July 28, 2005
We live in troubling times. anxiety is everywhere. the old institutions and traditions that served us so long seem no longer up to the task. uncertainty has replaced, um, certainty. life just five or six years ago seems unusually peaceful and carefree.
it is times like these that we look for heroes: —those who seem stronger, smarter and braver than the rest of us. heroes who represent the best that we have to offer.
like super cuz. he,s our own local hero. he holds the rich and powerful in check. he brings aid and comfort to the poor and drunken. he fears no monster and engages in no vice (when he,s on the clock, that is.—even superheroes need a pau hana now and then).
super Cuz represents all the best that maui has to offer, which is why we,ve chosen him to guide you, our loyal, trusting readers through our 2005 best of maui issue.
it,s a demanding journey,—not for the faint of heart.—and you,ll need someone like the mighty super cuz to help you find what,s what. we ran our 160-item ballots for months, and more than a couple of you responded. now at last, here are your choices for best female bartender, safety check, state official, place to dance and all sorts of other stuff.
for the most part, you voted well. but there were some who abused the privilege (those who voted for click it or ticket as best use of county funds know who you are).
so now sit back, relax and enjoy this, our most monstrously biggest issue of all time. please.
Super Cuz demands it!
contributors: samantha campos, linda gampert, kellie holliday, heidi king, anthony pignataro, gabrielle poccia, molly rettig, jen russo.
1 BEST BURGER
cool cat cafee
You readers have validated what I've known for eons. Well, okay, maybe it's only been a year but that's close enough. Cool Cat has awesome burgers. (The same goes for Jonny's—and I still can't solve the debate between these two). They're not the fancy, $30 burgers with caviar they're serving in New York. And they're not the thin, questionable meat-pattied burger you got at the school lunch cafeteria. Cool Cat does it right, with just enough soft bun to cover a quarter pound of perfectly cooked and seasoned beef, crisp lettuce, slices of fresh tomato, onions, melted cheese of your choice and their secret sauce. Like pizza, burgers generally elicit some pretty strong opinions from eaters, so it's nice to see most of us are on the same page here. At least until next year. 658 Front St., Lahaina, 667-0908.
runner-up: jonny's burger joint. 2291 ka,anapali pwky., 661-4500. (sc)
2 BEST KIM CHEE
In Korea they say they can tell if a cook is good from their kim chee, so if you use that as an indicator then the food at Ichiban is number-one, too. Their kim chee is made from won bok cabbage and a special blend of pickle and spices that make it irresistible, as well as a perfect accompaniment to their bentos and plate lunches. Never mind the kim chee breath, it's worth it. 2133 Kaohu St, Wailuku, 244-7276.
runner up: kohala brand. located island-wide. (jr)
3 BEST BURRITO
With burritos anywhere between three and four inches in diameter, a sizable length and so many different choices, Maui Tacos serves a burrito sure to satisfy anyone's hunger. You can get one with beans or rice, chicken or steak, and for vegetarians there's also a non-meat selection. Oh, and don't forget to get it wet. That's the only way to go. For just a few cents more, you can turn your usual, pedestrian dry burrito into a giant, messy, saucy wet burrito. mmmmm… Located island-wide.
runner-up (tie): horhito,s. 41 e. lipoa st., kihei, 891-6394/las pinatas. 395 dairy rd., kahului, 977-8707. (kh)
4 BEST PAD THAI
With one small room and a million choices of food to choose from, Thai Chef is one of the best sit down restaurants for Pad Thai. For some it's hard to find but when you do finally sit down it feels like some hidden nook in a big city. The food and atmosphere are great but probably the most unique characteristic is that you can bring your own alcohol. Not just beer, either—any kind of booze. It's nice to go out to eat and have a drink with your food but it's even nicer when you're not overcharged for it! Thai Chef is family-owned and run, and all the servers work together as a team to keep the customers happy. All in all, it's one of the quaintest experiences you can have dining out in Maui. Old Lahaina Center, 667-2814.
runner-up: thailand cuisine. 1819 s. kihei rd., 875-0839. (gp)
5 BEST LUNCH
Ah, Stella Blues. You show me a person who doesn't love the place and I'll show you a fool. They have a great selection of sandwiches, vegetarian items, salads and sides, as well as plate lunch options and tasty chicken chili. You have the choice of indoor seating, where there is much Grateful Dead memorabilia to be seen or outdoor seating on the lanai that is wonderfully peaceful—for the most part. Stella Blues is a charming, family-owned, non-corporate establishment. And most importantly, the workers are welcoming, warm, knowledgeable, pleasant, hard working, enthusiastic, intelligent and attractive. I should know, because I'm one of them. 1279 S. Kihei Rd., Kihei, 875-3779.
