Season’s Eating

‘Tis the season, and Maui chefs are ready and able to please with the freshest of island ingredients. Do make Christmas Day dining reservations now, as seats fill up as fast as reindeers can fly. Here’s a guide to some favorite picks:


Five Palms at Mana Kai Resort in Kihei dishes up spectacular views from its perch on Keawakapu Beach, where it will present a three-course turkey dinner from 3 to 9 p.m. in addition to a la carte turkey plates and limited menu items.

But if that’s not enough to tempt you, the magnanimous spirit of its management will. One lucky Maui family, who has children with special needs, will be treated to a feast there on Christmas Day.

“We are hosting clients of Imua Family Services to a Christmas meal,” says General Manager Moki Chong Kee. “I want to appeal to other restaurants that it’s not too late to do the same thing. Do something nice for those who don’t have.”

The feast for the family as well as those who wish to dine there begins with kabocha pumpkin bisque or Kula greens, followed by rosemary-scented turkey, chestnut-sausage stuffing, garlic mashed potatoes, giblet gravy, Molokai sweet potato mash, seasonal veggies and fresh cranberry relish. Dessert is a duo of pumpkin pie and cheesecake with creme Anglaise. Cost is $47.95. Call Five Palms at 879-2607.

DUO Steak & Seafood at Four Seasons Resort Maui in Wailea will entice you with numerous gourmet stations from 4:30 to 9 p.m. at its dinner buffet.

Walk about and pile your plates with king crab legs, Kona lobster tails and oysters on the half shell at the seafood market booth, then head to the crudo bar for fresh raw fish with extra virgin olive oil. Other highlights include salumi and cheese; Manhattan clam chowder; farmers market salad bar; carving station with pirme rib in black-truffle demi glace; small plates of grilled lamb lollipops; and hot entrees such as roasted pork loin in morel mushroom sauce. Fun desserts, such as eggnog shots and chocolate yule logs, will top it off. Cost is $95 for adults, and $46 for children 6 to 12. Call 874-8000.

Situated lobby level at the Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, Mala Wailea will present seatings for its holiday buffet from 3 to 9:30 p.m. Christmas Day.

The cold seafood and raw bar will be piled high with oysters on the half shell; ahi and tako sashimi; shrimp, mussels and crab claws; ahi poke and assorted sushi. Roasted beet salad and savory corn chowder will tempt you.

So will chefs at the carving station with roasted certified Angus prime rib, Duroc pork and rack of lamb. Other hot entrees are mahimahi in lemon beurre blanc, teriyaki chicken and beef broccoli. Desserts will be plentiful. Cost is $64.95 for adults and $34.95 for children. Call 875-9394 or visit

Regulars know that Three’s Bar & Grill rocks at Kihei Kalama Village daily with three chefs and three cuisines for breakfast, lunch, happy hour and dinner. Starting at 5 p.m. on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, it will serve several special entrees for $29.95 each.

Choose from traditional turkey; ham glazed in honey and miso; New York strip rubbed in garlic and mustard with Hapa Nut Brown Ale au jus and wasabi crema; and edamame and macadamia-nut encrusted fresh Hawaiian catch in passion fruit beurre blanc. All will be served with garlic whipped russet potatoes and sauteed seasonal Maui vegetables. Prefer to dine at home? You may also order holiday sushi platters now. Call Three’s at 879-3133.

Seascape Ma’alaea Restaurant will dish up its special Christmas Day lunch menu from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in addition to its regular menu.

Part of Maui Ocean Center, Seascape has a separate entrance and does not require you to pay aquarium admission in order to dine there. Specials include the Christmas sushi roll appetizer with ahi, crab, tobiko caviar and avocado; salads of smoked salmon and boursin cheese, and grilled pear and candied pecan; and entrees such as steamed fresh fish Asian style; or sauteed shrimp with tricolor tortellini. Special dessert is white and dark chocolate mousse. Entrees cost $15.95 each. Call 270-7068.

As usual, Grand Wailea will be jumping through the holidays with its nine food and beverage outlets. The biggest spread of all will be the holiday buffet from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Christmas Day in the opulent Grand Dining Room.

Keiki will love the Jell-O jigglers, sliced watermelon, grilled-cheese sandwiches and cookie-decorating station. Adults at Grand Wailea may crunch salads such as Waldorf, Peking duck, grilled asparagus and soups of crab and corn chowder.

Other Grand Dining Room highlights are smoked, organic Berkshire pork from Malama Farms in Haiku, pan-seared lobster and mushroom gnocchi, and slow-roasted prime rib and turkey. Lots of sides, seafood and breakfast fare as well as exceptional desserts will appeal to all holiday appetites, Cost is $76 for adults and $38 for children 5 to 12. Call 875-1234, ext. 4900.

