9 Best Places to Eat in Kaanapali, Maui

June 3, 2017

Best Places to Eat in Kaanapali

We had an amazing time with so many delicious meals during our honeymoon in Maui! While we were able to explore so many different areas of the island, this list focuses on the best places to eat in Kaanapali and Lahaina. Don’t worry, I didn’t mislead you! Lahaina is just a 10 minute drive from Kaanapali. If you don’t have a rental car you can easily get there via bus. Here are my 9 Best Places to Eat in Kaanapali list ordered from most to least expensive. Please leave a comment if you have some other restaurants you suggest. Below are only restaurants I ate at. I know there are so many more places – guess it means I just need to book another trip back. 🙂

Most expensive

  1. Duke’s Beach House – Such a great location – better than any restaurants on Front Street in my opinion. Set directly on the beach overlooking the water and surrounded by beautiful resort hotels, Duke’s is great. The view alone helps Duke’s win as one of the best places to eat in Kaanapali. It’s named after Hawaiian surfing legend Duke Kahanamoku. Oh, and did I mention the setting? Well it’s worth mentioning twice. Arguably one of my favorite meals of the trip. We sat down and a mellow, relaxing band was playing the entire time we ate. We started with Poke Tacos and Crab and Macnut wontons. So delicious! For our entree, we Mahi Mahi Baked Duke’s Style. It was unreal. The Mahi literally melted in my mouth.
    Duke's in Maui
    Duke’s is located right on the beach. Image courtesy of pinterest.com.
  2. Ruth’s Chris Steak House – Eeek. Urgh. Grr. I get it. I am now listing a second chain. Oh, the nerve of me. Give me a chance though. In fact, give this restaurant a chance. I realized I’ve been way too skeptical of chains in many of my posts. Although I think I will always prefer going to unique spots in cities, I will try to be a little more open to some chains. This was one of our splurge meals for our honeymoon. It ended up being one of our favorite meals. Although a typical Ruth’s Chris on the inside, you get an amazing view. There are large windows on the side of the building to let you see straight out into the ocean. Upon finding out it was our honeymoon, we were treated to two large, complimentary glasses of Prosecco. No complaints there!! We ordered the calamari as a started and then our steaks. Everything was delicious. Even though we were completely stuffed, our waiter then brought out a complimentary dessert – strawberries drizzled with chocolate and then lit on fire! Apparently I’m the fat one in this relationship because Tyler was too full to eat it. I was full too, but as smart people say – “you’re never too full for dessert.” A motto I live by and make no exceptions (although I should at times). Beside that rant, try this if you’re willing to spend some cash on a romantic oceanside dinner. Pair this dinner with a night at Warren and Annabelle’s – a comedy and magic show. I was laughing hysterically the entire time and the theater is right next door to Ruth’s Chris.
  3. Any luau! – I understand this isn’t a restaurant but the food is amazing at luaus! If you want some authentic, traditionally prepared Hawaiian food, why not go to a luau and enjoy some entertainment in the process. Prices are going to vary depending on which luau you choose (likely about $100 and up per person), but you definitely will get an extreme amount of food! We attended the Old Lahaina Luau.

Moderately Expensive:

  1. Kobe – This is like any other Japanese steakhouse (chef cooks the meal in front of you). We had a gift card, so we decided to check out Kobe one of our nights in Maui. I really enjoyed the meal! My husband has a dairy allergy and the waitress and chef were more than accommodating to make sure his was cooked with oil and not butter. Overall, the food was very good (and you get a ton!). You can pick and choose what you get to make it as “fancy” as you want. Depending on if you want steak, and therefore what kind of steak, will make your price fluctuate up or down.
  2. Leilani’s on the Beach – This ended up being one of my favorite spots of the trip. We read online that there were some excellent Happy Aloha Hour (3-5pm) deals and these reviews were spot on! We ordered some Mai Tais and pupus (appetizers) while to our thrill there was an awesome two-man band playing. The band was fantastic – very talented singer and guitar group. I think most of the audience had one too many Mai Tais because half of the entertainment was watching the audience members dance over to the stage to tip the band. The patio is covered, so you don’t need to be worried about too much sun. The crowed here seemed to be everyone of all ages ranging from families with young children to honeymooners to large groups of seniors.
  3. Fleetwood’s – Does the name immediately make you think of Fleetwood Mac? If so, you’re spot on! Mick Fleetwood actually owns this restaurant. There is a gorgeous rooftop terrace with many tables having great views overlooking the ocean and a chill bar up there too. The two reasons to come here are: great sunset or great music. Mick Fleetwood personally chooses the talented musicians who play here and whether you’re in here for a pitstop in the afternoon or partying all night, you’ll be able to rock out.
Fleetwood's - One of the Best Places to Eat in Kaanapali
Sunset ceremony at Fleetwoods. Image courtesy of fleetwoodsonfrontst.com.

