For one year now, Juca Mexican Restaurant at Maalaea Harbor Shops has been drawing in diners with its bright and cheery ambience and authentic Mexican fare at breakfast, lunch and dinner.
"We're in the old Fiesta Time location," says owner Jose Franco, who hails from the state of Narita in Mexico. "I've been on Maui for 20 years now. I used to own El Corita's near Sack 'N Save."
Juca is open daily from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and you may order breakfast at any time. Chilaquiles are three scrambled eggs with chorizo and chips cooked in red sauce with a side of beans. Other popular items are huevos rancheros, burritos and the zapata of steak and eggs served with salsa, beans and fresh tortillas.
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
Justine Maldonado and Jose Franco showcase the molcajete stone plate filled with steak, beans and cactus as well as chips and salsa.
"Right now, breakfast items are mostly Spanish, but we're looking for an American cook to add some standard items, too," says Franco. "For lunch and dinner, we have the same menu all day and night."
Entrees include grilled chicken chimichanga, shredded beef flautas, seafood enchiladas, fish fajitas, carne asada tacos and carnitas burritos.
"We have a lot of good stuff that other Mexican eateries here don't serve," says Franco. "We have ceviche, oysters, menudo, goat soup. We make pipian sauce. It's real similar to mole and it goes well with chicken. The molcajete plate is steak, whole beans, tomatillo sauce and pieces of cactus cooked in a stone plate shaped like a pig. It's a relaxed place. Not like a 'rush, rush, rush, grab your tacos and go' kind of place. We're working really hard to make everything good and for this to be fun."
Speaking of fun, Juca pours a varied selection of tequila shots from 1800 Silver to Heradura anejo. Cocktails include margaritas, mai tais and mojitos.
"Our happy hour runs 3 to 6 p.m. daily and we feature $2 domestic and $3 imported cervezas," says Franco. "You can also get a $1 taco with beer purchase and we have discounts on margaritas."
Nonalcoholic beverages include lemonade and the oh-so- sweet horchata, and kids will find their own menu with lil' nachos, mini steak plates and more.
Neta Peraza performs on occasion, and Sundays, Maui's favorite serenader, Nacho, performs Mexican classics and sings from 3 p.m. until closing. "This is the best Mexican restaurant on Maui," says regular Teri Lawrence. "I always eat the shrimp enchilada." Call 244-5993.