runner-up: paia fish market. 2a baldwin ave., paia, 579-8030. (hk)
6 BEST DIVE BAR
No matter what town I happen to be in I can always find my way to a local dive. I owe my dive bar radar talents to the Sly Mongoose, a bar that found its way into my heart with unpretentious company, plenty of laughs and professional servers. It's a place where good friends are made over canned beer and a bag o' chips. No matter the time of day, it's always comfortable inside. In all my travels the Sly Mongoose still reigns supreme and wins with our readers, too. 1036 Limahana Pl., Lahaina, 661-8097.
runner-up: life,s a beach. 1913 s. kihei rd., 891-8010. (jr)
7 BEST SUSHI
One of the easier categories, Sansei has for years served the freshest, best raw fish on Maui. The quality, presentation and selection are simply better than any other sushi joint around. Rolls, sashimi, straight sushi—it makes no difference. I was even there one night when a friend of mine asked the chefs for a special order of some weird roll with eel and cream cheese, and they delivered. Thursday night karaoke-and-half-price-after-10 p.m. nights just sweeten the deal. 115 Bay Dr., Kapalua, 669-6286; 1881 S. Kihei Rd., 879-0004.
runner-up (tie): jacques. 120 hana hwy, paia, 579-8844/isana. 515 s. kihei rd., 874-5700. (ap)
8 BEST PLACE TO BUY WINE
We all know there are some good deals at Costco. But thank goodness, most of you realize the importance of service, knowledge and proper storage conditions, when it comes to buying wine. That's true value, people! When you walk into Mr. Wine, your eyes will feast on columns of reds, whites, roses and sparklings, and your nose will detect essence of wood and a faintly sweet cigar smell. Instantly, you will be greeted by either Trav Duro—owner of Mr. Wine for over 12 years—or one of his equally friendly wine experts, who will then lead the way into enticing your next, experience-appropriate selection. Wonder what he'd recommend for my next cheese-tasting/mud-wrestling soiree? 808 Wainee, Lahaina, 661-5551.
runner-up: wine corner in paia. 579-8904. (sc)
9 BEST DINNER & A SHOW
mulligans on the blue
Dinner shows are hard to come by. So when I got to Mulligan's for their Wailea Nights show, I was in for a beautiful surprise. It's a fabulous three-course meal with wine followed by a brilliant contemporary Hawaiian music show. Musicians Barry Flanagan and Eric Gilliom made their impression and set a standard for dining entertainment that will be hard to beat. While you won't always find the same two musicians, the show always features top entertainers like Barry, Eric and Willie K. 100 Kaukahi St., Wailea, 874-1131
runner-up: yorman,s by the sea. 760 s. kihei rd., 874-8385. (jr)
10 BEST TACO SALAD
I take my taco salads seriously. It's close to a faultless food, with a mix of tortilla, meat and greens. It has to be flavored, fresh and crisp. At Cilantro's the Mariposa Salad is just that, and so much more. Jicama was made to join with their roasted chicken and avocado. Did you know they rotisserie their own whole chickens there? Delicately spiced, you can order the chicken on any of the dishes. As for the salad, it's a perfect Lahaina lunch. 170 Papalaua Ave., 667-5444.
runner-up: compadres, lahaina cannery mall, 661-7189. (jr)
11 BEST SPAGHETTI AND MEATBALLS
I'm guessing their "One Big Meatball" is the menu item that made Bada Bing the winner in this category. It's a spherical half-pound of meat doused in a homemade marinara sauce for a mere $9.99. You'll agree—it'd be wrong for them not to win. But I would've never guessed that having just one big ball would put them at an advantage. 1945 S. Kihei Rd., Kihei, 875-0188.
runner-up (tie): penne pasta. 180 dickenson st., #113, lahaina, 661-6633/aroma d,italia. kihei town center, 879-0133. (hk)
12 BEST FARMERS MARKET
kahului swap meet
I can get up Saturday mornings and make it to the swap meet and buy a week's vegetables and fruits for less than $10. Supporting Maui's farmers and eating fresh vegetables is just the external benefits. You'll find fresh chilled coconut milk, exotic fruits and veggies, along with bagels, breads, baked goods all within the 50 cent entry fee. All that's missing is a fresh meat and fish market here.
