Maui For Foodies: The Best Maui Food Tours, Tastings & Events
Trendy celebrity-chef restaurants, sprawling food truck villages, iconic fish houses, and roadside Hawaiian BBQ stands? YES, please! If you love food and drink, Maui will not disappoint. The island offers an astounding range of food choices and a variety of unique products that gastronomes will adore (pineapple wine or sugar cane vodka, anyone?) Maui also hosts some of Hawaii’s finest annual food & beverage events. Here are our recommendations for the best Maui food tours and experiences. This is Maui for foodies!
UPDATE: This blog was updated in August 2022, but due to the continuing impacts of COVID-19 on Maui’s tourism and food & beverage industries, some of the businesses, events, or activities mentioned in the blog could possibly change their operations temporarily. Please check with businesses directly to verify their operating status and hours. Mahalo!
MAUI FOR FOODIES: UNIQUE MAUI FOOD TOURS & TASTINGS
There are plenty of opportunities to explore how some of Maui’s top products are made. Here are some of our favorite Maui tours and tastings.
Ever been to a vodka farm? Hawaii Sea Spirits Organic Farm and Distillery is located in Upcountry Maui. A 30-minute tasting tour will give you an inside look at Hawaii Sea Spirit’s 80-acre operation and allow you to sample some of their premium products— Ocean Organic Vodka Included. The property is also home to a cafe, which serves craft cocktails, local-inspired eats, and flatbreads. Relax on the expansive lawn while you eat and take in a stellar Upcountry sunset. (Hot tip: last call for food and drink is at 6:45, while the sun doesn’t set until after seven in the summer. For the best sunset views, plan a winter visit.) There is no admission fee to visit the farm, gift shop, or cafe; there is a fee for the half-hour tour.
SURFING GOAT DAIRY
Just down the road from the vodka farm, this charming certified-humane goat farm produces more than 30 delicious (and national award-winning) goat cheese products— including aged soft cheese, chevre, and quark. There is no admission fee, so you can stop by anytime to sample the products. But three guided tours are available for purchase, and I personally love the 2-hour Grand Dairy Tour offered on Saturdays. Fun and informative! You can feed and milk the goats, learn about the cheese-making process, and enjoy a very generous tasting of the dairy’s gourmet goat cheeses. Come hungry!
Situated on a historic estate in Ulupalakua (Upcountry Maui), surrounded by trees that are well over 150 years old, MauiWine’s tasting room and gift shop could not be located in a more picturesque setting. The winery (formerly known as Tedeschi Winery) started in 1974 and now produces a range of unique pineapple wines as well as traditional estate wines. Wander the lovely grounds and stop by the tasting room to sample these wonderful handcrafted wines. Guided tours of the grounds are complimentary; there is a fee for wine tasting.
MAUI BREWING COMPANY
Maui Brewing Company, Hawaii’s largest craft brewery, offers 45-minute guided tours of its gleaming brewery facility in Kihei, ending with a tasting (for a fee). If you want to enjoy a meal along with your brewsky, you can dine at the large new signature restaurant that opened on the premises in 2018. Even if you’re not a beer drinker, it’s a great restaurant— and there’s plenty of cocktail and non-alcoholic options on offer as well (psst, try the Maui Brewing root beer).
MAUI PINEAPPLE PLANTATION & DISTILLERY TOUR
The Maui Pineapple Tour is an authentic 90-minute tour of a working pineapple plantation in Hali’imaile (near Makawao). You’ll learn about “all things pineapple” and go right into the pineapple fields to sample fresh-picked Maui Gold pineapple, an extra sweet variety. Plus, you’ll leave with your own pineapple, boxed and ready for travel (included in the tour price). You can also choose to include a 30-minute distillery tour of Hali’imaile Distilling Company.
MAUI FOR FOODIES: SPECIALTY MAUI FOOD & BEVERAGE EXPERIENCES
CHAMPAGNE HALE AT THE CLIFF HOUSE
Champagne Hale is a seasonal pop-up event hosted by the Montage Kapalua Bay. The event takes place at one of Maui’s most epic venues: the Kapalua Cliff House, perched above the waters of Namalu Bay. Guests can enjoy bubbly glasses of Veuve Clicquot champagnes served alongside gourmet appetizers. The champagne isn’t cheap, but for upscale travelers (or a special splurge), this is an exquisite way to enjoy a Maui sunset. Check the Montage’s website for dates.
