a bit more. It was a little breezy from the nearby open window, but felt refreshing. She didn’t think the atmosphere was great because it “wasn’t oceanfront”, prompting the question “Would you rate the atmosphere at Bubba Gump’s higher because it’s right on the water?”. She would. I wouldn’t.
Unfortunately, Joe’s has since closed. I have no idea what is in line to replace it, if anything.
17. Pulehu (86.00 pts)
This is a slightly upscale, primarily Italian restaurant which overlooks a koi pond. If you eat here, make sure you reserve a table near the pond!
Service here was extremely efficient, but what made our dinner even more pleasurable (aside from the food, which was excellent!) was the couple seated at the adjacent table. We spoke with them for the better part of the hour (in between bites of some of the best food we’ve had on Maui), and it was one of the more appreciated talks we had during our trip.
As for the food, the Duo of Bruschetta was the best bruschetta we’d ever had (until we dined at Honu Seafood & Pizza later in the trip). The Spaghettini and Meatballs, equally so–the spaghetti and meatballs we had at Bistro Casanova was pretty good, and possibly a better value due to it being cheaper, but based solely on quality, Pulehu wins out. The Insalata Caesar was also wonderful–once those two anchovies they placed on top were pushed aside.
If there was a downside to this meal, it was that it was outright hot! Until the sun settled in behind one of the buildings of this huge, sprawling complex, that is.
At over $100 including tip, this was our most expensive meal of our 2014 trip. Not quite the best, but we wouldn’t hesitate to return here.
18. Porto (85.50 pts)
Porto is owned by the Pacific Whale Foundation. While opinions on the PWF vary, one can’t deny Porto features some of the best pizza to be found on Maui! It did turn out to be a pleasant surprise, as I had no idea what to expect from this place. Prior to tonight, our favorite pizza had come from Dollie’s in Kahana, and Dollie’s would be considered only average by Duluth standards.
But Porto exceeded our expectations. The crust reminded us somewhat of Sammy’s Pizza in Duluth, dark and crunchy on the outside. Ingredients–Italian Sausage, pepperoni and mushrooms–were generous. The sauce was somewhat sweet and unusual, and we liked it! Overall, I would say this was the best pizza we’d had in Hawai`i since BJ’s Chicago Pizzeria in Lahaina turned into Lahaina Pizza Company and forgot what good pizza was supposed to be about.
Apparently our positive review of Porto wasn’t shared by enough people–when we returned in 2016 we found Porto had permanently closed.
19. Mama’s Fish House (84.75 pts)
Visited: 2004, 2007
The location of this restaurant, on Maui’s north shore near Pa`ia, is wonderful. We can only imagine how the atmosphere would have been there for dinner; we had lunch there and were more than impressed. Patty had the ahi and bacon sandwich, and she loved it. I had the pork medallions and was equally impressed. Huge costs detracted only slightly and what was made the difference between Mama’s and Kimo’s.
We made another lunch-time visit to Mama’s in 2007. I had a ribeye steak and Patty had some kind of Ono salad. They were extremely tasty. The only downside? The bill! $99, including the tip. No lunch is worth this much. Also, portions could be larger. Sorry. But I’ll say this…it’s a restaurant everyone should experience at least once.
20. Da Kitchen (84.50 pts)
Visited: 2008, 2012
(2008) If you want to try a “plate lunch”, there are a number of decent places which serve that type of food. L&L Drive-In, Rainbow Drive-in and Aloha Mixed Plate are three of the better known places. Da Kitchen is the best. They have two locations; one in Kahului and one in Kihei. We stopped at their Kahului location during our drive back from Hana because I’d read many reviews of one particular plate called a Loco Moco.
Those wanted to know more about plate lunches can check out the entry at Wikipedia. It’s a fairly accurate description of what one will find. A Loco Moco is an artery-busting concoction consisting of the usual two scoops of rice, one scoop of mac salad, a hamburger patty (I believe the one at Da Kitchen is ten ounces), with an egg on top of the patty and sauteed onions (delicious!). Finally, they pour brown gravy over the whole thing. I don’t know how many calories one of these contains (and really don’t want to know, either). I only know they’re not good for you, but they’re extremely filling, cheap (under ten dollars) and will leave you with a great desire to return to this place. Value-wise, it was the best restaurant we found on Maui. Cafe 565 was an even better value, but they’re on Lanai.
(2012) For dinner we drive up to Kahului and visit Da Kitchen. We both order plate lunches; Patty gets the Chicken Katsu and I opt for the Beef Teriyaki. Patty’s Katsu is actually better, but both choices are excellent. Like Serpico’s, there is no atmosphere here as your only view is of the parking lot. Service is very friendly and quick. When I asked her what the key ingrediants were in the sauce which came with the Katsu, she replied “ketchup and worcestershire sauce”. Really, that simple? We’ll need to try this out back in Duluth. Great food at decent prices is the main attraction here and the locals know it.
21. Bubba Gump’s (84.00 pts)
Visited: 2008, 2009, 2012, 2014, 2016
There are a few reasons we keep coming back to Bubba Gump’s. First is the waterfront location. If the waves are high enough, they actually splash up on the windows! Second, this is simply a fun place to eat. A bit loud, but the idea of having the “Run Forrest Run” and “Stop Forrest Stop” when you want to be left alone or wanted to summon a waiter/waitress, is genius.
(2008) We ate at Bubba Gump’s in Kona last year and it had been a fun experience. The signs which you control “Stop, Forrest, Stop” if you want the waiter’s attention and “Run, Forrest, Run” if you’re okay are a nice idea, far better than waiting to make eye contact with the waiter. Jojo (our waiter) was entertaining and personable. Again, we lucked out and got a table at an oceanside window. We compared this place to Kimo’s, for some reason..the atmosphere wasn’t quite as mellow, it was somewhat louder, but the service and food are top-notch, actually better than Kimo’s (in our opinion). My New York strip was great and Patty thought her Shrimpin’ Dippin’ Broth was equally good. This was one of our best dining experiences during this trip
(2009) Our server, Dan, is very nice and talkative. We chat about surfing, surfing lessons (which I know as much about as, say, brain surgery ), and a few other topics relating to tourism. Patty had the shrimp stuffed with crab meat and was disappointed. I started with the Caesar Salad (very good), followed by the New York Strip with mashed potatoes, which was excellent. $60 including the tip, which is average for a meal of this type on Maui.
(2012) Arrive at Bubba Gumps just before 6:00 and are immediately seated. Patty had the soup and salad; soup was clam chowder which she liked a lot. I had the Caesar Salad which came in a huge bowl, followed by Lieutenant Dans Drunken Shrimp, shrimp and andouille sausage on top of mashed potatoes with a Kentucky bourbon sauce. Fantastic! We didn’t have a window seat which was fine by us as we were a little sunned out by then. Bubba Gumps is a fun place at which to dine. The “Run Forrest Run” and “Stop Forrest Stop” signs on your table alleviate what can be a sometimes irritating tendency by wait staff to ask if you need anything. Just flip the sign to the appropriate side and they know if you require attention. It can get a bit loud in there, so don‘t consider this if you’re looking for a romantic venue. It’s a place to kick back, have a little fun and eat some good food.
