Here's a realistic look (from Pride of Maui) at what life would be like if you actually lived there.
(I think I could handle it.)
#1 I’ve squished you, I’ve sprayed you, and I’ve stomped you, and yet here you are again. Be gone, ants!
They’re the magicians of the bug world, and have the uncanny ability to appear as if from nowhere. Whether they’re forming a congo line around your kitchen sink, running sprints across your window sills, or inviting you for an unwanted game of tiny whack-a-mole on your computer keyboard, they’re everywhere in Hawaii. And they like it.
#2 Welcome to Cat Island.
Do you love the sound of cat fights at 3am? Always dreamt of climbing Cat Meowtain? Adore purrfectly cat-astrophic puns? Welcome to Hawaii, home of weekly 2-for-1 cat specials. Or free street cats. The point is, just take a cat already.
#3 We’re a mainland Podiatrist’s worst nightmare.
Wana (pronounced ‘vana’) in your foot is like sand in your bellybutton… it’s just something that happens. Wana get a pedicure, go for a run, or generally walk around like a healthy-footed human being? Don’t live in Hawaii, brah.
#4 We’ll be eating whatever’s on sale. For life.
Because 10 boxes of half price Lucky Charms is the new acai bowl.
#5 20 cents a gallon never looked so worth it.
The bonus is that by the time you get to the front of the Costco gas line, you could have calculated what you owe for this year’s state taxes, formulated a better plan for maximizing your herb garden, ordered every single family member’s Christmas gifts on Amazon and played 11 rounds of rock paper scissors with the car in front of you. Who says multitasking isn’t a thrill?!
#6 You can flat rate ship your life for only $17.95.
It’s like winning the most compact lottery in the Western world.
#7 Kama’aina – the glorious, much appreciated pity party for your wallet.
So you happen to live where wealthy people can afford to spend their winters? Here. Enjoy 15% off your meal (with proof of local ID)!
Especially if they’re really, really, ridiculously good looking. The spots, that is…
#9 If it drives in and out, it’ll probably pass inspection.
Blame the rust, the red dust, the cat fur or the long-forgotten loco moco leftovers under the passenger seat – chances are, your Maui Cruiser’s best feature is that it generally cruises on the first to third try. If the check engine light isn’t on, give it time. It will be.
#10 Uncles = pure gold.
Alright, so who doesn’t love a cool, fun uncle? But in Hawaii, being an uncle doesn’t simply mean having a sibling with offspring. In fact, you don’t even have to be related! Look at it this way – you’ll probably always get a few extra birthday presents.
#11 Flashing is a good thing. Unless it’s by a flood.
I love getting flashed, you love getting flashed, and you’re definitely a big fat liar if you say you don’t enjoy the occasional surprise-by-flashing. But the last thing you want to get flashed by, other than perhaps a close family member, is a flood. Consider weather conditions when adventuring through streams and waterfalls on Maui, and remember that just because it’s not raining where you are doesn’t mean it’s not flooding upstream.
#12 We have a low threshold for the shivers.
You may think we’re joking when we throw on a sweatshirt and pants to scooter our way to Safeway on Sunday mornings, but when the forecast calls for possibilities of a slightly chilly breeze, we want to be prepared. There’s a reason so many Canadians spend their winter vacations in Hawaii, and that’s because cold weather is death. No thank you.
#13 What’s happening? Just kidding, it doesn’t even matter! We’ll see you there!
If there’s a public event that’s scheduled to be mildly entertaining, you bet your bum we’ll be there. It’s like a class, family and everyone you’ve ever known reunion multiple times a year, all with less parking.
#14 Don’t like cats? Adopt a cockroach!
While they won’t purr in your lap, they will fly into your hair for absolutely no cost at all. Yay!
#15 Life is not like baking. There is no real time frame for success.
‘Island time’… the struggle is real.
#16 Unless you’re walking on lava, slippahs it is!
We’ve all seen the groups of bridesmaids battling the dreaded sand-walk-of-misery in 4 inch heels and vowed to make our feet as low maintenance as possible.
Despite what you may Google, it’s not a singular cardboard disc from a popular 90’s game, a military term, or a website for playing online games. It is juice, and it is like drinking pure happiness.
#18 Hikes aren’t based on which one has the least amount of snakes.
Unless by least you mean most, and by snakes you mean waterfalls, then yes.
#19 Pau hana happens multiple times a day.
Meaning ‘finished working’, we look forward to a time when we are indeed finished with work and not just en route to our next job. POG won’t pay for itself, you know.
#20 Straight from the farmer’s mouth.
Forget the horse – if you want to know where and how your produce was grown, just ask the farmer who grew it. They’re around here somewhere. Perk #357 of living on an island. The person in charge can only be so far away.
