The coastal waters around Hawaii are teeming with fish and shellfish, making these islands an excellent place to go if you love seafood. This is especially true on the island of Maui whose proximity to the smaller islands of Lanai and Kanolawe and their offshore reefs and feeding grounds make for ideal fishing opportunities. When you are out dining on this island, chances are high that the entrees listing locally caught fish that was caught that very morning or just a day or two ago. In other words, fresh. Real fresh.
That said, while you can’t really go wrong with ordering seafood in Maui, there are some restaurants and fish markets that are a bit more well-known for consistent high quality, good prices, and exceptional service.
Let’s take a look at the best options we love to recommend to our own friends and family visiting Maui:
1. South Maui Fish Company
South Maui Fish Company isn’t quite the big business its name might lead you to believe. Rather, this is a thrifty food truck operation that sources its seafood locally and then preps it to order at their Kihei location. South Maui Fish Company is a very popular place and sells out of their most popular menu items every day. So if you’re in the area and hankering for 100% fresh and local seafood, make sure to go early! Their Fish Tacos are the most popular and feature whatever fresh fish they’ve gotten from their local fishing operations grilled up and served in two corn tortillas and topped with spicy aioli, slaw, and unagi drizzle. They also have poke available by the pound and if you fall in love with a particular type of fish they’re selling, you can purchase raw fillets to take home and prep to your liking(when available).
2. Kinaole Grill Food Truck
Kinaole Grill Food Truck is also parked in Kihei and boats a tropical-themed paint job that makes them hard to miss. They also get their seafood fresh locally and their menu is full of tasty Hawaiian favorites like Coconut Shrimp and Grilled Mahi Mahi. This popular food truck is also conveniently located less than a block away from the entrance of Kamaole Beach Park, a beautiful swimming beach with a posted lifeguard. This makes it, so you can grab your food for takeout and enjoy a little coastal picnic at a great swim spot. Plus, Kinaole Grill Food Truck has updated its hours this last year, with their now being open every day of the week from noon until 8:30. So, beach-goers can enjoy fresh seafood just about whenever they want!
3. Honu Oceanside
Honu Oceanside is a gorgeous little seafood and pizza restaurant that’s located in a cheery yellow building on Maui’s western coast. In fact, this business has a beautiful covered patio area that’s so close to the water that you could toss a stone in. The whole of Honu Oceanside’s dining area is connected as one room with multiple seating options. Their menu combines traditional Hawaiian ingredients with creative presentations for a deliciously beautiful meal. They also have a brick oven on-site in which they cook a selection of specialty pizzas that are all hand-tossed and made with either their Italian Caputo flour or homemade gluten-free alternative.
4. Coconut’s Fish Cafe
This sit-down Maui seafood restaurant is located within the open Azeka Shopping Center. Its interior is quite cheery with tables that have been cut and designed to look like surfboards lying fins facing up, while the walls are painted a cheery green and cream contrast. Overall, Coconut’s Fish Cafe oozes a casual and comfortable atmosphere and their menu is very much centered around fresh seafood that has been sustainably fished. This latter part they take seriously, and you’ll find plenty of information about the restaurant and on the menu. Popular items here include fish tacos and fish burgers due to the big portion sizes and similarly big flavors.
6. Lahaina Grill
This is the one Maui restaurant on our list that is not primarily a seafood restaurant, but the seafood it does offer is so good that we just have to put it on this list of where to find the best seafood on the island of Maui. Lahaina Grill, located in Lahaina, bills itself as a contemporary bistro, but its menu is a bit more upscale both in terms of entree offerings and pricing than what you might expect at a traditional bistro. Here, you’ll find a menu of American and Hawaiian cuisines that really build on fresh, local ingredients, including locally-sourced seafood and steak. Make sure to check their chalkboard menu at the door for the best of the day’s specials.
7. Paia Fish Market
Now, Paia Fish Market is a much more casual seafood restaurant that is just about always bustling with happy, seafood-loving customers. This Maui restaurant is a counter-serve which, given its popularity, may mean that you’re waiting for a good minute, but those in the mood for fresh seafood are apt to find that wait well worth it. Paia Fish Market specializes in grilling, frying, blackening, and otherwise serving up fish and shellfish that have been freshly caught from local fishing operations. Their long menu can be a bit overwhelming, so we recommend starting with a look at their Fresh Catch plates which will showcase the best fish they have in-house. Those plates come with your choice of sides.
Learn More About Maui & It’s Fishing Possibilities
Maybe, instead of purchasing seafood someone else caught, you’d like a chance to catch your own? There are a ton of fantastic coastal and deep sea fishing outfitters that will take you out and get you set up with the fishing gear necessary to reel in those big catches for a true Hawaiian experience. Learn more about these outfitters and about other great Maui attractions by checking out our other pages.