Where to Eat around The Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Ka’anapali

The West Side of Maui can often feel like an island unto itself. With countless adventures, dozens of restaurants, and the most historic area of the island, West Maui may make you never want to leave.

1285 Front Street
In the mid-1800s, as Maui’s sugar industry flourished, it became apparent that more laborers would be needed to meet the demand for sugar. To solve the shortage, thousands of immigrants from across the Pacific were brought to work in the fields. When these field hands from Japan, Korea, China, and the Philippines all descended on Hawaii, they also brought with them their traditional customs and various types of food. Even though plantation camps were separated by ethnicity, workers in the field would often trade food with workers from other camps. A Japanese worker might offer some mochi, while a Korean worker might offer kalbi ribs. What emerged from this system of swapping foods was a combination of ethnic cuisines that eventually morphed into the “mixed plate” lunch that’s so popular in the islands today. For the best plate lunch on the West Side of the island, Aloha Mixed Plate is a local favorite set right on the water in Lahaina. Located across from the Lahaina Cannery, Aloha Mixed Plate serves heaping portions at prices that won’t break the bank. Sure, the plates are made of paper, but they’re topped with filling cuisine and served on the Lahaina waterfront. They’re also connected to the history of Maui. Most plates are accompanied by macaroni salad and two scoops of sticky white rice and include a meat dish such as chicken katsu or tasty teriyaki beef.
624 Front St, Lahaina, HI 96761, USA
In the native Hawaiian language, the word “Lahaina” literally translates as “cruel, merciless sun.” Given the name, it should come as little surprise that not only is Lahaina the hottest place on the island, but it can be five degrees warmer than neighboring Ka’anapali, just three miles down the road. When walking around town, one of the best ways to beat the heat is to cool off with a syrupy shave ice. This sweet treat has become synonymous with Hawaii, and its origins date to Japanese plantation workers who would combat the heat by shaving ice off of blocks. Today, no visit to Maui is complete without enjoying a refreshing shave ice, and the best shave ice on the west side of the island can be found at Local Boys West. Conveniently situated across from the Banyan Tree, Local Boys is an island favorite for all of the free add-ons which accompany each serving. In addition to the soft, melt-in-your-mouth ice flakes that can be flavored with multiple syrups, Local Boys includes ice cream on the bottom and Kauaʽi Cream on top, completely free of charge. For those traveling with kids, you can even top the treat with gummy bears for exactly the same price. While waiting in line for your syrupy treat, take a moment to watch the surf films or shop for locally-made merchandise. This store was opened by a man and his young son who humbly sold snacks on the street, and it’s grown into arguably the best place in Lahaina to enjoy the island flavor.
5900 Lower Honoapiilani Rd, Lahaina, HI 96761, USA
When eating at the Sea House Restaurant, it’s hard to decide what is actually better: the view of Molokaʽi across the water, or the Molokaʽi sweet potatoes used in the frittata. Either way, both combine for a memorable breakfast on the island’s northwestern corner. Opened in 1963 when tourists were just discovering Maui, the Sea House restaurant celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013—thereby making it one of the oldest restaurants in West Maui. Even with the history, fame, and ocean views, it’s one of the island’s most affordable restaurants. Most items on the breakfast menu will cost you $12 or less, and when you’re done with your meal, you can splash in the waters of protected Napili Bay. The Sea House sources many of their ingredients from local Hawaiian farmers (such as the Molokaʽi sweet potatoes), and they also follow traditional fishing calendars when choosing their fish for the menu. This is a great option for beginning the day on the island’s northwestern coastline and is a filling starting point for later adventures toward Honolua Bay and beyond. Or, just relax on the sands of Napili beneath the shade of a rustling palm. After all, there are only three hours between the end of breakfast and the start of the Sea House happy hour—an affordable menu that starts at 2 p.m. and has been voted one of the best on Maui.
There are a number of places on the island of Maui where you can buy fresh produce on the roadside. Very few of them, however, are actually farmer’s markets, and a couple of stands sell produce that has been shipped in from the mainland and elsewhere. How, then, do you know the difference between imported and local produce? One place to start is by buying your food directly from the farmers who grow it. At the Launiupoko Farmer’s Market—held each Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon two miles south of Lahaina—local farmers erect simple booths where you can shop for their freshly grown produce. Located just across the street from Launiupoko Beach Park, you can shop for everything from eggs and coffee to tomatoes, eggplant, and kale. For something different, sample exotic produce such as starfruit, dragonfruit, and rambutan. Most booths only accept cash. Not only is this a great way to get some fresh, affordable produce, but it’s a sustainable way to support island farmers and bolster the local economy.
