Eat Where the Maui Locals Eat
The best way to discover just where to eat on vacation, is to discover just where the locals go. We have put together a list of some of the top food joints Maui locals frequent. Though many of these eateries are in no way fancy, they are in every way ono (delicious), and will more than likely become your favorites too!
Thai Mee Up
Thai Mee Up is hands down one of the most popular food trucks on Maui, even being awarded the title of “Best Food Truck” in 2018 by the Aipono Maui Restaurant Awards. Thai Mee Up serves fresh, Thai inspired Hawaiian food, with a twist uniquely all their own. This is a must stop for all you foodies out there!
Their following is so strong that they were even featured by Guy Fieri on the Food Network. Their fried boneless pork ribs took Guy to new heights. “On a scale of 1 to 100 that’s a 101,” he says of the immaculate dish. “This is like a freight train to Flavortown.”
When visiting Thai Mee Up you cannot go wrong with any of their incredible dishes. We highly recommend their Pad Thai Noodles, Crispy Garlic Shrimp and the Lemon Grass Chicken.
Thai Mee Up is located right by Kahului Airport across from Costco, making it a convenient place to stop by for a quick bite after your arrival to Maui, or before your departure.
When on Maui it is impossible to isolate just a few excellent eateries; there’s no way as these are so much in abundance. One restaurant not to miss is Tin Roof in Kahului.
Tamura`s Fine Wine & Liquors (Come for the Poke!)
Tamura`s is located in the industrial district of Lahaina, and has one of the best selections of specialty beer, wine, liquor, cigars and the BEST selection of Poke on the island.
If you haven`t tried Poke, now would be the time and Tamura`s would be the place to go. Poke is a local favorite and there are a large variety of ways it can be prepared. Poke is fresh Ahi (Sashimi grade) that is prepared with sea salt, soy sauce, sesame oil, Maui Onions and other ingredients.
With over ten different varieties to choose from, you`re sure to become a fan of Tamura`s award winning Poke!
Besides Poke, Tamura`s is the place to go to get some of the best deals and all things alcohol. Be sure to stock up when you get to Maui.
|Location:||226 Kupuohi Street Lahaina, HI 96761|
Maui Steamer Pots
One of our all-time favorite meals comes from Maui Steamer Pots. These pots are designed by you, and filled with a variety of fresh seafood, corn, sausage and more. They also come with a baguette and you even get to keep the pot. Our personal favorite steamer pot includes fresh shrimp, lobster, crab, scallops, corn and sausage with a white wine broth.
Once you design your pot, it will be delivered to you to enjoy! Simply boil at home, or boil on the grill at the beach, and enjoy! What we love most is how versatile this meal is. We like to cook ours at home and then enjoy it during sunset at Kapalua Bay. Maui Steamer Pots are perfect for a special occasion, or just a casual dinner in your favorite Maui location. We promise you, this is a meal you will never forget.
Sam Sato’s is located in Wailuku, but is well worth the drive! Sam Sato’s is an institution on Maui, and is probably one of the most popular restaurants for locals. Sam Sato’s is not fancy by any means; they do not serve a giant menu but they do serve the BEST “Dry Noodles” you will ever have! If you have never tried Dry Noodles, now is the time. Sam Sato’s serves up their house made noodles, fried with char siu, been sprouts, green onions and a bowl of dashi on the side. Sometimes it is the simple things that prove to be the most memorable. This spot is one of them.
This counter-service restaurant serves both breakfast and lunch, but it is the lunch that you should not miss. While on that side of the island, be sure to reserve a bit of your day for Sam Sato’s. The hours are from 7 am to 2 pm.
|Location:||1750 Wili Pa Loop Wailuku, HI 96793|
Honokowai Okazuya & Deli
This fabulous cash only eatery is usually filled with locals. If you are not looking for it, you will probably will miss it. Located in a small shopping center on Lower Honoapiilani Rd, this small eatery is one of the best hidden gems on the island.
Okazuya serves primary local dishes, served with the classic side of rice and mac salad. Their Mahi Mahi Lemon Caper Sautee is to die for! Also, try their famous Chicken Katsu or Korean Style Chicken B-B-Q.
