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When organizers of the annual Hawaii Food & Wine Festival (which runs from Oct. 18-20 on Maui) were considering a home base for their Maui events, they chose Kaanapali Beach Resort — and with good reason. Year-round, the seaside oasis satisfies appetites with the perfect recipe of restaurants to match its range of accommodations.
Kaanapali serves something for everyone, from devout foodies to clients who simply enjoy eating. Here are 10 of our favorite restaurants along the 3-mile stretch of Maui’s northwest coastline.
Hula Grill and Barefoot Bar (Whalers Village)With its ceiling fans, island artwork and ocean-view tables, Hula Grill & Barefoot Bar feels like someone’s longtime Hawaiian home. Chef Peter Merriman champions local farmers, ranchers and fishermen, with results such as crab-topped, macadamia-nut-crusted mahi-mahi with coconut sesame rice and Maui Gold pineapple beurre blanc. For an even more relaxed setting, ask for a seat in the Barefoot Bar, which is shaded by thatched umbrellas.
Japengo (Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa)Whether you unwind in Japengo’s outdoor garden or an interior nook, this sleek restaurant presents 180-degree shoreline vistas. Ceramic pots with bamboo stalks set the tone for Asian and island cuisine, such as hoisin-glazed pork ribs with macadamia nuts; prawn and mango salad; and loads of sushi creations. Half-size portions allow clients to sample twice as many flavors.
Joey’s Kitchen (Whalers Village)Joey’s Kitchen, a modest carryout counter, focuses on super-tasty Filipino fusion fare that lures a steady stream of enthusiastic fans. Chef Joey Macadangdang puts his personal spin on dishes such as pork lumpia; garlic shrimp with rice; ahi cakes with mango chili sauce; and Asian fish tacos. For breakfast, it doesn’t get any more local than kalua pork hash with a poached egg.
Mauka Makai (The Westin Nanea Ocean Villas, Kaanapali)Named for Hawaii’s mountains and sea, this open-air gem celebrates traditional island farming and fishing. On Mauka Makai’s covered patio next to pretty koi ponds, diners share plates such as scallops with uni risotto and black pepper lobster. Try a few small plates as well, like tempura asparagus or and pork and ahi with Maui onion jam. The Friday Paina buffet dinner showcases local dishes and live tunes.
Monkeypod Kitchen by Merriman (Whalers Village)At Monkeypod Kitchen by Merriman, a breezy standout with ocean views and plantation furnishings, Merriman again demonstrates his devotion to area ingredients. The signature mai tai features honey-lilikoi foam; deviled eggs are topped with Big Island lobster; pizza is laced with Hamakua mushrooms and truffle oil; and saimin (a ramen-like noodle soup) touts locally made noodles. Regulars love the pie but argue about which flavor — strawberry, chocolate, banana or coconut —is best.
Oceanside Restaurant (The Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Kaanapali)While this beachfront Oceanside hub serves dinner, we’re partial to its breakfast menu, which shows off The Westin’s commitment to recipes at once healthy and yummy. Start with a vitamin-packed juice blend such as papaya-pineapple-mint. Continue with avocado toast with feta cheese and heirloom tomatoes on taro focaccia, then finish it off with a side of chicken mango sausage and a bowl of upcountry strawberries.
Pulehu, an Italian Grill (The Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas)Enhanced by natural stone and wood decor, Pulehu (Hawaiian for “grilled”) epitomizes casual elegance. Farm-to-table meets innovative Italian cuisine in dishes such as poached Molokai prawns and porcini-dusted lamb chops with mushroom risotto. For guests seated between 5 and 5:30 p.m., the three-course prix fixe dinner is a real bargain. Request a table hugging the koi ponds.
Rocksalt (Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa)Views of Black Rock distinguish the lively indoor-outdoor Rocksalt, which is known for its inventive use of spices and ingredients. Small plates include roasted Molokai sweet potato with pickled mustard seeds and creme fraiche. Dig into large, shareable options such as sizzling beef with Asian greens, followed by a round of poi doughnuts. Don’t miss Aloha Hour, which offers discounts on drinks and pupus.
Royal Ocean Terrace (Royal Lahaina Resort)Like its hotel host, Royal Ocean Terrace features views of Lanai and Molokai that evoke a quieter era of tourism. At the same time, it serves food that’s relevant and delicious today. For a timeless entree, try the Kaanapali Mixed Plate of huli huli chicken, kalua pork, fresh fish, rice and macaroni salad. Maui mud pie and nightly hula dancers add to the aloha spirit.
Tiki Terrace (Kaanapali Beach Hotel)For Sunday champagne brunch, this courtyard gathering place checks all the boxes. Tiki Terrace’s buffet bursts with pastries, tropical fruits, waffles, crab legs, sushi, omelet and carving stations, and island poi and pig. Dinner brings local favorites suchas seafood lawalu — teeming with lobster, fish, scallops and shrimp — and succulent poke bowls. It’s fitting fare for a restaurant in an ultra-Hawaiian hotel.www.kbhmaui.com
The DetailsHawaii Food & Wine Festivalwww.hawaiifoodandwinefestival.com
Kaanapali Beach Resort Association www.kaanapaliresort.com