‘Have Yourself a Maui Little Christmas’ by dining out or ordering in from stores
Chefs on island may not be roasting chestnuts over an open fire during the holidays, but they’ll get you in a festive spirit with menus that feature juicy prime rib, fresh sashimi platters, garden-to-table salads and over-the-top desserts. Below are choices from Central Maui to Wailea and all the way to Kapalua.
Cafe O’Lei at the Dunes in Kahului will serve its annual Christmas Eve prime-rib buffet from 4 to 8:30 p.m. Sunday. The seats always go fast so make sure to pick up the phone now to make reservations.
The all-you-can-eat buffet will include Kula greens with cranberries and blue cheese in a basil-balsamic dressing, and Caesar salad with shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and creamy-garlic dressing.
You may also sink your teeth into prime rib with au jus and creamy horseradish, sauteed mahimahi in lemon-caper sauce, chicken linguine with tomatoes and garlic in light cream sauce, sauteed vegetables, buttermilk-infused mashed potatoes, steamed rice and freshly baked rolls. For dessert, peruse the display with brownies, chocolate-chip cookies, pineapple upside-down cake and vanilla ice cream and sip Maui Oma coffee. Cost is $30 per adult and $15 for kids 4 to 12. Call 877-0073.
Are you hosting a Christmas function at home or going as a guest to someone’s house? A convenient spot to pick up your favorite isle foods is Takamiya Market in Wailuku. Renowned as the “little giant of Happy Valley,” Takamiya will be open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Christmas Eve and closed Christmas Day.
Come and select sliced turkey; Farmer John ham; and ahi and tako poke by the pound. Korean ribs, teriyaki meats and char siu can all be thrown on the grill for pupu. Or order sashimi, cone sushi and ahi and tako poke platters ahead. Call 244-3404.
Home Maid Bakery in Wailuku is a landmark Maui business and an in-demand place to order pies, such as pumpkin, custard, apple and French apple. The bakery can create personalized photo cakes and decorated holiday cakes with advance notice. Right now, chantilly-cream-filled malasadas are tempting. Order them by the dozen hot and take to your party. In addition, Christmas gift baskets are a grab-and-go affair filled with lots of cookies and a variety of other baked products. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day hours will be 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. 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 Kahului malls and big-box stores.
Savor vodka rigatoni, linguine with clams and classic Greek salads. Do try the peanut butter-chocolate pie. Hours are 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Reservations are not necessary. For more details, call 877-4446.
The Island Grocery Depot at 90 Amala Place in Kahului is where to find fresh produce and prepared foods tucked away in a convenient location at super prices. Frozen shrimps, scallops, lobsters and king crab are all perfect for pupu. Closed Christmas Day. Call Kahului at 877-1138 or Lahaina at 866-5020.
Mike’s Hong Kong Bistro in Wailuku is as authentic as it gets as the owners are from Guangzhou, China. Order ahead and online for pans and half pans of crispy seafood cake noodles, roast duck, honey-walnut shrimp, crispy gau gee and sauteed eggplant. To order, call 244-7888 or visit www.mikeshongkongbistro.com.
Consistently rated the best restaurant on Maui, Mama’s Fish House in Kuau is pretty much booked Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. But some lunch spots for parties for up to four people are available now through the end of the year. Mama’s fans should plan to book ahead for future dates. In fact, you may want to make a “res” now for Christmas next year.
“Mahalo to all of our Maui residents and repeat visitors who continue to be so good to us.” says Karen Christenson, vice president.
Seascape Ma’alaea Restaurant will dish up its special Christmas lunch menu from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday in addition to its regular menu.
So after unwrapping gifts, jump in your car and head to Maui Ocean Center to enjoy a harbor-view lunch. Seascape has a separate side entrance and does not require aquarium admission in order to dine there.
This year’s a la carte specials include Christmas California roll along with entrees of lilikoi-glazed ham served with creamy Yukon Gold mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts; Gorgonzola-crowned, fire-broiled New York strip steak with red-wine demi glace with the same accompaniments. Entrees range from $18 to $24.
The Seascape Ma’alaea holiday dessert will be red-velvet Yule log cake filled with mascarpone mint cheese, topped with fresh fruit garnish for $5. Call 270-7068 or visit www.mauioceancenter.com/dine.
Five Palms at Mana Kai Resort in Kihei will dish up spectacular views from its perch on Keawakapu Beach, where it will present its annual three-course turkey dinners from 4 to 9 p.m. Christmas Day in addition to a la carte turkey plates and limited menu items.