Take a break from all the fancy restaurants on Maui, and see where the locals eat! We can promise you this will be one of your new go-to eateries.
|Location:||3600 Lower Honoapiilani Rd Lahaina, HI 96761|
While The Gazebo has its fair share of tourists, locals seem to know the secret to dining at this oceanfront restaurant-get there early! The line can get pretty long, so we suggest getting there as early as you can.
Located on the point of Napili Bay, The Gazebo is in walking distance from the villas. Open from 7:30 am to 2 pm, this nostalgic restaurant is famous for their pancakes. Try their Mac Nut Pancakes, White Chocolate Mac Nut and Banana Mac Combo.
Pancakes are not the only thing they do right; everything at the Gazebo is comforting, filling and absolutely delicious!
This an open-air restaurant, and there is nothing more tropical than the sensation of soft trade winds caressing your skin during your meal. With views of world famous Napili Bay and neighboring islands, the Gazebo is well worth the wait.
|Location:||Napili Shores Condos 5315 Lower Honoapiilani Rd Lahaina, HI 96761|
Ululani`s Hawaiian Shave Ice
Let us state the simple truth – there is no better shave ice in the world than that at Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice. You have had a snow cone on the mainland? Sorry, no competition. Nothing compares.
Ululani’s awards are endless. Year after year, Ululani continues to win the title of, “best shaved ice on the island.” Their homemade syrups and creative add-ons are nothing short of heavenly. With dozens of flavors, and premium island made ice cream to add to the bottom, it is tough to refrain from that second helping!
Try their “No Ka Oi,” a combination of coconut, mango and lilikoi. Add Roselani’s premium macadamia nut ice-cream, and toasted coconut to the top.
Or, try their “Haleakala,” a creation of coconut and leche flavor, topped with sweetened condensed cream.
With over six locations on the island, you are never too far away from one of the best treats on Maui. Two of their locations are located on Front Street in Lahaina.
The Honolua Store
Originally built in 1929, the Honolua Store served workers on the plantation that once occupied the Kapalua grounds. This historic building is now home to one of, if not the most beloved landmark on all Maui.
Today, you can find gifts, wine, gourmet food, groceries, cosmetics, apparel, an espresso bar and bakery, a full service deli, and more.
What draws locals and returning visitors to the Honolua Store each and everyday, is the large variety of delicious food served for breakfast, lunch and dinner. When you see the line of locals, you know the food must be good.
We recommend taking a stroll down to the Honolua Store in the morning, grabbing some items for breakfast, and enjoying those on their beautiful lanai. This is also a good time to pick some Spam Musubi. Their Spam Musubi sells out by lunchtime, and is a local favorite! You have to try this at least once on your vacation.
The traditional lunches are also fantastic; part of that menu changes daily. A local Friday favorite is their Kalua Pork and Cabbage.
The Honolua Store is located just a quick walk down from your villa on Office Road.
|Location:||502 Office Road Lahaina, HI 96761|
Star Noodle is located in the industrial district of Lahaina, and is a “must do” while vacationing on Maui. This award winning noodle house has a huge following, with both locals and visitors. Their homemade noodles and creative Asian dishes will succeed in exciting all your senses!
Star Noodle is open for lunch and dinner from 10:30 am to 10:00 pm.
We recommend the Vietnamese Crepe, Steamed Pork Buns and Malasadas with decadent dipping sauces for dessert. However, you cannot go wrong with anything on the menu.
Pai`a Fish Market
Paia Fish Market is a legend on Maui when it comes to serving up some of the freshest fish out there. The owners of Paia Fish Market work with local fishermen to serve daily fresh cathes, as well as local farmers to ensure that all their ingredients are only locally sourced.
For multiple years in a row, they have taken home the title of “Best Fish Sandwhich” on Maui and are also known to have one of the best fish tacos.
Daily catches include mahi mahi, ono, snapper, ahi and opah and can be prepared in a variety of ways to meet the needs of each customer. Other popular dishes include their fried calamari, seafood pasta, fish burgers and fish and chips. Pair any of these with a cold beer and you’re in seafood heaven!
Paia Fish Market is located on Front Street in Lahaina across the street from the iconic banyan tree. This is a wonderful place to stop for a bite to eat while exploring this historic town, or before or after a sailing trip from Lahaina Harbor.