This is a great article from www.mauitime.com. This is just the food and drink portion of their vast survey. Voting is now underway at Maui Time Survey, for the 2016 best. I've been to many of these places. But, there are so many more left to explore. What are your favorites? It is thrilling to know that such an amazing place also has such a vibrant food and drink scene!
MauiTime BEST OF MAUI 2015: Best Maui Restaurants and Bars, Food and Drink Revealed
These are the top voted restaurants and bars on Maui. We asked you Maui, what restaurants were the best, and you responded. These top Maui Restaurants are the definitely the best on Maui, because you said so. Read on for the best places to have breakfast, where the best service is, who is Maui’s best bartender, where to get the best margarita and more!
BEST LOCAL FOOD ON MAUI
Aloha Mixed Plate
When you want the best local grinds on the planet, you head to Aloha Mixed Plate. It’s not the ocean side dining at Mala or the easy parking situation that gets you there–it’s the food! The melting pot in Hawaii is rich with culinary culture, and it’s all repped here in their menu. Chow fun, shoyu chicken, teri beef, kalbi and kalua pig are just the beginning of what’s in store for your happy opu! My go-to is the poke and poi with a side of furikake fries. Boom! @Jenrusso
Runners Up: Poi By The Pound, 16%; Nagasako, 3%; 808 Street Grindz, 3%
BEST RESTAURANT ON MAUI
There’s a simple elegance to Lahaina Grill that is unmatched on Maui. The food, beverages, atmosphere and service are consistently excellent. I mean, like, perfect–every time you go. Even the smallest plate of food is complex and stylish and delicious. Everyone is helpful, without being overwhelming. And when you sit in Lahaina Grill, at either a table or at the bar, your meal will be pleasing and memorable. Lahaina Grill opened in 1990–let’s hope it never closes. @Apignataro
It’s oceanside dining with a Latin-inspired menu designed by Chef Mark Ellman and his team. You voted this spot the most scrumptious new restaurant on the island. The third location on Ellman’s own Front Street Restaurant Row, built out from scratch with a few nods to history lingering inside, is named after iconic artist Mexican artist Frida Khalo. I suppose anything on their delicious menu could have swayed you: handcrafted tequila cocktails, queso fundido, chile relleno, ahi aguachile, albondigas soup, chicken tinga, tiger prawn mojo de ajo… Or was it the secret brunch? @Jenrusso
Runners Up: Cow Pig Bun, 10%; Maka by Mana, 7%; Aria’s, 5%
BEST BAR ON MAUI
South Shore Tiki Lounge
Sure, there’s a lot of kitschy tiki art and bamboo lining the walls, but the Tiki Lounge is more than that. For locals and visitors, there’s something about this place that just exemplifies Maui. Yes, the bartenders are skilled and friendly and the servers polite and capable. And yes, they have a diverse cocktail menu and tons of great food. There’s even live music every afternoon and evening. But Tiki Lounge is also just a place to go to relax, chat with friends and have fun. Yes, they often win the Best Bar category. There’s a reason for that. @Apignataro
Man, all that Bohemian energy hanging out on the North Shore can really make you thirsty. Charley’s watering hole is a great spot to scratch that itch. You voted Reeny Seavey the one to back up your tasty beverage. Seavey serves up cold drinks garnished with her sage wit faster than a quick draw in this saloon. Need a refill? She won’t leave you hanging, and that’s why she’s the best. @Jenrusso
Yeah, Lahaina is hot, so when you belly up at Cool Cat you know Bodick’s gonna bring you a cold one lightning fast. His favorite drink to make is the one you just ordered. There’s nothing cooler than that. Cam knows what’s up. Just don’t ask him for a malted milkshake–stick with the booze. @Jenrusso
10% (Regal Cinemas Wharf Cinema Center 3, 658 Front St. #160, Lahaina); 808-667-0908; Coolcatcafe.com
Ahhhh, the mesmerizing upper Northwest coastline has it all: Kapalua Bay and beach, Molokai up close, sultry sunsets and lava rock jetties. And Merriman’s Kapalua is the perfect place to take it all in. The restaurant has Peter Merriman’s award winning food, great cocktails and wine and a huge outdoor deck. Even full moon can be spectacular here. @Jenrusso
Runners Up: Five Palms, 9%; Mala, 7%; Sea House, 6%
BEST BURRITO ON MAUI
There’s something dependably delicious about Maui Tacos’ Mission Style burritos, so it’s no wonder our readers vote for them year after year. Whether you get them with chicken, steak, fish or pork (or even without meat), they’re big and delicious, stuffed full of fresh beans, rice, veggies and salsa. In fact, I’m getting hungry just writing this. @Apignataro
When Mark Ellman opened up Honu, the idea was to take all the great seafood cuisines of the northwest and New England and serve it here. That means the best chilled oysters and shrimp cocktail, seafood sandwiches, dore, chowder, mussels, crab louis, nicoise and dungeness mac and cheese on the island. Even shrimp and ahi can be found on the pizza at this bustling appropriately oceanside eatery. @Jenrusso