Reasonably Priced

  1. Paia Fish Market – I will say it right now. This is #1 in my book of best places to eat in Kaanapali considering what you get for what you pay. The Mahi burger is hands-down THE best deal on the island. You get an enormous, quality Mahi filet on a bun topped with cole slaw and tartar sauce for only $10. While the burger itself is very filling (my husband who eats like a truck is content after eating one) you can throw in a huge side of fries for…oh, only $2 extra. Food does not come cheap on Maui, so the fact you get such a large meal for ~$12 is outstanding. The taste itself is priceless. Don’t like Mahi? Don’t worry. You can get Ono (also $10) or any other available fish ($12). There are two locations – Paia and Front Street (Lahaina). We tried both so you can choose which one if more up your alley! The Paia location is situated in the center of the town on a busy corner. Paia is a bit of a hippie town near the airport and parking spots fill up fast. Be aggressive, but not too aggressive (this is Maui after all) when someone pulls out if you want to grab a spot. If you come during popular lunch hours you’ll be a bit overwhelmed. The inside is tiny. If you’re there with a friend or a group, have 1 or 2 people grab a table as soon as guests get up to leave and hold it while the others in your crew stand in line to order. Everyone does it, so you might as well be pushy to get your spot too. No outside tables and just 7 tables inside. The Front Street location is much more laidback. Plenty of tables inside and outside, so you can enjoy your Mahi burger in peace without dripping from sweat after frantically claiming your seat.
    paia fish market - one of the best places to eat in kaanapali.
    Delicious and affordable Mahi burgers! Image courtesy of mauitime.com.
  2. Round Table Pizza – Yeah. Pizza on a tropical island. Some say tacky, I say give me more. Ok, so as a self-described pizzaholic, it is not a surprise we had a pizza meal during our time here. What did surprise me is how awesome this place was! Before this trip I was convinced I hated Hawaiian pizza. Albeit never actually trying it, the idea of pineapple on pizza made me nauseous. Wrong again! My husband convinced me I HAD to try the Maui Zaui pizza on the menu and it was WOW-ee! This bad boy is topped with ham, bacon bits, pineapple, tomatoes, onions, and a special Polynesian sauce. It tasted so refreshing! They have dine-in, carryout, and delivery.
  3. Safeway – A grocery store? Hear me out. A trip to Hawaii does not come with a cheap price tag. If you have a kitchen at your location in Maui, then I highly suggest a trip to the grocery store after you arrive. We wanted to splurge on fun dinners and some lunches rather than breakfast, so we chose to stock up on breakfast foods, coffee (which you’ll also want to buy to take home), snacks, some beer, and POG. Don’t know what POG is? A magical juice concoction comprised of Pomegranate, Orange, and Guava juices. It truly is a miracle and since it’s vacation you can just ignore the absurd amount of sugar in this nectar sent to us from the Hawaiian gods. Anyways, to save some money and to have snacks/beverages at a reasonable cost, head to a grocery store. The Safeway in the Canary Mall is open 24/7 and has a variety of food options.

Places to Avoid

I don’t mean to be a downer and provide you with my shit-list of restaurants, but you’ll thank me later when you don’t ruin a night of your Maui trip at one of these places. This list is, after all, the best places to eat in Kaanapali.

  1. Bubba Gump’s – I don’t understand the fascination with some people and Bubba Gump’s. It has always seemed too gimmicky with mediocre food. The location in Maui is incredible though – at the end of Front Street so feels secluded with an amazing view of the ocean and sunset. However….whomp whomp. I hated every second of being here. To put a long story short, the service was atrocious, the food tasted gross and not fresh, my drink (margarita I ordered to cheer myself up after being pissed we waited 20 minutes just for our server to greet us) tasted too sugary and fake. My already low expectations were just thrown out the window. Yikes. It is beyond me how there is a nightly crowd lined up down the street to come here.

Oh, would you look at that. Only one place on my avoid list. Sorry Bubba, you just don’t cut it. If you want a mediocre appetizer with a good view, come here. Otherwise give it a hard pass and check out one of the other amazing places on Front Street. Basically all of them have cool ocean views so don’t read a review and think this is heaven’s gate. Just move on.

Overall, I hope this list of the best places to eat in Kaanapali gives you some great ideas of where you can spend a great night with a delicious meal!

More about Sara

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *