Once the royal capital of Hawai’i, Lahaina has a vast and varied history. First a fishing village, then a kingdom, and now a vacationer’s paradise, the town is as rich in history as it is swimming in scenic views.
The town of Lahaina encompasses many smaller areas and boasts a bevy of engaging activities, not the least of which are some of the best places to eat in Lahaina. Situated on Maui’s west coast, views of neighboring islands Lana’i and Moloka’i are on display daily. Each night delivers a sunset that sends a kaleidoscope of colors across the sky.
Long known for its expansive sugarcane fields and vibrant coastline, Lahaina has also made a name for itself in the culinary arts. Some of their most memorable Lahaina restaurants have been there just a few short years, while others have demonstrated consistency and innovation to stand the test of time. Here are our top nine.
Interested in visiting other destinations around Hawaii? Check out my guide on the 7 Must-Try Ko Olina Restaurants.
The Nine Best Lahaina Restaurants
820 Olowalu Village Rd // (808) 662-3600
Hidden within a curve on Hwy 30 (Honoapiilani Hwy), camouflaged by large trees, with only the line outside the door to give it away, is Leoda’s Kitchen & Pie Shop. It’s become a regular stop for our family as we make our way to the west side of Maui from Kahului. The line is present year-round, a telling sign of the treat to come, and further proof that it belongs on any list of the best restaurants in Lahaina.
Leoda’s is famous for their pies, but that’s not all they’ve mastered. We love to stop here for the generous sandwiches that keep us fueled for any adventures the day may bring.
Roasted Turkey is a classic and served on their popular Hapa bread, a mix of butter white, and wheat. Two large pieces of bread are filled with a portion of fresh roasted turkey that would be considered a double serving anywhere else, and other sandwich staples like lettuce, tomatoes, and onion.
The Roast Beef sandwich is also a favorite. Served on butter white bread, this sandwich comes with the staples but includes one of our favorite toppings too – bean sprouts! Slathered in mayo and a creamy horseradish sauce, it’s heaven! Pro tip: order extra horseradish on the side for dipping.
For the vegetarian in your family, there’s also the Avocado & Cucumber sandwich, complete with nearly every veggie you can imagine. An earthy basil pesto aioli and tangy balsamic vinaigrette dressing make this option anything but boring.
If warm sandwiches are more your speed, try the Reuben. Their house-made sauerkraut has all the taste you’d expect and even more crunch. Served on grilled rye bread with corned beef and house-made thousand island dressing, it’s good any time of year.
The sandwiches are huge and can be a meal on their own, though Leoda’s also offers homemade mac n’ cheese as a side in addition to famous Maui onion chips. Even if you know you can’t eat it all, you must take home at least one pie.
Chocolate Mac Nut is our favorite. A creamy chocolate pie is topped with whipped cream, chocolate shavings, and of course, macadamia nuts. A close second would be the Olowalu Lime pie. Reminiscent of key lime, but even tangier, it’s a refreshing treat on a hot Hawaiian afternoon.
If you’re short on time, Leoda’s recently began offering online ordering. You’re allowed limited substitutions, and they have a walk-up window to grab and go. If you’ve got more time and a few kiddos in tow, check out the Butterfly Farm next door.
We’ve been coming here for years, sending friends just as long, and have never been disappointed. No matter what you decide to order, you won’t be either. Leoda’s is one of the best lunch restaurants in Lahaina.
130 Kai Malina Pkwy // (808) 662-2900
Duke’s is the next must-have, never-miss restaurant in Lahaina. Tied to the Honua Kai Resort & Spa, it’s easier to access from the Kaanapali beach trail than from the road. Since it’s part of the resort, Duke’s offers breakfast, although lunch and dinner are where they shine.
If fish tacos are on your list in Hawaii, this is where you want to get them. We’re pretty particular about our fish tacos and have been known to eat here multiple times within the same trip. The fish that’s served differs every day, based on fresh catch. It’s typically Mahi Mahi, Ahi, or Ono.
The Mahi Mahi is worth waiting for if they don’t have it the day you arrive. The light, flaky fish pairs best with the crunchy cabbage and the roasted tomatillo sauce. Make sure you get extra of the tomatillo sauce. It’s rich and bright, and you’ll want to put it on everything.
If you’re not a fish person, the Korean sticky ribs should be at the top of your list. They come as a generous appetizer portion or in the Rib & Chicken plate with sides of macaroni salad, a Hawaiian staple, steamed rice, and pickled cucumbers.