1307 Front St, Lahaina, HI 96761, USA
A pioneer of the Hawaii Regional Cuisine movement, chef Mark Ellman showcases his thoughtful approach to cooking at Mala Ocean Tavern, a harbor-front eatery with dramatic sunset views. Come here for well-executed fusion fare like ahi bruschetta, whole wok-fried Hawaiian fish, and a vegan mushroom Bolognese pasta with local shiitakes, as well as signature cocktails like the Spa Day (cucumber, vodka, fresh watermelon juice) and the LBC (gin, passion fruit, basil simple syrup, fresh lime, and soda). Party animals will be happy to learn that the restaurant also offers a late happy hour each evening from 10 p.m. to midnight, plus live music and DJs spinning vinyl on Friday nights.
2435 Kaanapali Pkwy, Lahaina, HI 96761, USA
Located along the Kāʻanapali Boardwalk, this breezy, open-air beach bar celebrates all that’s authentically Hawaiian. The menu is full of freshly caught Hawaii fish, chicken and pork from local ranchers, and produce grown on more than 40 family-owned Maui farms, while the drink list features regional beers and even Lokelani sparkling rosé, made on the slopes of Haleakala at Maui’s only winery. If you’re more of a cocktail person, Leilani’s has those, too, including a mai tai made with freshly squeezed juice and a Paloma with house-made hibiscus syrup. Whatever you choose, don’t leave without trying the original hula pie—a chocolate cookie crust topped with macadamia nut ice cream.
658 Front St #160, Lahaina, HI 96761, USA
Front Street, Lahaina, is home to two famous burger joints. One has an oceanfront location and the name of a Jimmy Buffet song, and the other simply has the island’s best burgers. While there’s no denying the popularity of famously-named “Cheeseburger in Paradise”, island locals and visitors in-the-know opt instead for Cool Cat Cafe. The title, really, isn’t all that subjective; Cool Cats has been recognized as having the “best burger on Maui” for an astounding 10 years in a row. This airy diner looking out over the Banyan Tree uses a trademark blend of seasonings and spices in their belt-loosening selection of burgers, and the bar is a colorful collection of boat crew who are cheerily drinking away their tips. For a Hawaiian-themed burger, spring for the “Don Ho” which is covered in a tasty teriyaki and pineapple. For a burger with avocado, the “Luna” features bacon, avocado, and melted Jack cheese, or test your taste buds with a spicy “La Bamba” where the burger is topped with chili, cheddar, and sweet Maui onions. The restaurant has live music seven nights a week and donates to the local community, so if you’re walking down Front Street and get a carnivorous craving, climb the stairs of the Wharf Cinema Center for a taste of what is officially the best burger on Maui.
1087 Limahana Pl, Lahaina, HI 96761, USA
Much more than just a restaurant or smoothie stop, Choice Health Bar is a culinary fusion of food, lifestyle, and positivity. This small restaurant in the Lahaina industrial park serves fresh kale salads and heaping acai bowls. The place is a favorite hangout for island locals from surfers and paddlers to vegans. Just because it’s healthy, don’t think the food will taste like cardboard. Creative concoctions pepper a menu that is constantly being reinvented, and you’d never expect that a quinoa quiche could possibly taste so good. Locals also love Choice for the laid-back atmosphere and powerful, positive vibes. A sign on the door informs all patrons that this is officially a “bummer free zone,” and instead of simply “super-sizing” your meal, you can “make it epic” with ‘superfoods’ like kale and cacao. Consistently voted as the island’s top pick for healthy, vegan cuisine, Choice is the absolute best spot on the West Side for infusing your body with nutrients.
Kaanapali, HI 96761, USA
Hawaii is a paradise in so many ways. For me, as a devotee of tropical fruit, there was no better place to sample strange tropical delights than on the beach in Maui. Fruit stands are abundant here. Lychee? Hairy but delightful. Dragon fruit? Hot pink, perfectly yummy, and my first time eating any type of cactus. Star fruit? Sweet and sour. Who doesn’t have a travel memory that involves discovering new foods? Don’t miss these exotic delights! Be brave… go ahead, try it.
