Recently Hawaii magazine conducted the 2017 Reader’s Choice awards for travelers to rank the Islands’ top restaurants. Luckily, Danny and I have been fortunate enough to have tried 3 of the top 5 and tend to agree with the results
#1 Mama’s Fish House – Paia, Maui
It’s been awhile since we’ve been on Maui and the menu has changed since we last went but I have fond memories of our charming table for two, one row from the open windows overlooking the gorgeous view.
Our server was great and we started with some delicious signature drinks and an amazing calamari appetizer. It was like a steak, not the rings and tentacle like things we get in New England. We both got the signature stuffed mahimahi. It was a large portion, so fresh, and absolutely delicious! The fish is brought to them daily by local fisherman (who’s names appear on the daily menu) and you could truly taste the freshness. It was really one of the best dishes, taste wise, and presentation, that we have ever had.
We both got the delightful Maui banana macadamia nut crunch with Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream for dessert. Total with two drinks each and tip was just about $250. Most expensive lunch we have ever had but we would do it again in a heartbeat as it was worth every penny.
#2 Merriman’s, Waimea, Hawaii
Well technically, we have not dined at the Waimea location, but we have eaten at Merriman’s in Kapalua, Maui, which is in a stunning location overlooking the beautiful Kapalua Bay.
We arrived just before sunset and got seated at a lovely table overlooking the bay we had just snorkeled the other day. Timing was perfect as we were lucky enough to see couple of whales breaching and watched the sunset while perusing the menu. Impeccable service at a very relaxed pace.
We started with a delicious dirty martini, then had the waiter suggest a glass of wine. We both shared the sampler appetizer plate – a tasty kalua pork & sweet onion quesadilla, an ahi ginger poke plate that I wasn’t crazy about (sorry, not a big poke fan), a lovely crab cake and a delicious Hawaiian goat cheese and strawberry puff.
Then I had the filet that was good, but I felt was on the small size. Danny had the sampler entrée and enjoyed the fish portion the most. Overall a very cool server, extremely nice ambiance and overall a very nice meal. Too full for desert, we just took a walk down to the really casual patio/wine bar directly on the point overlooking the bay. What an excellent spot for sunset drinks.
#3 Kimo’s – Lahaina, Maui
We have been to Kimo’s a couple of times and have enjoyed both lunch and dinner items. Our first visit here we started on the spacious deck with Maui martinis and a shrimp cocktail and artichoke appetizer.
For dinner we moved to the dining area a both started with huge Caesar salads. I chose the tasty mahimahi Kimo style and Danny got a juicy, red, prime rib. Along with dinner, Danny had a mai tai and a glass of wine and I had a tropical itch drink, complete with back scratcher. For our finale, we had the amazing Aloha pie. Who can leave this place without taking a picture of this legendary dessert? This was probably the best meal we had on this trip!
On our second trip we were a little too early for dinner so sat on the deck for drinks and we got the macadamia nut calamari appetizer. I had the fish sandwich, and Danny got some pulled pork sandwich. We forgot the coupon we had received for free hula pie but Danny mentioned it to the waitress she brought us one for free! What a nice gesture and a wonderful send off as after dinner we left for the airport.
We have not had the fortune to try either the #4 (Alan Wong’s in Honolulu) or #5 (Haleiwa Joe’s on Oahu) spots, but as we are returning to Oahu in October, there might be a chance to check them out. While we are not big fans of going into Honolulu, I can definitely see us heading up to Haleiwa, as it is a favorite Oahu town of ours, and I have heard good things about their massive prime rib….so we’ll be seeing you Joe!
If you have any questions or want any dining recommendations just give us a call!