A gourmet three-course vegan meal at Fairmont Kea Lani // © 2014 Fairmont Kea Lani
Just when you think you’ve tasted it all on Maui, something new comes along to whet your appetite. Such is the happy culinary quandary on the Valley Isle, which is earning rave reviews for its roster of high-quality restaurants.
While the destination’s culinary classics continue to satiate residents and visitors alike, Maui chefs are keeping a watchful eye on dining preferences and responding with inventive new offerings.
Here’s a look at five prevailing food trends, as well as some Maui restaurants that are tapping into them.
In response to the increase in family vacations, Cliff Dive Grill — a casual beachside eatery at Sheraton Maui Resort and Spa — has introduced a grilled skewer menu. Mom, dad and the kids can share kebab-style combinations of mahi mahi, beef, chicken, shrimp and vegetables, all cooked over an open flame. Adding to the al fresco fun are side dishes such as grilled corn on the cob, baked beans, cornbread and Maui pineapple.
First came the farm-to-table movement. Now Maui’s chefs are putting their own stamp on it. At Matteo’s Osteria and Wine Bar in Wailea Town Center, Chef Matteo Mistura draws from his heritage to serve authentic Italian dishes and wines. At the same time, he keeps current with island growers and fishermen to use their organic products. The result is a savory marriage between old and new.
Clients with specialty diets can still eat well thanks to Fairmont Kea Lani’s Lifestyle Cuisine Plus initiative, which provides nutritious three-course menus at each of the hotel’s restaurants. Vegans can start the day with a tofu scramble with upcountry vegetables, while gluten-free travelers can finish dinner with flourless red velvet chocolate cake with vanilla bean anglaise. Heart-healthy, raw and macrobiotic concerns are also addressed on the menus.
Combining the best of a deli, coffee shop and bakery, the new Market By Capische in Wailea Gateway Center targets clients who want their meals fresh, fast and flavorful. It’s modeled after a chef’s pantry, with gourmet goods such as charcuterie, cheese, fish and handmade pastas. Made-to-order breakfasts range from tropical fruit waffles to coddled eggs, with panini and salads topping the menu at lunch. The venue even sells its own private-label wines.
Modern Local Fare
At Migrant Maui, chef Sheldon Simon uses innovative cooking techniques and island ingredients while honoring his Filipino roots. Modern meets local in specialties such as pork shoulder with guava jelly and pickled Kula onions. Food & Wine magazine called Simeon the “People’s Best New Chef in the Northwest and Pacific,” and he was a favorite on season 10 of “Top Chef.” Look for his restaurant at Wailea Beach Marriott Resort and Spa.