5 Palms oceanfront at Mana Kai resort in Kihei
Island’s ‘longest’ happy hour, sushi deals and stellar wedding venue keep it in Maui spotlight
Sure, 5 Palms is hugely popular for all of its meal services, including breakfast, lunch, happy hour and dinner.
Who wouldn’t want to dine there? It’s got spectacular views from its perch at the end of Keawakapu Beach in Kihei that run all the way to Pu’u Olai cinder cone in Makena to the Neighbor Islands of Kahoolawe, Lanai and Molokini.
The cuisine is expertly crafted by the 5 Palms kitchen staff; and its longtime owner Simon Vojdani, with 90 restaurants under his belt in a lifelong career, knows how to take care of his customers.
Every day at 3 p.m., a parade of sushi fans starts to roll into the bar area, ready for fresh, raw-fish dishes and other happy-hour pupu discounted to 50 percent off — all the way until 9 p.m. Then the late-night fun runs its course until 10 p.m.
5 Palms pegs it as the “island’s longest happy hour.” A few others lay claim to this title, but 5 Palms runs seamlessly for six hours straight each day — and then throws in more discounts during an additional hour created for night owls.
The three catches are, there is a one-drink minimum per person, food discounts don’t apply to take out orders and service is for the bar area only.
Once you get seated, you’ll find a fun mix of regulars, repeat visitors, beach goers and workers in Kihei and Wailea’s restaurant industry ending their day with fresh sushi rolls ranging from California to spicy tuna to shrimp tempura.
The Spider Roll boasts soft-shell crab; and the sashimi trio with maguro, salmon and hamachi lets you skip the carbs and go for the protein gusto.
“Everyone knows about our sushi specials during happy hour, but they forget about Chef Jordan’s specialty rolls. My ‘fav’ is the Tsunami Roll of spicy tuna and cucumber topped with avocado, miso-passion aioli and unagi glaze,” says Kennan Randolph, who’s back in the saddle as director of operations for the expansive venue.
“The poke bowl is General Manager Moki Chong Kee’s ‘go to’ with the fresh ahi, sesame and a kicker from the local Hawaiian chili peppers,” Randolph continues. “And owner Simon Vojdani and his family love the ahi sashimi and the Red Dragon roll. Our chefs only buy the freshest locally caught ahi we can find.”
Do you prefer your food cooked? 5 Palms also offers 50 percent off select pupu during happy hour.
Choose from Asian barbecue ribs with pineapple salsa; crispy calamari with spicy caper, lemon butter and kale; hot Korean chicken wings tossed in garlic, sesame oil, chile and soy sauce; baked chile shrimp with Maui onions, vine-ripened tomatoes and garlic on toasted country bread; coconut-crusted prawns; and edamame hummus with toasted pita and assorted veggies.
The crispy Brussels sprouts with smoked bacon and onion jam and Balsamic syrup with shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses round off the pupu menu.
Vegetarian sushi fillings include pickled burdock root, or “gobo,” avocado, red bell pepper, ocean salad, Maui onion, cucumber and pickled plum, or “ume.”
“Bobbilyn Jones, our events coordinator, loves having the option of fresh-made sushi for her guests. I just got an email from one of our recent brides who said our sushi was the best they’d ever had,” adds Randolph about the special functions.
“We do have the most beautiful outdoor and oceanfront wedding space imaginable,” says Jones. “It’s like the Four Seasons but in Kihei. We’re very lucky to be able to offer a price point that is not overwhelming for many people. I’m here to help with what I call our ‘white-linen service.’ “
” ‘E Komo Mai,’ ‘welcome,’ Maui. Come and visit us at 5 Palms. We have the best venue for weddings and the best sushi on the island,” concludes Randolph.
5 Palms restaurant at a glance:
• Where: Located oceanfront in the Mana Kai Resort in Kihei at 2960 S. Kihei Road.
• Dining room, patio hours: Open daily. Breakfast and lunch are both served from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and dinner from 5 to 9 p.m.
• Happy hour: Offered in the bar and lounge only, happy hour runs from 3 to 9 p.m. Get 50 percent off select drinks, sushi and pupu. Buy one drink minimum. No take outs.
• Bistro menu: Served in the bar only from 3 to 9 p.m., items include crisp wedge salad, certified Angus beef sliders, lobster BLT, grilled lamb chops, and quattro formagi of baked mac ‘n’ cheese.
• Late-night: In the bar only, it rocks from 9 to 10 p.m. with 50 percent off select sushi and drinks.
• Beverages: Happy Hour drinks include wines for $8; select bottle and draught beers for $5.50; and superior well drinks for $7.95
• For reservations: Call 5 Palms at 879-2607.