Eat Local On Maui: Great Spots for Easy, Local Cuisine

Considering Maui is a tourist mecca I am constantly amazed by the high quality and variety of food available on the island. There are many fancy restaurant options and we have enjoyed those places but more often than not we find ourselves going back to local haunts and casual spots for our meals.  


Before I talk about restaurants let’s talk about groceries as Maui is a great place to picnic at the beach.

  • ABC Stores Maui These ubiquitous convenience stores come in handy when you want an impulse treat, souvenir, bottle of champagne for an impromptu picnic.  There’s one in every neighborhood on Maui.  
  • Costco – Maui’s Costco is literally just outside the airport and is an excellent stock up spot if you are planning on self-catering and staying for a while.
  • Napili Market – Has good basics and a fair number of local options and take-out choices, pricier than Safeway and Times but close to Kapalua.
  • Safeway  Kihei– Has a good deli, excellent sushi and plate lunches that are on par with those you can find at restaurants but for considerably less money.  The Safeway in Lahaina is a convenient location and can be shopped intensely.  The Safeway in Kihei is more modern, upscale much bigger and has more take-out options.
  • Times Market in North Kaanapali / Honokowai is a well-stocked store, not super-fancy but has terrific sushi and plate lunch choices from a self-serve hot bar.
  • Whole Foods Maui– there is one located in Kahalui, a perfect stop before heading out on the road to Hana..  
  • CJ’s Deli


Located in a convenient strip mall at Kaanapali this spot has a diverse menu including local favorites like Plate Lunch, Kailua Pork and more.  They also have excellent BBQ, and comfort foods for every palate.  I noted they make bento box lunches for people wanting to drive to Hana or make a picnic along the way.  Their dining room is a good spot to eat or you can order to go.  Both are excellent options.

The Fish Market Maui (In Honokowai)

This place is local.  We love it.  The guys behind the counter hustle counter orders.  They have a remarkable selection of fish you know (mahi-mahi, opakapaka, ahi tuna) and fish you don’t know (walu, uku and more).  Watch them prep fish so fresh it is literally being brought in by fishermen throughout the day.  You can also get poke tuna and salmon.  Half of The Fish Market offers raw fish you can purchase by the pound and go home and prepare.  The other side of the market is a kitchen that will prepare fish any way you like it.  Take food to go and eat it in the Honokowai Beach park across the street.  


Lahaina Fish Company

We’ve been going to Lahaina Fish Company for years.  The fish is dependably good.  The atmosphere, especially along the water is always so pleasant and after dinner you are perfectly poised to walk around Lahaina Town and enjoy some touristy fun.  Lahaina Fish Company has seafood and non-seafood options and they can accommodate larger groups if needed.  We like to eat there early at sunset, you are right on the water and as it grows dark these giant puffer fish appear in the lights that they shine on the water which is totally fun to see.  We have also seen turtles from their railing and thousands of fish in big schools.  If you drop a piece of bread in the water there you are in for a special treat.  

Lahaina Luna Cafe  

Never ignore a counter-window with a line of people waiting to order food.  Lahaina Luna Café is tucked away off Front Street and has fabulous walk-up window food.  The menu spans Pan-Asian and Hawaiian and is a delicious surprise.  There are plenty of tables in the plaza where it is situated so you can order and eat and get on your way if you wish.  Lahaina Luna was a big surprise to us and once again was a reminder that the food is really good on Maui and it need not be fancy.



Milagro’s Food Company in Paia is another great casual dining option for people seeking Mexican / Hawaiian fusion.  Their fish tacos were terrific as was their guacamole.  Sit inside, sit outside.  Watch the passing parade of surfers and tourists at Paia’s charming intersection.


Okazuya & Deli Honokowai  They do not have a website but lot’s has been written on Yelp:  

This is a cash only counter-service place that serves excellent Hawaiian, Japanese and American grill items.  Many people like their Teriyaki stir fry’s and chicken Katsu among other options.  As with the Fish Market you can picnic across the street or carry home food.

Queen Ka’ahumanu Center

This mall near Kahului has a memorable food court of Asian restaurants in a covered breezeway overlooking the water.  You can shop here, watch a movie or just have a super-casual, decent lunch with a perfect ocean breeze here.  Why not?

Rock and Brews

We love Paia.  This little hippie surfing town has about 4 streets and charm for every visitor.  Rock and Brews proved to be a really good stop on our last evening when we were awaiting a very late red-eye flight home.  This place is clean.  Their burgers are sublime and the non-stop surfing videos of the oceanographic event locally called “Jaws” is not to be beat.  Everyone on staff surfs and our server told us when she is not working she is surfing.  Hang ten!  


Star Noodle  

It’s no wonder people are raving about this most unassuming Pan-Asian restaurant.  Situated in a small industrial neighborhood in Lahaina, Star Noodle is a charming, very good modern noodle house.  We had a superb meal here and tried a variety of dishes including ones inspired by Thai Korean, Japanese and Philipino cuisines.  Everything was good.  The dining room is a noisy spot with a large communal table and there was a superb mix of locals and tourists dining while we were there.  Make reservations if you can as this place is small and fills up fast.  Walk-ins are welcome but you will wait.  This food is also very suitable for take-away if you feel like picnicking.  I won’t detail what we ate as the menu changes with what’s available and what the chef feels like preparing.  Check it out!


Rebecca Hoffman
Rebecca Hoffman

Growing up, Rebecca was a well-travelled kid having visited all the United States save for Alaska, Australia, New Zealand, all the countries in Europe, nearly all the countries in Asia and nearly every province in Canada by her mid-20’s. And now as a mom of two kids ages 5 and 8 she is attempting to travel as much, if not more, with them and her husband, Dan to show them the world. Born and raised in Chicago and having lived for many years in Miami, she now calls Glencoe, IL home. When she is not traveling, Rebecca is a hard-working communications and branding expert in a private consulting practice, Good Egg Concepts.

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  1. April 25, 2016 / 7:39 pm

    We stayed in Napili for a week last fall, and used the both the ABC Store in Kapalua as well as the Napili Market extensively, and were very pleased with both! The Kapalua ABC has a hot deli (fresh Spam Masubi for breakfast!) as well as a coffee bar, so we definitely racked up the points.

    The Napili Market and its surrounding strip mall seemed much more “for locals,” which is frankly the experience we want; a Whole Foods or Costco (or the new Target by the airport) are pretty much the same wherever you go. I love the small-town atmosphere once you go past Kaanapali , and it reminds me of the Brainerd, MN lakes area where I spent summers with my grandparents in the early 1980s, when it was still more of a working-class resort area.

    Our family wants to go back to West Maui again this fall, so I’m bookmarking this page for when the “where should we go for lunch?” question comes up again…