Best Bar, Winner South Shore Tiki Lounge Address: 1913 S. Kihei Rd., Kihei, HI 96753 Phone: 808-874-6444 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.southshoretikilounge.com Nestled in the heart of Kihei’s fabled Bar-muda Triangle, this place is the quintessential island boozer’s haven; a landslide victory for the retro-tropical set. Yet there is more to the place than blowfish lanterns and killer punchbowl Mai-tais. The surprisingly-not-too-sweet lychee-watermelon martini gets my vote, tasty and intoxicating. They also serve great housemade pizza, salads, and sausage sandwiches. The place gets pretty packed on weekends, and there is either live music or a DJ spinning out tunes every night. Bonus: their kama aina deal scores those of us who live here half off on food and drink from 11am to 4pm. Every single day.
Best Breakfast, Winner Stella Blues Address: 1279 South Kihei Rd., # 201, Kihei, HI 96753 Phone: 808-874-3779 Website: http://www.stellablues.com You want the biggest, baddest omelet in the county of Maui? It’s at Stella Blues! Stella Blues offers everything you want for breakfast at a fair price. You can count on them for great service and the kitchen staff will amaze you with their ability to get your food out to you fast. Their spacious dining room will impress you. If I can recommend something to have with your breakfast it’s the Bloody Mary, garnished with three green olives and seasoned perfectly. With so many options opening up for the breakfast hour you can count on Maui Time voters to let you know what’s best, and its Stella Blues.
Best Burger, Winner Cool Cat Cafe Address: Wharf Cinema, Lahaina, HI 96761 Phone: 808-667-0908 Fax: 808-667-0963 Email: email@example.com Website: http://www.coolcatcafe.com When it comes to burgers, you readers aren’t looking for a change in leadership. You voted the big, beefy, delicious burgers at Cool Cat’s number one once again and I know why. It’s the basics. When you order a burger you get just that, quality meat on a fluffy bun with crunchy veggies and a pickle. If you want cheese, you order cheese. From this solid and classic foundation the menu branches with gourmet offerings that stay true to their burger namesake, and no burger hunger goes unsatiated.
Address: 2291 Ka‘anapali Pkwy., Lahaina, HI 96761 Phone: 808-661-4500
Best Burrito, Winner Maui Tacos Address: 2411 S. Kihei Rd., Kihei, HI 96753 Phone: 808-879-5005 Fax: 808-662-0717 Website: http://www.mauitacos.com I have only recently become infatuated with the Maui Taco burrito. But you Maui Time reader, you have held a long time romance with Maui Taco’s burrito, voting it to the top of the Maui Burrito charts since 2003. What’s not to love? You get a ginormous burrito, you can choose from any of their healthy grilled meats, beans and rice, and fresh veggies. Other options are spinach tortillas and homemade sauce. Its all so good and vegetarian friendly. Plus it comes with chips, as if you could even fit any more in your belly. Even better, you will find locations all around the island so no matter where you are, Maui Tacos is nearby.
Best Business Lunch, Winner Cafe O'Lei Address: 62 N. Market St., Wailuku, HI 96793 Phone: 808-986-0044 Website: http://cafeoleirestaurants.com/ Never mix pleasure and business, right? Sure we’ve all heard this time and time again, but Cafe O’Lei’s diverse lunch menu forces us to bend the rules every once in a while. Their fabulous dishes help us to balance out the next flaky business encounter with an enjoyable, satisfying meal. What’s even better is that the prices are fair; you can order Blackened Mahi Mahi served with steamed rice and a salad for around nine bucks. A great selection of sandwiches and salads are also found on the menu, and the friendly atmosphere will leave you wishing that you were dragged out on a business lunch every day of the week.