Also located at Grand Wailea, Alan Wong’s Amasia will feature Christmas Eve and Christmas Day tasting menus for adults, keiki and vegetarians, starting at 5 p.m. The four-course menu for adults costs $95. Call Amasia at 891-3954.

Andaz Maui at Wailea will presents its Christmas Day brunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in Ka’ana Kitchen. Everything is made ala minute. You may savor loco moco with quail egg, watercress and pineapple fried rice; crab cakes with fennel slaw and Kobe beef poke. Chefs will slice herbed prime rib, serve pork belly in bao buns with hoisin glaze, and dish up lobster mac ‘n cheese. The pastry chef will tempt you with chocolate waffles, red-velvet whoopie pies and eggnog tarts. Cost is $72 for adults and $36 for children 6 to 12. Call Andaz Maui at 573-1234.

Stella Blues Cafe in Kihei offers a casual air for Christmas Day. It will be open from 7:30 a.m. to noon with its complete breakfast menu, and then serve a special limited menu from 2 to 8 p.m.

Salads include Upcountry greens tossed with strawberries, green apples and feta; and classic Caesars. Appetizers will be hummus with toasted pita, artichoke-jalapeno dip and shrimp cocktail.

Entrees are traditional turkey plates with all of the trimmings along with prime rib, surf ‘n turf, mac-nut encrusted fresh catch, and yellow curry with tofu. Entrees are $16 to $42. Call 874-3779.

Located oceanfront in Kihei, Sarento’s on the Beach will entice with Christmas Eve and Christmas Day breakfast from 7 to 11 a.m. and dinner from 5 to 9:30 p.m. (with a 4 p.m. opening Wednesday).

Bring the ohana and revel in the views as you dine on calamari fritti, Osso Buco pot stickers, Hamakua mushroom bruschetta and chopped salad Gabriella.

Holiday specials are lump crab and bacon chowder, and prime rib of beef with loaded baked potato, Maui onion rings, fresh grilled asparagus served with black truffle au jus and hollandaise. Call 875-7555.


Gerard’s at the Plantation Inn in Lahaina will entice with its island-inspired French cuisine, starting at 5:30 p.m. (Regular start time is 6 p.m.). Specials will include Kauai shrimp bisque, lamb shank and venison. The chef will also make ice creams, such as salted caramel, pistachio and jasmine honey. Call 661-8939.

In Kapalua, Pineapple Grill will open for dinner at 4 p.m. Christmas Day with a fun appetizer salad of confit of duck with frisee, apple and roasted fig; and entrees of ginger and cilantro crusted fish with shiitake mushrooms/lobster nage; and charbroiled ribeye with cheesy scalloped potatoes, Brussels sprouts and candied bacon. For reservations, call 669-9600.

Merriman’s Kapalua will serve dinner throughout the holidays from 5 to 9 p.m., opening a half hour earlier than usual. “On Christmas, we will be offering our regular menu with festive holiday specials, which the chefs have yet to determine,” says the restaurant’s publicist Elizabeth Ferrer. Call 669-6400.

Ruth’s Chris Steak House sizzles with two prime locations on Maui: The Shops at Wailea and the Outlets of Maui on Front Street in Lahaina.

Both will open at 4 p.m. on Christmas Day with the compelling a la carte menu that features creamed spinach, fabulous filets, cowboy ribeyes, big red wines, fresh island seafood and bread pudding with whiskey sauce and creme Anglaise. For reservations, Call Ruth’s Chris Lahaina at 661-8815 or Wailea at 874-8880.

Leoda’s Kitchen & Pie Shop is taking pie orders until noon Monday. You may pick up orders at its spot in Olowalu until 4 p.m. Christmas Eve.

“Order the sooner, the better,” says Pastry Chef Shelly Taylor. “We’ll bake pumpkin, apple and pecan pies. Of course, we’ll do our regular key-lime pie and cream pies, such as chocolate, banana and coconut, and a new oatmeal walnut.”

You may also order pull-apart breads and rolls; fun gingerbread cookies, peppermint brownies, sugar cookies and Christmas cupcakes; and you may ask for special holiday orders with advance notice. Call Leoda’s at 662-3600.

Plantation House in Kapalua will be open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. for breakfast and lunch. Then for dinner, it will offer seatings at 3, 5 and 7 p.m.

Executive Chef Jojo Vasquez will present his limited a la carte menu with specials such as lobster surf and wagyu beef turf.