(2016) As is usual with Bubba Gump’s, we enjoyed a delicious meal, starting with the Coconut Shrimp appetizer–Patty then had the Pear & Berry Salad with shrimp. I asked the waitress to help me decide between the Jambalaya and Lt. Dan’s Drunken Shrimp (which I’ve had twice in the past). She chose the Drunken Shrimp without hesitation. Good choice, while I already knew that.
22. Captain Jack’s Island Grill (83.75 pts)
Visited: 2014, 2016
The reviews we read concerning Captain Jack’s prior to going there in 2014 were a bit…concerning. This seemed to be one of those places you either loved or hated.
As it turned out, we loved it! First, the upstairs atmosphere overlooking Front Street is airy and perfect for people watching.
If you like pasta, the Buccaneer’s Penne is certainly worth a try. Patty similarly enjoyed her Black Bart’s BBQ Chicken Salad. Service is efficient and cordial, and the prices are very good for a Front Street eatery.
23. Hawaiian Style Cafe (83.50 pts)
If you’ve ever watched the show Girls Meets Hawaii, one of the episodes (“Taste of Hawaii”, I believe) features Samantha Brown visiting this restaurant and order two huge plate lunches, including a Loco Moco. I immediately recognize Kim from that episode; she serves us and we chat about that episode. She says people usually mention it for awhile after the Travel Channel replays that episode, which seems to happen a few times each year. They have an interesting selection of plate lunches (including the famous Loco Moco), but we get “safe” with our choices–I get pancakes and meat (in my case, I choose bacon), consisting of three huge pancakes and a very generous amount of bacon. I almost manage to eat it all. Patty orders a cheeseburger and fries which she says are great. Total was only $16.91, an outstanding deal for the amount of food we got. Fall into conversation with some locals sitting at the next table. By the way, it appears we’re the only tourists in the place, and we really like this. Sitting at a dining place where locals go, you usually won’t go wrong…plus you will nearly always find some pretty pleasant people to talk to. Anyway, one of them says “their portions will challenge you”. No kidding! It’s clear to us by the time we pay our checks why this restaurant is so popular.
24. Duke’s Canoe Club (83.50 pts)
Next door to Cafe Portofino. The views were as good as any dining experience we had; the food (steak) and service were equally good. Patty had the “all you can eat” salad bar and was very impressed. I had the Terriyaki Sirloin Steak and was very happy with the choice.
25. Ruths Chris Steak House (83.50 pts)
Possibly the best steak I’ve eaten anywhere. If there was a better steak, I’m at a loss at to where I had it.
First, they cook it at 1800 degrees, which seals in the flavor and chars the outside. They put butter on top of the filet, and then serve it to you on a 500 degree plate which keeps the steak hot while you’re eating it. The final bite was still hot. Fantastic!
We had the early bird special, which included a starter salad (mine was a Caesar, of course), along with mashed potatoes served with a petite filet, and then finished off with a dessert. All this for $39.95. Our meal, pre-tip was just under $100 for the two of us. Service was impeccable and the views from our window-side table of the Pacific (across from Front Street) were nice. There really wasn’t anything negative we could say about Ruths Chris. The value kept the rating down just a little, although being able to take advantage of this early-bird special helped.
26. Fabiani’s Wailea (83.00 pts)
Fabiani’s is in a sort of strip mall location, so the views outside the restaurant are minimal. But the decor is decent. Our server had a heavy British accent and one has to focus a bit to understand what she was saying. She probably would say the same about our American-Canadien accent!
Patty got the Beef Carpaccio appetizer, featuring sliced ribeye steak. She says it wasn’t bad, nor was it very good. For our salads, I got the large Caesar Salad, which was good but not necessarily any better than what I had at other Maui restaurants. Patty got the large House Salad, and again, she wasn’t impressed. She said she wasn’t a big fan of “mixed greens”, making me wonder why she didn’t get the Caesar Salad if that was the case?
My lasagna was outstanding and a bit of a surprise as it came served up in a bowl! I’ve never seen lasagna served that way.
I really liked this place, but Patty was sort of luke-warm on it.
27. Pioneer Inn (82.25 pts)
Visited: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016
This has become our traditional first-morning-on-Maui place to go. Their omeletes are large and satisfying. In fact, everything here is good and inexpensive While the Sea House has the atmosphere and 808 Grindz features a better product, I like the Pioneer Inn for breakfast, watching the Lahaina Harbor “waking up” and tourists arriving for the many activities leaving the harbor each morning, be it snorkeling, fishing or whale-watching.
28. Cilantro (82.00 pts)
Cilantro turned out to be a real treat which we should have tried long ago, but nothing on the menu had previously jumped out at us. I had the Mother Clucker Flautas, and they rocked! Patty didn’t like her Chicken Quesadillas, because all they consisted of was chicken and cheese. She liked the chicken but was expecting more, like sour cream and tomatoes. She should have researched this a little bit better.
Cilantros, sadly, has closed.
29. Pizza Madness (82.00 pts)
As I’ve said elsewhere, great pizza can be difficult to find. One theory is that the clean air of the islands makes it difficult to create a proper crust. Be that as it may, Pizza Madness has one of Maui’s best pizzas.
The service was a bit serious; our waitress didn’t smile until I told her how much we liked the pizza. We had the Meat Pizza which featured sausage, pepperoni, bacon and ham. Big chunks of ham on this thing. Patty thought it tasted somewhat like Pizza Hut, but I don’t see anything close to a resemblance. It’s a 12-piece pie so there were plenty of leftovers for the next day or two!
30. Amigo’s (81.75 pts)
Visited: 2010, 2014
Something attracted us to Amigo’s in the Wharf Center on Front Street. Maybe it was the idea of eating somewhere we haven’t before. Maybe it was the scent of what would turn out to be incredible Mexican food when we walked past. Maybe we were just hungry. Maybe it was a combination of all these things?
Whatever the reason for stopping there for dinner tonight, it was a stroke of genius (or pure luck) on our part. I tried the combination plate of ground beef enchiladas and Chili Relleno. Fantastic! Patty had the chicken quesadillas. For some reason, quesadillas has become one of her favorite restaurant foods. Whenever a restaurant offers them, there is an excellent chance she will order them. She liked hers but she claimed they didn’t quite stack up to the ones served at Hacienda del Sol in Duluth. That isn’t necessary an indictment of Amigos–Hacienda del Sol is by far our favorite Mexican restaurant in Duluth.
31. Buca di Beppo (81.75 pts)
Visited: 2007, 2010
(2007) A quick note about the portions here; they are huge! Most dishes come in two sizes Buca Large (serving four or more people) and Buca Small (serving two people). We shared a Caesar Salad and garlic bread, which in themselves are nearly a meal. Patty had the Spicy Arrabbiata Pizza and I had the Penne Arrabbiata; both were outstanding. We rolled out of there completely stuffed with tons of leftovers for the next day.
(2010) Their combination of tasty Italian food, huge portions and reputable service make this a Can’t Miss restaurant. Once again, Buca lived up to its reputation. I had the chicken parmigiana; not as good as it used to be when it came with prosciutto but still pretty impressive. Patty had the Supremo Italiano pizza, and it simply rocked! The service, as always here, was excellent. Prices were very reasonable for what we selected.
