Ezy Reading:


 

Ezy Reading:
A Taste of Hawaii in Lahaina, Maui
Evan Kanarakis

 

This month we venture to tropical Maui, Hawaii and the popular getaway destination of Lahaina. Though the area swells with visitors in high season, it would be a true shame to limit one’s dining experiences to paltry tourist offerings, especially when the region boasts a rich and diverse local cuisine. Here are three restaurants we think are well worth a trip when next on The Valley Isle.

 

Honu Seafood & Pizza (1295 Front St, Lahaina, HI)

The Atmosphere: We happened across this casual gem courtesy of a local’s recommendation, which comes as no surprise given owners Chef Mark Ellman and his wife Judy have been residents of Maui for nearly thirty years, and with several restaurants to their name across three Hawaiian islands. The light, bright interior of Honu is adorned with several colorful paintings of maritime life, but we recommend snaring a seat on the waterfront patio where waves lap to shore just a few feet from your table.

Why Come Here? The seafood! While the restaurant’s brick oven pizza serves up a tasty assortment of pizzas, the menu is host to several seafood highlights, including a variety of simple but super-fresh seafood cocktails, ahi bruschetta and an umami-loaded Washington oyster shooter served with lemon, wasabi, tobiko and ponzu. For something more substantial, the wok-fried Hawaiian snapper in Malaysian black pepper sauce and beer-battered fish and chips make the grade, as does a Dungeness crab seafood sandwich with Korean aioli. Honu also offer a substantial gluten-free menu where, regardless of your gluten intolerance, the seafood grits are a must-order.
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Tiki Terrace Restaurant, Ka'anapali Beach Hotel (2525 Kaanapali Pkwy, Lahaina HI)

The Atmosphere: Though neighbor to several high-end resorts, the more low key environs of the Ka'anapali Beach Hotel are no less relaxing, and the property places a welcome emphasis on promoting the local culture and history. The hotel’s casual, open-air restaurant is an ideal setting for dinner on a warm, breezy evening, just a short walk from the beach (and, more importantly, the nearby Tiki Bar). On Tuesday to Sunday evenings, diners enjoy a complimentary Hawaiian Music and Hula Show from their tables.

Why Come Here? The menu offers a variety of local and more traditional American fare, but we recommend sticking to the nightly seafood specials or trying the Hawaiian Lau Lau. Served simply, this local specialty features a luau leave pouch of fish, chicken and pork, served with white rice, lomi-lomi salmon (a salmon, tomato and sweet Maui onion salad), white rice and poi, that most traditional of Native Hawaiian foods, a starchy, sticky dish made from the root of the taro plant. For dessert, don’t look past the ‘Banana Caramel Eruption’, a decadent (and award-winning) dish featuring a hot fudge brownie, macadamia nut ice cream and caramelized bananas. $$

 

Pacific’O Restarant (505 Front St, #114, Lahaina, HI)

The Atmosphere: For fine dining that doesn’t feel over-stuffy, this beachfront restaurant is one of the best in Lahaina. The bright, wood-paneled interior features a long cocktail bar that faces an open-air patio with stellar views (particularly at sunset). Local ingredients are prepared with contemporary flair and finesse, making this a popular destination for locals and tourists alike (and worthy of a visit for the cocktails alone).

Why Come Here? Chef Greg Harrison deftly handles the ‘land’ portion of his menu (the harissa and sesame-crusted rack of lamb is delicious), but his seafood preparations are undeniably the main reason to visit Pacific’O. The refreshing house ceviche and ahi poke make excellent starting choices. For mains, keep an eye out for any seasonal seafood specialties, though we find it hard to pass on the popular toasted coconut and macadamia-crusted mahi. $$$
 

 

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