Do: West Maui Eats & Excursions
Life has been a complete whirlwind since returning from the surprise trip I planned to Maui in October. I’ll explain in brief:
We got home late Monday night, October 8 and rolled into bed with smiles on our faces and sand behind our ears. Tuesday morning I opened the front door to discover ominous bright orange ties and stakes in the lemon tree that faces the door. Soon after we received confirmation of what my gut suspected: the property subdivision plans had changed, the property lines had been redrawn, the new property line goes through our house, our house has to be demolished, and our days were numbered—60, to be exact. We moved into this house earlier this year, many of you followed the story of our cottage refresh in April. (Why we chose to live here is too long a story to get into right now.)
So, yes, whirlwind is an adequate description of life since Maui. But, there is a good ending to the story: we are buying a house! We’re in escrow on a home that we love and we are putting down even deeper roots in Silicon Valley. Our new neighborhood is 20 minutes away. This is a big deal for our family, as we’ve lived in the same neighborhood for 8 years and our children have never experienced changing schools (though they’re experts at changing houses). We’re at a significant juncture in the life of our family, and I’m excited. But, it has certainly been a stressful few months, which is why this article was delayed.
Back to Maui! We spent 5 nights in West Maui. Though brief, our time passed at a sweetly slow pace and we dined like royalty, thanks to partnerships with a variety of local businesses. Below is my round-up. Might this list help you take full advantage of your next trip to West Maui. Linked photographs are at the end of the article, and please use the comments to share your personal experiences and any questions.
For a Special Dinner Out:
KIMO’S — Right in downtown Lahaina, this beloved restaurant has been a Maui hot spot for 40 years. It’s two-story, open air, on the ocean, and designed like a ship. Get dressed up (though not required) and don’t miss their famous prime rib. Go big or go home: I planned to order the prime rib. There is an option of 16 oz or 32 oz. When I ordered the 16, my husband said, “It’s their signature dish, go for the 32!” I followed his counsel and soon after I beheld the biggest steak I’d ever seen. It was divine, and we brought the precious leftovers back to the condo for steak and eggs the next morning. Kimo’s is home of the Hula Pie—get one for dessert. It’s huge, you can share. If it’s your birthday, they’ll bring out a slice on the house.
HULA GRILL — On the beach in Ka’anapali. Be there at sunset. I recommend sitting in the Barefoot Bar, rather than the formal dining room. Enjoy live music, a hula show, and the sunset, with your toes in the sand. We ordered off of the dining room menu. The ribeye steak and ahi steak were perfection.
For Quick Eats:
LEODA’S PIE SHOP — You must stop at this bakery and sandwich shop two times: upon arrival and departure! You’ll pass Leoda’s on your drive from the airport to West Maui, look out for it on the righthand side of the road. Although they specialize in pies, I’m still thinking about their seared ahi sandwich; it was scrumptious. My son Hudson was a big fan of their savory chicken pot pie, he ordered it during both stops. Banana creme pie is their most popular dessert. My husband swooned over the pineapple macadamia nut pie. They have pies in convenient 3-inch and 5-inch sizes.
ULULANI’S HAWAIIAN SHAVE ICE — Ululani’s is legendary, an emblem of Hawaii. Go here for afternoon refreshment. They have two locations in West Maui: downtown Lahaina and a stand right on the beach at the Hyatt Regency. This is nothing like a snow cone, their shave ice is fluffy. You must have it with their premium ice cream; there are three flavor options—macadamia nut, vanilla, or coconut. They start with a scoop of ice cream in the bottom of the bowl, then add the shave ice and flavors on top. You will keep coming back for more, maybe daily. Quote: “It’s always so exciting once you reach the ice cream.” -Justin, my husband.
For Food & Activity Combos, try these:
WALK THE COAST & CASTAWAY CAFE — One of our favorite things we did was set out on foot from Honua Kai Resort and walk down the coast, checking out all the different resorts along the way. We stopped at Castaway Cafe for lunch with an ocean view. The prices were very reasonable, and this was where we first experienced the Loco Moco, a local favorite consisting of fried rice, a grilled 1/2 pound burger, 2 eggs, house gravy, and green onion.
SNORKEL & SEA HOUSE — I recommend renting snorkel gear and boogie boards from Snorkel Bob’s. It was a quick, pleasant experience stopping into their store and getting outfitted for water adventures. We took our snorkel gear to Kapalua Bay, and then had lunch nearby at Sea House Restaurant. The view was mesmerizing. Our kids were delighted that they serve breakfast until 2 pm. Their ahi nachos were so yummy. My husband got another Loco Moco here that he gobbled right up.
HANG AT THE BEACH & PIZZA PARADISO — We walked across the street from our resort, picked up a pizza to go, and ate lunch on the beach. It was easy, cheap, and tasty.
SUNSET BEACH PICNIC & THE FISH MARKET — Fish Market came highly recommended. It doesn’t get more fresh than this. I tried to meet the owner, but he was, you guessed it, out fishing. The ceviche was so good, as was the seared ahi steak. I wish I’d gotten the fish tacos! We took our dinner to-go and had a sunset picnic on the beach our final night on Maui.
AFTER DINNER DRINKS & DUKE’S— A cool bar on the beach, loved the vibe here and its representation of the story of Duke Kahanamoku, “Hawaii’s most famous son, an olympic swimmer, and the father of modern day surfing.” They allowed our sons to sit at the bar and sip their virgin piña coladas, something they will remember their whole lives. It was our last night on the island and a memorable way to bring our time to a close.
I’ll end with this: I was talking to a local about the restaurants I was partnering with to write up on the blog. He wanted to know the list. He smiled big and said: “Those are all the places I would choose to go to!” There you have it, from a local himself.
Thank you to Kimo’s, Hula Grill, Leoda’s, Ululani’s, Down The Hatch, Castaway Cafe, Sea House Restaurant, Snorkel Bob’s, Pizza Paradiso Mediterranean Grill, The Fish Market Maui, and Duke’s Beach House for sponsoring this post. You made our time on Maui extra fun and delicious.