32. Bubba Gump’s (81.50 pts)
Parking in this area is difficult to find adjacent to Ali`i Drive, but if you drive up a block to the Kuakini Highway, you’ll find two large free lots at the Ali`i Sunset Plaza. Bubba Gumps was a very fun place to eat. There’s a somewhat limited menu especially in the chicken and beef areas. I had a New York strip which was outstanding and comes with a double-stuffed potato (with bacon, sour cream and green onions in it). Patty had the Chicken Cobb salad which she said was good but not outstanding. The oceanside table where we sat offered us a view of the oceans where boogie boarders are very active today.
33. Antonio’s (81.00 pts)
Antonio’s surprised us. Not the food–reviews had mostly been very favorable, but the atmosphere was much better than we had anticipated. It’s in a strip mall so one doesn’t expect much in such a setting, but it was very pleasing with Italian music playing. It wasn’t loud as we had been led to believe from a couple sources.
We started with the garlic bread. The added parmesan cheese gave the bread a wonderful flavor. Patty got her salad (as she nearly always does because of fears of gaining a pound on Maui ), and I got the Lasagna. It was excellent, nearly as good as Fabiani’s Wailea’s version. All in all, this was one of our best 2016 dining experiences.
34. Teddy’s Bigger Burgers (80.50 pts)
Visited: 2012, 2014
(2012) Having been to the Teddy’s on Waikiki in 2007, I thought I knew what to expect. But these burgers were far better and the onion rings were almost perfect. I think our impressions of Teddy’s in 2007 were affected by the fact we had just arrived on Waikiki and wre fried from a full day of flying in the Delta cattle car.
Patty gets the five-ounce burger with fries and a drink, I get the seven-ounce with bacon, cheese and grilled onions along with rings and a drink. We discussed how good they were afterward and basically agreed they were the best burgers we’ve had in Hawaii, and probably better than anything in the Duluth area other than the Anchor Bar.
(2014) This place is a welcome change from other overly expensive, so-so fare (think Cheeseburger in Paradise) or just overly expensive (think Cool Cat Cafe). The only downside of this place is you have to order at the counter (at Cheeseburger and Cool Cat, they seat you, take your order, deliver your burgers), and then wait at your table for your food. But it’s worth it! For under $20, I got a 7-oz burger with bacon and grilled onions, along with onion rings, and Patty got a salad. This is a great bargain by Hawai`i standards!
35. Killer Tacos (80.50 pts)
Only $6.99 for fantastic Taco Salads! Crisp lettuce, great salsa topping, yummy ground beef. The only improvement I could recommend would be to spice up the beef just a little. This is a super buy, ranking up there with Hawaiian Style Cafe in terms of cost/quality. No atmosphere; great food! Killer Tacos is another easy recommendation to make.
36. Sea House (80.33 pts)
Visited: 2010, 2012, 2014
(2012) After a visit in 2010 which left us underwhelmed (service was unbelievably slow), we felt it necessary to give them another chance in 2012. Had it not been for the dreamy views alongside Napili Bay, we would have blown this off as a place to stay away from. The service was appreciably better this time, with the same excellent breakfast fare. And, of course, the same fantastic view.
(2014) When it comes to breakfast, the Sea House in Napili is probably our second favorite place on Maui, after the Pioneer Inn. They have killer views of Napili Bay, but they are more expensive than the Pioneer Inn–the quality of their food is also slightly lower. This morning’s visit to the Sea House reaffirmed our opinion.
37. Giannottos Pizzeria (80.00 pts)
After touring the Maui Ocean Center and Maui Tropical Plantation, we thought we’d try out Giannotto’s in Wailuku. We chatted with the two young men working inside about Duluth and various places while we ate. It’s a small place, sort of a hole in the wall. No atmosphere, no view–but excellent pizza! It’s a thin crust affair with a crunchy crust and good sauce. We had sausage, pepperoni and onions on ours, and the onions were the star of the show, turning a good pizza into a great pizza!
38. Bistro Casanova (80.00 pts)
The interior ambiance here is nice–no views outside to speak of. However, there is some outside seating. We had reservations for 6 p.m. Arriving a half hour early, we are immediately seated. Despite the floor plan being open, it’s not particularly noisy. Helping this was the fact that it wasn’t even half full despite it being prime dinner time. Patty claims this is due to it being the slow season for tourists, but I suspect this is a restaurant frequented primarily by locals. Unless you are looking specifically for this place, you won’t see it if you are driving on any kind of main thoroughfare.
I started with the Caesar Salad and then move on to the Tagliatelle ala Bolognese. Patty had the Kaupo Salad featuring ribeye steak. Excellent on all counts!
It’s not expensive here in the least, as our final bill came to $46 pre-tip. Service was cordial and efficient but somewhat aloof bordering on abrupt. I believe it was either the owner or manager who served us, and when he noticed the t-shirt I was wearing (Kimo’s, and I have no idea why I wore that shirt to this restaurant!), he asked if I was the owner.
39. Longhi’s (78.00 pts)
Patty had the Steak Longhi, which consists of slices of New York steak drizzled with a basil butter combination. Fantastic! I had the Arrabiata which would have been better had I used the included crushed chili pepper in moderation. But I was a glutton for spice, of course, and the dish suffered as a result.
40. Maui Onion (78.00 pts)
Previously located at the Renaissance Wailea Beach Resort, this beachside place was very well known for their onion rings. Their food wasn’t cheap for burger-type fare, not by any stretch of the imagination, but the taste and setting justified these prices. Sadly, this place has since closed.
41. Cheesecake Factory (77.75 pts)
Visited: 2007, 2010
(2007) Don’t let the name fool you; while they have a huge assortment of cheesecakes available for dessert, their dining menu options are huge; there is something there to please even the pickiest or most discriminating diner. I decided on the Jambalaya which was good but not great. Patty got a Chicken Caesar, which she really enjoyed. This is a relatively easy place for us to recommend unless you’ve been to one of their outlets, in case there’s nothing new or special at this location.
(2010) Located in the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center; while it’s true that this is chain restaurant, this is still an excellent choice for dinner. All four of us thoroughly enjoyed our dining experience here; Patty had the Chicken Quesadillas, and I got the Spicy Meat pizza. Dessert was cheesecake, of course! I woofed down a piece of strawberry cheesecake. The tab for four people came to just over $100 with tax and tip. By Hawaiian standards, this is a very good deal.
42. Kona Brewing Co. (77.50 pts)
Here, we had a 12″ pizza with two toppings was $14–a good deal. We got the Parmesan sausage & pepperoni. After discussing our sauce choices with the waiter, we go for the Cajun tomato sauce instead of the regular tomato sauce, which was a mistake! Too hot! Live and learn. Overall, it was a pretty decent meal.
43. Tommy Bahamas (77.50 pts)
This was another wonderful dining experience for us. While we were inside, the atmosphere still felt wide open. We were seated at a comfortable booth and attended to by three different staff. At one point, a guy who I think was the manager came over to ask how we were enjoying our food. He talked about how the lettuce on the salad came from an upcountry farm. “Kula?” I asked, and he concurred. They are trying to do more business with island farms, helping to sustain the local economy. Not to mention that buying locally ensured better freshness in the product. Exactly the philosophy of James McDonald, owner of Pacific`o and I`o.