Runners Up: Paia Fish Market, 9%; Mala, 8%; Sansei, 6%
BEST BBQ ON MAUI
Damn, this place has good barbecue. Ribs, chicken, ham, burgers, brisket–and it’s all wonderful. They’ll even take a perfectly fine salad and dress it with something like strips of smoked turkey, turning it into a thing of backyard grilling beauty. Don’t spare the spicy barbecue sauce, either. Add in gorgeous views of Maalaea harbor, nightly dinner music and an always festive crowd, and you have the makings of a legendary BBQ joint. @Apignataro
Seahouse’s elaborate spread of pupus wins year after year. They are open from 7am to 9pm daily but it’s the pupu hours that run 2-9pm that you love. More than 20 inspired pupu dishes include molokai sweet potato quesadilla, toasted mushroom ravioli with brown butter and their quintessential Lani ribs. Happy Hour nestles in 2-5pm, and the selection of tropicals pair perfectly with the pupus. @Jenrusso
Runners Up: Three’s Bar & Grill, 8%; Five Palms, 6%; Honu, 5%
BEST STEAK ON MAUI
Though I always think I’m walking into some Republican Party convention whenever venturing inside Ruth’s Chris, there’s no denying that this place serves outstanding steaks. You dress it the way you want it, and it always arrives at your table still sizzling with grilled steaky goodness. It helps that their service is impeccable, too. Because who wants to eat a steak served by a jerk? @Apignataro
When we’re talking about the best local sandwich, 808 Deli in Kihei shows us you don’t need a corporation to get it done. Specialty sandwiches, gourmet hot dogs and paninis make up the foundation of their bread veggie and protein combinations, but you can also customize your own. For under $10 you can have a meatball hero, southern squealer, veggie-licious, roast beast or “rippie” to satisfy the sando hunger. @Jenrusso
33% (2511 S. Kihei Rd., Kihei); 808-879-1111; 808deli.com
Runners Up: No Ka Oi Deli, 12%; Paia Fish Market, 8%; Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop, 4%
BEST MEXICAN FOOD ON MAUI
Amigo’s gets me like no other Mexican restaurant. It looks at me and knows I am a college student whose appetite doesn’t match her financial constraints. Little words are exchanged yet Amigo’s puts a plate overflowing with tacos and spanish rice in front of me, all for under $10. I was skeptical of such a good deal in this flashy society, but its authentic taste (synonymous for ONO) knocked down the walls I built around cheap Mexican food. Amigo’s leaves my taste buds open, vulnerable and always wanting more tacos. @Jadeyylady
Since 2008, Kirk Anderson’s Pizza Madness in Kihei has provide Maui with outstanding pizza. I know, because I’ve eaten many of those pies myself. The toppings, crust, cheese, sauce–this is pizza that just makes you want to keep eating, which I think is pretty much the definition of a truly great pizza. What’s more, the place has an old-time pizza parlor charm that makes you nice and comfortable while scarfing down slice after slice. @Apignataro
I still remember my first visit to Maui, more than a dozen years ago. I’d been on the island less than an hour, and my friend took me to Paia Fish Market for one of their fish burgers. Stripped clean of hyperbole, it’s really just grilled mahi, cheese, cole slaw, tomato slices and tartar sauce on a bun, but it’s taste is so much more than. It was a Saturday afternoon and the place was packed back then, just as it is today. No question, these are the best fish sandwiches on the island. @Apignataro
Runners Up: Three’s Bar & Grill, 8%; Fish Market Maui, 5%; Cool Cat Cafe, 3%
BEST VEGETARIAN ON MAUI
Maka By Mana
Right out of the gate, Maka has done high-minded cuisine that exceeds vegetarian categorization. They have raw, vegan, fresh juice, gluten-free, tonics and elixirs, along with some of the most innovative desserts made with coconut kefir. The backbone is Mana Foods’ organic, gmo-free ingredients and sustainable practices. Yep, holistic and healthy eating at its best. @Jenrusso
Man, our readers nailed this one. Too often, fish tacos are just an excuse to shove a fried fish stick into a tortilla with some shredded cabbage and sauce that’s colored somewhere between white and pink. But they do things differently at Las Pinata’s. There, they first coat the fish in a green batter of cilantro and jalapeno before frying it, giving the tacos both a distinctive green color and a wonderfully delicious taste. @Apignataro
Sansei has cornered the market when it comes to yummy sushi. Their locations in Kihei and Kapalua create the most delectable rolls Maui can offer. Unforgettable crave-worthy combinations like the Yellow Submarine, Mango Crab Salad, Panko Ahi Crab Roll, Yaki Maki and the Takah are only found at Sansei. The dining experience here goes beyond just sushi, and that’s why our readers like them best.
