Fernando’s Mexican Grill

Fernando’s Mexican Grill & Cantina: The Go-To Place for Happy Hour in Central Maui
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Fernando’s Mexican Grill & Cantina is Kahului’s go-to spot for Happy Hour. One taste of their tacos or margaritas and you’ll see why. However, the restaurant is also a great laid-back stop for family-friendly Mexican food with dishes to satisfy any palate.

- The HawaiianIslands.com Local Expert Team

You might not think of having Mexican food while in Hawaii, but Fernando’s Mexican Grill & Cantina might change your mind. This go-to spot for locals and tourists at Happy Hour also serves great food on their menu the rest of the day.

Though Fernando’s Mexican Grill is inside Queen Kaahumanu Center, it has a convenient location on the first floor near the parking area. The mall location ensures that you will find plenty of parking nearby.

Like most restaurants in malls, Fernando’s is a family-friendly place. There is a separate kid’s menu with Mexican standards for smaller appetites such as hard or soft tacos, cheese quesadillas, chicken or beef enchiladas, and a bean and cheese burrito. If you need them, the restaurant has high chairs available, too.

Happy Hour draws in many people for the convenient location and specialty menu. On this menu, you’ll find discounted tacos, beer, and margaritas. Pair the first with either of the last two for a satisfying light meal or snack before the evening.

The restaurant serves its full menu throughout the day, too. You’ll find both authentic dishes, such as chicken mole or torta, and more common foods on American-Mexican restaurant menus, such as quesadillas and taco salad. Whatever flavors your palate prefers, you’ll find something to satisfy you at Fernando’s.

Try the following from the menu for a satisfying meal for take-out or dine-in:

Chicken Mole
Not many Mexican restaurants will offer mole, often due to the complex nature of the sauce that creates the dish. Fernando’s Mexican Grill serves a tasty chicken mole that features a dark mole sauce made with peppers and 27 spices. It’s a rich, flavorful, and authentic dish that you’ll rarely find in most casual Mexican restaurants. If you want to break away from burritos and tacos, try the chicken mole for a flavorful change of pace.

Tropical Margarita
The margarita menu at Fernando’s includes multiple forms of the drink. If you cannot decide among the choices, try the tropical margarita. This fruity drink starts with a classic margarita recipe. You then choose the fruit flavor to enhance it – mango, lilikoi, or strawberry. Many visitors attest to the delicious taste of the mango margarita. It’s an unusual take on the standard lime taste of this Mexican restaurant cocktail staple.

Chili Verde
When you want a hearty bowl of savory chili, Fernando’s has you covered with its green variation of the dish. Chili Verde blends juicy pork cubes with green tomatillo sauce and serrano peppers. Poblano strips add an extra green garnish on top. The chili comes with corn tortillas, beans, and rice. This combination dinner can serve one very hungry person or provide you with leftovers for another meal.  

Queso Dip
While you do get complimentary chips and salsa as an appetizer, upgrade your experience by adding on a queso dip. While most Mexican restaurants use processed cheese to produce their queso, Fernando’s makes the dip fresh with cheddar and mozzarella cheeses mixed with a roasted green chile poblano sauce. Plus, it comes in a hot bowl that keeps the cheese molten throughout the meal. When you order the queso dip at Fernando’s, you get a lightly spiced, flavorful cheese sauce for your chips or to spoon over your meal.

Fried Ice Cream
You might be tempted after a large meal to forgo the dessert but don’t. Try the fried ice cream for a Mexican dessert that is sweet and creamy to cool off your tastebuds after a spicy meal. The kitchen takes a scoop of vanilla ice cream, batters it lightly, and adds it to a deep fryer. The fried scoop goes into a puffed shell. Whipped cream and your choice of strawberry, chocolate, or caramel syrup finish the dish for a decadent and tasty close to your meal at Fernando’s Mexican Grill & Cantina.

Whether you want a laid-back Happy Hour taco and drink or a filling Mexican meal, Fernando’s Mexican Grill will satisfy you.

Insider Tip:
Most of the dishes have very large portions. Plan to share during the meal or take the leftovers with you after.