Are you heading to Maui and looking for some off the beaten path local spots? I’ve rounded up some of the best food in Maui including my favorite places to eat for plate lunches, seafood, loco mocos, and more! They’re sorted by different parts of the island, and not only do these places have good grub, but they’re high on local charm as well.
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Aloha Mixed Plate: Located right on the water (and right next to the Old Lahaina Luau), this is the perfect spot to try local style food, but with an atmosphere that’s more appealing to tourists.
Star Noodle: Star Noodle is one of the most popular restaurants in Lahaina and gets consistently good ratings for the quality of the food. It’s also not located on Front Street (the touristy part of town) so the prices are decent. This is a great place to experience local food in a classy but low key environment. This place wins for best food in Lahaina.Joey’s Kitchen at Whaler’s Village: Most of the best local food spots on Maui aren’t in touristy areas which means if you’re staying at a resort, it’s hard to find options nearby. Joey’s is the answer to that problem on Ka’anapali Beach. Find local favorites to go at this spot at Whaler’s Village.
Ono Kau Kau: One of the best spots for a quick plate lunch in West Maui. Hawaiian, Chinese, and seafood specials are all served at this counter service spot that’s open all day.
808 Grindz Café: If you’re looking for good, hearty food at a reasonable price, you’ll find it here in Lahaina. Think fluffy pancakes in a variety of flavors and plenty of local plates (like loco moco). It’s in a little strip mall and there’s no view, but it’s definitely one of Maui’s top breakfast spots (they’re also open for lunch).
Down the Hatch: It’s hard to find a restaurant on Front Street (Lahaina) that’s not a total tourist trap, but this spot combines great island inspired seafood specialties with a fun atmosphere. They’re open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner plus they have good happy hour and late night specials. Also check out Breakwall Shave Ice next door which is home to the first “adult” shave ice in Hawaii.
RELATED: Not very familiar with Maui? Read up on the lay of the is(land) and where to stay and my favorite condos, luxury resorts, and boutique hotels plus my area specific guides (including where to stay, eat, and things to do) for Wailea, Ka’anapali, the north shore, and upcountry and my review of staying at the Four Seasons Maui.
Kihei Caffe: This is my favorite spot for breakfast on the beach. It’s a total dive but the food is GREAT and you can’t beat the location. Go early or be prepared to wait in line. The pancakes are amazing and you can get them with a variety of toppings. This place wins for best breakfast on the beach.
Eskimo Candy: This local spot serves up good seafood plate lunches and heartier fare for dinner. You can also get it to go and eat across the street at the beach.
Coconut’s: Coconut’s usually wins all of the “best fish tacos in Maui” award. They’re super yummy and very unique. The restaurant is very low key. You order at the counter and seating is community style. My favorite part about Coconut’s is that Wow Wow Lemonade is right next-door. Grab a handmade lemonade (made with local ingredients) before you head into Coconut’s. This place wins for best fish tacos in Kihei.
Sansei Seafood and Sushi: Sansei seafood is the go to place for sushi in Kihei (there’s also a location in Kapalua). It has a laid back vibe and it’s right across from Kalama beach park. This place wins for best sushi in Kihei.
Ululani’s: You can’t come to Hawaii without getting some famous local style shaved ice. Get it with ice cream on the bottom (trust me). Ululani’s is a local favorite and they’ve got multiple locations so it’s always super convenient.
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Sam Sato’s: A classic counter service breakfast and lunch spot in Wailuku featuring Chinese and Hawaiian favorites.
Poi by the Pound: If you’re fascinated (or just curious) about the Hawaiian staple, poi, then this casual spot in Kahului is a place you need to check out. Their poi-centric menu also features other Hawaiian favorites for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Da Kitchen: This longtime Maui restaurant has taken the traditional “plate lunch” (usually served at a takeout counter) and turned it into a cuisine deserving of a dining experience. There’s also a location in Kihei. Both serve a full gluten free menu.
Tasty Crust: This local joint is an old school American diner, Hawaiian style. Great, local breakfasts (heaping portions) is the specialty here. It’s located in Wailuku, which is more of a local town and not a place where many tourists find themselves unless they’re heading out to the Iao Valley so driving over for breakfast is a great way to see a more local side of Maui.
A Saigon Café: A great little local Vietnamese restaurant in Wailuku. It’s not so much about the atmosphere, but the service is efficient, and the food very good.
Tinroof: A little more modern that your traditional lunch counter, this spot serves Hawaiian comfort food with a little more culinary flair than usual.
Tokyo Tei: Serving traditional Japanese dishes in Wailuku since 1934, this spot is an institution on the island. They’re famous for their tempura.
RELATED: 15 Things to Do on Maui
North Shore & Upcountry
Mana Foods: You haven’t experienced Paia until you’ve been in Mana. It’s kind of a local “Whole Foods” and they have a prepared food section that’s perfect for grabbing a picnic lunch. This place wins for best local experience on Maui.
Kuau Store: This little deli/general store is THE best place to stop and grab lunch to go before hitting the Road to Hana! Everything is super yummy and fresh and you can either get a custom made sandwich or Panini or grab something ready made. Also stock up on snacks and fresh fruit.
T Komoda Store and Bakery: This famous bakery is on many foodie visitors to Maui. Well known for their stick donuts, you’ve got to show up here early if you want the goods. Many restaurants also use Komodo sweet buns on their burgers (I’m looking at you Rock ‘n’ Brews!) so even if you’re not able to make it to the bakery there’s still a chance that you can try out what is in my opinion their best offering.
Grandma’s Coffee House: One of Maui’s hidden gems is located Upcountry in Keokea. Grandma’s Coffee House is a true local’s hangout and if you show up midmorning on the weekends the line is usually out the door. Grandma’s has a wide range of freshly baked goods ranging (including banana bread, cinnamon bread, chocolate macadamia nut cookies, and just about everything else you can imagine) but they also have some of the best Belgian waffles I’ve ever had. Get them loaded with strawberries and you won’t be sorry!
Ulupalakua Ranch Store: In the heart of Maui’s Upcountry is a huge working cattle ranch where the Ulupalakua Ranch Store has an outdoor kitchen that cooks up made to order beef and elk burgers on the store’s large porch. They usually start cooking around 11 AM and the store inside has cold drinks and side dishes. If you’re out this way, stop by Maui Winery’s Tasting Room across the street to sample their famous pineapple wine.