Forget all the conventions luau parties in college taught you. See how real Hawaiians would have hosted a celebration at the Old Lahaina Luau. From serving island delicacies like laulau to presenting a showcase of traditional entertainment, the experience will make you feel like you’re watching the real deal versus an imitation. The Front Street view of the sun setting into the ocean is a bonus aesthetic of this vivid performance. @Jadeyylady
Runners Up: Feast at Lele, 22%; Drums of the Pacific, 5%; Royal Lahaina Luau, 4%
BEST SMOOTHIE ON MAUI
Choice Health Bar
When our readers want smoothies, they want fresh gmo-free fruits and veggies, fresh-made local macadamia nut milk and result-driven superfoods in the most luscious fusions. The votes are in and Maui knows where to go for the best smoothie on the island, from the macaWow to the Chronic. And if you want your smoothie transformed into a bowl, no problem–it’s automagic. @Jenrusso
Runners Up: Jamba Juice, 17%; Farmacy, 5%; Maka by Mana, 4%
BEST LUNCH ON MAUI
Haliimaile General Store
Whenever you get to gloriously meander through a lunch, it’s a divine affair. The best lunch to be had in this case is at Hali‘imaile General Store. There, Chef Beverly Gannon has created a lunch haven out of this Haliimaile outpost (her original plan was a take-out spot). Gannon says people wanted to sit and dine from day one, and as you know the customer always wins. Hence the winning spot on Maui to take a lunch. @Jenrusso
The first time I came to breakfast here I thought, wow look at this line! But I soon learned that this place has the breakfast crowd down to a science. The line moves fast, and no sooner do you get you get your order in then there’s a spot waiting for you on their patio. You know just where to go for the best morning meal on the island. In the mood for muesli? How about steak and eggs? And don’t be sheepish about getting a teddy bear pancake on the side, it’s that good. @Jenrusso
The world of spirits is wonderful, and there’s no substitute for the great selection and prices at Maui’s best local liquor store. Their personalized service can’t be beat when it comes to helping you find what you want to imbibe. Their second-story wine attic is an emporium for wine lovers, and owner Johnny Aloha is all about passing great deals on to his customers. Now hold a glass up and clink to that. @Jenrusso
Wailuku Coffee Co. busts out fresh baked pastries daily with their serious coffee. The gears would stop running in Maui’s county seat without their espresso, which keeps everyone going. If you like drip coffee, they have that, too, from French roast to the Maui coffee moka or catuai. Team Wailuku Coffee Company keeps it going all day long–seven days a week, too. @Jenrusso
The word is out, the Upcountry Farmers Market is the one to go to on the island. Starting when the sun’s rays just crest Haleakala, more than 40 farmers are set up and ready to sell you their beautifully harvested goods. The market, situated next to the Longs in the Kula Malu Center, is also the spot to get fresh baked goods, organically and humanely farmed eggs, raw macadamia nuts and more. @Jenrusso
Chef Sheldon Simeon is a brilliant culinary star shining bright from his spot called Migrant in Mala Wailea. Migrant’s fun and modern take on Hawaii’s local favorites has resulted in new best loved eats like Ay Kudesh Garlic Noodles, Bottom of the Plate Lunch, Hand Cut Chow Fun and Mean Kine Saimin. No extra charge for the pidgin lesson. @Jenrusso
Runners Up: Jeff Scheer, 4%; Alvin Savella, 3%; Isaac Bancaco 3%; Lyndon Honda, 3%
BEST LOCAL ICE CREAM ON MAUI
Roselani is not just the best local ice cream; it’s the epitome. It’s amazing to see how Maui Soda Manager Manuel Nobriga took over Dairymen’s attempted ice cream enterprise in 1932 and blew it up, as demonstrated through the multitude of businesses which serve Roselani in its stores and goodies. Despite its prosperity the business has retained its tight family unit, with Nobriga’s granddaughter as Roselani’s head-in-charge today. Not only has the family name stayed the same in this business, but its recipes as well. But that’s just common sense. Why would you change the ingredients of the island’s most delicious ice cream brand? @Jadeyylady
Runners Up: Ono Gelato, 22%; Coconut Glen’s, 12%; Lappert’s, 7%
BEST MAI TAI ON MAUI
Duke’s Beach House
The Ohia Bar at Duke’s Beach House makes all kinds of tropicals but it’s the fresh squeezed orange, guava and passion juice with two kinds of rum they put in the Mai Tai that wins the top honors. If you drop by during the Aloha Hours from 3-5pm daily, the irresistible tropical Mai Tais are just $6. Duke’s also has some of the best live entertainment you can soak in while you sip. @Jenrusso