runner up: honokowai farmers market, west maui. (jr)
13 BEST LUAU
old lahaina luau
The Old Lahaina Luau probably has the most authentic feel of all the luaus on Maui. Strangers get to know a little bit about one other, and people already acquainted enjoy each other's company that much more. It might be the Mai Tais, but who knows, with all the employees exuding aloha spirit and warmth it's hard to not have a great time. It's also one of the only places in the world where the short tables are desirable. If you pay an extra buck there are seats up front, low to the ground, with pillows for seats and an even more intimate view of the show. The luau provides a feast for the eyes with an elaborate show and some of the most eccentric costumes this side of the Pacific. The seaside setting is breathtaking at sunset and the performances are amazing. From the food and drinks to the drumming and dancing, it's an unforgettable experience. You will feast under the stars surrounded by heavenly bodies. 1251 Front St., Lahaina, 667-1998.
runner-up: feast at lele. 505 front st., lahaina, 667-5353. (gp)
14 BEST PANCAKES
I don't know about you, but for me Tasty Crust holds a bit of nostalgia. When I was a young girl I didn't quite understand the fascination, but my grandpa led me to see that Tasty Crusts' pancakes are truly divine. "Hot cakes" (as he called them) were his absolute favorite food. And his pick for the best was Tasty Crust. I have many a fond memory of my grandpa's smile while eating a Tasty Crust pancake. In fact, it's the same smile you can see today on the face of anyone enjoying the same pleasure. 1770 Mill St., Wailuku, 244-0845.
runner-up: ihop. maui mall, kahului, 871-4000. (kh)
15 BEST HEALTH FOOD STORE
When it comes to selection, value and the ratio of attractive vegans to oblivious tourists wanting to stock up the condo, Mana wins hands down. Food shoppers appreciate Mana as a consistent source for everything healthy, organic and cost-effective, from their mostly local produce, assortment of gourmet chocolates and cheeses, immense variety of bulk, canned and exotic goods, to their deli offering raw food delicacies, hot and salad bar filled with fresh goodies, as well as the vitamin, herb and beauty care room. But Mana doesn't discriminate against the carnivorously inclined; they also carry more PC meat products, free-range chicken and local beef than any other market on island. The only downside? Accidentally knocking your cart into a really hot windsurfer guy/gal in the sometimes-packed aisles. What? I said oops. 49 Baldwin Ave., Paia, 579-8078.
runner-up: down to earth. 305 dairy rd., kahului, 877-2661; 1169 makawao ave., 572-1488. (sc)
16 BEST CHINESE FOOD
Everyone on Maui knows the best way to eat Chinese food is family style. Especially with our deep-rooted values of 'ohana, what could be better than joining your relatives around a big table covered with the most scrumptious Chinese dishes? Nothing at all, especially if you go to Dragon Dragon and you get dishes like the honey walnut prawns, egg drop soup, roasted duck, sweet and sour pork, won tons, Mushu pork and fried rice. Get the family together and go tonight. Maui Mall, Kahului, 893-1628.
runner-up: panda express. 275 ka , ahumanu ave., kahului, 877-5645; 1279 s. kihei rd., 879-0883. (kh)
17 BEST DINING WITH A VIEW
Imagine that you're sitting at a quiet little table, looking out through Hawaiian flora at the pristine waters of Makena and, in the distance, Molokini and Kaho'olawe. A balmy breeze gently caresses your face while an innovative dish from Chef Todd Carlos titillates and seduces your taste buds. Welcome to Seawatch. Breakfast and lunch items range from $10-$15 and dinner entrees are around $30. Aren't you lucky? 100 Wailea Golf Club Dr., Wailea, 875-8080.
runner-up: mama,s fish house. 799 poho pl., kuau, 579-8488. (hk)
18 BEST NOODLES
Noodles, shmoodles. Who doesn't like noodles!? This place is known not only for noodles like saimin, chow fun and dry noodles but also a delicious flaky pastry called manju, which is filled with sweetened lima beans. Mmm… lima beans. Remember that Sam Sato's broth is made the old-fashioned way: from scratch. Everything is better from scratch and Maui Time Weekly readers seem to agree! Open Mon-Sat, 7 a.m.-2 p.m. 1750 Wili Pa Loop, Wailuku, 244-7124.
runner-up (tie): house of saimin. lahaina shopping center, 667-7572/ba-le. lahaina cannery mall, 661-5566. (lg)
19 BEST WINGS
b.j.,s chicago pizza
They're meaty, spicy and leave precisely the right amount of Buffalo sauce on your fingers. There's nothing wrong with sitting at the bar, gazing at the breakwall surfers trying to dodge incoming ferries and tourist boats while gnawing on a plate of wings at B.J.'s. Ask for them by name. 730 Front St., Lahaina, 661-0700.
