Grabbing a bite in Wailea, Maui? While the restaurants at this renowned resort community are better known for their celebrity-touted gourmet offerings and sublime sunset views than budget-friendly bites, visitors seeking approachable dining options shouldn’t despair. From happy hours to casual eats, you aren’t completely out of luck in Wailea.
Seeking the most budget-friendly dining options in Wailea? Read more here: Where to Eat in Wailea on a Budget
Whether you’re a foodie seeking a gourmet chef’s table, celebrating a special occasion oceanside, or just looking for a quick and casual bite before hitting the beach, we’ve got you covered. After years of eating our way through Wailea’s tastiest dining spots, these are our recommendations for the best places to eat in the area.
Fine Dining in Wailea
For those seeking a gourmet experience, you can’t go wrong when dining at any of Wailea’s upscale resorts. Just be prepared to pay for the experience. When dining at these destination restaurants, it’s easy to spend $100+ per person.
Chef Wolfgang Puck’s culinary genius makes every bite delectable, and the service is always top-notch. I’ve spent many a birthday dinner watching the sunset on this Maui restaurant’s outdoor dining patio. Their mahi mahi entree is on point. Spago makes the top of my favorite spots in Wailea.
Cuisine: Spago marries Hawaiian flavors with a blend of Californian cuisine. The dinner menu also places a special emphasis on sourcing fresh ingredients from local farms.
Pro tip: At dessert, order the chocolate souffle and swap out the vanilla ice cream with coffee ice cream.
The ambiance at Kō blends the contemporary with traditional style, reflecting the rich cultural heritage of the Hawaiian Islands.
Kō focuses on plantation-inspired dishes, showcasing the different cultures that influence Maui. Flavors from Hawaii, Japan, the Philippines, Portugal, and other cultures are often found at Kō. According to the restaurant’s website, 90% of the fish, beef, and produce are locally sourced.
Pro tip: Reserve a dining time at sunset to view the blowing of the pū (conch shell) and nightly torch lighting from the restaurant. Seating at Ko overlooks the resort’s lower lagoon pool, where the event takes place.
Perched in the Wailea hillside, the adults-only Hotel Wailea provides a serene, intimate atmosphere — along with its delicious food. A stunning 180-degree ocean vista clinches the restaurant as one of the most romantic spots on the island.
Known for its artisanal approach, the menu features locally sourced ingredients with a twist of island flavors.
Pro tip: For a more relaxed vibe, check out The Birdcage, Hotel Wailea’s open-air lounge. Along with its cocktails, the lounge is best known for its Japanese cuisine — but it also serves a tasty burger.
While famous for its steak and seafood offerings, we typically visit DUO for its outstanding breakfast buffet.
Pro tip: At the breakfast buffet, your first stop should be the grill counter. Order a custom omelet and/or pancakes (mac nut and chocolate chip are my favorite), then grab a few sides at the buffet counter before grabbing your piping hot order at the pickup window.
This is another spot we’ve frequented, primarily for their breakfast buffet.
Kaʻana Kitchen showcases Maui’s local farmers and producers with a modern approach to traditional Hawaiian dishes.
Pro tip: Ask for outdoor seating — the patio overlooks the ocean.
AKA Humu Humu for us mortals who can’t pronounce the official name (a nod to Hawaii’s state fish), the restaurant features a jaw-dropping circular bar with an integrated aquarium. Add that to the thatched roof architecture and lagoon setting — and you have the perfect recipe for exquisite dining.
Best Wailea restaurant for celebrating a special occasion
Almost any of the resort restaurants in Wailea can provide a memorable setting for a special event. My personal go-to for an unparalleled fine dining experience in Wailea? Spago, with its consistently stellar service and exquisite culinary offerings.
Chasing the best view in Wailea?
Hugging the coastline ensures that many Wailea restaurants boast stunning ocean views. Our favorites include:
- Spago: Located on the second level of the Four Seasons, this Wolfgang Punk restaurant’s outdoor dining area offers a stunning ocean-view setting.
- Restaurant at the Hotel Wailea: Farther back from the coast than the other resorts in Wailea, Hotel Wailea’s restaurant sits perched on a hill, ensuring a breathtaking 180-degree view from the resort and restaurant.
- Gather on Maui (formerly Gannon’s): Located on Wailea’s Emerald golf course, Gather provides both golf course and ocean views from its hillside location.