O’O FARM GOURMET LUNCH AND FARM TOUR
O’o Farm in upcountry Maui offers a genuine “farm to fork” experience. The experience kicks off with a tour of the 8.5-acre farm, during which you will harvest the produce for your meal. Then, relax and enjoy a chef-prepared gourmet lunch incorporating the farm-fresh products, set on the slopes of Mount Haleakala with stunning views of the island. Also offered is a similar O’o Farm experience for breakfast that includes a coffee farm tour: The Seed to Cup Gourmet Breakfast and Tour.
MAUI FOR FOODIES: OUTSTANDING MAUI LUAUS
A luau provides a great introduction to the music, dance, and food of Polynesia! Most luau menus feature traditional Hawaiian dishes like kalua pork, poi, and Molokai sweet potatoes (a local purple variety), plus many other local foods. No one leaves a luau hungry! There are lots of great luaus to choose from, but in my opinion, the following three Maui luaus truly stand above the rest for doing something extraordinary with the food and show. Both are highly recommended — especially if the culinary experience is a top priority for you at a luau.
GRAND WAILEA LUAU at Grand Wailea Resort (South Maui)
The Grand Wailea Luau (formerly Aha’aina Luau) reopened in January 2021 and has been reinvented to meet necessary COVID health protocols. No more long luau tables with guests brushing shoulders; no more serve-yourself buffet lines. Now your party is seated at your own individual table and you are served there, dining by candlelight. Enjoy excellent food, and one of the most creative luau shows shows on the island— featuring Hawaiian hula and Polynesian dances, fire dancers (pictured), a graceful aerial dancer who dangles from the palm trees, and a mesmerizing “cloud goddess” hula.
FEAST AT MOKAPU, at Andaz Wailea (South Maui)
The Feast at Mokapu is a reimagined luau experience with a hint of luxury. Traditional luau fare gets a gourmet twist— the menu was curated by Andaz executive chef Isaac Bancaco and dishes are plated rather than served buffet style. Guests can also take advantage of an open bar that pours craft cocktails throughout the night. The entertainment is second to none and tells authentic stories of the Polynesian voyagers that eventually settled on Maui’s shores.
FEAST AT LELE, 505 Front Street, Lahaina (West Maui)
Feast at Lele has always been known for featuring a smaller, more intimate venue than the typical luau.. more like a fine dining luau experience. Associated with the ever-popular Old Lahaina Luau and Pacific’O Restaurant, this unique luau offers a lovely show and a five-course, sit-down (no buffet) gourmet dinner of Pacific Island foods. Tables are individual— you can reserve a table for two if you wish, or a table just for your family and friends. And it’s the only Maui luau I know of that is literally ON the beach. Your feet are in the sand while you’re eating!
MAUI FOR FOODIES: ANNUAL MAUI FOOD FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
HAWAII FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL
This statewide event takes place over three weeks on multiple islands in the fall, showcasing Hawaii’s locally grown foods and featuring a roster of internationally known master chefs and culinary personalities. Hawaii Food & Wine Festival events occurs on Maui each year (usually in October) in the Kaanapali Beach Resort area. Details & Future Dates (Stay nearby at these Kaanapali accommodations)
KAPALUA WINE & FOOD FESTIVAL
The Kapalua Wine and Food Festival is one of the granddaddies of Hawaii food events! This longstanding (four decades and counting) Maui food festival features wine tasting seminars, cooking demos, and fabulous Grand Tasting event. Join renowned winemakers and celebrity chefs for this delicious weekend in Kapalua. It usually takes place in June. Details & Future Dates (Places to stay in Kapalua)
WAILEA RESTAURANT WEEK
Twice a year, in spring and fall (usually May and November), Wailea’s fabulous, world-renowned restaurants celebrate Restaurant Week with three-course, pre-fixe menus ranging from $29 to $59 per person. This is an excellent opportunity to experience these acclaimed restaurants at a value price and support a worthwhile cause while you’re munching — a portion of the proceeds is donated to the Maui Food Bank. Details & Future Dates (Here are some great Wailea condos to stay at) Notice: Wailea Restaurant Week has been canceled for 2022. We hope to see it return in 2023.
MAUI COUNTY FAIR
Okay, this isn’t a foodie event per se, but the Maui County Fair is where it’s at if you’re keen on trying local fare. When the fair comes to town in September/October, the food court takes over nearly an acre of fairgrounds, lined with booth after booth. Almost every popular local dish is served here— chicken katsu, chow fun, kalua pork, shoyu chicken, dry mein, loco moco, mochi, malasadas… I’m getting hungry just thinking about it. Plus, booths are usually operated by school groups, churches, canoe clubs, and sports teams trying to raise money, so it’s a great way to support the local community. Stay in Maalaea, only 15 minutes from the fairgrounds in Wailuku! Details & Future Dates Notice: the Maui County Fair has been canceled for 2022. It will return in 2023.
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