Kapalua Features Several Great Restaurants
When it comes to fine dining on Maui, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better place to experience award-winning, innovative options than Kapalua.
Situated in northwest Maui at the foot of Mauna Kahalawai, the West Maui mountains, Kapalua – which roughly translates to mean "arms embracing the sea" – is a 23,000-acre master-planned resort area jam-packed with incredible dining, beaches, golf, and shopping destinations. In addition to a slew of incredible, award-winning restaurants, the resort is home to two premier golf courses, the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, numerous historical sites, and more than 20 boutique shops.
Although you can't go wrong dining pretty much anywhere in this vibrant resort area, there's only time to visit so many spots. Without further ado, here's a selection of the best restaurants in Kapalua so that you can zero in on a dining option that suits your needs.
Cane and Canoe
Located inside the Montage Residences at 1 Bay Drive, Cane and Canoe serves modern Hawaiian cuisine with a farm-to-table approach. Fresh, locally grown produce dominates the menu at this lovely open-air restaurant, which features a stunning lanai with views of the Pacific Ocean, the Montage Hotel, and the islands of Lanai and Molokai. This iconic restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner; its Sunday brunch includes an innovative Bloody Mary bar with a dizzying array of liquors, garnishes, and mixers.
Undoubtedly one of the best restaurants in Kapalua, Cane and Canoe features an interior design inspired by traditional Hawaiian canoe houses, including intricate wood scrollwork, brilliant floral accents, and rich, woven textures. These traditional elements are joined by upscale furnishings and clean, contemporary lines, producing a unique, communal atmosphere that will make you feel right at home.
Signature menu items include strip loin, ora king salmon, filet mignon and tuna tartare, and other dishes created by Chef de Cuisine Ryan Ferguson. Expert sommeliers pour glasses from one of the best wine programs on the islands. Be sure not to miss Sunday brunch and its dazzling Bloody Mary bar, which features more than 20 hot sauces from around the globe, salt from the Hawaiian Islands, and unique garnishes like jumbo prawns and beef jerky.
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Located at the point on Kapalua Bay in the Kapalua Resort, Merriman's Kapalua features Hawaiian regional cuisine by renowned James Beard award-winning Chef Peter Merriman, who first made a splash in the 1990s with his efforts to grow fresh produce in volcanic soil. True to its farm-to-table commitment, more than 90% of the ingredients used at Merriman's Kapalua are locally sourced.
Regarded as one of the most romantic restaurants on Maui, Merriman's elegant indoor dining area features cozy, candlelit tables, vaulted ceilings, and thoughtful design touches. However, its outdoor dining area is arguably more popular, with its chic lanai with blazing firepits and iconic sunset views. The restaurant's four-course prix-fixe dinner includes highlights such as Keahole lobster with Maui corn and Hawaiian chili peppers and Kahua Ranch lamb with papaya salsa. Family-style dinners are also available; the pineapple bread pudding wraps things up in an unforgettable way. The restaurant also has a popular Sunday brunch with live music.
As befits one of the best restaurants in Kapalua, Merriman's also has a phenomenal wine list with options from small family wineries. Handcrafted cocktails like the foam-top mai tai make it a popular spot to sip a few with friends. If you're staying in Kapalua, you can even walk to Merriman's via the Kapalua Coastal Trail.
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The Banyan Tree
Known for serving up farm-to-table Pacific Rim cuisine in a laid-back, unassuming atmosphere, The Banyan Tree is another can't-miss dining experience in Kapalua. Located inside the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua at 1 Ritz Carlton Drive, the restaurant is perched along Honolua Bay and offers impressive views of the Kapalua coast. Chef Jojo Vasquez, who recently spent three years as sous chef to Iron Chef Morimoto, delivers creative dining experiences that often incorporate molecular gastronomic touches like foams, dusts, and crisps.
Whether you dine inside or out, you'll be swept away by The Banyan Tree's elegant environs. Inside, an eye-catching indoor living garden serves as a stunning focal point. Outside, fire pits glow by night, providing a lovely backdrop for exquisite sunsets. The menu abounds with innovative options, including a seafood sausage appetizer with salmon roe, a steamed branzino in mushroom broth with scallion oil and crispy leeks, and 'to-die-for sous vide ribeye. The menu has plenty of vegetarian options, and unique desserts like lavender sorbet, peanut butter parfait, and the unforgettable WOW-WEE Maui chocolate macadamia bar round things out nicely.
Every month, the restaurant hosts a local winery for a unique chef's tasting menu. A surprisingly affordable option, it includes a four-course meal with wine. The restaurant also prides itself on its unique, handcrafted, "garden-to-glass" cocktails.
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In addition to being one of the best restaurants in Kapalua, Taverna is one of the newest. Known for its "urban drinks and Italian eats," the restaurant offers a departure from the seafood-centric local dining scene. Located at 2000 Village Road, walking distance from many of the condos in Kapalua, Taverna specializes in classic Italian fare with innovative twists and handcrafted urban drinks.
Swiss Chef Roger Stettler has developed a mouth-watering menu with everything from fresh, house-made pasta to delectable wood-fired pizzas. In addition to regular dinner menu items, the restaurant offers a nice assortment of share plates. Menu highlights include a white pizza and a lasagna served with a side of beef and bacon meatballs.
This rustic, open-air eatery includes an expansive outdoor patio offering breathtaking views of Mauna Kahalawai. Adirondack chairs are sprinkled around fireplaces, providing comfortable places to dine and socialize. The bar serves a vast assortment of locally brewed beers and unique, handcrafted cocktails like the Burning Man-Hattan and three types of negroni. Be sure not to miss the weekend brunch, featuring live entertainment and many unique menu options.
Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar
When in Kapalua, don't miss out on Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar, one of the most award-winning sushi restaurants in the country. Located at 600 Office Road across from Kapalua Golf Villas and Kapalua Ridge Villas, the restaurant serves dinner only; it also offers late-night dinners with karaoke on Thursdays and Fridays. Specializing in creative, contemporary sushi and new wave Asian dishes, Sansei is helmed by owner-chef D.K. Kodama.
A popular haunt for locals, Sansei deserves its designation as one of the best restaurants in Kapalua. In fact, Bon Appetit cites it as one of its favorite sushi and Asian cuisine restaurants. Popular menu items include miso butterfish, smoked duck, and grilled pork chops. The seared foie gras nigiri, featuring foie gras in a sushi roll with mango glaze, is but one example of the unique dishes you'll find in this one-of-a-kind eatery.
One of the most celebrated restaurants in Kapalua, Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar has a surprisingly low-key, comfortable ambiance. The dimly lit indoor restaurant is joined by a charming outdoor dining area. Be sure to check out the award-winning wine list or one of the more than 20 types of sake – both hot and cold – from the rotating sake menu. You'll also find unusual Japanese craft beers and unique cocktails like the Thai Collins with lemongrass and ginger.
You Can't Go Wrong in Kapalua!
As you can see, the best restaurants in Kapalua are also among the best restaurants in Maui and the Hawaiian Islands as a whole. Some of the finest homes in West Maui are found in the area too, and we can help you find the perfect one; give us a call today!
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