Best Cheap Food, Winner Pukalani Superette Address: 15 Makawao Ave., Makawao, HI 96768 Phone: 808-572-7616 Website: http://pukalanisuperette.com The assorted bento lunches at Pukalani Superette are so affordable you can feed a family of four for under ten bucks. Take their roast pork, a generous serving of gravy over home made roasted and seasoned pork, plus a side of rice, and perhaps a side dish of wontons, sounds like dinner to me. Everything is packaged fresh, with varying amounts in each and sold at different prices to fit any appetite and budget. Did you know this already reasonable establishment also offers a web deal of the week program? This week it was ten percent off everything in the store, except tobacco and liquor and other sale products. Plus they have the best local produce around. Local market looking out for their local clientele. It gets easier by the minute to save a buck here.
Best Chef, Winner James McDonald, Pacific'O Address: 505 Front St., Lahaina, HI 96761 Phone: 808-667-4341 Website: http://www.pacificomaui.com Visionary in the culinary industry, inspiration to his Maui Community College Culinary program roots, an artist with Hawaiian ingredients as his palette, Chef James McDonald can be proud of his win as Best Chef. Not busy enough with a trio of restaurants, Pacific’o, I’o, and the Feast at Lele in the 505 Front Street Center in Lahaina, Chef James honed in on starting the eight acre O’o farm in Kula, which he uses to supply his restaurants with fresh produce, fruits, herbs and aromatics. Arriving in Hawaii at the young age of 19, Chef James has worked hard to reach celeb chef status, using not just his good looks, but a strong sense of loyalty and a desire to contribute to the community with his knowledge of pacific rim cuisine and business sense.
Address: 70 E. Ka‘ahumanu Ave., # B12, Kahului, HI 96732 Phone: 808-893-1628 Mmm…Lemon Chicken. In my humble opinion, you readers are so right on with this vote. I love Dragon Dragon. I have so many memories there. Most are filled with lemon chicken, fired rice and that yummy garlic spinach dish, but some are filled with almond float and green tea ice cream too. One of the best things about Dragon Dragon is that the food always tastes so fresh, comes in large quantities and always arrives on your tale ridiculously quick.
Address: 1945 S. Kihei Rd., Kihei, HI 96753 Phone: 808-879-2230 The only thing that I love more than the great view for people watching at the Kihei Caffe is their coffee and boy do they have great coffee! We’re talking always hot, fresh and caffeinated. Kihei Caffe is (obviously, according to our readers) the best place on the island to sit with their cup-o-joe on a sunny morning and watch crazy pedestrians, dedicated joggers and people in bathing suits scoot around on South Kihei Rd.
Best Dining With A View, Winner Sarento's On The Beach Address: 2980 S. Kihei Rd., Kihei, HI 96753 Phone: 808-875-7555 Website: http://www.tristarrestaurants.com/sarentos_maui If the election or any other mainland-centric hype-fest causes you to forget your own whereabouts, this place will remind you of how lucky you are to live on Maui. Competition is especially tough for this category, given the astonishing array of mindblowing landscapes on the island. From the patio at Sarento’s you have a sweeping view of the sparkling Pacific, Molokini, Kahoolawe, Lanai, and Maui’s coastline. Unless someone’s McCainesque mug is somehow blocking your view, there’s not a bad seat in the house. A killer wine list adds to the glow of a sunset viewed while dining at Sarento’s on the Beach.
Best Dinner, Winner Mama's Fish House Address: 799 Poho Place, Paia, HI 96779 Phone: 808-579-8488 Website: http://www.mamasfishhouse.com The fact that Mama’s Fish House prevails here is no surprise. I can tell you Maui Time foodies have your hearts set on Polynesian atmosphere, ocean front dining, fresh fish, nothing but the best for you. Everything on the menu is tastefully creative and almost-too-pretty-to-eat. Personally my favorites are the more simple dishes, like the grilled Portobello mushroom with sun dried tomato and our local Surfing Goat Dairy goat cheese. But you Maui Time reader order what ever you like, carte blanche, since you did all that tough voting and worked up your appetite for Best Dinner and all.