runner-up: sports page grill & bar. 2411 s. kihei rd., 879-0602. (ap)
20 BEST FISH TACOS
Choice is key at Jawz, where you get to decide between ono, ahi and mahimahi for fish tacos, as well as an array of condiments at their almost overwhelming salsa bar. There's the usual stuff, like chopped cilantro, diced jalapenos and sour cream with avocado. But there's also tropical fruit and roasted corn salsas, and hot sauces ranging from "mild & tasty" to "holy $@*!!" like roasted habenero pepper with pineapple and carrot, and smoky chipotle pepper. The fish tacos themselves come with Jawz's mysterious but delectable "special pink sauce," over a mountain of shredded lettuce and cheese, cilantro rice and tender fish atop corn tortillas. The fish tacos also come in two sizes (more decisions!): reg. for $6.25, which is the size of two tacos, or XL for $8.75, which is what you'd order to try more sauces at the salsa bar. 1279 S. Kihei Rd., Kihei, 874-8226; and the cart in front of the Makena Big Beach entrance.
runner-up: maui tacos. located island-wide. (sc)
21 BEST CHEAP FOOD
Food is expensive these days, so when a place like Ba-Le comes along, broke people like myself rejoice! Ba-Le offers a unique menu, with everything from sandwiches like their Croissant Vegetable Sandwich (a very pleasing $3.75) to Vietnamese rice entrees that are hearty and go for around $7, to their display case filled with a variety of Tapioca puddings. Tapioca pudding? Yup, flavors like banana, papaya, taro and chocolate are just some samples of what awaits your taste buds. Open daily 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Lahaina Cannery Mall, 661-5566; Maui Marketplace, 270 Dairy Rd., Kahului, 877-2400.
runner-up (tie): jack-in-the-box. located island-wide/mana foods. 49 baldwin ave., paia, 579-8078. (lg)
22 BEST BUFFET
Buffet Toji is the champion when it comes to stuffing yourself to the point of purging. Is it the clean and inviting atmosphere? Or could it be they're the best because they offer 20 varieties of sushi as part of their plethora of Asian cuisine? And more importantly, does anyone care? It's only $24.95 and they have homemade desserts to boot. Seniors 65 and over receive a 20 percent discount, keiki aged three to 12 get 50 percent off and children younger than three don't pay. That's so generous! But come to think of it, how would a kid under three make enough money to go out and eat anyway? 2439 S. Kihei Rd., Kihei, 879-4900.
runner-up: maui prince hotel. 5400 makena alanui, makena, 874-1111. (hk)
23 BEST FEMALE BARTENDER
katie healy @ life,s a beach
Originally from New York, Katie's been on Maui—and at Life's a Beach—for three years. She says she originally planned to stay for just three months, but fell in love with the island and the freedom and creativity she's given at Life's a Beach. For instance, it was her and another co-worker's idea to put out a 2005 calendar of the bar staff to raise money for the Maui Food Bank and tsunami relief (she's Miss June). "It's the best bartending job I've ever had," she says. "When I get behind the bar, it's like I'm hosting a party. Come one, come all, let's have a good time." A great many Maui residents seem to agree. Katie works Monday, Thursday and Friday nights, so be sure to stop by and congratulate her. 1913 S. Kihei Rd., 891-8010.
runner-up: stacey smith @ horhito , s. 41 e. lipoa st., kihei, 879-9001. (ap)
24 BEST DESSERT
Roy's takes the cake—sorry, couldn't resist—on this one and it should be no surprise if you've ever seen their dessert menu. It's a hard-to-deny list of delectable little treats. There's the brown sugar creme brulee, served in a small, yet deep, ramekin and perfectly caramelized on top. There were tiny pieces of pineapple and a puff of whipped cream adorning it. But what kind of reporter would I be if I didn't try the famous chocolate souffle? One slice into this little bad boy sent the chocolate inside gushing out to mix with the berry sauce and vanilla ice cream on the plate. I think the sprinkle of powdered sugar really pulled it all together for an aesthetically and orally pleasing delicacy. 4405 Honoapi'ilani Hwy, Kahana, 669-6999; 303 Pi'ikea Ave., Kihei, 891-1120.