345 Keawe St # 304, Lahaina, HI 96761, USA
Poke (pronounced POH-kay) is not only a staple of Hawaiian cuisine, it’s also a favorite of diners needing a meal on the run. These bite-sized chunks of raw fish are seasoned with everything from soy sauce to seaweed, and you won’t find a luau or community potluck that doesn’t have at least one type on the table. For those craving poke on the West Side of Maui, Foodland Farms supermarket is consistently voted as the best place for poke in the islands. At a small deli counter in the back of the store, you can choose from a selection of more than a dozen different varieties which boast seasonings from spicy to savory. The fish of choice is yellowfin tuna (ahi), and one variety—the “Flyin’ Hawaiian"—is part of a charity set up by Shane Victorino, a professional baseball player who was raised on the island. While the poke itself can fluctuate somewhere between $12-$15 a pound, budget diners can enjoy a “poke bowl” in which a third pound of fish is served over rice for a wallet-friendly $7. Can’t decide? Try the ahi avocado poke bowl served over a bed of brown rice. Want to blend in? Eat it with chopsticks.
605 Lipoa Pkwy, Kihei, HI 96753, USA
At Maui Brewing Co. in Kihei, visitors can take hour-long tours of the brewhouse, cellar, and packaging line, then adjourn to the tasting room with views of Haleakala and Molokini. There, they can sample beers, ciders, wines, and specialty cocktails while playing board games or simply taking in the vistas. Also on-site at the brewery is a restaurant with 36 craft and specialty beers on tap, plus a menu of burgers, fish tacos, and pizzas with MBC’s Bikini Blonde lager in the crust. Go for the live entertainment or the twice-daily happy hours, when you can enjoy steep discounts on house beers, classic cocktails, pizzas, and select appetizers.
889 Front St, Lahaina, HI 96761, USA
For a little bit of southern Americana (minus the Hawaiian flare of most Maui restaurants), visit Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Company in Lahaina. The restaurant provides good food with an excellent view right on the water where sea turtles bob in the surf and the sun sets right beyond your plate of shrimp. Other than the food, the Shrimp Company has an adjoining gift shop with all the Forest Gump and Bubba Gump paraphernalia (from tshirts to beer cozies) a person could want to take home.
845 Front St a, Lahaina, HI 96761, USA
This airy, oceanfront restaurant can get crowded, so expect a wait whenever you go. It’s worth it, however, for the stellar menu of Hawaiian seafood dishes, plus the tropical cocktails. Pair a ginger mojito or strawberry piña colada with pupus (appetizers) like macadamia-crusted calamari and soy-ginger ahi poke, topped with local Surfing Goat Dairy cheese. Then move on to entrées like citrus-herb grilled fish tacos or the coconut-crusted catch of the day. If you’re not one for seafood, there are also excellent burgers and a teriyaki sirloin on the menu.
2435 Kaanapali Pkwy, Lahaina, HI 96761, USA
Located in the heart of Whalers Village on Kāʻanapali Beach, Hula Grill is a busy hangout with live music seven days a week. You can sit for a meal in the open-air dining room, but the real party happens at the restaurant’s Barefoot Bar, right on the water’s edge. Kick off your shoes and sink your feet in the sand, then order a Barefoot Brew (made specially for the bar by Maui Brewing Co.) or cocktails like piña coladas, mojitos, and Maui Mules with organic vodka. Also on offer are a range of non-alcoholic drinks, from house-made sodas and fresh-squeezed juices to local kombucha and pure coconut water, as well as a solid food menu that highlights Hawaiian farmers and fishers. For a great deal, head here for Aloha Hour, which takes place daily from 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. and includes special prices on pupus and drinks.
600 Office Rd, Lahaina, HI 96761, USA
Sansei offers what just might be Maui’s best sushi—a hotly contested title on an island with such rich Japanese roots. Housed in a plantation-style building, the restaurant lands on the contemporary side of things, offering creative sushi like panko-crusted ahi sashimi and the famous Kapalua Butterfly roll with salmon, crab, shiromi, and fresh vegetables. Also on offer are entrée-style dishes like shrimp dynamite, crab ramen, and the perenially popular Asian shrimp cake, crusted with crispy Chinese noodles and served with ginger-chili-lime butter and cilantro pesto. It’s food like this that led Bon Appétit to declare Sansei among its favorite Asian restaurants as well as one of the top sushi bars in America.
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