You might not expect an aquarium to be a likely location for an elegant, upscale dining experience, but trust us when we say that’s exactly what you’ll get at Seascape Maalaea Restaurant. Located at the Maui Ocean Center, near The Aquarium of Hawaii, this restaurant serves up a creative menu of traditional Hawaiian delicacies prepared in new and refreshing ways.
Under the direction of chef Enrique “Henry” Tariga, award-winning Seascape sources ingredients from local farms and vendors to comprise tasty meals build around sustainable and locally caught fish, meats, and vegetables. It’s also a platinum-certified Ocean Friendly Restaurant, which means attention is paid to creating food that isn’t just delicious and healthy, but also sustainable and environmentally friendly.
The venue itself is stunning. The restaurant is surrounded by glass walls, covered by high vaulted ceilings, and open to its outdoor dining patio, giving it an airy and elegant feel. Sweeping views of the harbor provide a gorgeous backdrop, and if you’re there at the right time of year, you can spot surfers or whales out in the ocean.
The menu includes a variety of light starters, salads, bowls, burgers, fish dishes, and ramen. Plate lunches are available on a rotating basis – a different one is available according to the day of the week, ranging from Japanese marinated beef to Hawaiian-style pork and fish. There is also a fresh catch of the day that is served with an assortment of seasonal accompaniments. Everything we saw here was plated beautifully. Not only was the food delicious; it was also visually stunning.
There is a full bar menu to complement the dining options. It includes a range of tropical mixed drinks, wines by the glass and bottle, and an assortment of beers from local microbreweries.
Here are some of our favorite bites:
Fisherman’s Ahi Poke Nachos
This is some of the best poke we’ve had. Fresh, cubed ahi is tossed with truffle oil, then mixed with sweet Maui onions, salt, and Hawaiian chili peppers. It’s served over taro chips and fresh avocado. The combination of sweet, savory, soft, and crunchy woke up our taste buds in the very best way and left us wanting more.
Puaa Pork Belly Bowl
The star of this dish is a tender, soy-glazed pork belly. It is accompanied by calamansi citrus, a free-range 6-minute egg, edamame bean salad, macaroni salad, and white rice. The flavors complement each other beautifully, and come together as one filling, tasty, and memorable lunch dish.
This is a vegan spin on the ever-popular loco moco. Rather than meat, the meal is centered around a grilled, secret veggie patty recipe. With it comes butter-glazed Hana taro, and local avocado. It’s all pulled together by a delectably rich and sweet coconut luau tarot sauce.
Maui Ulu Ulu Pie
Think of this like the lovechild of chocolate cheesecake and tiramisu. A fresh baked pie is filled with organic, local breadfruit, macadamia nuts, coconut, coffee, and honey. Together, they form a smooth dessert with just the right amount of crunch, and the perfect marriage of warm and silky flavors.
Go for the stunning scenery, stay for the amazing food. This is an elegant lunch experience you won’t soon forget.
-The restaurant offers a Maui Business Lunch Menu, which is basically a three-course, prix fixe menu. Start with an Island Greens Salad, try the fresh catch of the day, and finish it off with Maui Ulu Ulu Pie. It’s a great way to taste some of the restaurant’s specialties.
-Reservations are strongly suggested. The restaurant gets packed on busy days, so it’s best to reserve a table a few days in advance.
-An automatic gratuity of 20% is added on to parties of eight or more. They are also not able to provide separate checks for parties of this size.
-In addition to the standard menu, Chef Tariga cooks up a variety of specials throughout the week. Be sure to ask what special items they might have available on the day you visit.