31% (130 Kai Malina Pkwy., Kaanapali); 808-662-2900; Dukesmaui.com
Runners Up: Tommy Bahama, 9%; Kimo’s, 6%; Fleetwoods, 4%
BEST PANCAKES ON MAUI
This is one of the few trendy restaurants where the food actually doesn’t taste like the end-piece of a bread loaf. The pancakes are snapchat-friendly and palate-friendly. While the food looks and tastes great, making it is a whole other experience. You’ll feel like a teenager whose just gotten their driver’s license when the server hands you a batter bottle, leaving you to grill your pancakes in whatever shape you please. Some people abuse this freedom, or maybe that’s just me because I have a lot of high schoolers on my social media. You can further express your creativity and embellish your cakes with fixins like butterscotch chips and even chopped scallions. Slappy Cakes serves other delicious breakfast menu items and lunch if you aren’t ready to assume the responsibility of making pancakes. @Jadeyylady
Two times a day, great food and drinks are half off at Three’s and that makes us happy. So happy, in fact, that you voted them the best Happy hour on Maui. From 3-6 and 9-10, you can rock their special menu of sushi rolls, raw bar goodies and more robust items choices like quesadilla, coconut shrimp, crab cakes and kalua pork nachos. Everything is priced from $3 to $7.50. Well cocktails and beers are just $3 and so is the Three’s Margarita and Mai Tai. Now that’s a happy hour. @Jenrusso
“Plate lunch” is an understatement for Da Kitchen; the restaurant will serve you more of a platter lunch. Seriously, I counted four rows of chicken katsu on my plate one afternoon. Da Kitchen flipped off whoever said “quality over quantity” and proved that a restaurant could do both. Based on my (too many) excursions to Da Kitchen, some stand-out menu items are the hamburger steak, macadamia nut crusted seared ahi sandwich and kalua pork plate. The restaurant’s popularity makes it a carnival of customers, but its friendly and quick moving staff always manages to get your food on the table before lunch break is pau. @Jadeyylady
Get ready to eat like a real Italian when you sit down in Casanova in Makawao. The cuisine is as authentic and Italian as owner Giovanni Cappelli. Antipasti translates as the meal before the meal, so boldly arrive with your appetite at its prime. Evening Italian meals will span a few courses. Sit back and order a bottle of Italian wine to go with your dinner. If you’re looking for something lighter, the deli is open for breakfast and lunch. @Jenrusso
Runners Up: Fabiani’s Bakery and Pizza, 17%; Sale Pepe, 17%; Marco’s, 7%
BEST HEALTH FOOD STORE ON MAUI
Paia’s health food store is so much more than just healthy food. The family-owned market specializes in seeking out the most sustainable gmo-free consumables, gourmet proteins and fresh baked goods you can find on Maui. The shop may be small but it manages to pack in ready-made hot foods, grab and go items, a salad bar, beauty and body products, house wares, clothing and a superior collection of chocolate. @Jenrusso
Runners Up: Down to Earth, 11%; Hawaiian Moons, 11%; Whole Foods Market, 9%
BEST BURGER ON MAUI
Cool Cat Cafe
Despite the restaurant’s name, you will look like anything but a cool cat after you chomp down on one of its burgers. Maybe more like a ravenous raccoon who hasn’t been in a trash can for two weeks. The burgers are that good, and if that animal analogy doesn’t convince you, maybe its six-year winning streak will. More persuading factors: really fresh ingredients. With “100% Certified Angus Beef hand-pressed and never frozen” and “buns baked daily by a local bakery,” these burgers already beat out two thirds of the nation’s food supply. @Jadeyylady
Your boss is more inclined to give you that raise you’ve been sneaking hints about between lunch topics if he’s under the influence of Cafe O’Lei’s macadamia nut crusted chicken. No one can be expected to think straight and exchange work-appropriate subjects about politics if he or she is experiencing the tasty joy of Cafe O’Lei’s cuisine. A few crabcakes and a New York Strip Steak later and you’ll end up wondering why you’re talking about how you started a garage reggae band in high school to the man who writes your paychecks. @Jadeyylady