runner-up: longhi,s. 888 front st., lahaina, 667-2288; shops of wailea, 891-8883. (hk)
25 BEST RESTAURANT
mama,s fish house
The best thing about Mama's is the fact that every day they send their fisherman on a mission to catch the best fish. I mean, what's Maui without some mouth-watering fish at the dinner table? Mama's is voted the best restaurant for lots of reasons: its location on a secluded white beach, the elegant and intimate atmosphere inside, its many Polynesian artifacts and oil paintings, the extensive drink menu that includes a wonderful Mai Tai and, of course, delicacies like breadfruit, roasted kukui nut and fresh hearts of palm. Opens daily at 11 a.m., last seating at 9 p.m. 799 Poho Pl., Kuau, 579-8488.
runner-up: horhito,s. 41 e. lipoa st., kihei, 891-6394. (lg)
26 BEST PIZZA
What is this, like the 27th consecutive year this place has won best pizza? You know, there are other pizza-by-the-slice purveyors on this rock. And I know, Shaka has the thinnest-yet-still-not-greasy crust, the best cheese, the tastiest toppings… okay, so I guess they deserve this. 1770 S. Kihei Rd., 874-0331.
runner-up: b.j. , s chicago pizza. 730 front st., lahaina, 661-0700. (ap)
27 BEST SMOOTHIE
It may be a corporate franchise, but damn, it's so good… Located island-wide.
runner-up: planet smoothie. 5095 napilihau st., napili, 669-8447. (kh)
28 BEST ICE CREAM
tie: roselani/cold stone creamery
Oh, creamy goodness! Who doesn't like ice cream? Well, actually I do know someone who doesn't but they're dumb. Even my lactose-intolerant friends enjoy a bite or lick from time to time! Anyway, Roselani is your local favorite, and you couldn't help but loooove Cold Stone's creative confections. It's okay—I understand, too, the merits of weird ice cream flavors like Wasabi Ginger, Black Licorice and Oatmeal Cookie Batter. I prefer plain ol' chocolate myself. But I'm always a little skeptical of people who say their favorite ice cream flavor is vanilla. It's just kinda, you know, so... vanilla. Roselani, located island-wide; Cold Stone Creamery, 900 Front St., Lahaina, 667-2744; 291 Pi'ikea Ave., Kihei, 875-8811.
runner-up: lappert,s ice cream. locations island-wide. (sc)
29 BEST MEXICAN FOOD
How the cooks at these two little taquerias are able to make such creamy, delicious refried beans without the use of lard is one of the greatest mysteries of the 21st century. It doesn't really matter what you order here, as long as you get it with beans and rice. After that, all will be well with the world. 1132 Lower Main St., Wailuku, 249-8463; 300 Ma'alaea Rd., 244-5862.
runner-up: horhito,s. 41 e. lipoa st., kihei, 891-6394. (ap)
30 BEST PLATE LUNCH
aloha mixed plate
The greatest thing about plate lunch is that it's fast and cheap. Unfortunately, "fast and cheap" doesn't always taste good. At Aloha Mixed Plate they serve the best of both worlds. The New York Times once described it as a place where "paper plate meets million dollar view." The food comes out quicker than the Mai Tais can go down. Their kalbi ribs were voted in the 2004 Maui Time Best of Maui as the "best place to get ribs." They serve some awesome local food like Kalua pig and pork Lau Lau. Powering up during Happy Hour or watching the sunset, it's a great place to have a few drinks and a quick meal. Mahalo Nui Loa to Aloha Mixed Plate for saving us time and money. 1285 Front St., Lahaina, 661-3322.
runner-up: da kitchen. 425 koloa st., kahului, 871-7782; 2439 s. kihei rd., 875-7782. (gp)
31 BEST LOCAL FOOD
Oh man, the chicken long rice here is so ono. I could come here to Da Kitchen if only to eat the chicken long rice. But the menu is extensive, featuring your favorite local plates, great sandwiches like teri-chicken and fish, plus a great selection of salads like the Chinese chicken. If you want to immerse yourself in some local culture and foods, a trip here for lunch or dinner is in order. Their portions are Hawaiian-size and I can never finish everything on my plate. No matter, leftovers here make an excellent midnight snack. 425 Koloa St., Kahului, 871-7782; 2439 S. Kihei Rd., Kihei, 875-7782.
runner-up: aloha mixed plate. 1285 front st., lahaina, 661-8330. (jr)
32 BEST CHEF
The executive chef at Pacific'O restaurant in Lahaina, James McDonald serves up some of Maui's finest dishes. Yummy stuff like Coconut Macadamia Nut Fish, Crispy Ahi and Banana Pineapple Lumpia grace the menu. In 1998, The Maui News voted McDonald Best New Chef. He's also recently participated in an event supporting the James Beard Foundation, which provides scholarships and cool educational opportunities for culinary artists nationwide.