Best Dishwasher EDIT PICK, Winner Scott Kilmer, South Shore Tiki Lounge Address: 1913 S. Kihei Rd., Kihei, HI 96753 Phone: 808-874-6444 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.southshoretikilounge.com What can I say, except the man knows how to clean a glass. Many a night I have watched this bartender stand behind the South Shore Tiki Lounge bar, loading and unloading the dishwasher, trying to understand the nuances of his trade. Never have I seen him break a glass! Not one! I have no idea how he does his job, but he does it with élan and a professionalism that is seldom seen on this island.
Address: 3636 Lower Honoapi‘ilani Rd., Honokowai, HI 96761 Phone: 808-669-7004 All you folks on the west side have to look no further than the Honokowai Farmer’s Market to support your local farmers. According the votes, Maui Time readers who shop for fresh veggies and fruits like them here. If you have ever sliced open a fresh locally-grown papaya, juiced a fresh lemon over it and dove in with your spoon, you know the fresh fruit heaven Maui can provide. Don’t forget the sweet spiny pineapple, apple-banana, juicy mango or the harder to find guava and passion fruit. Most farmer’s markets on the island are only open a couple of days out of the week; after all, the farmers have to grow the food too! But you’ll find this one open Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Best Fine Dining, Winner Lahaina Grill Address: 127 Lahainaluna Rd., Lahaina, HI 96761 Phone: 808-667-5117 Website: http://www.lahainagrill.com I know why the popular vote for Fine Dining goes to Lahaina Grill. Every year on my sister’s birthday we head to Lahaina Grill for our fine dining ritual. This is where we come to get away from kids, cooking and cleaning to be spoiled with impeccable service, filled with sumptuous food, and intoxicated on fancy liquor. The restaurant has an elegant Victorian vibe that brings out my inner 18th century decadence and diva. We get all gussied up and I eat fois gras and seared ahi with exotic gin and tonic, among other amazing food and drink pairings. A photographer may come around and shoot a few photos of our experience and email them to us. The chef may come out for a word or two. Or owner Jurg Munch could stop by our table and greet us. Our social experience is enriched as much as our culinary palate is satiated. We are absolutely fabulous for a few hours, then go home to the kids for our reality check.
Address: 1913 S. Kihei Rd., Kihei, HI 96753 Phone: 808-874-0788 Whenever we think of fish and chips, Alexander’s immediately pops into our minds. Why? Because the fish is deep-fried in a tempura-like, beer batter containing yummy herbs that ultimately results in a delectable creation. On top of that, they don’t mess around with their sauces. The tarter sauce served on the side is the traditional type, the way that any seafood lover’s condiments are supposed to be. Crisp french fries simply add to this wondrous meal, making it the obvious choice for the best fish and chips on Maui.
Best Fish Sandwich, Winner Paia Fish Market Address: 2 Baldwin Ave., # A, Paia, HI 96779 Phone: 808-579-8030 Website: http://www.paiafishmarket.com Eating a fish sandwich is a quintessential north shore Maui casual dining experience, and Maui Time readers are together with me on this one. It has a great people watching corner, Hana Highway and Baldwin Avenue. You go in, order your food and sit on the communal picnic benches and either chat with familiar faces or make new friends. When your fish sandwich arrives, hot and delicious, you can either add one of the many hot sauces they have provided at your table or chow it down as is. They make it with their homemade coleslaw in the sandwich and it’s splendid. Prices are sensible, the fish fresh, plus you get to choose what kind goes in your sandwich, from mahi mahi to ahi to ono. Mahi is the best if you ask me, but you don’t have to take my word for it, because Maui Time readers voted and they know best.