You have spectacular taste in fine dining. You’ve decided that the intimate arena of exquisite fare afforded at Capische? is Maui’s best. Take heed to their Wailea Organics farm, where they grow their own herbs and produce. They also have piano music on Friday and Saturday, a superb wine list and wonderful cocktail menu. The chefs at Capische have long been masters of control over their ingredients, from curing their own meats to catching their own fish. The excellence of their dishes follow suit. @Jenrusso
Even with just a few bucks in your pocket, you can head to Tasty Crust and feast. Their old school diner is famous for pancakes–a regular order is just $4. They also serve saimin, burgers, katsu, teri rib eye, steak and eggs and some of the best loco moco around. Open everyday at 6am, they just can’t be beat when it comes to grinding on the cheap. @Jenrusso
(1770 Mill St., Wailuku); 808 244-0845
BEST FISH AND CHIPS ON MAUI
When you want some fish and chips, you want selection, right? Eskimo Candy has you covered with mahi, ono, ahi and plenty of other options. You can choose fresh or frozen, both are delicious and come served on a heaping pile of fries. Eskimo Candy makes there own tartar sauce and batter, and the coleslaw is addictive, too. It’s truly the best plate of fish and chips on the island, as you voted it! @Jenrusso
Star Noodle’s fresh made noodles and soups are the best on island when you need a big bowl of yum. What’s your favorite bowl? The Kim Chee Dashi or the Wafu Dashi? The Thin Saimin Noodle or Thick Udon? Oh, and the Hapa and Star Udon have that rich pork broth that has simmered for days. Please pass the chopsticks. @Jenrusso
Runners Up: Ramen Ya, 19%; Sam Sato’s, 14%; Nuka, 5%
BEST SPAM MUSUBI ON MAUI
The Nagasako Spam Musubi is the one, at one of our island’s last remaining okazuyas. One block of seasoned rice split in half by a slice of roasted Spam, then all wrapped up like a neat morning gift with nori. I’m surprised you get up early enough to try it–Nagasako opens at 6am and they often sell out. @Jenrusso
21% (Old Lahaina Center, 845 Wainee St. #213, Lahaina); 808-661-0985
Runners Up: Da Kitchen, 19%; Minit Stop, 9%; Foodland, 8%
BEST GYOZA ON MAUI
If you’re ono for gyoza, there’s only one place to go: Ramen Ya. Their gyoza Happy Hour is crazy: free gyoza with your entree! Not only that, but they have set menus that include gyoza with your ramen, and I bet you’ll be tempted to have both. Ramen Ya offers the best dipping sauces, too, right at the table. @Jenrusso
(275 W. Ka‘ahumanu Ave, Kahului) 808-873-9688
BEST CHINESE ON MAUI
Destination Chinese dining in Kahana FTW! There’s no denying their Mandarin cuisine when only Chinese will hit the spot. Their menu has all the best Chinese dishes: sweet sour pork, crispy tofu, pineapple fried rice and walnut shrimp, and never any MSG. @Jenrusso
Runners Up: Fu Lin, 19%; Panda Express, 14%; King’s BBQ, 7%
BEST JAPANESE ON MAUI
Wailuku’s Tokyo Tei is a family-owned Japanese restaurant that has been passed down for generations, and while their tempura recipe may be secret, everybody knows they have the best Japanese food. Their Teishokus are famous; they’re wonderful combinations of seasoned rice, pickled veggies, sashimi, cutlets, delicate teri beef, shrimp tempura and miso soup served in authentic Japanese lacquer boxes. If you’re dining with the ohana, family-style plates are the way to go. @Jenrusso
I like my Cappuccino on the dry side and Maui Coffee Roasters gets it perfect every time. They’re serious about their Cappuccino. So serious, in fact, that they host a Happy Cappy Hour every day at 2pm, when Capps are $2. Their fresh roasted coffee selection is some of the best on the island so if you want to take it home and try to make your own Cappuccino, go ahead. But you’ll be back, ‘cuz Maui Coffee Roasters makes it best. @Jenrusso
(444 Hana Hwy. Kahului); 808-877-2877; mauicoffeeroasters.com
BEST SHAVE ICE ON MAUI
Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice
Our readers, and pretty much everyone else I know on Maui, say Ululani’s has the best shave ice around. I wonder why: Ululani’s grinds ice down to the consistency of fine snow; they offer dozens of flavors, all sweet and delicious; and even when their stands are inflicted with long lines, the shave ice makers are cheerful and pleasant and just plain awesome at what they do. So yeah, big surprise here. @Apignataro
Runners Up: Local Boys, 26%; Tobi’s, 5%; Snow Factory, 2%
BEST FOOD TRUCK ON MAUI
Horhito’s just opened a new food truck location in Paia in the empty lot that Johnny Burger left. Now you can get their delicious tacos, wraps, gourmet bacon wrapped hot dogs and specials on the North Shore. They have their own fresh Mexican island style, and you voted it top food truck on the block. @Jenrusso