The pork ribs are sourced locally and cooked to falling off-the-bone tenderness. They’re tossed in a spicy gochujang glaze. Gochujang is a fermented Korean chili paste, so you’ll get a good amount of heat. These are so good you may want to get multiple orders.
For refreshment, try Duke’s lemonade. Made with citrus vodka, lemonade, and a splash of cranberry juice, it’s perfect for patio sipping. Maui Brewing Co. is distributed in most restaurants too. We find the Big Swell IPA is delicious with just about everything on the menu!
Whether your taste buds are clamoring for seafood or barbecue, Duke’s is one of the best places to eat in Lahaina, Maui.
1287 Front Street // (808) 661-1287
Coming from Texas, our family is always a little wary of restaurants promoting Mexican food, but Frida’s got the goods! While you’ll find classics like fajitas, enchiladas, tacos, and margaritas, there are some twists on the menu that we recommend exploring. First, choose your preparation. Once you’ve decided, there are various proteins to choose from, so your final dish can be a masterpiece of your own making.
Seeing the Torta Ahogada on the menu is how we knew Frida’s would meet our expectations. A torta is a traditional Mexican sandwich, usually made with carnitas (pork) served on buttered bread and grilled to peak crunchiness.
Frida’s twist is a little different. While the initial preparation is the same, the grilled sandwich is then served on top of warm salsa, soaked up by the bread. Refried beans, avocado, and crema drizzled on top make this a sandwich you’ll eat with a fork and knife. It’s warm, comforting, and a perfect example of authentic Mexican food in Lahaina, of all places!.
The Mala burrito is another family favorite. Filled with the protein of your choice, rice, beans, lettuce, and pico de gallo, it likely weighs one or two pounds upon serving. Savory red enchilada sauce and crumbled queso fresco smother the burrito, which is served with guacamole, sour cream, and more pico. It’s all your favorite ingredients in one dish that could easily feed two.
If you’re looking for the perfect cocktail to accompany your experience, look no further than the Desert Blossom. It checks all the boxes. Starting with a mezcal rinse of the glass, a delightful combination of top-shelf tequila, prickly pear, and lime is added and finally topped with black lava sea salt. It’s as beautiful as it is delicious!
And for the truly daring, why not kick off your meal with the Mezcal Oyster Shooter? No matter what you’re expecting of your dining experience, Frida’s is sure to far exceed it! For south of the border flair in our fiftieth state, Frida’s is one of the best restaurants in Lahaina.
2435 Kaanapali Pkwy // (808) 667-6636
In Lahaina’s famous Whaler’s Village, there’s a vast array of places to eat and to be entertained. At Hula Grill, you get both. Located on the beachside of the Village, the restaurant boasts a large outdoor patio with live music every night. The sunset views and serenade can also be reserved. Hula Grill is one of the few restaurants in the area that allows you to make a reservation for the patio. All this combined makes Hula Grill on of the best places to eat in Lahaina.
But Hula Grill is more than just good looks and hot tunes. Even without them, the food would give you plenty of reasons to come back again and again. For starters, they make homemade bread that will feature in your future dreams. Try the dark cherry sourdough. It’s a hit for every palate with a tangy sweetness that permeates through each bite. The salads are also inventive and loaded with local ingredients.
The flatbreads on the Pupu menu are big enough to be an entrée for one. The toppings can change seasonally, though all variations are worth trying. The Kiawe Grilled Flatbread made with local goat cheese, tomatoes, mushrooms, braised fennel, and roasted garlic aioli was one of the best we’ve ever had – anywhere.
The Crab Topped Macadamia Nut Crusted Mahi Mahi is our go-to fish dish here. It’s the complete essence of Maui on one plate. Lightly flavored coconut sesame rice serves as the perfect canvas for the buttery pineapple beurre blanc with just a hint of sweetness. Served with veggies, it’s an ideal meal.
If you want to watch the sunset, make your reservation for 5:30 or 6:00 and settle in for the show! Great food, great view, great show. Definitely one of the best places to eat in Lahaina.
5095 Napilihau St #111A // (808) 665-0222
I can still remember our first trip to Maui Tacos – vividly. Given its casual atmosphere, we assumed it would be something akin to Taco Bell. Marching right up to the counter, we ordered tostadas, burritos, and tacos for each of us. Were we surprised when our order was up! The tostada alone could have been a meal!
