Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Maui Bites: Eats and Treats on the Valley Isle

The Rewards Canada family had a great Family Day vacation in one of our favourite go to locations for any time of the year, Maui. A lot of the trip was paid for with points & miles (flights and the car rental) but those details are reserved for other posts. This post is a quick highlight of some the places we ate at this trip (good and bad), and many for us are places we return to trip after trip! Hope you enjoy this highlight of places we like to eat at and hope that you have or will enjoy these places too!

Lahaina Cooler's
One of our go to spots for breakfast (we've only ever eaten breakfast here), Lahaina Cooler's on Dickenson St. in Lahaina isn't as well know as the famous breakfast places like The Gazebo but the food has always been good. This trip we made it their twice and the breakfast's (Omelettes, benedicts and complete breakfast) were always good. The only complaint is the service is slow. It always has been however our last visit on this trip it was especially slow. There were two larger party tables seated but in reality even with those larger groups it wasn't that busy and it shouldn't have affected the service as much as it did. www.lahainacoolers.com

Leilani's on the Beach
Located in Whaler's Village on Ka'anapali Beach, Leilani's has two parts to the restaurant. The 'Beachside Grill' section with more of pub style menu and an upstairs dining room with a fancier dining menu. Depending on the time of day and how busy they are you can sit in the 'On the beach' section but still order from the higher end dining room menu. When we were here the place was packed but it was before 6pm so after asking our server they said they would let us order from the dining room menu. My wife was glad that she was able to. The dish she ordered was her favourite of the whole trip, a fish dish that (GASP!) was better than Mama's Fish House. She had the pan seared catch of the day that came with amazing sides of braised root vegetables and parsnip puree. She was in heaven with the dish. The rest of the crew got a mix of dining room and beachside grill items that were all great as well. www.leilanis.com

Another Sheldon Simeon past effort (see Star Noodle below), we had eaten here for lunch back in 2013 and the food was great then so we though we'd give breakfast a try! Leoda's didn't disappoint for breakfast either as the food was good but in reality not much different than other breakfast spots on the island. I would stick more to their lunch/dinner menu and all their wonderful pies! www.leodas.com

Mama's Fish House

A timeless classic on the outskirts of Paia and a bit of longer drive from the Northwest side of the island, Mama's Fish House is famous for its locally caught fish dishes of course. They even tell you who caught the fish you are going to eat! Our visit this time was a birthday dinner for three people in our party so each one got a personalized birthday card and a small dessert to celebrate the occasion.  The food here is always great, no complaints at all. Pricey? yes. Reservations required? Yes. But worth it. www.mamasfishhouse.com

Ono Gelato
Located right in the middle of the action on Lahaina's Front Street, Ono Gelato is our favourite gelatio spot on Maui. We tried several of the other Lahaina gelatos over the years and have found none match Ono. They attempt use as many fresh and local ingredients as they can in creating their gelatos and you can taste it. Our family favourites are the Mint Stracciatella, Stracciatella, and Gianduia. www.onogelatocompany.com

Pailolo Bar & Grill
This is the poolside restaurant at the Westin Ka'anapali Ocean Resort Villas where we stayed. Our go to place for drinks (smoothies, lava flows etc.) was also utilized for food on those days when we didn't feel like leaving the resort or minimizing our time away from the beach. Most of the food was good but one dish multiple members in our family kept getting over and over was "The Marley", a pulled pork jerk sandwich with a chili lime slaw that was simply addictive. www.westinkaanapali.com/dining/pailolo

Star Noodle
We ate here only once during our trip as the previous trip we ate here a few times! This Asian-fusion restaurant became famous after one of the founders, Sheldon Simeon was on Bravo TV's Top Chef. When we ate here in 2013 the food was amazing, the Steamed Pork Buns, Pad Thai and Lahaina Fried Soup being our favourites. This time we ordered all those and more since there were 6 of us and we got to try more dishes. We had heard the food wasn't the same as before and tend to agree. Don't get me wrong, the food was still great but not as amazing before. Not sure if it is because of Sheldon's departure but no matter what I would still recommend this place.
I also recommend getting reservations as we noticed diners waiting outside for quite sometime before they could get a walk up table. www.starnoodle.com

Ululani's Shave Ice
Voted the best shave ice on Maui time after time, Ululani's doesn't disappoint. Granted it is mostly our kids getting the shave ice (mom & dad prefer gelato) but it is great! We typically only frequent their Front St. locations in Lahaina. Ululani's uses the best shave ice machines and create all their own syrups for the shave ice using carefully selected ingredients. They even have a loyalty program! Buy 10 shave ice get 1 free! Here's a tip, you can buy all 'micro' sizes then redeem for a large! www.ululanishawaiianshaveice.com

Cinnamon Roll Place (aka Cinnamon Roll Fair)
On the recommendation of someone we decided to hit this place up one morning as they apparently have the best cinnamon rolls. After making our way down to Kihei to try it out (and a bit of detour as the Whale Day Parade closed off the main street for several blocks) we found the place and got to it just before a huge line up formed. Everyone in our party ordered the cinnamon rolls and while the first few seemed alright, we all unanimously decided they weren't all they were cracked up to be! I'm sure some sweet tooth's out there will love them but they just didn't sit well and in fact most of our group felt sick afterwards with crazy headaches. Too much sugar? Too much corn syrup? Who knows! But all I know is that we will not return here on future trips. Too bad as we were really looking forward to some kick ass cinnamon rolls! (Getting ready to be flamed as they get a lot of great reviews online....)

Of course we at some other places, Kimo's on Front St. in Lahaina is always good and we visited it once. Yogurtland in Whaler's Village is another treat place we always frequent since we don't have one in Calgary and we do tend to enjoy Yogurtland more than the chains that are in YYC although Menchies is pretty darn good too. We avoided places like Cheeseburger in Paradise and Hula Grill as the last few trips those places really disappointed us, as much as we love sticking our feet in the sand at the Hula Grill. We also ate some heart attack worthy burgers at the Cool Cat Cafe in Lahaina and made our way for dinner one night at Duke's which is at the Honua Kai resort. Duke's isn't anything to write home about in my opinion. One places we missed this time that is always great is Aloha Mixed Plate.

If you are planning a trip to Maui I hope my little roundup of places to eat at will help you out! Have you tried any of these places? What are your thoughts? Also let us know what some of your favourite locations are on the island!

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