Maui Eats: Notable Meals from My Visit to Wailea

During my recent stay in Maui, where I discovered that I really much enjoy staying at the Andaz in Wailea, I had three dinners interesting in their own right.

I thought I’d share them here, in case they help folks deciding to eat – or not eat – at one of these places, since Maui is such a frequent tourist destination.

Scott at Hack My Trip says the Andaz Maui is “one of the few hotels where I felt I could stay there all week and never leave the property.”

I could stay on property, to be sure, but I prefer leaving the property when on Maui – there are close and far off foods, lots of variety (though not all of it good) and certainly at a lower price point. Only one of the three dinners I’ll mention was at the hotel.

Scott is giving away 3 nights there so considering entering.

Star Noodle in Lahaina

Last year in Maui I tried – and absolutely loved – Star Noodle. So much so that even though it’s in Lahaina, on the other side of the island, I decided to make the trek back there.

It’s really convenient of course when staying at one of the hotels in Lahaina like the Westin Maui or the Hyatt Regency.

To me, though, it’s good enough to be worth the trip over to Lahaina even when staying in Wailea. That’s in part about how good Star Noodle is, and in part that I haven’t been over-the-top thrilled by the other things I might have closer to the Andaz. (Yes, I know you have your favorites nearby…!)

Star Noodle is in an industrial park, just a few minutes but worlds away from the mega resorts. It’s not a tourist spot on the water.

Here’s the menu: (Click to enlarge.)


    (Click to enlarge)

I began with the scallop shots, the broth for which is amazing.

Then the ‘Filipino Bacon & Eggs’ which is definitely worth doing.

There was a duck confit on special which was good but probably the least good of the dishes for the evening.

Here’s the Hot & Sour noodles. Good, but my top choice for noodles by a wide margin is the Lahaina Fried Soup (which is oddly enough dry and not in a broth).

Morimoto at the Andaz in Wailea

Landing in Maui, traveling from the East Coast, is interesting because it’s taken all day to travel but it’s still light out for several hours. It’s not like an early morning or noon arrival in Asia, where you’ve been traveling much farther and may have even more of the day to force yourself up (in which case I allow myself a brief nap so that I can stay up the rest of the day). Instead I’m tired, but it’s too late to rest, I want to have dinner and power through the evening but still remind myself I’m in Hawaii so I want to relax.

I solved that dichotomy on my most recent trip with an outdoor meal at my hotel.

The Andaz on Maui boasts an outpost of the Iron Chef’s restaurant.

The restaurant is beside the pool, and I didn’t feel like it was set apart enough. It almost seemed as though it could be the swim up bar (though the pool bar was on the other side of the pool).

Morimoto’s is quite good. It’s also on Maui, so it’s pricey since it’s good. And it’s at an upscale resort so pricier still. Some report getting out of there quite reasonably, but I wanted a meal good enough to keep my attention since I was so tired. I ordered the omakase.

Any time I’ve ever done a ‘chef’s choice’ at a solid Japanese restaurant I’ve always gotten more than my money’s worth. The chef picks, and it would be an embarassment not to provide value. It’s often pricey, but you get at least what you’re paying for.

The problem here is it’s $140++ per person. And they don’t do much in terms of quantity of expensive ingredients. It’s an interesting meal but not one where I felt like it came close to its price.

Monkey Pod in Wailea

Brew Dogs, an Esquire Network (seriously, that exists) show where the proprietors of a Scottish brewery visit American craft beer spots, was was filming an episode while I had dinner here.

I sat outside and was constantly accosted by flies. I haven’t found Wailea to have truly top notch dining (though of course people have their favorites). Monkey Pod comes recommended, and it was certainly fine, but there’s nothing that would draw me back.


About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Star Noodle has fallen a little since Sheldon left but is still fantastic (grab Malasadas for dessert). He started http://www.migrantmaui.com in Wailea (we didn’t try it but it’s on the list next trip). Da Kitchen in Kahului is a must visit as well. Throw in a little Leoda’s and AMP (OK, same family as Star Noodle) and you’re set, and all for pretty cheap. I found if two of us spent $80 (minus drinks) at Star Noodle we SERIOUSLY overdid things.

  2. @Sice didn’t return to AMP this trip, but I’ve written on it in the past (in the thread linked above). Will have to try Migrant Maui next time for sure!

  3. Cafe O’lei is one of our must-go places to eat. The short ribs is my favorite!

    …And Mama’s fish house 🙂

  4. You should have tried the pumpkin ravioli or strawberry cream pie at Monkey Pod…both were incredible!

  5. So many good places to eat in Maui, I’d say Mama’s fishhouse would definitely make my top 3. And Lahaina being on the “other side” of the island from Wailea? Come off it.

  6. We were pestered by flies too – when eating outside at the Monkey Pod in Ko Olina on Oahu.

  7. My wife and I tried several places while on Maui in 2012. All of them had their pluses and minuses; but, by far the place that stood out was Mama’s Fish House in Paia! The food was delicious, service outstanding, and the view was beyond words.

  8. I honestly don’t see why people like Star Noodle. It is like wannabe asian food that is copied from other restaurants. Nothing is really notable and nothing is good. I have warned multiple people not to go there and everyone who goes against my warnings hates it. I went while Sheldon was there too and although I like him on top chef, that food was not very good.

    Da Kitchen is decent hawaiian food, but hardly a must visit.

  9. Gary what’s considered the best way to get to Hawaii in the front cabin from NYC area?

    It’s a long trek and I don’t know optimal routing.

    Thanks!

  10. @Steven – best as in cheapest? most direct[JFK-Honolulu on Hawaiian, Newark-Honolulu on United], etc. United is a better product [lie flat]

  11. I heartily concur with Scott G: While we visited several good restaurants during our stay on Maui, Mamma’s Fish Restaurant was head and holders above the others.

  12. We were there last summer and really enjoyed Monkeypod. Ate inside though, so the bugs may have been bad if we had eaten outside. Pretty disappointed in Da Kitchen, not nearly as good as a classic plate lunch anywhere else we ate.

    Best meal we are was at the Fairmont Kea Lani, can’t remember the name of the restaurant but it was amazing.

    Anxious to go back and stay at the Andaz. We’ll pass on Morimoto’s though based on the feedback I’ve heard.

  13. Gary. Now that the Alaska First Class credit card deal is gone, what is the best way to get to Maui from Florida using miles? I have enough miles in Delta, USAir, American and United. I’m having difficulty finding availability early December. Thanks

  14. Pod Thai at Monkeypod and the Pumpkin patch ravioli is fantastic! Head over during happy hour for 50% off apps, and cheaper drinks/pizzas!

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