Consider it fresh squeezed sunshine, served in a mason jar! This locally made lemonade has taken the island by storm. Their creative flavors infuse local strawberry, mango, watermelon and even kale into lemonade, and we can’t get enough. They started with a lemonade stand in Kahului, but now they have a brick and mortar spot in Kihei Azeka Mauka. One sip and you will agree it’s wow wow. @Jenrusso
You don’t really think of Spanky’s as a restaurant, since they like to call themselves the 5-star dive bar, but they have great food. The fish tacos, burgers, hot dogs and fried bar food are all delicious, but if you’re just hankering for some Spaghettios, they can hook that up, too. @Jenrusso
(505 Front St., Lahaina); 808-667-2337; spankysmaui.com
BEST VIETNAMESE ON MAUI
Lahaina Sports Bar
Part sports bar, part Vietnamese restaurant, this hybrid has winning Vietnamese food. For the best selection, stop by on Friday and/or Saturday, when they do rare beef salad. If you happen to have too many Fireballs, sup it up with their amazing pho. It fixes everything. @Jenrusso
Runners Up: Saigon Cafe, 29%; Star Noodle, 6%; Asian Star, 4%
BEST SERVER ON MAUI
Toni Clark, Hula Grill
This Ka‘anapali Beach eatery is the spot for the best service on the island. Toni Clark is the most knowledgeable server–she’ll bring your drinks and food faster than you can say macadamia nut won tons and lilikoi mojito. @Jenrusso
Runners Up: Renee from South Shore Tiki Lounge, 8%; Dawn Lewchowski, 5%; Lilia Spangler, 3%
BEST BARISTA ON MAUI
Mary Mahler, Ono Gelato
I know what you’re thinking: baristas serve coffee, not gelato. Well, maybe you didn’t know that Ono Gelato also has a full coffee bar menu, including cold press coffee, lattes and 100 percent Hawaiian pour-over coffee. It’s so good. So look for Mary and ask her for a cuppa. Readers voted her best. @Jenrusso
Runners Up: Mako, Bad Ass Coffee, 9%; Kelly, Starbucks, 6%
BEST PAU HANA ON MAUI
Dog and Duck
No matter what time you punch off the clock, The Dog and Duck has a powerful Pau Hana waiting for you. This Irish pub in the heart of Kihei has great food, and a fully stocked bar with exceptional bartenders pouring drinks. Their Facebook page keeps FB nerds up to date with their specials, but you don’t need a smartphone to know you are gonna have a good time from the moment you sit down here. @Jenrusso
The deal here for kamaaina is simple: show your Hawaii ID, and then it’s buy-one-get-one-free for pupus and entrees. Buy one pupu, get one free. Then buy one entree and get one free. Add in 25 percent off beverages, their magnificent bread plates and one of the most delicious “plantation style” menus in Hawaii, and you’ve got yourself the best deal we’ve found. Apparently, our readers agree. @Apignataro
I’ve had bartenders tell me that Paia is a margarita town. So when you’re in Paia, you have to have the best margarita there is. At Milagro’s they don’t mess around, and margaritas are served tall and substantial. Their tequila bar is vast–pick your poison, or ask for recommendations from the bartender. I tend to lean toward the classic lime juice and tequila with a rock salt rim, but then there’s li hing mui, strawberry, coconut, blended, etc. Milagro’s has more than 10 margaritas on the menu to fit your mood. @Jenrusso
Lahaina is one of the warmest regions in the island, but perching on the balcony at Captain Jack’s affords you a bit of breeze and a bird’s eye view of Front Street. There’s never a dull moment from this perch right across from the Pioneer Inn. We like to settle in with some of their grog and grub and just take it all in. @Jenrusso
(672 Front St., Lahaina); 808-667-0988; captainjacksmaui.com.com
BEST LOCAL FARM ON MAUI
Kula Country Farms
We’re lucky to have so many great farms on Maui, but one rises up above the rest as the best, and it’s Kula Country Farms. You can’t buy any more local than this stop in Kula that has a farm stand that’s open Tuesday through Sunday. Every year, they host a pumpkin patch and activities for keiki, and are best known throughout the year for their sweet Kula strawberries, corn and Maui onions. @Jenrusso
The Surfing Goat Dairy may have the cutest kids surfing the slopes of Haleakala but it’s the mother’s milk that goes into their prize winning local food product. The farm is a great place to taste their truffles and cheeses but luckily it’s not the only place to get their delicious products. Surfing Goat Dairy’s line of flavors include seasonally fruit flavored goat cheeses, herbed, plain, peppercorn infused, quark and many more. @Jenrusso