runner-up: bev gannon (lg)
33 BEST SPAM MUSUBI
Every time someone is new to the island I make a point to get them to eat a spam musubi. Oh yeah, malahini, embrace the spam. 'Cuz if you are going to acclimate, you are going to eat it. It's one of our number-one foods. The best spam musubi is found at Minit Stop where they sandwich nori (seaweed), cooked spam and sticky rice blended together for a snack that's good anytime, but eaten a lot for breakfast. If you can't get enough of spam, check out the spam recipe contest at our county fair. Located island-wide.
runner-up (tie): nagasako okazuya. old lahaina center, 661-0975 & honolua general store. 502 office rd., kapalua, 669-6128. (jr)
34 BEST VEGAN FOOD
At Fresh Mint, in Paia and Kahului, people who love animal byproducts and those who don't can sit at the same table and enjoy delicious vegan food. They have all kinds of meat substitutes like soy chicken, beef, fish, and ham prepared Vietnamese style. You will find a lot of curries, vegetable entrees and soy-based meats with sweet, salty and tangy sauces. They even serve Thai iced tea! Diehard meat-eaters are often shocked at how much they enjoy Fresh Mint's meatless food. We would all like to change the world and vegans, Jah love 'em, are giving it a great effort, one gourmet restaurant at a time. 115 Baldwin Ave., Paia, 579-9144; 199 Dairy Rd., Kahului, 873-6468.
runner-up: down to earth. 305 dairy rd., kahului, 877-2661; 1169 makawao ave., 572-1488. (gp)
35 BEST MALE BARTENDER
jorge galaviz @ hapa,s
What makes a great male bartender? Irresistable charm, a solid grasp of mixology and lots of liquor. Well, these conditions are more than satisfied when Jorge is behind the bar at Hapa's. He has made his impression on our readers, coming out on top as Best Male Bartender. Does it help that he's serving from behind the bar of South Maui's legendary club? From Ladies Night to Willie K on Mondays, he's sharing spirits and good times with everyone. 41 E. Lipoa St., Kihei, 879-9001
runner-up: chad @ longhi,s wailea. 3750 wailea alanui dr., 891-8883. (jr)
36 BEST FISH SANDWICH
paia fish market
"I am sandwich," said the Mahi (or Ono) Fish Burger from Paia Fish Market. "Hear me roar." This is the best fish sandwich ever made by a human being. Somehow the fresh, hot fish mixes beautifully with the coleslaw, tomato and grated cheese to produce the most perfect sandwich yet devised. Oh Paia Fish Market Mahi Sandwich, you truly are the King of kings. 2A Baldwin Ave., Paia, 579-8030.
runner-up: keoki,s fish ,n chips. kukui mall, kihei, 891-1400. (ap)
37 BEST DINNER
horhito,s mexican cantina
Horhito's is a terrific place for dinner, a date, or just a late night snack. Their food is excellent, from their giant burritos to their fresh and delicious ceviche. I can't stop by without having the tortilla soup. Their Caesar salad is awesome, too. You can have a romantic dinner with your amore or a raucous fiesta with friends. Yes, there are plenty memories to be made over Horhito's margaritas. Don't have a date? Take a cozy seat at the bar and maybe you'll find one. 41 E. Lipoa St., Kihei, 891-6394.
runner-up (tie): outback steakhouse. 4405 honoapi,ilani hwy, kahana, 665-1822; 281 pi,ikea ave., kihei, 879-8400/roy,s. 4405 honoapi,ilani hwy, kahana, 669-6999; 303 pi,ikea ave., kihei, 891-1120. (jr)
38 BEST CURRY
curry in a hurry
Did you guys choose this one because the word "curry" is in the name? Because if you did, that's pretty messed up. Curry in a Hurry is a reputable establishment—and by "establishment," I mean "tiny kiosk in the middle of a parking lot"—and they really shell out some great items: black bean chile, Hawaiian coconut curry, Masala and this really good pastry thing with eggplant or mushrooms in it. Fantastic. 840 Waine'e St., Lahaina, 661-4370.
runner-up: thai chef. old lahaina center, 667-2814. (ap)
39 BEST PUPUS
mala ocean tavern
Mala is one of the nicest additions to Lahaina's Front Street. The food is reasonably affordable and the seafood, meats and vegetables are fresh and delicious. They offer a wide variety of alcoholic beverages including a very tasty key lime martini. The atmosphere is casual enough for a pau hana with friends but still sophisticated for a very respectable first date. Either way the food is fantastic. Mala is posh enough to host that special night out but still laid-back enough to get a little buzzed. 1307 Front St., Lahaina, 667-9394.
