Walk This Way to Dining Bliss
where to eat at kaanapali
The Kaanapali area is home to many of the big name resorts and it's fun to walk from one end of the strip to the other, sampling Mai Tai's and appetizers along the way.
But don't make the mistake of dining at the hotels - unless you want hotel food. Instead, go local and taste the food that you can't get back home. There's central parking at the Whaler's Village and make sure you're around the black rock next to the Sheraton at sunset to watch the torch lighting and cliff diving ceremony.
Best Places to Eat in Kaanapali
Hula Grill and Barefoot Bar
2435 Kaanapali Parkway, Lahaina, HI 96761 | (808) 667-6636
Meet you at the barefoot bar (bar $$, Restaurant $$$$)
The Hula Grill and the Barefoot Bar are really two different dining experiences. The Barefoot Bar is the place for toes in the sand dining while listening to live acoustic music under palm frond palapas. The food is just average but the prices are not too bad, making this a great family dining spot, especially around sunset. Remember, food is average, view and experience are superb.
Head inside to The Hula Grill and the food gets sophisticated and way, way betta. Fresh fish is the best catch here and the Hula Pie, a giant slice of macadamia nut "mud pie", is a classic way to end the meal. Hula Grill is part of the same chain that owns Kimo's, Duke's and Leilani's but this isn't chain restaurant food and the Hula Grill stands with the best on Maui.
2290 Kaanapali Parkway, Lahaina, HI 96761 | (808) 669-6999
Upscale Hawaiian and asian fusion $$$$$
Roy's of Hawaii just about invented the upscale Hawaiian fusion food category. Utilizing the freshest fish and ingredients, Roy's twists and blends the flavors into something that's uniquely Hawaiian. The Roy's Kaanapali has no view and the dining room is noisy and somewhat generic but the food is fresh and creative. The prixe fixe dinner is the way to go and the molten lava cake, a rich and decadent dessert oozing with warm chocolate, is a must.
For those wanting to sample a bit of Roy's, get yourself to the bar for a plate of their Szechuan Ribs, a delightfully smokey sweet spare rib that's easily the best Chinese rib you're ever going to taste.
TRIPADVISOR Reviews | Official website
Leilani's on the Beach
2435 Kaanapali Parkway, Lahaina, HI 96761| (808) 661-4495
Oceanfront dining and family friendly menu $$$
Leilani's on the Beach has been around for a long time and has consistently gotten a big thumb's up from Maui visitors. Maybe it's the ocean view, maybe it's the people watching location, or maybe it's because they serve up unpretentious food that doesn't break the bank.
There are two dining areas at Leilani's, the casual Beachside Grill and the fancier upstairs dining room. Fish tacos and burgers are the main attractions on the outside patio, a perfect spot for those with families or still in swimsuits from the beach. Head upstairs for a nicer dining experience and an elevated menu - steaks, rack of lamb, lobster. Foodies may not be taking photos of their plates but those looking for solid food in a nice setting will not be disappointed.
Looking for the Best Mai Tai?
I've tried just about every Mai Tai on Maui, from the happy hour special at Aloha Mixed Plate ($3 bucks!) to the ultra expensive premium at Mama's Fish House ($16) and the best Mai Tai goes to The Royal Lahaina Resort. Not too sweet, these Mai Tai's pack a huge punch. Better yet, come during Happy Hour and they're just $6. Worth traveling for!
Duke's Beach House
130 Kai Malina Parkway, Lahaina, HI 96761| (808) 662-2900
Hula Grill's sister restaurant in North Kaanapali $$$$$
Located in North Kaanapali in the Honua Kai resort, Duke's Beach House is your classic Hawaii vacation restaurant. The open air dining and ocean views are Maui perfect and the tiki torches and surfer motif compliment the laid back island vibe. The food is similar to the Hula Grill, their sister restaurant in the main area of Kaanapali, but priced a tad higher. The bar area is more affordable and a great place to hang out to watch the sunset, though you'll want to get there early as it can get busy with all of the people staying at the resort.
I wouldn't go out of my way to dine at Duke's Beach House, not if you've already eaten at Hula Grill or Kimo's. But if you're staying in North Kaanapali and looking for a fun and lively happy hour or a classic vacation sunset dinner then Duke's should be on our list.