Sample Restaurant Reviews
Dining in Hawaii…
The image forms in your mind. Delicious, healthy island foods such as fresh fish, sweet pineapple and papaya, macadamia nut pie and a tropical drink. Well…maybe. Unlike other guidebooks which lead you to believe that every meal in Hawaii will be a feast, we are here to tell you that you will have ample opportunity to have hideous food served by uncaring oafs, as well as great meals served in the ambiance of a lifetime.
We probably receive more letters of appreciation from readers about our brutally honest restaurant reviews than any other subject. Here are just a few of the reviews from the 6th edition of Maui Revealed.
Cool Cat Cafe
658 Front St. • 667–0908
Lahaina—As a consumer, it doesn’t seem like it should be that hard to serve a good burger, but so many places fail. Not here, and for that we are grateful. Fresh fixin’s, toasted buns and tasty variations. Try their onion rings for a side. Your food takes awhile, but it’s worth the wait, so chill out, Daddy-o. (Oh yeah, the atmosphere is a half-hearted attempt at a ’50s beatnik theme.) They also have lots of sandwiches to choose from. Desserts include malts, shakes (made the old-fashioned way, thick and tasty), root beer floats and brownie sundaes. $13–$23 for lunch and dinner. (More if you move to pricier items such as the steak or ribs.) On the top floor of the Wharf Cinema overlooking Banyan Tree Park. Bartending is their weak point—stick with beer.
Mama’s Ribs ‘n Rotisserie
5095 Napilihau St • 665–6262
Napili—Ribs and rotisserie chicken are their thing, and it’s mostly take-out. (Just a few outdoor tables.) Solidly average best describes it, except for tastier whole chicken (which, at $19, tastes curiously similar to Costco’s $5 chickens). Plate combo meals with so-so sides of beans, slaw, etc. also available. Despite the name, you’re not treated like family here, especially when busy (unless blank indifference is the usual atmosphere at home). In Napili Plaza off Hwy 30’s 29 mile marker. $7–$24 for lunch and dinner. Credit cards accepted over $25.
170 Papalaua Ave. • 667–5444
Lahaina—Paper plate prices (and presentation) but with pricier flavors. In addition to tasty standard Mexican items, they have rotisserie chicken, sandwiches and some seafood items. The food’s excellent. Consider the taco al pastor—slow-cooked adobo pork with grilled pineapple salsa. And the nachos del sol are a great appetizer. Don’t overlook the salsa bar to the right. Prices are not bad for the quality. Atmosphere is basic and simple. $9–$15 for lunch and dinner. In the Old Lahaina Center. byob.
Maui Swiss Café
640 Front St. • 661–6776
Lahaina—The only thing Swiss about this place is the name and the owner. It’s basically an Internet café/sandwich shop (so we put them under American). There’s Wi-Fi (for a fee) and you can use one of their computers, if you left your iPad in the condo. The sandwiches, such as roast beef or turkey, blts, tuna, and ham and cheese, are adequate. Breakfast is mostly bagels, donuts or a simple egg combo plate. $9–$13 for breakfast and lunch or early dinner. Between Dickenson and Prison streets, across from Banyan Tree Park.
2290 Ka‘anapali Pkwy. • 669–6999
Ka‘anapali—Roy’s is a local chain, and they serve wonderful and often smartly conceived food. The menu changes nightly and runs from fish to pastas to steak, all served with an Asian/island twist. Their fish is always a winner. We’ve never had a bad meal here, though it can get a little loud and rushed. Their baked chocolate soufflé is deadly but takes a while, so order it while you’re still eating dinner. $14–$27 for lunch, $30–$45 for dinner. On the corner of Hwy 30 and Ka‘anapali Parkway with a golf course view.
2439 S. Kihei Rd. • 874–5605
Kihei—Although ambiance is unremarkable, they have pretty good curry, especially the red. Lots of vegetarian items. If you ask for it hot, they won’t save you from yourself. The pad Thai is not as recommended, however. And the Thai tea is way too sweet. No separate lunch menu, so it’ll be pricey at lunch. $13–$25 for lunch and dinner. In the Rainbow Mall.
270 Dairy Rd. • 877–2400
Kahului—You can forget classifying this place. They call themselves a French Sandwich and Bakery, but serve mostly Asian dishes, huge portions with flavorful results, very cheaply. Vietnamese plate lunches, French sandwiches, local entrées—and you’ll probably spend about $5. In the Kau Kau Food Court in Maui Marketplace. $4–$7 for lunch and dinner.
Pa‘ia Fish Market
100 Hana Hwy • 579–8030
Pa‘ia—They’ve slipped badly, and we’ve had to pull their ono. They have a very nice selection of fish, chicken, tacos, salads, sashimi, pasta, fajitas and burgers. But the food is bland of late, and service has gotten snotty. ’Nuff said. Seating, but no table service—order and wait for them to call. Beer and wine available. $10–$25 for lunch and dinner. On the corner of Baldwin Avenue.
760 S. Kihei Rd. • 875–6666
658 Front St. • 661–4999
Kihei—Fantastic Indian food with a great ocean proximity. They have an admirable selection of curries, tandori kabobs, naan and vegetarian dishes, and the results are dependably delicious. Try the monsoon kabob for an appetizer. And the lamb biriyani is awesome. Flavors are dazzling here. Service is deferential but sometimes a bit thin. $16–$25 for lunch or dinner. byob. At the Menehune Shores, North Kihei. Their Lahaina location is in the Wharf Cinema Center. Their setting is not as nice, but the food is the same.
515 S. Kihei Rd. • 214–1513
Kihei—A traditional Korean restaurant complete with tabletop grills. If you order off the bbq menu, plates of raw, seasoned meat are served along with small portions of spicy vegetables. (Because of this, you’ll want to get appetizers unless you’re hankering for mostly protein.) They set up the grill, and you do the cooking. Don’t be afraid to crank up the heat, or you’ll be there a while. Portions are huge and may feed two, but they require two bbq entrées to justify the grill. The sushi is pretty good, if a bit pricey. Try it for half price after 10 p.m. Wed.–Sat. Lunch and dinner are $20–$35. Between Ohukai and Kaonoulu.
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