Two of West Maui’s Top Restaurants are a Must on Your Hawaii Vacation

Two of West Maui’s Top Restaurants

West Maui is arguably the liveliest and busiest of all the districts in Maui. Its center, the vibrant town of Lahaina, is the most visited place on the island and boasts of a wide range of accommodations, from opulent residences to mid-range rentals and budget-friendly lodgings. Here, you will find a mosaic of fascinating museums, fancy restaurants, fantastic shopping, and fun activities. To the north are Kaanapali and Kapalua, home to upscale resorts, luxurious condos, and world-class golf courses. But despite being one of the most developed parts of the island, West Maui remains naturally beautiful, packed with breathtaking beaches, spectacular mountain trails, and stunningly scenic drives.

One of the best things to do in West Maui is to enjoy its sumptuous food, and this takes us to two of its top-rated spots - the knockout Kimo’s Maui and the lovely Leilani’s on the Beach. Both restaurants offer legendary dining, heart-warming experiences, and cozy home away from home feel.

Kimo's Maui

Close to several of our best Maui vacation home rentals, Kimo's Maui has been serving classic island favorites since 1977. If you're looking for tasty treats, late-night happy hours, and groovy music against a backdrop of stunning harbor views, this laidback hangout is the place to be. Established by best friends Rob Thibaut and Sandy Saxten, Kimo's is the first among a chain of eateries that will later be known as TS Restaurants. But it does not only offer exceptional food and a gorgeous ambiance. Kimo's promises warm welcomes and beautiful memories that last a lifetime.

Delicious and Unique Menu

Kimo’s Maui offers the freshest fish and seafood, mouthwatering prime ribs, succulent steaks, refreshing cocktails, and international wines. But the real star of its menu is the famous Hula Pie. This decadent dessert is made of macadamia nut ice cream on a crust of crushed chocolate cookies and topped with toasted nuts, whipped cream, and hot fudge.

Kimo’s Maui is also known for its fresh-from-the-sea fish and seafood dishes. Usually, its menu features three to four kinds of seasonal fish, available according to Hawaiian fishing traditions. One of the favorites is the parmesan-crusted fresh fish, consisting of the day’s catch breaded in herbed panko and served with lemon beurre white sauce, capers, and locally-sourced vegetables. Another bestseller is the prime rib served with homemade au jus, sour cream, and mashed or roasted potatoes.   

Wash down your meal with the house’s signature cocktail, Kimo’s Mai Tai, made of fresh juices and two types of rum. You can go fancy and get a glass or bottle of red, white, or sparkling wine. For something more casual, try the wide selection of beers on tap. Are you eating with a picky family member? Kimo’s Maui also serves meals for kids 12 and younger. 

All ingredients are fresh and grown on local farms, including Kula Country Farms, Haliimaile Pineapple, Haiku Produce, and Okoa Farms. Food prices range from $9 to $79, while beverages cost between $5 to $120 (a bottle of Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon.)

Location and Directions

Kimo’s Maui is located at 845 Front Street in Old Lahaina Town. It is pretty easy to find, just look for the restaurant’s signage between Wahie Lane and Papalaua Street. You can park at Aloha Parking, across the street from Kimo’s and behind the art galleries, for $10 for three hours and $15 for six hours. You can also head to Republic Parking, a few blocks up Lahainaluna Road, for $10 for two hours and $15 for six hours.

The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner from 11:30 am to 9:00 pm Monday to Sunday. Because of its popularity, there is usually a long queue of customers waiting for a table. To avoid this, we suggest you make a reservation ahead of time.

Leilani's on the Beach

Nothing beats dining with a view, whether you’re on a romantic date, on a gastronomic adventure with your family, or on a night out with your friends. Not far from our vacation rentals at Kaanapali Alii and Aston at The Whaler on Kaanapali Beach, Leilani’s on the Beach opened in 1982 and is another legacy of TS Restaurants. Most, if not all of its ingredients, come from Maui’s own farms and businesses. Relish the all-natural premium cuts, newly-harvested produce, and long-line caught fish delivered daily by local fishermen. Leilani’s has earned a number of accolades, including Top 2 Best Restaurants in Hawaii by USA Today, Diner’s Choice Award for Best Seafood, and Certificate of Excellence by Tripadvisor. 

Delightful and Creative Menu

When it comes to food, Leilani’s makes sure quality comes first. Bites are generally casual and seafood-oriented but also unique and filling. You get your typical assortment of ceviche, coconut shrimp, and fish tacos. But you can also pick from an array of creative options, such as the seafood hotpot, Maui fresh salad, and the best-selling salt-rubbed prime ribs. If you’re with friends or family, try the chilled seafood platter. Are you looking for an island classic with an unusual twist? Sample the delectable macadamia nut hummus or the sriracha-guava chicken wings. The restaurant also offers choices for children, including teriyaki chicken, fish and chips, and the all-time kid favorite mac and cheese. 

Those with a sweet tooth will love the Lilikoi Pono Pie. This breadfruit-inspired dessert consists of a crust of crushed nuts drenched in local honey and topped with fresh strawberries. For beverages, try one of Leilani’s seasonal draft beers, its exclusive fresh-squeeze mai tai, or its creamy tropical smoothie made of mango, passion fruit, pineapple, and syrupy strawberry swirl. If you do not mind splurging, take a pick from its selection of whites, reds, and rosé. Leilani’s is a mid-range restaurant with food prices between $9 to $59. Beverages range from $7 to $250 for a bottle of Dom Pérignon Brut.

Location and Directions

Leilani’s on the Beach is located at the Whalers Village in the gorgeous Kaanapali Beach. This airy and spacious restaurant features indoor seating, outdoor dining, and a bar. If you visit for drinks, go straight to the lanai, where you can enjoy live music and striking views of the ocean while nursing a mug of beer.

Apart from driving, you can get to Leilani’s via the Kaanapali Trolley, the Ka’anapali Islander Bus, or on foot. If you’re coming from Lahaina and prefer to head there by walking, follow the boardwalk from the Hyatt until you get to the Whaler Village. The dining room and beach bar are open daily from 11 am to 9 pm. For your convenience, be sure to make reservations ahead of time. 

Health and Safety

Though Maui’s COVID-19 restrictions ended on March 1, Kimo’s Maui and Leilani’s on the Beach continue to safeguard their guests’ health and safety by sanitizing surfaces between seating and thoroughly disinfecting common spaces daily. In Maui, the indoor mask mandate ended on March 25. However, the Department of Health recommends wearing face coverings in crowded settings or public areas, especially for seniors and immunocompromised persons. 

For the gluten-conscious, the restaurants have gluten-free meal options. But their kitchens and preparation areas are not gluten-free. If you have allergies, please inform the servers.