Say NO to Tourist Trap Restaurants
Where to Eat in Lahaina
I love Lahaina Town and no Maui vacation is complete without a stroll through the shops and a stop at the Banyan Tree. But Lahaina can also get very touristy and with that comes some restaurants that are outright tourist traps.
Mic Fleetwood? Bubba Gump? You can do better than that. Stick with Local Wally and I'll show you the food in Lahaina that doesn't leave you with Tourist Trap Regret. In fact, some of your most memorable dining might be right in front of you. Hungry?
Best Places to Eat in Lahaina
Aloha Mixed Plate
1285 Front Street, Lahaina, HI 96761 | (808) 661-3322
best ocean view budget dining on maui $ (Seriously!)
Let's start with the basics. A Hawaiian "plate lunch" is typically two scoops of rice, some macaroni salad, and a meat entree. The original idea was to fill up the plantation workers with carbs to keep them going all day. Aloha Mixed Plate is owned by the same folks who run the Old Lahaina Luau, arguably the best luau on the island, and their food is authentic and plentiful and downright inexpensive. Add to this the incredible ocean view and you can see why many call this their most favorite restaurant on Maui.
Opt for the local favorites like the BBQ's Kalbi Ribs or some Fried Coconut Shrimp. I can't stay away from their Chow Fun, a heaping plate of rice noodles with "Uncle Louie's" ground pork - insanely addicting. Of course, there's the luau standard Kalua Pork, an incredible bargain at only $8.95 a plate including rice and mac salad. Happy Hour Mai Tai's are $3 and the most expensive thing on the menu is less than $20. Try to spend more than $50 for dinner for two, it's almost impossible.
You would think with these prices that the tradeoff would be the setting but you'd be wrong. While casual, the location right on the beach is sunset perfect and the sounds of the luau next door an added bonus. Get there early enough to get a table in the back area if possible for the best views. Open for breakfast as well, it's a good alternative to the expensive dining at the resort and your chance to try some Loco Moco or fried rice with eggs. Trust me on this - I love this place and I guarantee it will become one of your favorites as well.
127 Lahainaluna Road, Lahaina, HI 96761 | (808) 667-5117
Creative upscale New american cuisine $$$$$
Plate lunch, fish tacos and cheeseburgers are fine but when you want upscale contemporary food that rivals or beats the best back home you go to the Lahaina Grill. The unassuming location on a side street in Lahaina belies their reputation as one of the best restaurants on Maui, winning just about every "best restaurant" award year after year. It's expensive - appetizers and salads are in the $20 range and entrees are $40 to $50 - so unless you've got a rich uncle save this one for a special occasion.
Foodies won't be disappointed and many travelers compare Lahaina Grill to the always top rated Mama's Fish House. Serious foodies should inquire about the Chef's Table, a special treat for 6 to 8 people where the chef plans an individualized menu and selects the wines to go with it.
Tripadvisor Reviews | Official Website
845 Front Street, Lahaina, HI 96761 | (808) 661-4811
Looks like a tourist trap but what a view! $$$
Hey you, look here, look at me! You get that a lot as you walk down Front Street in Lahaina from the people selling discount attractions and timeshares or trying to get you to step into their restaurant. With your blinders on it's easy to dismiss Kimo's as just another touristy restaurant. But pay attention, Kimo's serves up unpretentious and well executed food with a full on ocean view that can't be beat.
Live music at the bar, stop by for a drink and appetizers when the hot Lahaina sun starts to beat you down. You can get lunch for less than $20 per person, a good buy for ocean view dining. Wait until dinner and entrees like fresh fish or prime rib will cost you less than $30. Family budget friendly? You bet! If you've escaped getting a slice of Hula Pie so far then make sure you end your meal with one here, a giant piece of mud pie but with macadamia nut ice cream. Diet starts later.
Tripadvisor Reviews | Official Website
Cheeseburger in Paradise
811 Front Street, Lahaina, HI 96761 | (808) 661-4855
OK, this is probably a tourist trap but I like it $$
Don't hate me for loving Cheeseburger in Paradise. I love everything about it, from the awesome live music to the frat party atmosphere to the stunning ocean views. And yes, unlike the people on Yelp, I love their cheeseburgers as well. Just take my advice and upgrade to Kobe Beef and keep it simple with some cheese and bacon and wash it down with an ice cold beer, - if you're still complaining there's something wrong with you.
Also open for breakfast and lunch, try the Breakfast Cheeseburger that's topped with hash browns, bacon and a fried egg. They also have traditional breakfasts, but when was the last time you had a burger for breakfast?
286 Kupuohi Street, Lahaina, HI 96761 | (808) 667-5400
Bravo TV Top Chef creates foodie favorite sensation $$$
There's a lot of excitement around Star Noodle, the Asian influenced foodie joint that's run by Top Chef Sheldon Simeon and owned by the same people behind Aloha Mixed Plate and the Old Lahaina Luau. But you'll know this isn't your typical Maui restaurant the moment you step into the industrial park setting above the tourist action of Lahaina Town and take your first bite of awesome deliciousness. The steamed pork buns might remind you of Momofuku's and when a plate of sizzling Filipino "bacon and eggs" passes your table you might want to hijack the waiter and take it for yourself. Don't miss the Lahaina Fried Soup, which is not a soup at all but a thick rice noodle that's like Chow Fun on steroids.
Super busy and hard to find (trust your GPS), call ahead for reservations or to put your name on the list. Get ready to share a communal table or a place at the bar because where you sit doesn't matter nearly as much as the food in front of you.
Authentic grinds, Eat like a local with the locals $
Nothing fancy here but if the high prices of Maui dining are getting you down then head to Local Food and grab a heaping plate of Kalua Pork served plate lunch style for $7 and dine like a king. The view is a gas station, the restaurant itself connected to a nondescript apartment building but the food is so good that locals line up. Local Food is the exact opposite of a tourist trap, don't let the weird location scare you away and get some authentic local grinds that taste as good as if your Hawaiian Auntie made them for you. Lunch only.