Best Fish Tacos, Winner Jawz Tacos Address: 1279 South Kihei Rd., Kihei, HI 96753 Phone: 808-874-8226 Website: http://www.jawzfishtacos.com You can’t go wrong wrapping a few edible items in a tortilla. Yet doing so in a way that attempts to please everyone results in something not unlike your average piece of environmental legislation: it will sorta-kinda do, I guess. Kihei’s Jawz is the more rogue-ish of fish taco joints. It started out as a roadside taco wagon outside Makena Beach, but now comprises the aforementioned mobile unit as well as a spot in Azeka Mauka. Mahi mahi tacos are huge here. Added bonuses of a stationary location include spirited beverages (and thus happy hour), and a salsa bar. Oh, and I checked it out: there are veggie options.
Best Health Food Store, Winner Hawaiian Moons Address: 2411 S. Kihei Rd., Kihei, HI 96753 Phone: 808-875-4356 Website: http://hawaiianmoons.com This time around, Hawaiian Moons beat out all other Maui natural foods titans to take the island’s top status as Best Health Food Store. So what kind of (soy-) beefing up does such an establishment do to accomplish this? As a long-time vegan I can vouch for this place, especially given their expansive supply of pesto sans Parmesan, and their vegan chocolate cake. But what stands out most here at Hawaiian Moons isn’t their hot food choices, or extensive salad bar, but the huge focus on locally made and grown products. Let’s all imagine an island where shipping costs for fresh produce and organic products don’t exist. Hawaiian Moons is taking us there one Kula strawberry at a time.
Best Ice Cream, Winner Cold Stone Creamery Address: 291 Pi‘ikea Ave. # 121, Kihei, HI 96753 Phone: 808-875-8811 Website: http://www.coldstonecreamery.com Like some politicians, I sometimes pay for pleasure. However, my self indulgence consists of mainly tipping teenagers so they grudgingly sing me reworked versions of show tunes while they mash choice toppings like fudge, strawberries and M&Ms into Cold Stone’s house-made ice creams. I guess Maui Time readers go for this kind of stuff too, since Cold Stone took it away at the polls for Best Ice Cream. I don’t need to tell you that some politicians should follow our lead. Ice cream at Cold Stone is pure creamy deliciousness. Not only will the servers serenade you, they serve up some of the most delicious ice cream concoctions designed by none other than yourself. You don’t even have to pay extra for that. Located island-wide.
Best Italian Food, Winner Casanova Address: 1188 Makawao Ave., Makawao, HI 96768 Phone: 808-572-0220 Website: http://www.casanovamaui.com I am so happy that our readers chose Casanova as the Best Italian Food winner because it’s so true! I’ll start with the focaccia bread, dipped in balsamic and olive oil. Orgasmic. No, really it is. My favorite main dish is the fungi pasta with chicken. It’s pretty exquisite–loads of mushrooms, buttery noodles and garlic–all heaped on a plate with tender strips of chicken breast. Not to mention, most nights, Casanova offers great late night entertainment that’s perfect for dancing off those extra, delicious, totally worth it calories.
Address: 385 Hoohana St., Kahului, HI 96732 Phone: 808-877-9080 Kujo knows local food and locals know Kujo. Take my neighbor for example; he loves Kujo just as much as you do. According to him, they have phenomenal katsu, a good beef tomato, are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and the owners are nice and friendly. He actually used the term “local fabulous.” Something has got to be said for a place that has a “buy three plate lunches get the fourth one free” deal. They are tucked away in Kahului industrial, but once you find them you will know why Maui Time voters put Kujo at the top of local food on the island.
Best Luau/Dinner Show, Winner Feast at Lele Address: 505 Front St., Lahaina, HI 96761 Phone: 808-667-5353 Website: http://www.feastatlele.com Lele is the ancient name of Lahaina, and where the Royal family of Maui would sit and eat and entertain. It is not a coincidence that Maui Time readers would vote this Luau as one of Maui’s Best. It’s not just any luau. From their amazing ocean-front location (it’s like dining on the beach) to their five course Polynesian meal created and conceptualized by none other than Chef James McDonald to traditional hula from Samoa, Tahiti, New Zealand and of course, Hawaii, Feast at Lele captivates audiences. The food is tantalizingly remarkable and the romantic atmosphere is hot, hot, hot!