Not-so-surprisingly, the tostada has since become a family favorite. The traditional round corn chip is piled high with beans, meat, lettuce, pico de gallo, and sour cream. So high in fact, that the tower of ingredients in surrounded by extra chips to help you eat it! It’s a must-have every trip.
The Wiki Wiki Shrimp Tacos are grilled in savory Aztec spices and served with cabbage, chipotle ranch, mango salsa, and cotija. It’s a vacation on a plate! Mix and match with a Baja Grilled Fish Taco or the original Maui Taco with barbecue pork.
Once you’ve got your order in, head to the salsa bar for the perfect topping. Try a mild salsa like “pineapple passion” or our favorite hot salsa, “Hula Heat,” and stock up on jalepeño pickled veggies.
For a twist on refreshment, Maui Tacos serves Aqua Frescas made fresh every day. A traditional Mexican beverage made from blended fruit, water, and lime juice, Maui Tacos uses local fruits for an authentic taste of the islands. For casual food in a casual island setting, Maui Tacos is one of the best places to eat in Lahaina.
1285 Front Street // (808) 667-5400
Previously located in tight quarters off a small side street in downtown Lahaina, Star Noodle got a well-deserved upgrade this year. Now located on famous Front Street, it’s entirely outdoor seating, right on the water. But the scenery is just the cherry on top at this Asian restaurant in Lahaina.
This is an excellent place for big parties, so bring all your friends. On our most recent trip, we readily shared 90% of the menu. If you can’t try it all, here are a few items that should not be missed.
Start with a couple of share plates. Each one comes with a set number of items, though they can add individual servings, so no one in your group misses out.
The Steamed Pork Buns are to die for. Pork belly glazed in a house hoisin sauce is cradled in the fluffiest bun you’ve ever had. It is melt-in-your-mouth perfection.
The Vietnamese Crepe is a seafood version of lettuce wraps. Served with a sweet dipping sauce and a crispy saffron rice pancake, it’s guaranteed to be something new for even the foodiest foodie.
If you have a larger party for sharing, we also recommend the Tempura Shrimp, Miso Salmon, and the Ribeye served with yuzu butter that is so good, you could drink it.
The restaurant is called Star Noodle, however, so you’ll want to have ample room to taste as many as possible. The Singapore Noodles are our number one recommendation. Thin rice noodles are tossed with chicken, shrimp, and sliced veggies in an extremely light curry sauce. They’re hard to stop eating.
The Pad Thai is some of the best we’ve had too. It’s made traditionally and not drowning in sauce, so all the flavors get time in the spotlight. If you still have room, go for the Garlic Noodles. You might not want to get too close to anyone afterward, but the ultimate roasted garlic goodness is worth it.
For cocktails, the Ginga Ninja is a good palate cleanser, and the Dragonsilk 2.0 is an innovative find. Lemon sour, fresh ginger juice, Aperol, Jameson, and Nigori sake combine to hit all five tastes in your mouth. If you like Asian-style food, and like a waterfront setting, you will love this Lahaina restaurant.
1307 Front Street // (808) 667-9394
Not far from Star Noodle is Māla Tavern. This is one of the more upscale restaurants in Maui, though it still promotes a relaxed vacation atmosphere. No black tie needed here, just shorts, sandals, and a good appetite.
Most people spend their mornings at the beach, which makes brunch a great time to try Māla. Tropical Mimosas are created with POG juice (pineapple, OJ, and guava) or even Hibiscus. A Build-Your-Own-Bloody-Mary-Bar is also available to the more creative connoisseur.
Gluten-Free Eggs Benedict is served on flaxseed toast with your choice of inventive proteins. I recommend the Lamb Sausage with traditional Hollandaise or Seared Ahi with Wasabi Hollandaise to break out of your comfort zone and find a new favorite! The lamb sausage adds umami to complement the creamy yet tart hollandaise. The texture of seared ahi is soft but solid against the poached egg, which adds a velvety quality to the wasabi hollandaise. Both are magnificent.
For dinner, start with the Hood Canal Oyster Shooter. The citrus of ponzu combines with the earthiness of wasabi and chive to highlight the oyster as a bold mignonette.
Our family tends to get tunnel vision when we travel to places well-known for their seafood, so the Catch of the Day is highly recommended. It was Kampachi (a yellowfin tuna) the day we were there. It’s served with some unique sides, including a breadfruit purée. Grown on the island and with a texture similar to that of potatoes, it’s a popular substitute for locals and a unique culinary experience for guests.