Patty had the seafood bisque soup and a salad. I had the Caesar Salad and Jerk Chicken. For dessert, we shared homemade butterscotch pudding. It was all well-made and delicious.
44. Java Jazz & Soup Nutz (77.00 pts)
The atmosphere here is a little different but in a nice way. Nobody else appeared to be eating but there were a number of people at the bar, seemingly locals.
They serve breakfast all day, so upon seeing the Mexican Omelet on the menu, my choice was obvious. And the omelet was very good with Chorizo sausage, cheese and tomatoes, but extremely salty. The breakfast potatoes served with the omelet were also good with onions and peppers included. Overall this was a nice dining experience.
45. Hecock’s (77.00 pts)
Our first impression of Hecock’s was an interesting one; our server was hung over so he sat down at the table next to us and took our order. The food was decent, as were the prices. And the view of the ocean was second only to Sea House and Gazebo. By the way, we saw our server the following night outside the Bamboo Bar at 505 Front Street, drunk out of his mind again! Heh.
Hecock’s has since closed and been replaced by Betty’s Beach Café, and reviews of Betty’s have not been kind. It sounds like it has turned into one of those places which tries to get by solely on their views.
46. Makawao Steakhouse (77.00 pts)
Visited: 2008, 2009
(2008) In previous trips to Maui, we hadn’t explored much of Upcountry; we’d been through that area in the past during a bus tour up Haleakala to view the sunrise, but we’d never spent much time checking out what was up there in towns such as Pukalani, Kula and Makawao. James’ and Molly’s book on Maui restaurants held the Makawao Steak House in high regard, so we thought it would be a nice stop off on our way back from a day trip up Haleakala. We never got around to the Haleakala trip, but we wanted to check out this restaurant so we made reservations.
The lounge opens at 5:00, a half-hour before the dining area opens up. While sitting in the lounge enjoying pre-dinner drinks, we watched another couple arguing somewhat loudly, obviously having had too much to drink during the day. We were hoping they wouldn’t be seated near us. Naturally, they ended up being seated at a table right next to us! Apparently the woman hadn’t had anything to eat in quite some time (funny how an extended period of drunkeness will do that ), and she wasn’t shy about this fact. She punctuated her “demand” by pounding her fist on the table and nearly yelling “I…want…food….NOW!!!”. Yikes! We listened to this for 15 minutes or so before heading to the salad bar. I joked with the waitress that I hoped the entertainment was free; I don’t know if she understood I was joking because she reacted with some embarrassment. Eventually the waitress went to their table and told them that she could no longer serve them alcohol, per the owner’s instructions. Drunk Guy was pissed off but tried to act like it was cool–meanwhile, Drunk Lady was busy woofing the pupus they’d ordered. In any event, within ten minutes they asked for the check and were out the door, no doubt in search of another establishment where they could continue their path to oblivion. I had the feeling this was a fairly regular pursuit for them.
The waitress and owner both visited our table afterward and couldn’t have been nicer, asking us if we’d like a free Mud Pie for dessert. Why, of course we would! For the remainder of our time, things were as we’d anticipated and better; the steaks, while expensive (over $30 for a New York Strip for Patty and my Filet was similarly priced), were as well prepared and tasty as any we’d eaten at other restaurants. Salad bar and baked potato were included, and the salad bar was excellent. Total bill was $83.
By the way, if you’ve never explored this area of Maui and only spent your time in the coastal areas, you’re missing out. It’s cooler up here (you lose three degrees for every thousand feet you gain in elevation) but it’s green, beautiful and you have Haleakala’s 10,000 foot peak looming above. It’s an area we’d neglected in the past and intend to spend more time at in future trips.
(2009) We were also hopeful that Mr. & Mrs. Drunk Beyond Recognition wouldn’t be in attendance tonight. There was window shopping to be done prior to our 5 p.m. reservation, and I found a pretty cool Makawao t-shirt at the Designing Wahine Emporium. It was cool up here tonight, and we had some sprinkles during our trip. The food at the Steakhouse was, as last year, great. Patty had the shrimp, I gorged myself on the fillet tenderloin.
47. Longhi’s (76.67 pts)
Visited: 2009, 2010, 2014
(2009) The short of it? One of the best meals we’ve ever had, even though Patty might argue that point.
The long of it? We were seated promptly, which wasn’t surprising considering nobody else was there when we arrived. Service was impeccable, quick, and our waiter was knowledgeable on everything was asked him about on the menu. They had a four-course meal special for $40, and looked too good to pass up, so I went for that. Patty had the Fettuccini with chicken ($28) and was in love with it from the first bite. As for my special, we started with tomato and jalapeno break, followed by the Longhi Longhi salad, somewhat like a Caesar salad, but better. For my pasta choice, I had the Pomodoro, and that was the only mistake I made. While it was good, it wasn’t nearly as tasty as the Fettucini. The New York Steak Longhi was my choice of meat/fish/poultry, and it was sliced and extremely delicious. Topping it all off was Macadamia Nut pie. A cup of coffee (also very good) finished the meal. Including tip, it came to $103. Worth every penny. In all, it was a tremendous final meal or our 2009 trip for us both.
(2010) When we returned to Longhi’s the next year, Patty copied my 2009 order and was more than impressed. That butter basil sauce they do the New York strip steak pieces in…I’d crawl over a mile of broken glass for an order. That’s how good this meat is. I had the Fettucini Alfredo and it’s the best Alfredo I’ve found at any restaurant. Some people have panned this restaurant and I have to wonder; just what were they expecting?! The food is as good as at any Italian place we’ve eaten. The service is top-notch. True, the atmosphere isn’t up to Kimo’s standards but it’s tough to match Kimo’s considering Longhi’s is on the mauka side of Front Street. This is simply an outstanding restaurant.
(2014) When we arrived at 5:30, there were some tables in use but it wasn’t close to being full. We parked in the pay lot at the Lahaina Center thinking that Longhi’s validates. They do not do that–instead, they offer free valet parking. When we left the cost to park was $6 for 90 minutes, which we believe is a rip-off.
Jenna, our waitress, was great–she made recommendations and had an excellent knowledge of Longhi’s menu, but we had been to Longhi’s three times in the past. We knew what we wanted. Their pizza bread, with tomato based topping on some, Jalapeno based topping on some, is outstanding. Patty prefers tomato, I prefer Jalapeno, so it all got eaten. Then I got a small Longhi Longhi salad, their version of a Caesar–pretty good but the croutons were a bit softer than I prefer.
We shared a New York Steak Longhi and an order of Fettuccine Alfredo. The pasta was excellent, the steak was not; it was a little fatty and gristly and difficult to cut and eat.
Overall, we felt the cost ($81 pre-tip) didn’t justify the quality of our meal. It was one of our less satisfying dinner experiences on Maui on this trip.
48. Jameson’s By The Sea (76.50 pts)
We stopped here for lunch on the day we did our circle-island drive of Oahu, and would be interested in how a sunset dinner would be. My guess is that it would be a special event. The atmosphere is nice, especially if you get an outside table with a view of the Pacific. Overall, it was a good to very good dining experience for us both.
