Best Lunch – Lahaina

Lunch Lahaina

Lunch Lahaina

Lunch is one of the best things to do in Maui. Restaurant tabs can get out of control at dinner, so enjoying the best restaurants Maui has to offer during lunch can be a way to stretch your dollar without scrimping on experiences.

Here are our suggestions for lunch in Lahaina. We’ve noted the most outstanding aspect of the recommendation whether prices($$$), views, food quality, selection.

Lahaina Coolers $-$$                 PRICE/FOOD
Location: 180 Dickenson Street, Lahaina, Maui, HI 96761
Cuisine: Island style American with Ethnic Nods
Hours: 8 am – 2 am (they almost never close!)
Celebrating 20 years on the scene in Lahaina, this local favorite has endured for good reason. A  casual, island-style place (you know what that means – no dress code) with indoor and outdoor seating, Coolers serves everyone’s favorites such as fish tacos, sandwiches, salads and burgers, and unique house specials that will quickly become favorites. We recommend the Evil Jungle Pasta and Truffle Chicken, Tofu stir-fry, Whaler’s Stew (with all kine fish and veggies), and Brown Goat Pasta (fresh local veggies in a brown butter and goat cheese sauce with pine nuts and dried currents- yum!). The diverse menu gives us something to look forward to when running errands in Lahaina town or after a late-night run to the airport.

Moose McGillicuddy’s $-$$
Location: 844 Front Street, Lahaina, HI 96761
Cuisine: Fun American Stuff
Telephone: 808-667-7758
With a name like Moose’s, it’s not surprising to find a menu filled with what we at WCM like to call “kid’s food” – very tasty goodies your health-conscious mom would only allow once in a while but which makes a great hang-over cure. In other words, people love it! Burgers, fries, sandwiches, pulled pork, fries, fried calamari, fried onions, fried fish, fried shrimp, breaded meat, chili, nachos, cheesy fries, sliders wings… If it’s your kind of thing, indulge! The whole vibe reeks of fun and nightly dinner and drink specials are popular for the under-30 set. Breakfast is the best bet with affordable, hearty, delicious egg creations and such. Go for it! Mama’s not lookin’.  You can surf it off later…

Penne Pasta $-$$     PRICE/FOOD
Location: 180 Dickenson Street, Lahaina, HI
Cuisine: Italian
Hours: Lunch and Dinner
Telephone:  661-4811
A wonderful family style place where you can either dine in or carry-out an assortment of well-priced, scrumptious Italian style favorites such as Chicken Piccata and the tremendously popular Baked Penne. Nothing on the menu is over $16.95 but I’m crazy about the Butternut Squash (emphasis on BUTTER) and Roasted Beet side dishes for $5.95 each. Daily specials expand the menu considerably with favorites like Lasagna, Osso Bucco, Fresh Fish with Pasta and Roasted Chicken. Don’t overlook the tasty flatbreads or open faced oven roasted eggplant sandwich! This place is so laid-back and welcoming you’ll feel as if you in your home watching the Food Channel while you dine .

Penne Pasta on Urbanspoon

Kimo’s $-$$$
Location: 844 Front Street, Lahaina, Maui, HI 96761
Cuisine: Island Style American
Telephone: 808-661-4811
Smack dab in the middle of Front Street, Kimo’s commands the premiere oceanfront location for lunching Lahaina Town style. This place is everything you picture when you think of lunch in Maui. You gotch’yer artichoke and smoked marlin appetizers, ahi sashimi, Hot Wing Salad (with prawns, wontons, veggies), plate lunch, fish tacos, coconut shrimp, burgers and fresh island fish roasted in sweet basil, lemon and garlic and extraordinary burgers and pork ribs for the less adventurous or uber-hungry diners. Kiddie menu, great ambiance, tropical drinks and energetic servers add further to the winning formula that has made this restaurant such an enduring success.
Mai Tai Lounge $-$$$   VIEWS/FOOD/VALUE
Location: 839 Front St, Lahaina, HI 96761
Telephone: (808) 661-5288
Cuisine: Island Style American
With it’s lovely oceanfront, rooftop setting right next door to Kimo’s, Mai Tai Lounge promises to deliver (not surprisingly) the Best Mai Tai on Maui. Maui Times readers agree, having voted it such two years in a row along with runner-up for best new restaurant in 2008. Some surprisingly delicious menu items including lobster quesadilla, lobster and shrimp enchilada, seared ahi salad, and heavenly mahimahi BLT wrap, help elevate lunch into a truly memorable meal. With killer views, good service and a novel menu, you can’t ask for more from a Front Street eatery.

