Head to Kihei's Tanpopo For Delightful Japanese and Italian Eats
Local Expert's Rating:
5.0 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Tanpopo brings a wonderful blend of Japanese and Italian dishes to Kihei, along with friendly service. Stop in for casually contemporary eats, enjoyed in an intimate setting alongside chilled Sapporo or sake. 

- The HawaiianIslands.com Local Expert Team

Japanese cuisine abounds throughout Maui, but some places are worth trying because they provide such a unique twist on your favorites from across the Pacific. Such is the case at Tanpopo, where the best Japanese and Italian eats are combined to great effect. 

Conveniently located at the Longs Drugs Shopping Center, this remarkable Kihei restaurant has a strong local following but could also use some love from tourists. It’s casual enough for a quick bite but also has a contemporary feel that makes it a great candidate for date night. 

Before you get around to enjoying your meal, you’ll quickly come to appreciate the friendly service. The waitstaff is attentive, while the small size of the restaurant keeps the experience feeling intimate. You’ll receive great recommendations, plus swift service — or a generous discount if your wait is even slightly longer than expected. 

As we’ve mentioned, the menu contains a unique blend of Japanese and Italian ingredients and cooking styles. Several memorable pasta dishes are available, as are curry, bento boxes, chicken katsu, and more. If you have a sweet tooth, you can enjoy a delicious crepe. Strawberry and banana flavors are offered, along with a tasty blend of the two. 

No matter what you order, it will taste better alongside a cold beer. A frosty drink is guaranteed, as your beer will be served in a chilled mug. This makes already tasty Sapporo even more enjoyable. Sake and prosecco are also available, along with iced tea if you’re not inclined to order alcoholic beverages. 

A few of our favorite menu items include the following:

Fried chicken is a hot commodity at Tanpopo, where regulars and first-time visitors alike clamor to get in on this deliciously artery-clogging favorite. This is available as either an appetizer or, during lunch service, in bento box form. If enjoyed as part of a bento box, the fried chicken is accompanied by macaroni salad, pickled vegetables, and rice. 

Deep-fried instead of steamed, these tasty potstickers are provided alongside a traditional gyoza sauce. A spicy paste is included on the side. Your order will come with six pieces, making this the perfect appetizer to share before your meal if you have a somewhat small appetite. 

Tonkotsu Ramen
If you’re not typically a big fan of tonkotsu broth, this version might still be worth trying. It features a blend of chicken and pork broth, which is savory but not too creamy. The slightly eggy noodles are cooked to perfection. You’re welcome to add extra pork or a boiled egg for a small fee. 

Chicken Alfredo
It’s not every day you can order Fettucini Alfredo at a Japanese restaurant. This is a wonderful option for picky eaters who aren’t keen on the idea of authentic Japanese cuisine. Even those who adore Japanese dishes may find themselves craving this rich pasta.

Garlic Shrimp
If you have a sizable appetite, consider ordering this delectable entree off the specialty menu. You can choose from several available sauces: creamy lemon caper butter sauce, caper lemon butter sauce, or creamy basil pesto sauce. This meal also comes with Caesar salad, rice, and butter corn. 

Whether you’re craving Japanese, Hawaiian, or Italian eats, you’ll find something you adore on the menu at Tanpopo. Visit this remarkable restaurant 

Insider Tips:
-While seating and service are typically prompt, it may be worth your while to make reservations. This restaurant is quite small, so a reserved table will bring some peace of mind if you’re determined to eat here during peak dinner hours.
-Many people think of sitting at the bar as a secondary option when tables are not available. At Tanpopo, however, the bar is the best location. Not only will you get the most attentive service, but you’ll also have the opportunity to see the experts in action in the open kitchen.