Dining on family vacations can be difficult to plan out – with so many different ages & tastes, how can you settle on a place to eat? But between all of the sight-seeing, beach lounging & watersports in Maui, everyone will need to fuel up at some of the island's unique eateries. In a tourist-driven destination, it can be easy to fall into the trap of visiting only restaurants that are greater-known, but less worth visiting. Fortunately, the following places are sure to please any palate.
Lahaina Grill If your family has a sophisticated palette, this restaurant can make for an interesting Maui dining experience. Set in a historic inn, the cuisine at Lahaina Grill integrates trends & customs from around the world, all blended with fresh ingredients that were cultivated at local Maui farms, dairies & waters. With an extensive wine list & knowledgeable sommelier, it's no wonder that Lahaina has won 2012 Best Dinner, 2011 Best Fine Dining & 2010 Best Restaurant, Overall in Maui Time Weekly. Try the rack of lamb in a Kona coffee-cabernet demi-glace, tequila shrimp or the Maui onion & sesame seed crusted seared ahi steak with vanilla bean jasmine rice.
Ululani's Hawaiian Shave Ice Shave ice is found all over the Hawaiian islands, but Ululani's in downtown Lahaina really stands out among the rest. The flavors use all-natural cane sugar syrups made in-house, many of which are made with local tropical fruits. Mango, pineapple & lilikoi (passion fruit) are most popular, & toppings like fresh shredded coconut & azuki beans give the ice an island flair. Kids & adults who prefer a more decadent treat should try Roselani's macadamia nut or haupia (coconut pudding) ice cream.
Star Noodle Located in a business park off central Lahaina, Star Noodle is likely to feel more like a locals' hangout than a gourmet restaurant. The menu comes from Chef Sheldon Simeon of Top Chef fame, who was also a 2011 James Beard semi-finalist for Rising Star Chef & Best New Restaurant, & features an array of pan-Asian noodle dishes with a contemporary spin. The fried saimin, arguably the national dish of Hawaii, is worth a taste, fusing a unique combination of ramen-style wheat noodles with kamaboko (fish cakes), cooked egg, bean sprouts & scallions. Pork buns & other appetizers are best shared family-style & really round out the meal. Adults shouldn't miss out on a sake flight or the refreshing cucumber Miki cocktail.
Flatbread Company Pizza might not be the first kind of cuisine you think of when taking luxury vacations in Maui, but Flatbread Company is worth a visit. Located in Paia, a funky surfing town on the opposite side of the island from Lahaina, the Flatbread Company serves up a variety of pies from its massive wood-fire oven, all of which use locally sourced meats, vegetables & other ingredients. But the Kalua pork pizza is a must-try, topped with kiawe wood-smoked pork shoulder, Maui pineapple, mango barbecue sauce, red onions, local goat cheese & mozzarella.
Mala Ocean Tavern This quaint oceanfront family restaurant in Lahaina is typically packed with both visitors & locals. Mala Ocean Tavern is known for its juicy Snake River Farms Kobe beef burger with Maytag blue, sweet caramelized onions & smoked applewood bacon on a housemade brioche bun. But there's plenty more on the eclectic menu to try, including the seared ahi bruschetta, served on flax seed toast over edamame puree & local Olowalu tomatoes, & the gado gado salad of brown rice, tofu, sugar snap peas & chickpeas, dressed with a Thai-style coconut-peanut sauce.
Food is sometimes the best part of luxury travel. On your trip to Maui, there's no reason you can't keep the whole family satisfied & satiated by stopping at any of these local spots.