If you’re ready for some land-grown protein, go for the Māla burger. Made with a massive patty of Maui Cattle Beef and topped with smoked bacon and caramelized onions, you will not leave hungry. A huge stack of crispy French fries comes with it just in case.
For a perfect blend of casual yet upscale, with a menu that accommodates the seafood lover and the carnivore, this is one of the best restaurants in Lahaina.
2435 Kaanapali Pkwy // (808) 661-4495
For a romantic night out or anything you may be celebrating, be sure to check out Leilani’s on the Beach. Also found in Whaler’s Village, Leilani’s is directly across from Hula Grill. Perhaps the best thing about them is that there’s something for everyone on the menu.
Where you choose to dine within the restaurant can also create two totally different experiences. For a more relaxed, beachy vibe, go for the patio. For the aforementioned romantic vibe, choose a seat inside and upstairs. Big balconies hover over the patio below and give you a prime spot for sunset.
Leilani’s also offers an upscale menu that won’t break the bank. As you settle in at your table, you’ll find the perfect environment to sip on local Maui Wine’s Lokelani, a sparkling rosé that’s crisp, dry, with a subtle hint of strawberry. It’s a gorgeous wine for a beautiful setting.
If you’re looking for something to share, the Beachside Nachos are a great pick. They’re quite large and can be topped with Kalua pork or chicken along with all the traditional fixin’s. The Sriracha-Guava Chicken Wings also provide a unique spin on an old favorite. The sauce is a perfect blend of sweet and spicy. They’re accompanied by fresh cilantro, green onions, jicama slaw, and herb buttermilk to temper the heat.
The Maui Fresh salad is a flavorful selection on the lighter side. Made with local ingredients, greens are mixed with strawberries, Maui onions, goat cheese, candied walnuts, and a papaya seed vinaigrette. We asked to share one as an appetizer for two, and the staff graciously served it already split between two plates!
If you’re up for more fish, the Parmesan Crusted is the must-have here. Lightly coated and served over creamy mashed potatoes, slathered in a lemon-caper reduction, and accompanied by a pineapple jicama slaw, it’s so good you’ll want to lick the plate. No matter what the fresh fish of the day is, go for this one.
And I would be completely remiss if I failed to mention the famous Hula Pie. You’ll see this on multiple menus throughout town, and once you taste it, you’ll know why. A chocolate cookie crust is topped with a massive, genuinely immense serving of macadamia nut ice cream. A chocolate fudge shell is frozen on top before being sliced into a delectable piece for your table. It comes served with toasted macadamia nuts, whipped cream on top, and as many spoons as you need. Seriously, one slice will feed four to six people easily. We always order two anyway!
For fine dining in Lahaina, make sure to try Leilani’s.
790 Front Street // (808) 877-3700
Ululani’s has quickly become a must-have. They’ve grown to numerous locations around Hawaii, though their first was in Lahaina. Fair warning, the line is long, and they don’t offer online ordering yet, but it’s worth it.
The owners take their craft seriously and only use the purified water, pure sugarcane, fresh fruit, and premium syrups. They also offer a variety of gourmet add-ons to delight each guest.
Try the Sunset Beach combo. It’s passion orange, coconut, and guava shave ice, but here’s where the magic happens. You can add a scoop of ice cream to the bottom of the cup! I’d recommend the Haupia (coconut) with this combo to deliver a creamy, sweet foundation for the more tart fruit flavors. It feels so decadent while still being light. Or try root beer flavored shave ice over vanilla ice cream for a Hawaiian twist on the classic float!
If you’re looking for straight-up shave ice, why not try the sour lemon? It’s playful and surprising in the best way. No matter which you choose first, you won’t be disappointed.
That wraps up our recommendation on nine of the best restaurants in Lahaina. Matching up the marvels of this tropical paradise with some of the best places to eat on the islands is a win-win situation for anyone.
Which one of these Lahaina restaurants will you try first? Let us know in the comments below!
By the time she was ten, Kerri Smith had already lived in five different states and had attended as many grade schools. Moving to new places instilled a love of adventure from an early age and a desire to see as much of the world as possible.
Kerri is an avid traveler and believes firmly that culture is rooted in a community’s food and dining experiences that can make or break a trip. Whether solo or with friends, She enjoys traveling best when the most are made of every experience. Good, bad, or otherwise, her motto is “…but would it make a good story?”
Kerri left her traditional job in advertising sales to become a full-time travel writer and to live her one life as fully as possible.