Best Lunch, Winner Da Kitchen Address: 425 Koloa St., # 104, Kahului, HI 96732 Phone: 808-871-7782 Website: http://www.da-kitchen.com Just saying “Da Kitchen” makes me hungry. Mega hungry. Good thing Da Kitchen makes people full. So full that I’m thinking it might not be a bad idea for them to invest in one of those dolly things to wheel people from their seats to their cars when they’re pau eating. Everything is good at Da Kitchen, but my favorite is the kalua pig plate with mac salad and a side of poi. The hamburger steak plate is a close second.
Best Male Bartender, Winner Renie Hamayelian, South Shore Tiki Lounge Address: 1913 S. Kihei Rd., Kihei, HI 96753 Phone: 808-874-6444 Website: http://www.southshoretikilounge.com I should probably disclose right now that I’ve had a major crush on Renie for about four years, but I promise I had nothing to do with the vote count. In fact, I’m pretty sure that hundreds, no thousands of Maui women have had the hots for Renie over the years. Alcohol does that to you. Scratch that, alcohol and a highly intelligent bartender who’s literate, articulate, rides a motorcycle, plays some pretty good poker and can pour a Guinness like a god does that to you. I have heard that there is a Mrs. Renie and I’d like to send out a congratulations on landing the best guy on the island, er, Best Male Bartender. I’ve heard that you totally deserve each other and hope that you’ll live happily ever after. Damn it, where’s my beer?!
Address: 395 Dairy Rd., # J, Kahului, HI 96732 Phone: 808-877-8707 Las Piñatas is pretty much why I became an intern at Maui Time Weekly. Years ago, while enjoying a huge plate of delicious nachos, I stumbled across an issue. I also picked up a copy on another visit, while gorging myself on the scrumptious Kitchen Sink Burrito. From then on, I associated the euphoria I felt from my taste buds and the pleasant feeling of being full with this very publication. So there you have it: Las Piñatas is a fiesta for your mouth but beware! Your food high may cloud decision-making skills. At least it did for me. I love interning at Maui Time Weekly…just not as much as I love Las Piñatas.
Best New Restaurant, Winner Wok Star Address: 1913 S. Kihei Rd., Kihei, HI 96753 Phone: 808-495-0066 Website: http://wokstarcafe.com Yeah, yeah, Wok Star has great noodles. I know you can get them in all sorts of configurations from dry mein to ramen, plus plenty of flavor varieties such as teriyaki or curry. But have you tried the peanut butter and bananas? It’s called a Jaffel. Just a pressed sandwich, really—peanut butter, honey and bananas on Hawaiian sweet bread—then cut into triangles and sprinkled with powdered sugar. Very simple, straightforward and impossibly delicious. Wok Star sells them, along with the tasty noodle dishes. Get one early in the day or late in the evening, it matters not; they’re open from 7am to midnight so its your choice. Just get one.
Best Pancakes, Winner Tasty Crust Address: 1770 Mill St., Wailuku, HI 96793 Phone: 808-244-0845 Website: http://tastycrust.com How can you resist the sign outside of Tasty Crust, proclaiming their pancakes to be world famous? If they’re good enough for the world, they’re good enough for me. If I could, I would put Tasty Crust’s pancakes in a category of their own: Delicious-Melt-In-Your-Mouth-Goodness. I wonder if the USDA would approve that…? Probably not. But that shouldn’t stop anyone from sampling these fluffy golden brown slices of heaven. Sure, those burnt on the outside/raw on the inside pancakes your kids made you Sunday morning may be thoughtful, but Tasty Crust’s pancakes will fill your tummy with flapjack bliss.