The feast will begin with roasted butternut squash soup with spiced creme fraiche or hand-picked baby greens with roasted beets and pomegranate in a white-balsamic dressing; followed by roasted turkey with sausage-and-apple stuffing, giblet gravy, cranberries, glazed yams and green-beans almondine.
Dessert is pumpkin gingerbread cake and spiced eggnog creme Anglaise. Early bird pricing is $54.95 for adults. Regular pricing starts at 4 p.m. for $59.95 per adult. A turkey plate is $49.95 for adults and $32.95 for kids 12 and younger. Call 879-2607.
Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort will present not one, but three lavish holiday feasts on Christmas Day. For starters, the Grand Dining Room will be an opulent place to dine from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The all-you-can-eat affair will glisten with a raw bar packed with oysters, snow crab legs and claws and ceviche.
Soups and sides include Kona lobster bisque and roasted Hamakua mushrooms with winter truffles. From the carvery will come whole-roasted prime strip loin with breadfruit and sweet potato gratin; crisp Peking duck with orange-blossom hoisin sauce and bao buns; and passion fruit glazed spiral ham in coconut-brown butter.
Other hot entree highlights are herb-roasted chicken with Meyer lemon and lavender glaze; Chinse-style steamed snapper and slow-roasted lamb shanks. You may also savor imported and local cheeses, charcuterie, beet-cured salmon tarts and sushi.
Breakfast items and desserts such as Santa’s brownie hat and pomegranate panna cotta take it over the top. Cost is $95 for adults and $35 for keiki 6 to 12.
At Grand Wailea’s Bistro Molokini, a prix-fixe dinner will be served from 5 to 9 p.m. Christmas Day. It includes a glass of sommelier-selected red or white wine, an appetizer of cavatelli pomodoro, an entree of 18-ounce porterhouse prime rib with king crab and sauce Bearnaise. Dessert is white-chocolate mousse stone drizzled in red-current gel. Cost is $75 per person.
The Grand’s Humuhumunukunukuapua’a will open early on Christmas Day, serving prix-fixe vegetarian and regular holiday dinners from 3 to 10 p.m. Both will include a glass of sparkling wine. The vegetarian feast is $85 and the other holiday set menu is $115. For reservations at Grand Wailea restaurants, call 875-1234.
Located ground level of The Shops at Wailea, Longhi’s Wailea will be open Christmas Day for breakfast starting at 8 a.m. running all the way through lunch and dinner until late-night happy hour at 11:15 p.m. The same hours apply to its sister Longhi’s Lahaina, which is located on 888 Front St., in Lahaina.
Breakfast favorites include lobster Benedict, French toast and quiche du jour. Additions to the lunch and dinner menu includes new appetizers, salads and pastas. Savor the fresh salmon Mediterranean, eggplant parmesan and chicken Marsala. Desserts such as hot-chocolate souffle will entice. Call Longhi’s Wailea at 891-8883; and Longhi’s Lahaina at 667-2288.
The Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa in Kaanapali will tempt from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Christmas Day at the legendary Swan Court, where waterfalls, lagoon and soaring ceilings add a festive air.
Enjoy an all-you-can-eat holiday buffet featuring roasted turkey, fresh island fish, bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin, warm autumn soups, fresh local salads, artisan cheeses, sweet tropical fruits, and freshly baked pies. Cost is $65 for adults and $33 for children 5 to 12 years old. Self-parking will be free.
Or celebrate the holidays at Hyatt’s Drums of the Pacific Lu’au with the songs and dances of Polynesia, including the unforgettable Samoan fire-knife dance. On Christmas, the all-you-can-eat luau buffet will boast both traditional island specialties and holiday favorites. Reservations are required. A special Tour of the Stars Santa Watch will also take place, as well as specials at the resort’s Japengo and ‘Umalu restaurants. For reservations, call 667-4727 or visit www.maui.regency.hyatt.com.
Make your season bright by dining with family and friends at the Christmas Day buffet at the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa from 3 to 8 p.m. Monday.
Chefs at multiple carving stations will slice honey-thyme glazed goose with seared duck-fat-sage bread pudding; leg of lamb stuffed with wild mushrooms, kale, pancetta and garlic and glazed with rosemary balsamic; and salt-crusted roast beef with au jus and cabernet mayo.
Other highlights include baked whole salmon with Hamakua mushroom dynamite; crisp pork belly and banana ketchup pico de gallo; guava-hoisin baby-back ribs; oysters on the half shell; and assorted sashimi and poke.
