Da Kitchen

Da Kitchen – Back in Business and Delighting Customers in Kihei
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

After a short hiatus, Da Kitchen is back in action. Now operating out of the old Piko Café space in Kihei, they’re back to serving lunch and dinner by the boatload. So, swing by whenever you’re craving SPAM Musubi, Chicken Katsu, and all the other Hawaiian favorites served in huge portions.  

- The HawaiianIslands.com Local Expert Team

A definite Hawaiian staple through and through, Da Kitchen has long served as the place to go in Maui when you want home-cooked fare served in a cozy setting. So, you can likely imagine that a whole lot of heartbreak swept across the island when they closed their three locations in 2020. In fact, wherever owner, Les Tomita, went, he’d get overwhelmed with hopeful inquiries on when they’d open their doors again.

So, using all the heart and soul that went into launching the original restaurant in 1998, Tomita decided to find a solution. In no time flat, he ended up collaborating with Richard Uyechi, owner of Piko Café, and taking over the dinner rush. The arrangement gave Uyechi a much-needed break, while Tomita got to rebuild his empire from the ground up. After many months of working together, Da Kitchen finally achieved their goal and fully took over the place as their own.

Through it all, the real winners are all the patrons who proudly waltzed through the doors. At every visit, long-time customers savored their old favorites, including the ever-popular Combo Plate with Teri Beef, Teri Chicken, Breaded Mahi, and Chicken Katsu. Plus, many of them would swing by just to check if they’ve added any of their other popular dishes, like Shrimp Scampi and Teri Salmon. Out of all their past offerings, their full page of imaginative variations on the traditional Loco Moco got the most requests.

With that outpouring of love, they were able to buy out Piko’s and plan their grand reopening in December 2021. Since then, they’ve gone back to creating almost all their most popular plate lunches, although they’re not quite ready to roll out the Loco Moco in all its variations. The team is still working out the details, so don’t be surprised to see changes here and there. They might adjust the hours, menu items, or even how they do things to see what works best in their new space. Just go with the flow and you’ll be well rewarded by delicious Hawaiian fare served with a smile.

Fan favorites ready to order:

SPAM Musubi
Whether you’re just in the mood for a snack or want to whet your appetite with rich, salty goodness, you cannot go wrong with the SPAM Musubi. They create this starter by slicing up SPAM thick and frying it up until perfectly browned. Then, they place it on top of a brick of sushi rice and wrap nori around the whole thing.

Katsu Cutlet
The Katsu Cutlet never fails to impress with its crisp chicken flavors and decadent sides. They create this dish all day long by breading fresh chicken breast in panko and frying it until golden brown. After that, they slice it up just right and put it in your takeout container with rice and mac salad.

Hawaiian Plate
When you simply cannot choose between all the decadent items on the menu, treat yourself to the Hawaiian Plate. This delicious meal features Lomi Salmon, Pork Lau Lau, and Kalua Pork in huge portions. To that, they add rice, macaroni salad, and green salad to bring it all together.

They do not take any reservations, so you’ll just need to hope there’s a table open when you arrive. More often than not, you can expect quite a line, although many patrons take their food to go. The many beaches nearby always serve as a great place to grub on good food, after all. For the best chance at snagging a table, skip the lunch and dinner rush in favor of stopping by early in the day or later at night.

Insider Tips:
-Want to share your love for this awesome eatery wherever your adventures take you? Ask about their swag when you come in.
-If you’d like to take your meal to go, just call ahead and they’ll have it ready by the time you arrive.
-Just want your plate to come with mac salad, no rice? Just ask and they’ll serve up a double scoop of their mac salad for an extra charge.