Lahaina’s historic seaside whaling village offers a lot more than art galleries and Hawaiian heritage. A genuine love of farm to fork attitude is shared among the chefs here, who cook with pride the most casual to elegant fare.
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Located on Kaanapali Beach at Whalers Village, Hula Grill is a popular seaside spot among Lahaina’s many restaurants. While it is not a chain restaurant, it is part of a family of restaurants in Hawaii and California. Hula Grill is known for its unique balance of casual elegance in its food and atmosphere. The Aloha Hour is popular and is 3pm – 5pm daily, a great way to wrap up a day at the beach with some island cocktails and appetizers before dinner. The Kiawe fire grilled Cantonese lamb chops, poisson cru, Waipoli farm greens and purple sweet potato ravioli exemplify the innovative local and regional cuisine.
Star Noodle is a popular hangout—great for lunch, dinner or take-out. The food here is comfort cooking with nightly specials. Korean Jook with char siu pork belly, braised daikon, carrots, asparagus, and some nori & cherry tomatoes on a bed of dashi risotto or fried brussel sprout leaves in sweet and spicy nuoc cham are two of many colorful dishes. The drinks and festive atmosphere are plusses and if you go in a group, it’s fun to order a variety of dishes to share.
Cool Cat Café
While a fifties diner motif and burger menu sounds trite, Cool Cat Café is a family-owned burger joint serving a variety of good eats with daily drink specials. A vegetarian may be reluctant to visit, but this place offers four different vegetarian burgers. Fresh fish caught locally, steak, ribs, salads and desserts reminiscent of a casual café make this a good lunch spot, especially for families.
Also, take a look at our Kaanapali vacation rentals located nearby Lahaina.
Aloha Mixed Plate
Locally-owned and geared to offer a local style plate lunch near Mala Wharf, Aloha Mixed Plate has won some community accolades, including Best Plate Lunch and the coconut prawns won Best Appetizer. The restaurant owners pay homage to the plantation workers who would bring teriyaki beef with rice and pickled vegetables, pork or chicken stew, marinated ribs or chow fun. Adding an island twist, the Aloha Mixed Plate brings back the diversity of cultures and hearty mix of food on a plate that aims to fulfill—regardless of whether you have to go back to work or play after lunch. As a side note, the Old Lahaina Luau is a buffet of traditional Hawaiian foods and experiences, complete with the hula and unearthing the kalua pig from the imu (underground oven).
The Hyatt Regency’s Japengo
While many travelers shy away from hotel restaurant dining, some places are worth it for the scenery, cocktails, atmosphere and live music. The Hyatt Regency’s Japengo is innovative pan-Asian cuisine that will delight. The sushi appetizers, sashimi, entrees and desserts are appealing. The local farms that contribute to the menu’s ingredients include fish farms, local fisherman, local beef and produce and even local gelato. The milk chocolate pot de crème with Maui mango chutney is a sweet finish.
Roy’s Kahana Bar & Grill
A sixth consideration is Roy’s Kahana Bar & Grill. Any Roy’s eatery in Hawaii, should be part of your island visit. An amalgamation of meals from Roy’s restaurant chefs throughout its string of locations, some of the plates are a unique thread of chef’s creations from various regions. While the food is a feast for the eyes, dining won’t disappoint either and it’s simply important to punctuate your visit by dressing up and eating tasty and creative dishes.