A’a Roots is one of our favorite organic spots to grab a healthy, and at the same time beautifully presented, breakfast or lunch. Meals at A’a Roots are unlike anything you will find on the island. This unique, vegan eatery serves up “re-interpreted global comfort food” with a flare all their own. Each item prepared at A’a Roots not only tastes out of this world but looks to be a work of art as well!
The Coffee Store in Napili
Stepping into The Coffee Store in Napili, feels like stepping into your favorite coffee shop back home. The ambiance is warm, the staff is friendly and the coffee and baked goods are phenomenal! Every morning you can expect to see the regulars; Maui surfers getting back from the morning swell or friends just catching up and "talking story."
Get away from the crowds and indulge in one of their signature coffees or sweet delights!
|Location:||5095 Napilihau St. Napili, HI 96761|
A Saigon Cafe
A Saigon Café is one of the most popular Asian restaurants on Maui. This unassuming restaurant has gained attention from all over the world, including Rachel Ray. If you are planning on visiting the other side of the island, or flying home from Kahului airport, we strongly suggest stopping by and enjoying an unforgettable meal.
The prices at A Saigon Café are very affordable, which means you can sample many items on their menu. You cannot leave the restaurant without trying their famous “Vietnamese Burritos.” This is by far their most popular dish on the menu, and was even featured on The Food Network. We also recommend the Fried Spring Rolls and their Flat Rice Noodles with Chicken. There are far too many dishes to mention, the best thing to do is sample their menu yourself!
|Location:||1792 Main Street Wailuku, HI 96793|
What is guri-guri you might be asking yourself? We aren’t really sure ourselves, but it is nothing short of a legend on Maui. Every local who was born and raised on Maui, was also raised with with a deep, deep love for this sweet, cold concoction.
Guri-guri is a cross between ice cream and sherbet, with the recipe being a family secret. Two flavors are made daily and include strawberry and pineapple. After all these years you can still get two scoops for just $1.50!
You can find this sweet treat at Tasaka Guri-Guri which is located in Kahului at the Maui Mall. This mom-and-pop shop has been around for over 50 years and will get you in and out in no time! They only take cash so come prepared and get ready to experience a Maui dessert legend!
T Komoda Store and Bakery
If you ask any local on Maui where the very best place to get Malasada’s would be, they would tell you T Komoda Store and Bakery. If you aren’t familiar with Malasadas, they are Hawaii’s form of a doughnut- but better! Malasada’s are a Portuguese doughnut but without the hole. They can be filled with a variety of fillings including haupia (coconut), guava, chocolate and more.
T Komoda Store and Bakery is located up country in historic Makawao Town and on any given morning you will find the line out the door of hungry customers eager to purchase their famous, warm Malasadas. A trip to T Komoda Store and Bakery is a trip worth taking.
|Location:||3674 Baldwin Ave Makawao, HI 96768|
The Tasty Crust
The Tasty Crust hands down takes the title of the “neighborhood diner” of Maui. You won’t find a lot of frills, no fancy menu or décor, but you will find some of the most delicious comfort food and traditional diner menu favorites, but with an island spin. The Tasty Crust is a legend on Maui, and has even been showcased on Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown.”
We recommend coming for breakfast and trying their famous Banana Pancakes, or the very popular island favorite, the Loco Moco. The Loco Moco consists of white rice, topped with a hamburger patty, a fried egg and gravy.
If you want to get away from all the tourist and dine where the locals eat, it can’t get more local than the Tasty Crust.
|Location:||1770 Mill Street Wailuku, HI 96793|
Moku Roots offers a wonderful menu for vegan and vegetarian lovers alike. The owners of Moku Roots have their own organic farm just 6 miles away, which supplies the eatery with a large varity of fresh produce.
Moku Roots is located in Lahaina and is a must do if you are looking for something healthy to counter all the mai tais and loco mocos you may have consumed during your stay.
We love their famous Taro Burgers with mac-nut aioli, yummy buffalo cauliflower wrap and pineapple fried rice served in half a pineapple.
Moku Roots is a zero waste eatery. As a fun bonus, if you order to go they will wrap your food in a ginger leaf instead of using boxes or plastic.