Jameson’s has since closed.
49. Iron Imu (76.50 pts)
This is a pleasant surprise. Nice atmosphere, you order at the counter, they bring the food to your table when it’s ready. Patty gets the 1/4 smoked chicken with cole slaw and Mac & Cheese on the side. She likes this a lot. I get the Andouille Sausage with Mac Salad and cole slaw. Cornbread comes with each meal. It’s better than Fat Daddy’s and a damn sight better than the reviled Beach Bums.
50. Colleen’s (75.50 pts)
We never know what to expect from first-time restaurants. It’s apparently very popular with the locals–which is usually a good sign. Patty notices the pizza they are selling by the slice as we first walk in, and says it looks really good. It’s a bright and fairly loud place, with maybe 1/3 of the tables filled. They aren’t serving dinner until 5:30 but the waitress takes our order a little early, explaining that the computer won’t let her enter the order until 5:30. Fine by us.
I get my Caesar Salad first, and Patty asks for a second plate so I can share with her. Don’t recall asking her if she wanted to help. It’s a very good salad!
My vodka penne pasta arrives with Patty’s Ho`okipa Pizza, a mix of pepperoni, Italian sausage, mushrooms, onions and red peppers. Fantastic! Her pizza, I mean. My pasta is very good but the chicken seemed a little off. Maybe it just wasn’t a good fit with the other ingredients in the dish.
Overall, it was a good dining decision.
51. California Pizza Kitchen (75.25 pts)
Visited: 2002, 2007
Ironically, the best items on their menu have nothing to do with pizza. Their Grilled Sausage & Pepper Penne is one of the best pasta dishes I’ve found. CPK is a chain restaurant, but I would consider them to be a step up from Chili’s and certainly above TGI Friday’s. Still, it’s a step down from Cheesecake Factory.
52. Kobe Japanese Steakhouse (75.00 pts)
If you’re into social settings for dinner, a place such as Kobe can be a lot of fun, getting to know other people at the U-shaped table you’re seated at while watching knife-wielding chefs chop and cook meals of your choice. For me, it was Sukiyaki Steak. The shrimp which comes with this meal is top-notch! The shabu-shabu soup was much better here than at the Lahaina location, the fried rice not quite so. Overall, it was a fun, entertaining and tasty meal for a price which didn’t break the bank.
53. Oceanarium (74.50 pts)
The primary atmospheric attraction here is a huge 280,000 gallon aquarium featuring fish from more than 70 species. While you’re watching the action in the aquarium, you can tend to forget two things…first, the service is very good, and second, the food is equally as good, although a bit overpriced in our opinion. You won’t regret dining here, in any event.
54. Aroma d`Italia (74.33 pts)
Visited: 2008, 2009, 2010
(2008) A co-worker and his wife joined us at Aroma D’Italia; pretty cool that someone we knew from work was on Maui at the same time. It made for a nice visit while enjoying an excellent meal.
This restaurant was easy to find on S. Kihei Road after a very windy drive down from Lahaina. We were seated immediately upon the restaurant’s opening at 5:00 and chose an outside table. Despite the windy conditions, this was a good choice. We chatted with Rick and his wife while dining (I had Chicken Parmigiana, Patty had a chicken Caesar salad); the food quality was top notch and the prices were quite reasonable. As with other places we’d found during this trip, we wish we had found them years ago!
(2009) Patty had the Linguine with sausage and peppers – very good! I had the Chicken Parmigiana, which I found to be equally tasty. Their specialty, if you haven’t guessed, is Italian food. Portion sizes are good, quality is excellent, and the prices are very fair.
(2010) We’ve eaten at several “repeat” restaurants during this trip, for one reason or another. For Kimos, it’s the memory of our wedding night dinner, plus the delicious sunset views. BJ’s (now Lahaina Pizza Company) has its incredible pizzas although I must say the quality has recently slipped. Aroma d’Italia is a puzzler–something intangible is going on here–the food isn’t the best, the setting isn’t great, it’s next to a parking lot–but there is something which keeps drawing me back. (Patty, on the other hand, doesn’t care if we return here or not). This was our dining choice for tonight; the food was good–pasta with sausage and peppers–but not remarkable. Service was friendly but could have been quicker. But this place relaxes me in a way I can’t readily explain. Mostly, it’s just a feeling I get when I walk into the place–a family-run restaurant which embodies aloha. Maybe that’s what it is.
Sadly, Aroma d’Italia closed in April 2012, depriving us of one of our most trusted Italian restaurants.
55. Brick Oven Pizza (74.00 pts)
If you have never enjoyed Portuguese Sausage on a pizza, you’re missing out! We went there twice in March 2004 and were impressed both times. Despite being hindered by their atmosphere (no view whatsoever), it’s an easy place for us to recommend.
56. Fat Daddy’s Smokehouse (73.00 pts)
Visited: 2009, 2010, 2012
(2009) We found a hidden surprise for dinner at Fat Daddy’s Smokehouse BBQ in Kihei. There is no real atmosphere here (other than the smell of especially tasty meat being cooked back in the kitchen). No matter; service here is prompt and friendly and the food is outstanding. Patty had the ribs and chose Mac & Cheese and Cole Slaw for her two side dishes. I was tempted to get the ribs but decided on the Smoked Brats instead, with baked beans – pretty good with a subtle chili flavor to them – and cole slaw. Being this was the eve of the seventh anniversary of my quitting smoking, Patty footed the bill for dinner. The price was reasonable for what turned out to be an excellent meal.
(2010) If you’re looking for that romantic place to share a meal, Fat Daddy’s ain’t it. If you’re looking for atmosphere, you’re similarly out of luck. You won’t see the ocean while you dine. This isn’t what Fat Daddy’s is about. Fat Daddy’s is about the food, and they don’t pretend to be anything else. The tables are all out in the open in this somewhat smallish place. But the food here is absolutely top-notch, as are the prices, and the service is good. There is aloha here. You just have to be receptive to it.
Patty has the ribs with mac & cheese and cornbread (you get two sides with your choice of primary dish) I get the smoked Brats with beans and watercress salad. The salad has an interesting taste which grows on you. Beans are also good and have a slight chili-type flavor to them. The Brats (with Dijon mustard) are awesome. In short, this is an excellent place to get filled up on good meat and side dishes.
(2012) We’ve been here twice previously, and on this visit, I was not very impressed. For $31, we each had a Fat Plate; Patty had the Ribs, I had the Brats. Their service rating took a hit when the waitress brought our bill to us while I was still eating. A faux pas, in my opinion. We are hoping that Beach Bums will turn out to be better when we go there later this week. (Note: Beach Bums was much, much worse)
57. Kobe Japanese Steakhouse (73.00 pts)
Visited: 2008, 2009
Kobe is a show. A chef stands in front of a U-shaped hibachi cooking fresh meats and fish for you and ten or your newly-found closest friends. The party atmosphere works fairly well, and you’ll walk away from this place stuffed. Quality wise, it’s not the best, and it’s somewhat expensive.
