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Maui Restaurants

Haliimaile General Store
900 Haliimaile Road
Makawao , Hawaii
Tel: 808 572 2666

This is the showplace of Hawaiian regional cuisine chef Beverly Gannon—an old general store located up-country in Makawao, converted into a picturesque restaurant serving the freshest, most delightful meals (lunch, dinner, and cocktails). Be aware that "fresh" doesn't necessarily mean spa cuisine—in fact, Gannon has a penchant for dishes dripping with melted Brie. The desserts (especially the pineapple upside-down cake) are highly recommended, and children are more than welcome—there's a special menu for kids (keiki in Hawaiian).

Open daily 5:30 to 9:30 pm and Mondays through Fridays 11 am to 2:30 pm.

Jawz Tacos
1279 S. Kihei Road
Kihei , Hawaii
Tel: 808 874 8226

Jawz started as a roadside taco truck outside Makena State Park. You can still get killer fish tacos there (in fact, there are two trucks now—one inside the parking lot, and one along the road), but we recommend this air-conditioned sit-down version inside one of Kihei's mini-malls. It's a booming business that serves up fresh-catch tacos, salads, and burritos (especially good when smothered in sauces from the salsa bar) that you'll dream about when you get back home. The restaurant itself is bare-bones—a typical cheap and cheerful joint with surf movies playing in the background. But you get heaps of food for under $10, which is a real deal for Maui.

Open daily 11 am to 9 pm.

Main Street Bistro
2051 Main Street
Wailuku , Hawaii
Tel: 808 244 6816

Adored by local foodies, the unpretentious fare here is made with Maui-grown ingredients and paired with unaffected environs (the key to the bathroom out back is tethered to a spatula). The lunch menu includes a Durham Ranch beef burger served on a Maui onion bun and a Caesar salad made with a full head of baby romaine lettuce from Kula. Ahi Cones—fresh tuna tartare with greens in an Asiago cheese cone, and macadamia nut-smoked beef brisket are favorites on the tapas menu that's available from 3 p.m. until closing time. There's also a small selection of wine, beer, and a full bar (but limited mixers).

Open Mondays through Fridays 11 am to 7 pm.

Mala Wailea
1307 Front Street
Lahaina , Hawaii
Tel: 808 667 9394

Despite its somewhat esoteric—albeit oceanside—location behind the Safeway supermarket, Mala is the hippest casual eatery in Lahaina. Chef Mark Ellman (best known for the now-franchised Maui Tacos chain and the old Maui Avalon restaurant) has hit just the right note for health-conscious but laid-back island folks. His tapas-inspired eatery serves small plates of Asian/island-inspired comfort food to share. The high-minded menu sticks to organic ingredients whenever possible, and no preservatives or hydrogenated oils are used. Noble as these aims are, rest assured the menu is filled with easy, appealing choices, from flatbread pizzas and Kobe beef cheeseburgers to clams in black bean sauce and beet and Kula goat cheese salad—all of which makes Mala a very satisfying place to graze. There's also a second location, Mala Wailea, at the Wailea Beach Marriott.

Mondays through Fridays 11 am to 9:30 pm, Saturdays 9 am to 9:30 pm, Sundays 9 am to 9 pm.

Mana Foods
49 Baldwin Avenue
Paia , Hawaii
Tel: 808 579 8078

Quite possibly the best, most affordable health-food grocery store in the United States. Whether you feel like a breakfast burrito or a marinated tofu and avocado seaweed wrap or a slice of cake, nothing will set you back more than $6. The perfect place to stock up before the long drive to Hana. If you're staying nearby, you might want to stop in just to gawk at the beautiful yoga-toned hippies and surfers (and their offspring) populating the aisles.

Open daily 8:30 am to 8:30 pm.

MonkeyPod Kitchen
10 Wailea Gateway Plaza, B-201
Kihei , Hawaii
Tel: 808 891 2322

This casual, family-friendly restaurant in a convenient mini mall on the highway to Wailea prides itself on its fine selection of microbrews and hearty gastropub fare with good food values (buying from local farms/aiming for perfection in preparation). None of this is a surprise coming from chef and locavore hero Peter Merriman, who has his fine-dining namesake restaurant in Kapalua and sister restaurants on the Big Island and Kauai. For lunch, tuck into kiawe wood–smoked "Maui Gold" pizza with pineapple and kalua pork, or the Maui Cattle Burger on a house-baked bun with a side of homemade kimchi. For dinner, there's Merriman's wok-seared chile and pepper-crusted ahi or the grass-fed Maui peppercorn-rubbed sirloin served with roasted red bliss potatoes, best paired with one of the 36 microbrews on tap (the best selection of artisan beers on Maui).—Cathay Che

Pacific'o on the Beach
505 Front Street
Lahaina , Hawaii
Tel: 808 667 4341

This oceanfront restaurant is a far cry from the rowdy, tacky venues farther down on Front Street advertising a sunset view with dinner. Exclusive but relaxed, Pacific'o and its sister restaurant next door, I'o (home of the best luau on the island, the Feast at Lele), offer Pacific Rim cuisine: fresh fish, local meats, and produce whipped into flavorful Asian-influenced dishes (sisho spicy tuna or sesame-crusted lamb). Start with something from the special cocktail menu, and dine open-air on the lanai a few feet from the beach.

Pauwela Café
375 West Kuiaha Road
Haiku , Hawaii
Tel: 808 575 9242

While Paia is primarily a surfer town, Haiku, a few miles east on the Hana Highway, is the windsurfer hangout of choice. Down-to-earth Pauwela Café is fast, cheap, and healthy—if you stick to the vegetarian options (try the Haiku taro burger on a whole-wheat bun). Those on an early-morning path to indulgence opt for pain perdu (French bread baked in orange-vanilla custard and served with mixed fruit). The lunch menu consists of salads, burritos, and sandwiches such as Kalua turkey with roasted sweet green chilies. People-watching and cheap entrés make up for the nonexistent decor.

Open daily 6 am to 2 pm.

3900 Wailea Alanui Drive
Wailea , Hawaii
Tel: 808 879 2999

Even if you're not staying at the Four Seasons, it's de rigueur to visit the hotel's Hawaiian version of Spago, decorated with bright wallpaper murals of pink and orange sea anemones. The hotel does have a newer restaurant, Duo, which serves fantastic steaks, but Spago has a better location and view for sunset drinks. The food is Californian (with a Pacific Rim emphasis on fresh fish and local produce) and pricey, and there's a lot of rubbernecking going on—a hazard of places where the beautiful people congregate. Try to get a table out on the deck for sunset. After dinner, take a stroll on the beach; you can walk the paved beachfront path all the way to the Grand Wailea Resort next door and back.

Open daily 5:30 to 9:30 pm.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.