The regular menu will tempt with fresh Maui snapper, mac-nut crusted mahimahi and vegetarian options. Starters will include seared scallops with celeriac, golden raisins and crispy bacon; fresh ahi sashimi with pickled cucumber and soy; and the crowd pleasing crispy calamari. For Plantation House, call 669-6299.

You are invited to eat, drink and be Maui at Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas during the holidays.

Its Ocean Pool Bar & Grill will present a Christmas Day buffet from 3 to 8 p.m. with a seafood bar, packed with tiger shrimp, ahi poke, oysters and snow crab. Savor cheeses and Caesar salads. Let chefs carve prime rib for you. Other hot entrees will be turkey, ham and island catch. Desserts will include carrot cake, macaroons, mini-eclairs and cheesecake bites.

In addition, Westin KOR will feature a four-course Christmas Day dinner in its award-winning Pulehu, An Italian Grill from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Begin with fennel-crusted ahi carpaccio, followed by kabocha pumpkin gnocchi, then Hawaii sea salt peppercorn crusted rib eye, and top it off with Maui Gold pineapple tiramisu. Cost is $56 per person.

Westin KOR continues to glide into the holidays with its Skating By the Sea on its oceanfront lawn. For reservations, call 667-3200.

Ka’anapali Beach Hotel will set the stage for Christmas Day at Tiki Terrace. The buffet luncheon is from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for $46.95 adults and $22 for children 6 to 12; and the dinner buffet is from 3 to 7 p.m. for $50.95 adults and $22 for children. You may dine outdoors in the shaded lanai – or indoors in air conditioning.

More than 60 items will be prepared by Chef Tom Muromoto and team. Sink your teeth into rack of lamb with red wine sauce, kiawe-roasted goose in poha berry chutney; slow-roasted prime rib and turkey; Chinese roast pork with bitter melon; cold seafood items; housemade poi; specialty salads; and extensive desserts. Kids will love their own food station and hourly Santa visits. Call 667-0124.


The Elleair Ballroom will come alive on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at Maui Beach Hotel in Kahului. There will be two seatings at 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. for the all-you-can-eat dinner buffet.

Local favorites include crab and broccoli salad, assorted island poke, sushi with wasabi and pickled ginger, crisp garden vegetables and shrimp cocktail.

Chefs will hand carve roasted prime rib and Christmas glazed ham. Other highlights are shrimp and vegetable tempura, buttered corn, baked salmon, chicken teriyaki and beef stir fry. The dessert display will allow you to serve yourself pumpkin pie, coconut cake, strawberry cheesecake and much more. Cost is $36 for adults, and $18 for children 6 to 11. For reservations, call 872-9307 daytime and 872-9315 evenings and weekends.

With coast-to-coast views from its spot in the hills of the West Maui Mountains in Waikapu, Kahili Restaurant will put you in the holiday spirit with Christmas Eve dinner buffet seatings at 4 and 6:30 p.m.

Chef Eddie Munoz will get appetites in gear with crunchy salad bar items; seafood on ice such as ahi poke and shrimp cocktail; and hot entrees like herb-rubbed Cornish game hen, pepper-crusted salmon; St. Louis ribs with hoisin-barbecue glaze; and tiger shrimp on linguine with Alfredo sauce. Chefs will carve oven-roasted prime rib of beef and pineapple-glazed ham. Pile on side dishes of creamy Yukon mashed potatoes and corn and lima bean succotash. Cost is $34.95 adults and $17.95 children 6 and older. Call 242-6000.

Dragon Dragon Chinese Restaurant at the Maui Mall in Kahului will present its full Cantonese menu for lunch from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and for dinner from 5 to 9 p.m. You may indulge in five-flavored roast duck, assorted seafood on sizzling platter, noodles and more. Call 893-1628.

Home Maid Bakery in Wailuku as well as in Kahului are in-demand places to order pies, such as pumpkin, custard, apple and French apple. Christmas Day hours will be 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. in Wailuku.

You may order gift baskets, or decorative reusable and insulated bags, which are filled with seasoned salt, coffee, sugar, cookies and whatever you like. For orders or further details, call 244-7015.

The only time of the year that Marco’s Grill & Deli is closed is Christmas Day. But it’s proven time and again to be the perfect place to meet for breakfast, lunch and dinner while out holiday shopping, as it’s close to the malls and big-box stores.

Savor favorites such as vodka rigatoni, linguine with clams, Reuben sandwiches and classic Caesars. Do try the peanut butter and chocolate cake. Hours are 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Reservations are not necessary. For more details, call 877-4446.

Mele Kalikimaka, everyone!