58. Cafe 565 (72.50 pts)
Location: Lanai City
Cafe 565 is less than a block away from Richards on Lanai City’s main drag (such as it is); we didn’t see it even though we drove by it three or four times! Plate lunches are 565′s specialty, and they’re delicious. Patty had the fried chicken, I had a combination fried chicken/hamburger steak plate. After tip, the cost was only $20, which was a very good deal. It’s Lanai’s answer to Da Kitchen on Maui.
59. Denny’s (72.00 pts)
Visited: 2002, 2004
Back when Denny’s offered the Breakfast Dagwood, this was my favorite breakfast joint. Two things happened; first, they dropped the Dagwood! Second, they closed their Waikiki location underneath the Park Shore hotel. Remove my favorite item, remove the convenience, and it becomes a place we no longer visit.
60. Fabiani’s Kihei (72.00 pts)
It’s loud in here! Contrast this to the Wailea location which is much more sedate and the same menu (supposedly).
I get the Chicken Parmesan and it’s okay. We both much prefer the Wailea location.
61. Prison Street Pizza (72.00 pts)
This is a small hole-in-the-wall type place but has a neat character for such an eatery. We start by sitting outside at one of their tables, but move to one of about a half dozen inside tables. Service is excellent and friendly, the menu is extensive enough to satisfy most people with a variety of custom pizzas (you can build your own if you so choose), calzones, salads and appetizers. We get a large (16″) pizza with sausage, pepperoni and onions (on one side since Patty doesn’t like onion on her pizza), after sharing an order of tasty garlic bread with a marinara dipping sauce. One of their specialty pizzas is called the Serpico’s Special, and I ask the waitress if it’s related to Serpico’s Restaurant in Pukalani. It is–these two places are owned by the same person! We had dined at Serpico’s in 2012 and fairly enjoyed the experience.
I wanted to like the pizza but it fell short of expectations. There was just something off-putting about the flavor of the pizza we shared. Would ordering a different kind of pizza make a difference? Perhaps.
62. Planet Hollywood (71.50 pts)
The décor inside is decent enough, as is the food. Nothing to write home about, I’d characterize this as superior to Hard Rock Café, especially in price vs. quality.
By the way, are there any Planet Hollywoods still open? This one closed more than a decade ago.
63. Cool Cat Cafe (71.40 pts)
Visited: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2014
After disappointing experiences with Cheeseburger in Paradise, our search for the Perfect Burger brought us here in 2008.
Two books we’ve read recommended this eatery over Cheeseburger In Paradise.
Cool Cat wasn’t busy (as opposed to Cheeseburger) at 5 p.m. The menu features a very nice selection of burgers and other things, including steaks, salads and pupus. For pupus, we ordered the Frings (half french fries, half onion rings). Both were outstanding. After some discussion and reviewing the many choices on the menu, we both decided on burgers; Patty got the Leader Of The Pack (with mayo, lettuce, pickles, Maui onions and Thousand Island dressing), and I had the Bogy Burger (with bacon, cheese, mayo, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, Maui onions and Thousand Island dressing). By the way, what’s the deal with the Thousand Island dressing? It’s featured on most of their burgers, but it does add a nice flavor. Both of our burgers were as good as we’ve had anywhere. Better than Cheeseburger In Paradise, and slightly cheaper. The only possible downside is the service is somewhat indifferent, but who cares? Just gimme my burger! We got what we asked for fairly quickly so this point did little damage to the overall rating.
(2009) Patty had the Ali`i (their version of a Patty Melt), I got the Bogey Burger. We split an order of Frings (half onion rings, half French fries). We left there feeling stuffed and satisfied.
(2010) Tonight we go to Cool Cat Cafe for dinner, our personal favorite place to munch burgers–sorry, Cheeseburger In Paradise! Patty’s Ali`i Burger (their version of the Patty Melt) seems smaller than it used to be, she claims. Frings (french fried and onion rings) are decent but I think we’d be better off with just onion rings as their fries are only average.
(2012) By now, we had eaten at Teddy’s Bigger Burgers. The verdict? More food at Cool Cat, better food at Teddy’s, cheaper prices at Teddy’s, better atmosphere at Cool Cat. We can live with either place but prefer Teddy’s.
(2014) This is a decent place for burgers–not up to par with Teddy’s but adequate. Their burgers are big and tasty–I just think they charge too much here. On this visit, Patty wanted to sit inside the air-conditioned section. The atmosphere in this section is lacking–I prefer to sit near the railing in the open-air section where the views and people-watching are similiar to Captain Jack’s Island Grill.
64. Flatbread Company (71.00 pts)
Guidebooks (and many people on the Trip Advisor site) claim this is the best pizza on Maui. I don’t get it. While it’s good and allegedly more natural and thus healthier, we prefer Giannotto’s in Wailuku, and certainly the pizza they serve up at Honu Seafood & Pizza in Lahaina. Not to mention that, before BJ’s Chicago was renamed to Lahaina Pizza Company, Flatbread wasn’t even in the same league. But Flatbread Pizza is good pizza in an uninspiring location. Plus, if you’re staying in Lahaina (as we always do), it’s a helluva long drive to get here.
65. Down The Hatch (70.00 pts)
I really wanted to like this place, and my lackluster dinner was probably my fault since I chose the Kalbi Rib plate lunch. But I don’t like going somewhere we you order at the counter; I prefer to be waited on at my table or booth. Service is adequate, nothing more. The Lava Lava shrimp appetizer we shared was excellent. What we paid (over $50) wasn’t worth the experience.
66. Stella Blues Cafe (68.50 pts)
Stella Blues is a place to go to hear some excellent live Hawaiian music (we saw Hapa here in 2012 are were very happy we did), but as a restaurant, it’s average. Nice interior décor, less than enthusiastic service, average food. They could do better here.
67. Cheeseburger In Paradise (68.50 pts)
Visited: 2002, 2007
Take Cool Cat Café, give it a better atmosphere, add long wait times (which can be extremely long at dinner time during the busy season), jack up the prices and make the food less inspired and tasty, and you have Cheeseburger In Paradise in Lahaina. Go here once. Twice isn’t necessary.
68. Cafe O Lei (68.00 pts)
Staff at Cafe o Lei is efficient, waiter is good but not overly outgoing. Won’t let Patty substitute soup for salad, which is unfortunate as the salad is a mix or greens which are not very tasty. Patty has the ribs and finds out (after getting her plate) they are beef ribs, not pork ribs. She says it’s “okay” which is Patty-speak for “this sort of sucks”. I order the New York strip with onion rings and garlic mashed potatoes. Pretty good! We share some vanilla bean ice cream for dessert (three scoops of Lapperts). Atmosphere here is so-so–it’s an enclosed restaurant with no real views of anything. $70 total.
69. Chili’s (68.00 pts)
Visited: 2002, 2004, 2007
Chili’s has fairly good food by chain restaurant standards. Their Chicken Monterrrey is one of my personal favorites. The Steak Fajitas? Not nearly as good. Service and pricing is what you’d expect from this type of restaurant. I would characterize this place as predictable, fairly reliable and unimaginative.
Chili’s has since closed in this location.
70. Teddy’s Bigger Burgers (67.50 pts)
Okay, one of three things are happening which explain the ratings difference between this location in Waikiki from the location in Lahaina. First, my taste buds or expectations have changed. Second, the food really is that much different here. Third, we ate at the Waikiki location just after arriving on Waikiki and our nerves were frayed, made worse by the noise level on that night. I don’t know which one explains it, but I really didn’t like the Waikiki version of Teddy’s very much.
