Maui and Lanai Dining
As if these islands needed another distinction, the contemporary cuisine rivals that of any mainland destination for quality and consistency.
THE DUNES RESTAURANT
(Asian-American) Hwy. 380, Kahului, Maui; 808-877-7461. $$-$$$
Acclaimed chef Dan Saito, mentored by Wolfgang Puck, isn't the kind of hash slinger you'd expect to find at a golf course (the Dunes at Maui Lani), and neither is his food, which fuses high technique with local produce and seafood. Taro-crusted mahimahi deserves better than your double bogey on eighteen, but that's life.
FORMAL DINING ROOM, THE LODGE AT KOELE
(Pacific) The Lodge at Koele, Lanai City, Lanai; 808-565-7300. $$$$
This is purportedly the only dining room in Hawaii that requires a jacket for men, and the food, strong on local game (such as pancetta-wrapped Lanai venison), merits the formality. The luscious poached eggs on blue crab cakes with orange hollandaise sauce at the adjacent Terrace restaurant the next morning is like starting your day with dessert.
NICK'S FISHMARKET MAUI
(Seafood) 4100 Wailea Alanui (at the Fairmont Kea Lani Maui), Wailea, Maui; 808-879-7224. $$$
Comically overzealous service (three changes of water glass by perhaps thirteen different, ever-present waiters—who also rearrange the salt and pepper shakers to make sure they touch) almost overshadows the wonderful seafood and romantic ambiance. Almost, but not quite.
(Hawaiian/Asian) 3900 Wailea Alanui (at the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea), Wailea, Maui; 808-874-8000. $$$$
One of the most relaxing fine meals on the island, thanks to a friendly staff and a local musician on guitar crooning mellow Hawaiian standards. As the name might suggest, chef Pierre Albaladejo's emphasis is on local fish like onaga, moi and mahimahi, which are all ahi-ahi good.
ROY'S KAHANA BAR & GRILL
(Fusion) 4405 Honoapiilani Hwy., Kahana; 808-669-6999. $$$
From one restaurant in Honolulu in 1988 to thirty-three worldwide today, the appeal of Roy Yamaguchi's blending of European techniques with Pan-Asian ingredients knows no bounds. The dishes on the vast menu sport fun names like "Big B's "Da Kine' Kalbi Style Flat Iron Steak"; the food, as the kids say, is no joke, and will put a smile on your face.
SANSEI SEAFOOD RESTAURANT & SUSHI BAR
(Seafood/Pacific Rim) Kapalua Shops, Kapalua; 808-669-6286. $$$
It looks and feels like your nice neighborhood sushi joint, right until you open the menu to find a vast array of not only the usual suspects but also innovative appetizers and entrées such as Rock Shrimp Dynamite and Szechuan-Crusted Ahi Tuna.