Top 10 Favorite Restaurants in West Maui
Whether you’re a self-proclaimed “foodie,” or are just looking for the best places to eat in West Maui that are reliably good and worth the price, we’ve got you covered! World-renowned chefs and culinary teams have built a distinct food scene here on Maui, integrating Hawaii’s unique agriculture and produce with Hawaiian, South East Asian, and Polynesian cuisine influences.
We love to find great restaurants on Maui to enjoy and recommend to our friends and visitors! It really enhances your dining experience when you get a local’s perspective on the best places to eat, so we’re here to help. Here is a compilation of our top favorite West Maui restaurants broken down by areas. There are of course many more that we love to eat at, this is not a complete and definitive list of the only good places on the West side.
All restaurants listed here are along Front Street in Lahaina. Although the entire west side of Maui has the zip code of 96761 and considered the city of Lahaina, us locals only call the area of Front Street “Lahaina.” This area is packed with things to do like souvenir shopping, checking out beautiful art galleries, jumping on a snorkeling cruise from the boat harbor, and settling into a meal at some of the great restaurants lining the street ! There are many Lahaina condos to stay at in the heart of Lahaina town, so you can skip the parking headache and just walk to where you need to go!
1. LAHAINA GRILL
Winner of many accolades year-after-year like Best Maui Restaurant, Best Wine List, Best Service, etc., Lahaina Grill has a rich history in Lahaina and the outstanding cuisine to up hold it! This is a special occasion restaurant for us, as the price point is high and reservations are hard to come by. Offering a New American cuisine in a contemporary bistro setting, the steak and fish dishes are outstanding, with wonderful desserts to top off the night. Although this restaurant does not offer the coveted ocean-front view, the food makes up for it and is a must-do when you want to treat yourself or partner to an unforgettable meal. Open only for dinner, right in the hustle and bustle of Front Street.
2. SALE PEPE
Translated as “salt and pepper” in Italian, this authentic Italian restaurant popped up in 2016 and has since won Maui’s ‘Aipono Award for Best Italian restaurant almost every year until the pandemic shut down. Started by Italian-born pizzaiolo Michele and New Yorker wife Qiana, Sale Pepe‘s pastas and artisanal Italian pizzas are crafted with fresh, local ingredients in classic and creative presentations. This is our go-to for the extra thin-crust style pizza with minimal yet extremely flavorful ingredients, and fresh home-made pastas. We LOVE the pizza with pancetta and poached egg (don’t knock it until you try it), and the Spaghetti Neri (squid ink pasta) with clams and spicy salami paste. Save room for an affogato after dinner! This is like a hot fudge sundae but has vanilla gelato with hot espresso poured on top! Open for dinner only, closed on Sundays.
3. MALA OCEAN TAVERN
A staple in Lahaina for many years, this restaurant was taken under new ownership in 2018 with the intent to bring Mala Ocean Tavern to the next generation, keeping the vintage charm of this quaint ocean-front restaurant and adding in a contemporary vibrancy. This restaurant has a Mediterranean take on Hawaiian regional cuisine emphasizing local island ingredients and daily fresh caught fish. Mala is our first choice for brunch in Lahaina town, one of the few great options. We highly recommend the Ahi Bruschetta, available any time of the day. Open for brunch, dinner, and late night everyday.
4. STAR NOODLE
Once thought of as a hidden gem on Maui tucked away in an industrial park off the tourist path, Star Noodle began in 2010 and word has since gotten out. The Asian-inspired share plates and fresh noodle dishes have garnered the attention of locals and visitors alike. In 2020, the restaurant relocated behind Safeway, by Mala Ocean Tavern, now providing sunset views at their ocean-front location. Enjoy lunch or dinner at Star Noodle, but plan to make a reservation in order to get a seat! We love ordered lots of dishes and sharing them family-style to get a great taste of everything. Make sure to get the garlic noodles to pair with the miso salmon or ahi belly!
Along a 3-mile stretch of white sandy beach is Kaanapali, loaded with wonderful ocean-front dining and world renown restaurants. This area of Lahaina is the one-stop shop for visitors who don’t want to rent a car and have everything to do nearby! Various Kaanapali hotels and resorts and condominiums have outstanding restaurants to dine at, as well as Whaler’s Village, the outdoor shopping center at the heart of it all. Although you should expect long wait times at most restaurants, you will enjoy your meal at just about any of them. Our go-to is Hula Grill.