- Whale’s Tale at the Wailea Beach Resort: Located directly on the coast along Wailea’s walking trail, this outdoor sundry stand serves coffee, smoothies, and small bites with limited outdoor seating (first come, first served).
Casual dining in Wailea
While Wailea is renowned for its fine dining, the area also boasts a selection of upscale casual restaurants that combine a relaxed atmosphere with high-quality cuisine. These are our picks for a more laid-back, yet sophisticated dining experience.
A local favorite, Monkeypod offers a lively and inviting atmosphere with a focus on sustainability. Known for its farm-to-table approach, the menu features fresh, local ingredients in creative dishes.
Notable: The Mai Tais here are a must-try, acclaimed for their unique twist.
Formerly helmed by Top Chef Sheldon Simeon, Lineage offers Asian-American cuisine. We recommend coming here with a group, as they focus on family-style servings alongside local ingredients.
Bougie Beach Picnic Options
Wailea’s picturesque beaches are perfect for a chic picnic. For gourmet grab-and-go delights, consider these spots:
- The Market Maui: Grab a made-to-order salad or sandwich, or create your own charcuterie board picnic using their deli meats, cheeses, and wine selections.
- Pita Paradise: This Wailea restaurant offers a delightful Mediterranean-Italian menu that you can eat in-house or order out for a beach day.
- Island Gourmet Market: A great place to pick up a variety of snacks and ready-to-eat meals. This is also a great place to try Spam musubi.
Best Wailea Coffee Spot for a Morning Jolt
- Akamai Coffee at Wailea Village: This local coffee shop is the go-to place in Wailea for your morning brew. Their croissant sandwiches and waffles are tasty, too.
Best Wailea Spot for Happy Hour
Don’t overlook the vibrant live music scene that complements an tropical dining experience. Here are our three top picks for where you can enjoy delicious meals and lively tunes in a relaxed, inviting atmosphere.
- Monkeypod Kitchen: Famous for its Mai Tais and lively island vibes.
- Gather on Maui (formerly Gannon’s): Offers small bites, discounted drinks, and an epic view.
- Tommy Bahama Restaurant: Reflecting the laid-back, tropical-inspired vibe of its retail counterpart, it’s a great spot for relaxed dining.
Wailea’s live music venues
Afternoon and evening performances add to the ambiance at these Wailea eateries. Check their website or social accounts for the most up-to-date live music schedules.
- Monkeypod Kitchen: The lively ambiance and commitment to craft makes Monkeypod Kitchen a place where food, music, and a great time all come together.
- Mulligan’s on the Blue: This Irish-inspired pub with a Hawaiian twist offers hearty meals and regular live music events.
- Tommy Bahama Restaurant: The laid-back, tropical atmosphere at this restaurant mirrors the relaxed style of its famous clothing brand. This spot offers a casual yet sophisticated dining experience, enhanced by soft live music.
Italian dining in Wailea
Matteo’s Osteria: For a taste of Italy in Maui, try this tucked-away gem of a restaurant. While it doesn’t boast an ocean view or resort setting, we keep coming back for Matteo Osteria’s tasty Italian food and friendly service.
Wailea’s nearby food truck options
If you’re a food truck connoisseur (and I’m with you, I love a good food truck!), you’re unfortunately out of luck in Wailea. I’ve been told by a Wailea resident that food trucks aren’t zoned for the Wailea district.
At one time, the restaurant-quality food truck Kitoko called Wailea Village home, but the truck has since moved to nearby Kihei’s South Maui Garden’s Food Oasis. Wailea itself may not have a food truck scene, but the food trucks in nearby Kihei Town are just a short drive away. These nearby food truck options offer a delightful change of pace from the traditional restaurant setting, perfect for casual dining with top-notch flavors. Some of our favorites:
- Burger Boys: This food truck is a haven for burger enthusiasts, serving up juicy, gourmet A5 Wagyu smash burgers that are both creative and satisfying.
- Havens Maui: Havens focuses on classic American fare with a Hawaiian twist, offering a variety of unique burger creations. The location closest to Wailea isn’t a food truck (the truck is located in Kahului), but the Kihei location has a similar vibe. The Kihei burger counter shares its space with a gas station market.
- Kitoko: Enjoy restaurant-quality cuisine in a casual outdoor garden setting. From their lobster loco moco to their lilikoi meringue pie, you won’t find another food truck with flavors as elevated as Kitoko.