Side dishes will be plentiful, with whipped Maui onion mashed potatoes, matcha green tea jasmine rice, steamed winter vegetables, lobster corn bisque, assorted dim sum and salads. Desserts range from a flambe action station with fresh fruits and ice cream to Buche de Noel to strawberry rhubarb pie. The buffet is $69 per adult and $34 per child ages 6 to 12. For reservations, call the Oahu line at (808) 921-4600 or visit www.sheraton-maui.com.
Sea House restaurant at Napili Kai Resort is featuring a limited, star-studded menu from 5:30 p.m. starting today through Jan. 4. With some of the best views on island, Sea House is running appetizers of Makawali beef carpaccio; Brian’s lobster bisque; and a kale and romaine salad with guava-smoked bacon, gourmet blue cheese and housemade green goddess dressing.
Entrees are fresh fish with roasted peppers, fingerling potatoes and warm Pacific shrimp salsa; Hawaiian salt-rubbed prime rib; and black-and-white truffle ravioli with brown butter cream. Chef Alex Stanislaw is making Molokai sweetbread bread pudding with Hawaii Island chocolate, Bada Bing cherries and lilikoi anglaise. General Manager Chad Wade is busting out an old family recipe for bourbon egg nog, “old school, from the Hakalau Plantation days,” he says. Sea House opens at 5 p.m. Christmas Day. For more details or reservations, call 669-1500.
Pineapple Grill in Kapalua will wow with holiday dinner specials from 5 to 9 p.m. Christmas Day in addition to its regular menu. Choose from macadamia-nut crusted sea bass with sugar-snap peas, jasmine rice and lilikoi beurre blanc for $37; or herb-marinated rack of lamb with Gorgonzola gratin, pencil-thin asparagus and cabernet demi-glace for $42; or roasted vegetable lasagna with tomato bechamel and garlic crostini for $22. Call 669-9600.
Maui Prime Fine Foods in the Emerald Plaza in Lahaina is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays for all your gourmet needs.
The store is featuring bone-in and boneless prime rib roasts and Kurobuta hams; trimmed and tied tenderloins; and hand-cut Snake River Farms American-style Kobe beef steaks. Seafood lovers will find Russian River ossetra caviar, Alaskan king crab, Maine lobster tails and live Maine lobsters. Domestic lamb racks and local Maui venison racks are options as are pates, specialty cheeses and charcuterie. Of course, the famous Maui Steamer Pots (that you get to keep) are full of fresh seafood and broth and make a big statement at your party. Call 661-4912.
Ka’anapali Beach Hotel consistently wins the best brunch on Maui. Its Christmas Day Feast will be served in two parts: The early-bird lunch is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Cost is $52.95 for adults and $25 for children 6 to 12. The dinner feast will follow from 3 to 7 p.m. Cost for adults is $57.95 and $25 for keiki 6 to 12.
Both lunch and dinner buffets will be extravagant and set up at the resort’s Tiki Terrace. Highlights are herb-roasted boneless leg of lamb; kiawe-roasted goose with poha-berry chutney; roasted turkey with corn, sausage and sage stuffing; kiawe slow-roasted prime rib; cold seafood bar with crab legs and more; a special knee-high keiki station and many tempting desserts. For reservations, call Ka’anapali Beach Hotel at 667-0124.
The Montage Kapalua Bay resort will put on a special Christmas Day holiday buffet from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. in its signature Cane & Canoe restaurant. Chef de Cuisine Robert Barrera will prepare roasted parsnip celeriac veloute with black truffle pesto; and fresh salads, dressing and breads at the Upcountry farmers market table. He’ll carve alaea-salt crusted prime rib and chimichurri-roasted leg of lamb. Other highlights are Keahole lobster tails; marinated island snapper; raw bar of Kusshi oysters, Hawaiian ono and Kauai prawns in cocktail.
There will be cheeses and charcuterie meats, sides of fresh vegetables, desserts and a children’s station as part of his lavish, all-you-can-eat buffet. Cost is $100 per adult and $40 per child ages 5 to 12. For Cane & Canoe reservations, call 662-6681.
The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua will present a gourmet dinner feast at The Banyan Tree on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with seatings at 5 and 8 p.m.
Enjoy live music and a bountiful four-course holiday menu created by Chef Alvin Savella highlighting traditional and local favorites. It includes a special welcome cocktail and holiday gift.
In addition, the Ritz’s Christmas Day Feast will be at The Terrace from 3 to 8 p.m. Monday. Cost is $108 for adults and $48 per child 6 to 12 years old.
Raise a glass of bubbly and let the culinary team present a lavish holiday buffet with an array of delicacies, highlighted with live entertainment. Call 669-6200.
* Mele Kalikimaka, Merry Christmas, everyone!