runner-up: pupu lounge. 1945 s. kihei rd., 875-4111. (gp)
40 BEST HAPPY HOUR
"How come Happy Hour is usually, like, two hours long?" Thus asked one of our loyal, overworked, far too young interns one day while we were preparing this issue. "Because it's impossible to get happy in a bar in just one hour," quipped a staffer who wasn't me. I couldn't agree more. And if you've got a couple hours to kill after work, why shouldn't you go someplace like Moose's, where the drinks are cheap and there's a good mix of locals and tourists? 844 Front St., Lahaina, 667-7758.
runner-up: life,s a beach. 1913 s. kihei rd., 891-8010. (ap)
41 BEST MAC SALAD
Mac Salad is as diverse as the melting pot of cultures we have on this island, only the bond that always holds it together is mayo. Some mac salads have potato and egg, others just the macaroni. When you don't have time to make your own, head over to Takamiya Market. Theirs comes with the perfect mixture of egg and pasta with a little bit of carrot, and they usually have a whole deli case full of it. Takamiya is also chock full of the makings for a perfect barbeque. Try some of their spectacular teriyaki beef and fixings. 359 N. Market St., Wailuku, 244-3404.
runner up: jack,s inn. 312 alamaha st., kahului, 877-3610. (jr)
42 BEST MAI TAI
life,s a beach
To some size may not matter but when it comes to Mai Tais we like them big and strong. And for you readers, Life's a Beach has got what you want. A whole liter of fruit juice and rum deliciousness can quench even the most unyielding thirst. Imagine, if you will, one giant Mai Tai and two people. Their eyes are locked, and each sip is dulling their standards and inhibitions. On this island it may be hard to find love but Life's a Beach's unique drink special can keep anyone well-satisfied and filled to the gills with liquid courage. They saw a need and filled it—just don't forget your ID. 1913 S. Kihei Rd., 891-8010.
runner-up: mama,s fish house. 799 poho pl., kuau, 579-8488. (gp)
43 BEST PLACE TO DO JAGER SHOTS
life,s a beach
There's something about Life's a Beach that makes you want to do shots. It's dark but it's got that beach party vibe, it's usually chock full of young people lookin' to have a good time, and... well, it's a bar. But in addition to the mass abundance of that infamously cough-syrup-flavored liquor, what you readers most enjoy is the suggestive appeal of cute bartendresses who offer the evils of Jager Bombs (Rockstar and Jager), all with a wink and a smile and a "Here ya go, cupcake!" Sure, Jager's popular here. But if you want to take a walk on the non-Jager side, try a Royal Flush (Crown Royale, Peach Schnapps and cranberry juice), a Washington Apple (Crown, cran and Apple Schnapps) or the shot of dignified drunks island-wide—chilled Patron. But, uh, preferably not on the same night, 'k? 1913 S. Kihei Rd., Kihei, 891-8010.
runner-up: lulu,s. 1941 s. kihei rd., 879-9944. (sc)
44 BEST SAIMIN
house of saimin
Really, is there anyplace else to get a bowl of Saimin—especially after 11:30 p.m.? Can't think of one. Just don't forget the chicken sticks. Lahaina Shopping Center, 667-7572
runner-up: sam sato,s. 1750 wili pa loop, 244-7124. (ap)
45 BEST STEAK
Ruth's Chris serves your favorite steak on a heated plate so the sizzling chunk of flesh stays warm throughout the feed. On the menu, they even spell out the degrees of doneness for you—that way, through good communication, you can have your meat just how you want it. The price for these flavorsome cuts range from $25.95 (the pork porterhouse, and the only pork on the menu) to $39.95 (if you want the T-bone), so bring extra money. 900 Front St., Lahaina, 661-8815; 3750 Wailea Alanui Dr., Wailea, 874-8880.
runner-up: outback steakhouse. 4405 honoapi,ilani hwy, kahana, 665-1822; 281 pi,ikea ave., kihei, 879-8400. (hk)
46 BEST COFFEE HOUSE
If Starbucks has succeeded at anything, it's managing to get nearly everyone and their mother addicted to Frappuccinos and Caramel Macchiatos. Okay, maybe not all of them, but certainly our readers. Starbucks' relaxing atmosphere and comfortable scent that follows with a caffeine high has made the place very popular. Consistency and reliability—as well as opening 1.7 billion locations—are their key ingredients for success. But truth be told, Starbucks brews a great cup of coffee, serves good pastries and provides a comfortable room in which to sit and relax. Located solar system-wide.