Lulu’s $-$$     PRICE/FUN AMBIANCE
Location: Lahaina Cannery Mall, 1221 Honoapi’ilani Highway, Lahaina, HI 96761
Telephone: 808-661-0808
Cuisine: American/Island Favorites
Gotta love Lulu’s for the high energy they bring to everything from the eclectic, fun menu to the special events like Sizzling Samba and HHH Saturdays.  What would you expect from a place that lists Sake Ponzu Oyster Shooters, Big Sweaty’s Slippin’ Dippin’ barbeque meats, Chicken Jamaican Me Crazy, Caesar and Please Her Salad, and the Dick Butkus Burger (complete with peanut butter) on the menu? We think this sort of literary fun clearly sets the tone for a laid-back, two drink lunch experience. Like one reviewer said, in spite of the Oxtail Soup, a nod to old-fashioned plantation days food, it’s not exactly a place you take your elderly relatives or young children, but it’s perfect for the young and young at heart when you want to let loose a little.

Genki Sushi $-$$     PRICE
Location: Cannery Center next to Lahaina Farms
Telephone: (808) 873-7776
Cuisine: Sushi
Genki Sushi is popular because it’s fast, fun, easy and inexpensive. The sushi may not be as interesting or inspired as it is elsewhere but it holds great appeal nonetheless. The hook at Genki is the conveyer belt laden with mini platters of sushi that rolls continuously around the dining counter begging you to help yourself to the next tasty offering. Ingenious, really, because who can resist eating more sushi when so cleverly presented?

Food Court at Cannery Mall $          SELECTION/PRICE
Location: Cannery Mall
When atmosphere is less important than convenience and price, this is a great option. Japanese Edo, Vietnamese/French Bale, Athens Greek, L&L Drive-in, and Chopsticks Express compete for your on-the-go dining pleasure. Los Pelones also has a kiosk open to the food court side for take-out or dining at the collection of tables in the mall. We especially like the surprisingly good Greek Salad, Shish-ka-Bob and superb grilled pita at Athens, and the Pho soup and croissants (not together) done up with considerable pride at Bale. Additionally, the Orange Chicken at Chopsticks, the Yakisoba at Edo are always a treat. Top it off with an Orange Julius or Smoothie from Dairy Queen across the hall and sip while watching the free keiki hula shows.
Aloha Mixed Plate $-$$     VIEW/PRICE/FOOD
Location: 1285 Front Street, Lahaina, HI 96761
Cuisine: Hawaiian Plate Lunch
Telephone: 808-661-3322
In Maui, Aloha Mixed Plate is consistently voted the best location for the cultural icon – the plate lunch.  Due to its revered location just across from the Cannery Mall, right next door to the Old Lahaina Luau and directly on the ocean under the shade of ancient trees, visitors and locals alike flock here for oceanfront dining at its relaxed best. Besides the calorie rich (plate lunch) menu, Aloha also serves a tasty Asian chicken salad for carb counters in the crowd. For health nuts and vegetarians, Aloha offers a Taro burger, their version of meatless hamburger made from the ubiquitous Hawaiian root. For those who want to try the mixed plate for the purposes of cultural immersion and curiosity, Aloha has a “mini” plate option served a single scoop of rice.

The restaurant also offers a Keiki (children’s) menu but before the kids order the same old grilled cheese and hotdog, suggest they try the favorite of local kids instead – chow funn. This is the island version of mac ‘n cheese, without the cheese. Egg noodles cooked in broth, mixed with meat (beef, pork or even spam) and a few vegetables (anything from onions to bean sprouts) combine with a satisfying, mildly flavored sauce that island kids and adults adore.

Sunrise Café $-$$     PRICE
Location: 693A Front Street, Maui, Hawaii, 96761
Cuisine: Breakfast/Brunch American style
Telephone: 808-661-8558
Eating here is a little like stealing onto a neighbor’s back porch then being invited to stay for breakfast. Sunrise Café is cool, casual, inexpensive, and relaxing. The food is satisfying and tasty and the best place to be when you’re in Lahaina early in the morning or for early lunch.
Pioneer Inn on Urbanspoon

Cool Cat’s Café $-$$     PRICE/FOOD
Location: The Wharf Cinema Center, 658 Front Street, Lahaina, HI 96761
Cuisine: Burgers/American
Telephone: 808-661-4900
The 50’s style diner overlooks Front Street and the majestic Banyan Tree and serves what the Maui public has repeatedly declared (5 years running) the Best Burger in Maui. We at WCM concur wholeheartedly! Cool Cat’s offers indoor dining near the juke box and soda fountain but most everyone takes a seat on the picnic tables out on the Lanai to watch the world walk by while indulging in big, juicy, hand thrown burgers (fresh Angus beef – never frozen) and fries. It’s a diner, so of course they also craft shakes, floats, and banana splits. Cool Cat’s caters to everyone so there are salads, fish, and ribs on the menu, too, if for some odd reason burgers aren’t your thing.