5. HULA GRILL
A meal at Hula Grill will be imprinted in your memories for years to come. The ambiance offers 1930’s Hawaiian plantation house in their open-air dining room. The Barefoot Bar part of the restaurant has sand floor and palapa tiki umbrellas providing shade from the sun during the day and soft glowing light in the evening. Your view of the ocean and neighbor islands Lanai and Molokai is uninterrupted. During lunch, get salads, sandwiches, pizzas (my favorite is the goat cheese flatbread), and fresh fish preparations (“dock to dish”). The evening menu offers specialty fresh-caught fish preparations (the Macadamia Nut Crusted Mahi-Mahi is the star) and steak/surf and turf options. Get a reservation or put your name on the waitlist 1-2 hours before you’re ready to eat.
Napili & Kapalua
What us locals refer to as “up North” is the area of Napili and Kapalua, or anything North of Kaanapali, really. You’ll find the coastline sprinkled with a plethora of condos and villas, all great locations central to the bustle of Kaanapali and Lahaina to the South, and the undeveloped rugged coast north of Kapalua. The temperature dips down in degrees with every mile you drive north. Expect a welcome relief from the heat of Lahaina town and passing showers the further you go. There are many wonderful places to eat in this area, here are some of our top picks.
6. THE SEA HOUSE
Situated on one of Maui’s most beautiful beach coves, Sea House is located at Napili Kai Beach Resort along Napili Bay. Repeatedly winning Maui Magazine’s ‘Aipono Awards for Best Happy Hour and Best Breakfast, we can safely say this is one of our favorite places to eat during the day in West Maui. The view is outstanding, offering various colors of turquoise and blues as your backdrop. My breakfast favorites: Molokai Sweet Potato Frittata, Homemade Macadamia Nut Cinnamon Roll (made with a flaky pastry crust), Pele’s Potatoes, and the fabulous Haleakala Pancake. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
One cove down from Napili Bay you will find Kapalua Bay. Claiming the entire Southern cliff side of the bay is Merriman’s, one of the most breathtaking restaurant locations on Maui. Chef Peter Merriman created Hawaiian Regional Cuisine, utilizing 90% of locally grown products to create outstanding dishes that we still dream about. Since the 2020 shut down, Merriman’s has re-opened as a Prix Fixe only restaurant, with highly coveted reservations that get snatched up within hours of release. If you are lucky enough to get in here, you will not regret it. Open for dinner service only.
Boasting of “Urban Drinks and Italian Eats,” we enjoy this restaurant for many reasons. Often we stop in for a quick drink at the unique rustic-wood backed bar or sometimes stay for a nice dinner on the open-air terrace, in either case we’ve always enjoyed our time at Taverna. Set along the Kapalua Golf Course, the view from the lanai is gorgeous, with the ocean peaking out in the distance. Order the Scratch House Baked Bread to start your meal on the right foot, and indulge in a lovely bottle of Chianti alongside house made pasta and wood fired pizzas. Open for lunch and dinner, plus brunch on Sundays.
With the availability of fresh caught fish on Maui, you need to reserve a table at a sushi restaurant. One of our top favorites is Sansei’s! With creative specialty rolls and a variety of small plate accompaniments, there is something for everyone! Ask your server about their favorites on the menu, they will steer you in the right direction. A must-order of ours is the Panko Crusted Ahi Sashimi and the Super Red Dragon Roll with spicy tuna topped with fresh ahi slices, jalapeno aioli, and habanero tobiko served with sweet sriracha and unagi glaze. Now offering seating on their outdoor patio, Sansei’s is open only for dinner, with a 50% off Early Bird special for those seated between 5-5:30pm (first come, first serve).
10. PLANTATION HOUSE
We find ourselves at Plantation House for breakfast at least twice a month. Perfectly perched on a PGA golf course, the view will leave you dumbfounded as you walk into the dining space. The ocean view is outstanding, and the meticulously manicured golf course surrounding the restaurant is amazing. With these views, you’d expect outrageous prices, but breakfast and lunch are very approachable! Their omelets and banana bread are lovely, and pair perfectly with a spicy Bloody Mary or POG-mosa (mimosa with fresh POG juice). A sunset dinner is also phenomenal with wonderful fresh fish dishes and an array of steaks and meat options. Open from breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
These top West Maui restaurants encompass some of our favorite places to eat on Maui, specifically across Lahaina, Ka’anapali, Napili, and Kapalua. For our island-wide list of favorite places to eat on Maui, take a look at our blog Top 20 Favorite Maui Restaurants. If you’re looking for specific venues geared towards healthy eats, with vegetarian and vegan options, we’ve listed our top favorites in our blog on How Your Maui Vacation Can Make You Healthier.
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