Runners Up: Life Foods, 9%; Pono Pies, 6%; Adoboloco Hot Sauce, 5%
BEST KEPT SECRET RESTAURANT ON MAUI
Cow Pig Bun
It’s nice that the best kept secret doesn’t have to be a secret anymore because you don’t know how badly I’ve wanted to tell you about their exceptional menu, superior bar and great events. Cow Pig Bun has phenomenal burgers, bahn mi and other sandwiches as you might expect from the name. But don’t let the “cow pig” in the title fool you, CPB’s also got incredible mac and cheese, spuds, brussel sprouts, veggie burgers and salads. As for their tasty bourbon bar, list of prohibition-inspired cocktails and late-night knife fights, you’ll have to see those for yourself. @Jenrusso
Runners Up: 808 Street Grindz, 3%; Pailolo Bar & Grill, 3%; Capische?, 2%
BEST COCKTAIL ON MAUI
You haven’t really had a Mai Tai until you’ve tasted the Monkeypod Mai Tai–the honey lilikoi foam is the clincher. The hand-selected spirits and crafted drinks are well-balanced, stylish and artful. Fresh squeezed juices, local products like kombucha and housemade elements like ginger beer come into play, but the end result is a pure, simple, great cocktail for you to sip. If you happen to slip in during Happy Hour, even better. @Jenrusso
Runners Up: Tiki Lounge, 5%; Fleetwood’s, 4%; Tommy Bahama, 4%
BEST LOCAL LATE NIGHT FOOD ON MAUI
If you were a newcomer to the island and drove through Kahului at 11pm, you’d probably mistake Maui for Kaho‘olawe. Or the movie set of Jurassic World after everyone fled from the pteranodons. Kahului can be a ghost town past 8pm, but that’s when Zippy’s comes alive. You’d be surprised to see all the families packed back-to-back in the restaurant’s seats as the time approaches midnight. I remember having dinner here after track meets and thinking that people were having their family reunions in Zippy’s. As for Zippy’s food itself, I don’t have to say much because everyone already knows. Just two words: Zippy’s chili. @Jadeyylady
At this true farm-to-table restaurant, the menu starts by telling you the source. It’s unique, even for the Andaz Resort. I often can’t take my eyes off the exhibition kitchen, even while there’s an amazing sunset and ocean view. For our readers, their top notch service shines above all others on the island. @Jenrusso
Runners Up: Cane & Canoe, 9%; Tiki Lounge, 7%; Dog and Duck, 7%
BEST NEW BAR ON MAUI
Maui Brewing Co.
Maui’s newest bar is actually a brewery! Maui Brewing Co. was growing out of their Westside brewery and opened a new facility built from the ground-up, specifically to brew local beer. The team behind this liquid sunshine is also working on their own moonshine, but until that happens we can enjoy the beautiful beer tasting room. They have live music, events and a slew of food trucks to stave off the hunger, but the real attraction? Thirty locally made beers on tap, and tours of the facility, too. @Jenrusso
Runners Up: Cow Pig Bun, 14%; Frida’s, 9%; Rock N Brews, 9%
BEST KID-FRIENDLY RESTAURANT ON MAUI
Oh my God, this place makes me feel like a kid every time I go in. Yeah, the menu has lots of food choices for little ones (burgers, sandwiches, hot dogs, etc.) and the 1940s diner thing is still kitschy-cool, it’s all the model planes (fighters and airliners!) and vintage aviation posters on the walls that makes this place such a wonderland. And that giant Clipper model in the center of the room with the propellers that spin in the AC-induced air currents is like a dream come true. @Apignataro
16% (275 W. Ka`ahumanu Ave., Kahului); 808-248-7829; Rubys.com
Runners Up: South Shore Tiki Lounge, 7%; Iron Imu, 6%; Zippy’s, 6%
BEST PLACE TO BUY POKE ON MAUI
Serious question: how did we all survive before Tamura’s opened up? Most people know about their monstrously huge selection of all things alcohol, but in the back they have what seem like an acre-sized dairy case full of nearly every kind of poke imaginable. Some of it’s spicy, some of it’s sweet and some of it’s sweet and spicy. But it’s all good, like some sort of divine seafood candy. For our readers, that means Tamura’s is the place on Maui for poke. @Apignataro
The bento, or Japanese lunch box, has your four lunch food groups: protein, rice, pickles and veggies, and they’re packed into one pretty box. It’s almost a lost art, but not at TJ’s. They have the best selection of grab-and-go bentos, and okazu-ya at the ready on Maui. Miso butterfish, yakitori, katsu, sweet teri beef, unagi, tempura, pork cutlets, saba and gyoza are just some of the regular day to day offerings. Their newest offering? A fresh selection of poke bowls. @Jenrusso