runner-up: bad ass coffee. located island-wide. (gp)
47 BEST FISH & CHIPS
alexander , s
I think it was John Mortimer—whoever the hell that was—who said, "I refuse to spend my life worrying about what I eat." Truer words were never spoken, at least in the post-Ford Administration era. And I think I'm speaking for everyone when I say that Mortimer was certainly referring to fish & chips when he first uttered those words. Was there ever a meal so tasty yet so unhealthy? How people can take something as healthy as a piece of fish and turn it into a heart-stopping, artery-hardening delicacy is one of the mysteries of our time. Also, French fries are pretty bad for you, too. Nonetheless, Alexander's serves up a good basket. 840 Waine'e St., Lahaina, 667-9009; 1913 S. Kihei Rd., 874-0788.
runner-up: keoki,s fish & chips. kukui mall, kihei, 891-1400. (ap)
48 BEST RIBS
Great choice:not only does Tony Roma's suck, but they're closed. You know, when I was about nine years old, I would have whole-heartedly agreed that Tony Roma's served the best rack of ribs on Maui. But now that I'm mostly an adult, not so much. Tony Roma's is a chow hall compared to some rib joints—Kahului Ale House, for instance. Aloha Mixed Plate makes fine ribs. So does the Pulehu Shack in Wailuku, if you don't mind eating at home or in your car. The point is that there's simply no excuse on Maui or anywhere else in the world to look to Tony Roma's for ribs.
runner-up: outback steakhouse. 4405 honoapi,ilani hwy, kahana, 665-1822; 281 pi,ikea ave., kihei, 879-8400. (ap)
49 BEST FINE DINING
I used to be intimidated by David Paul's culinary sophistication, the supreme professionalism of its wait staff, and well, its prices. But that was before I actually ate there and discovered how wrong I was. First of all, the food is as good as it looks and you do get what you pay for. But my greatest discovery is if you sit at the bar, you can order from a "demi-menu." That means you get to choose from a rather large list of entrees that are half the size and half the price of their full-menu counterparts. So not only do you look like a high roller just walking in to dine at this popular gourmet dig, but you also get a taste of what the other side is eating. Hurray for newfound pseudo-nouveau riche accessibility! 127 Lahainaluna Rd., Lahaina, 667-5117.
runner-up: roy,s. 4405 honoapi,ilani hwy, kahana, 669-6999; 303 pi,ikea ave., kihei, 891-1120. (sc)
50 BEST BREAKFAST
I don't know about you but I'm not really a morning person. So there are two occasions I'm most likely to go out for breakfast: my mom's visiting, or I'm hung over. Gazebo is perfect for both. It offers traditional breakfast and lunch fare at reasonable prices, casual yet quality service, and the best oceanside location ever, with spectacular views of Napili Bay and Molokai. This locale is especially impressive during humpback whale season. And of course, the salt air wafting through the shaded Gazebo can cure even the biggest whale of a hangover, too. Why aren't all breakfast nooks like this? 5315 L. Honoapi'ilani Rd., Napili, 669-5621.
runner-up (tie): charley,s. 142 hana hwy, paia, 579-9453/kihei caffe. 1945 s. kihei rd., 879-2230. (sc)
51 BEST JAPANESE
Kobe, with its high ceilings and cool lights, is a perfect place to sit back and chow down on Maui's best Japanese grub. With a Teppanyaki menu that includes Sukiyaki and Hibachi Steak, the Super Sunset Specials (nightly 5:30-6:30), lots of colorful sushi and Japanese beer to wash it all down, it's no surprise why Kobe is voted the BEST. For dessert, treat yourself to either Japanese Green Tea or Macadamia Nut ice cream. Dinner served nightly from 5:30 to 10 p.m. 136 Dickenson Street, Lahaina, 667-5555.
runner-up: sansei. 115 bay dr., kapalua, 669-6286; 1881 s. kihei rd., 879-0004. (lg)
52 BEST SANDWICH
This is why democracy simply doesn't work. While Subway makes a fine sandwich—ham and turkey on wheat with provolone and everything except jalapenos is my favorite—it's not the best sandwich on Maui. But it is the most prevalent: with 10 locations, and four of those on the Westside alone, it's pretty much the most convenient place on the island to get a decent sandwich. But that's all you're going to get—decent. Located island-wide.
runner-up: joy,s place. 1993 s. kihei rd., 879-9258. (ap)
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