Da Kitchen $-$$
Location: The Wharf Cinema Center, 658 Front Street, Lahaina, HI 96761
Telephone: 808-661-4900
Cuisine: Hawaiian
Da Kitchen food is so ono and the portions so plentiful that their other locations in Kahului and Kihei snare all the awards for best local food.  We expect no less from the new Wharf location. It’s definitely kaukau time when you walk in here. Expect heaping platters of kalbi ribs, lau lua pork, hulihuli and chicken katsu, loco moco, noodles, tempura – overall, an outstanding collection of the most wonderful culinary amalgamations to have ever joined forces to the delight of Hawaii’s hungry.

Aloha Thai $-$$     PRICE
Location: The Wharf Cinema Center, 658 Front Street, Lahaina, HI 96761
Cuisine: Thai
Another dining option close to the Wharf Movie Theaters, Aloha Thai is an unassuming, family style place serving authentic Thai dishes such as Pad Thai and Chicken Curry. Don’t expect a lot of atmosphere but do expect some satisfying flavors, friendly service and great prices.

Bubba Gump’s $-$$$   VIEWS/FUN ATMOSPHERE
Location: 899 Front Street, Lahaina, HI 96761
Telephone: 808-661-3111
Cuisine: Shrimp, Shrimp, and American
Tourists and kids love this place with its nod to the winsome Forest Gump and his mythical Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Company. Dining here is a show in itself with perspicacious servers, bell ringing, balloon blowing and other dining circus’ (including a gift shop) that mixes chowing down with clowning around. The food’s not bad, either, with good ole Shrimp Po`Boys, Boat Trash (mixed seafood platter), Bourbon Mahimahi and Dixie Style Ribs. Then there’s beer steamed shrimp, Cajun shrimp, shrimp gumbo, shrimp New Orleans… you get the idea. Some nice salads and desserts round out the menu.

Bubba Gump Shrimp Company on Urbanspoon

BJs Pizzeria $-$$                 PRICE/LOCATION
Location: 730 Front Street, Lahaina, HI 96761
Cuisine: American/Pizza
Telephone: 808-661-0700
BJs is actually a chain of restaurants serving Chicago-style pizza, ribs, stuffed potatoes, knife and fork sized sandwiches and popular salad medleys. Lunch specials include unlimited soup and salad, pizza and salad combos, fish tacos, sliders and fries, and even a blackened Atlantic salmon. There’s nothing really new or unique here, but the menu manages to cover the gamut of what most Americans have already tried and know they like– consistent, hearty, and good value.

Cilantro $-$$     FOOD/PRICES
Location: 170 Papalaua Avenue, Lahaina, HI 96761
Telephone: 808-667-5444
Cuisine: Mexican
Most ethnic restaurants in Maui can’t help but eventually give nod to local flavors and styles and begin incorporating locally grown ingredients into their recipes. As it should be! Cilantro’s is no exception; an example of this might be the grilled pineapple salsa served on the taco al pastor, or the scallop and prawn chili relleno. Delicious adobe pork and rotisserie chicken are flavored with organic herbs which is evident in the resulting taste. Overall, the interior Mexican recipes elevate the menu to an entirely new level beyond typical South of the Border lunch and dinner.

Longhi’s $-$$                 LOCATION/FOOD
Location: 888 Front Street, Lahaina, HI 96761
Telephone: 808-667-2288
Cuisine: Seafood/Italian Overtures
Noted favorite for breakfast and brunch, Longhi’s also serves a nice lunch with the ocean across the street in view through the open-air dining facility. Been there forever, a local and tourist favorite.
Mala Ocean Tavern $-$$                 VIEWS/FOOD/SELECTION
Location: 1307 Front Street, Lahaina, HI
Telephone: 808-667-9394
Cuisine: Eclectic Island Mediterranean
Mala’s is the go-to place for no-fuss lunch meetings, with atmosphere aplenty and hearty but healthy choices abounding. Waves crash a few feet from lanai tables and the sea air brightens flavors on the mostly organic and trans fat-free menu. WCM loves the mock-guacamole (soybeans in the place of avocado), the Mezza Quartet of Feta, Olives, Hummus and Grilled Pita, the lamb kabobs and Kobe beef burgers with Maui onions. There’s no better place to score the dish of Royalty– wok fried crispy moi.

Thai Chef                    $-$$                 FOOD/PRICES
Location: In the back corner of Old Lahaina Center, 800 Front Street, Lahaina, HI 96761
Telephone: 808-667-2814
Cuisine: Thai/Asian
No views, little space, great food, very inexpensive, locals love it! Dine on terrific Thai specialties like Pad Thai, curries, refreshing salads and Tom Yum soup. Hot, spicy, salty sweet, all sorts of savory thrills await  Thai Chef guests.

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