71. Betty’s Beach Cafe (67.50 pts)
Betty’s was an okay place to eat. My Gimme Bacon burger was big and somewhat messy, even with the tomato peeled off it. It got hot out there as the sun started shining strongly on the patio, and detracted from our enjoyment just a bit. Betty’s delivered pretty much what I expected it to deliver–nice atmosphere, average food, so-so service.
72. Gazebo (67.50 pts)
It seems as though every guide book I’ve read recommends this restaurant in Napili. It’s a breakfast and lunch place, but there is a drawback. Well, two drawbacks, actually. First is that there are only fifteen tables or so. Second is that, because of its popularity, if you’re not there by 7:00 (they open for breakfast at 7:30), expect to wait, sometimes for a long time. We got there at 7:15 and there were at least 15-20 groups of people ahead of us. By the time we were seated at 8:15, we were tired of standing.
Was the wait worth it? Patty thinks it was, I’m not convinced. Her Banana Macademia Nut pancakes were wonderful, but my Denver omelette was too heavy on the cheese. Despite a nice view of Napili Bay, the place is crowded. Service is pretty good and your orders arrive quickly, but it’s not a place I’m in a rush to return to. The other thing is that we felt slightly pressured to finish eating and pay our bill. Not by the wait staff, they were fine. But while you’re eating, you can see the lineup of people outside the restaurant, which only gets longer as the early morning progresses. Maybe it’s a subconcious thing.
73. Lahaina Pizza Company (66.67 pts)
Visited: 2010, 2012, 2014
The falloff in quality was so sudden subsequent to the change of name from BJ’s Chicago Pizzeria that we felt it necessary to rate Lahaina Pizza Company on its own, despite the restaurant’s claim that it was the same pizza with the same owners. Well, the owners may be the same, but the pizza is not. Toppings are sparse, the tomato sauce has little flavor. The crust, to be fair, is still excellent. Plus, we feel their pies are overpriced. They still have the very nice location on Front Street with views of the ocean, and it’s still a nice place to visit after sunset when the music is playing. It is unfortunate the quality has taken a dive–the service and atmosphere are stellar and I truly with the pizza and pastas were as well!
74. Round Table Pizza (66.50 pts)
We selected Round Table Pizza on Kuhio Avenue, based mostly on recommendations of staff at the Queen Kapiolani Hotel. Really good pizza can be hard to find in Honolulu. Round Table makes an admirable effort, and the results are good, not great. We may be visiting their Ka`anapali location during our next Maui trip.
75. Bubba’s Burgers (66.00 pts)
Simply put, as good a burger as I’ve ever had (remember, this was before experiencing Cool Cat Café and Teddy’s Bigger Burgers), on a par with the old Nick’s Burger King (before they started shoveling out the standard Burger King crap) in downtown Duluth. No atmosphere here, but you get your burgers quickly and they’re fantastic! Located in Kapa`a on Kaua`i.
76. Ruby’s (66.00 pts)
Ruby’s reminds me quite a bit of Bridgeman’s in Duluth, a classic burger/pop/ice cream joint. It was surprisingly good albeit a bit loud with all the families crowded in there, kids running about and so forth. Patty preferred their Patty Melt to what she had at Cool Cat Cafe, it being a bigger sandwich for less money. I still give a slight edge to Cool Cat, however.
Ruby’s has since closed in Kahului.
77. Ola (66.00 pts)
Location: Turtle Bay
How can a place serve up average food at inflated prices and have us leave smiling? Easy; give us a killer view of a beach and the ocean. This is exactly what Ola does. It’s a good place to visit if you’re passing by Turtle Bay on Oahu’s North Shore and are hungry at lunchtime. It’s not worth driving any kind of distance for.
78. Perry’s Smorgy (65.50 pts)
Perry’s served up average food at good prices in a place with no real atmosphere. But you weren’t there to enjoy the views; you were there to fill up on food where you didn’t mind about the quality, just the price. The Perry’s we visited on Lewers Street closed to make way for the Waikiki Beachwalk construction, a major, much needed renovation which opened in 2007. Three years later, the remaining Perry’s on Kuhio Avenue also closed.
79. Serpico’s (64.50 pts)
Serpico’s specializes in pasta dishes in a New Jersey-New York style. It’s a small place, nothing fancy. Service was adequate, other than our having to remind the waitress to bring our Focaccia bread which came with the dishes we ordered. Patty had the Fettucinni Alfredo with chicken, which she didn’t particularly care for. I had the Chicken Parmesan which was served over spaghetti with meat sauce. Both portions were HUGE, which justified what we felt was otherwise a fairly high price. There is no atmosphere here and no views. The Chicken Parmesan was tasty, the spaghetti not quite as good, although strangely enough the spaghetti tasted much better the next day when the leftovers were reheated in the microwave.
80. Gaby’s Pizzeria (64.00 pts)
Sometimes nostalgia counts. Despite its relative low rating (okay pizza with zero atmosphere), we found ourselves wanting to return there on our most recent (2012) trip to Maui. It was the first restaurant we visited on our first trip to Maui in 1996. Given it was also right next door to our hotel, it seemed an easy choice. Alas, Gaby’s closed in 2011, and nothing has (as of June 2012) taken its place in the 505 Front Street shops.
81. TGI Friday’s (63.50 pts)
Visited: 2002, 2007
Not our favorite chain restaurant, and certainly not up to par with places such as Cheesecake Factory and Buca di Beppo. Both Honolulu locations closed in about 2008.
82. Coconut’s (63.50 pts)
Patty and I saw this place differently. She was less than impressed but I happened to think that, despite average service and no view, the inside atmosphere, price and food quality were quite good. I had the Penne Pasta With Roasted Chicken; I recommend this highly.
83. Tutu’s (62.00 pts)
There aren’t many dining choices in Hana, and that’s probably a good thing for Tutu’s. Don’t ever call this place “fast food”. Not considering how long it takes to get your order! The very nice view of Hana Bay makes us for some of their shortcomings and high prices.
Tutu’s is now pau (closed).
84. Da Kitchen (61.50 pts)
Similar to the Da Kitchen location in Kahului? Not quite. In fact, not even close. While these two places share the same name, the similarity ends there. The Lahaina location is in an open air plaza at the Wharf Center, but flies can be a problem. A bigger problem rests with the quality of their food. Not comparable to the Kahului location in any way.
It seems our disappointment with this restaurant was shared by others, as this restaurant closed sometime prior to 2012. Down The Hatch now occupies this location, offering better food.
85. Lahaina Coolers (61.50 pts)
When we did the Lahaina Tasting Tour earlier on our 2016 trip, we happened upon Lahaina Coolers. The place looked nice, the menu looked good so we decided to give this place a try. It was a regrettable choice. We started with the Sizzling Shrimp appetizer. While this wasn’t a bad choice, we’ve had better shrimp in other places. Patty ordered the Kula Greens salad and said it was okay. I thought the Spicy Azteca would be good. It wasn’t. The taste of the shrimp was anything but fresh. This was our least favorite of the 18 restaurants we visited on this trip.
86. L&L Drive-In (60.00 pts)
Just before we arrive at L&L, a big gap in the sidewalk causing my ankle to collapse outward (damn trick ankle!) and I end up tumbling, landing on my right knee and tearing it up much as I did the left knee three years ago! So now I’ll have matching scars.
There’s a good deal of blood but the lady working the counter at L&L tells us the bathroom is closed because “it’s dirty”. After showing her my knee, she winces a bit and hands me the key. One second after opening the door to the bathroom I understood what she meant by “dirty” but this was a level of dirty I’d never experienced before. I’ll spare you the details but will say it was the filthiest public bathroom I’ve yet encountered. Gruesome, but I was warned…
But, back to the meal; I had a plate lunch of hamburger steak, teriyaki steak, mac salad, rice and chili. This was a huge meal for just six bucks, more than I could eat. Quality was so-so. It’s not a place I’d be driven to eat at again.
87. Penne Pasta Cafe (60.00 pts)
No atmosphere here (no view), and it’s a place where you go to the counter, order your food and then find a table and wait. I got the Chicken Parmigiana on top of spaghetti, Patty had the spaghetti and meatballs, plus we split a personal pizza with salami, sausage, tomato and mozzarella. Based on the food quality and quantity versus price, it was an okay meal with no outstanding flavors.
88. Ruby Tuesday (60.00 pts)
Another chain restaurant, and an acceptable choice for lunch when we drove to the Dole Plantation north of Wahiawa, Oahu. Patty tried their Salad Bar Extravaganza and really liked it; I had the Old English Bacon Cheeseburger and was less impressed. Little atmosphere, but good service and decent prices.
89. Drysdales II (59.00 pts)
Listen, this place is essentially a sports bar (with a name like Drysdale’s, this is no surprise) which serves food. Keep this in mind and you won’t be too disappointed. Actually, by sports bar standards, the food here is reasonably good.
Drysdale’s II is now out of business.
90. Moose McGillicuddy’s (58.50 pts)
It’s a bar, and they serve bar food. Not bad by bar food standards, and the price is reasonable. It’s an open-air restaurant, so the atmosphere is decent.
Moose’s in Lahaina is now closed, but their Kihei location is still in business.
91. Lulu’s Lahaina (58.50 pts)
This restaurant had been a last minute substitution when we decided not to eat at Lahaina Coolers.
It was a bad decision. ( Footnote: After eating at Lahaina Coolers two years later, our opinion is that neither place meets expectations)
The atmosphere was adequate–no views but it was pleasant inside and not too loud–mainly because there were few people in there. But this time, Top Maui Restaurant’s rating was right. Trip Advisor ratings, again, were wrong. It was rated 47th of 226 restaurants in the Lahaina area?? No way.
Service was adequate, the food was mediocre. Patty got the Chinese Chicken Salad while I started with a half-order of the Seaser Pleaser. Neither salad was pleasing. The Chicken Katsu Curry was somewhat of an improvement, the rice was….well, rice, and the Mac salad was boring. There was little taste to it.
As it turned out, it was the only first-time-visited restaurant we ate at during this trip which didn’t measure up.
92. Compadres (57.17 pts)
Visited: 1996, 2002, 2007
Poor quality food, good prices. I’m at a loss to explain why, given that, we ate here three times before they eventually closed up. Maybe it was because we didn’t know of any good Mexican places, prior to finding Amigo’s and Cilantro?
93. Hard Rock Cafe (57.00 pts)
Visited: 1996, 2002, 2010
If overpriced, average food is your thing, then the Hard Rock Cafe is for you. The only interesting thing about this place is the music videos they play on TV’s interspersed throughout the restaurant. It might take your mind off the fact that you’re being gouged for your meal.
Hard Rock Lahaina closed in late 2016.
94. Yard House (51.50 pts)
I understand a lot of people like Yard House, and I have no idea why. I am not one of those people.
95. Cheeseburger In Paradise (50.50 pts)
The Waikiki location is just as mediocre as the Lahaina location, with the added minus of having no view.
96. Aloha Mixed Plate (50.00 pts)
As with Flatbread Company, I don’t get the hype with Aloha Mixed Plate. We had dinner there before driving up to Kahului for the Brothers Cazimero concert, and I simply wasn’t impressed. I considered their plate lunches to be below average, and certainly not to be mentioned in the same breath as Da Kitchen.
97. Eggbert’s (49.50 pts)
Give this place the same vantage point which Al & Don’s enjoys and its rating would jump up several points. As it is, the omelettes here are huge so bring your appetite. Not a bad choice for breakfast. Has that “family restaurant” feel to it, if you’re into that type of thing.
98. Tony Roma’s (48.00 pts)
I don’t know what their idea of a New York strip steak is, but the one they served me wasn’t it. It was fairly heavily marbled, more along the lines of a rib-eye steak. Let’s just say it was disappointing. The atmosphere is average; I suppose it would have been nicer to have an outside table, but they were all occupied, so we sat inside. Service was adequate to good. Patty had the baby back ribs, which she liked. Our dessert choice was strawberry cheesecake, which was somewhat dry. Overall, it was my least satisfying dining choice during our trip.
Tony Roma’s has since been replaced by Sugar Cane Maui.
99. Kona Canoe Club (48.50 pts)
We had wanted to dine at the Kona Inn but they weren’t serving dinner until 5:30 and we got there an hour early. The alternative was to order their lunch pupus which were uninspiring from the menu we looked at. So we walked over to the Kona Canoe Club, which is rather like another sports bar. I had a chili burger, Patty had her usual salad. The burger was disappointing. There is no culinary reason whatsoever to come here.
100. Tropical Burgers (43.50 pts)
Mix snooty service, a dull atmosphere and poor food and Tropical Burgers is the result. There is not much else to say about this Kapa`a restaurant other than we won’t be returning.
101. Al & Don’s (43.50 pts)
This place being right on the beach at the Kauai Sands Hotel is the only thing going for it. Service is mediocre and on the brusque side and the food is average at best. Who recommended this place to us? A boot to the head to whomever did.
102. Beach Bums Bar & Grill (43.00 pts)
Top Maui Restaurants liked this place?? Maybe we made the mistake of ordering ribs. Oh yeah, that’s right—we ordered ribs because that book recommended ribs! While I agree with the book with respect to many places, I couldn’t disagree with more their review of this…”restaurant”. Ugh.
103. La Playita Azul (41.50 pts)
In a weird way, our negative reviews feel a bit justified when a place closes down. Such was the case with La Playita Azul, a Mexican restaurant set in a hole in the wall location in Kapa`a. With the understanding that what we know of Mexican food is really more Tex-Mex than true Mexican, the food here was awful. The service started out adequately until the owner stopped by to ask how the food was. “Not bad” was my wife’s reply, after which he chuckled and walked off, not to return again until it was time to give us our check. I still grimace when I think of this place. But at least the prices were decent for Hawai`i.
104. East Ocean (39.50 pts)
In the latest edition of Top Maui Restaurants, James and Molly Jacobson state that, with the closing of East Ocean, if you want good Chinese food, you’re best option is to buy a wok. I propose this was your only option.