The author of "Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat" tells us, "Before eating, take a moment to be truly thankful about where your food came from, including all the people who invested their time, effort and talent to get it from farm to plate."
Michelle May also says to "focus on the people you are sharing your meal with - engage in interesting conversations. Ask questions and really, really listen to your companions."
That being said, Maui's top restaurants will set a celebratory island stage for you and all of your family and friends to enjoy. It's highly recommended to call now and make your reservations.
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
Cafe O’Lei at the Dunes at Maui Lani will dish up an all-you-can-eat feast with indoor and outdoor seating, according to Catering and Sales Manager Molly Wilson (left) and Manager Jenny Varela.
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
Bartender Mike Nees of Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Wailea makes a splash with a cosmo martini before guests enjoy a turkey dinner.
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
The Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa’s Chef de Cuisine Kevin “Uncle Kimo” Boyle will pull out all of the stops at ‘Umalu for Thanksgiving. You may go inside ‘Umalu’s air-conditioned buffet room to pile your plate, then sit outdoors and dig your toes in the sand.
As usual, Cafe O'Lei at the Dunes at Maui Lani in Kahului will host an elaborate Thanksgiving feast from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The all-you-can-eat buffet features plenty of parking and indoor and outdoor seating with views of the golf course and the West Maui mountains beyond.
Begin with specialty salads and assorted sushi, then move to entrees such as carved prime rib, roast tom turkey with giblet gravy, honey-macadamia-nut roasted pork, jumbo tiger shrimp linguine, tempura seafood and vegetables, mashed potatoes, steamed rice, stuffing, and brussel sprouts and cauliflower au gratin.
For desserts, delight in fresh fruit fondue, pumpkin pie and made-to-order bananas Foster that are flamed and then topped with Lappert's ice creams. Cost is $36 adults; and $18 children 4 to 12. For reservations, call 877-0073.
Enjoy coast-to-coast views from your perch at King Kamehameha Golf Club in Waikapu. Thanksgiving Day there will be two lunch seatings at 10 and 12:30 p.m. for the all-you-can-eat buffet.
Start your feast with shrimp on ice, sushi, sliced fruits, imported cheeses and smoked salmon with capers. Salads range from pasta artichoke to Asian chicken to Caesar with anchovies.
Hot entrees include roast turkey with all of the trimmings, prime rib, roast pork loin, braised short ribs and panko-crusted mahimahi, along with creamy mashed potatoes and rice, brussels sprouts and assorted rolls with lots of butter. Desserts are pumpkin and cream pies, apple tartlets, chocolate creme brulee and cheesecakes. Coffee and tea are also included. Cost of $39 includes tax and tip. Kids 6 to 12 are half price. For reservations, call 243-1024.
Coconut Grill at the Maui Seaside Hotel at Kahului Harbor will present a beefed up version of its prime rib and seafood buffets Thanksgiving Day. Seatings will be at 10 a.m. and 1, 4 and 7 p.m.
Pile your plates with carved slow-roasted prime rib with sour cream horseradish, grilled dill-battered mahimahi with lemon and caper butter, sage-rubbed roast turkey with pan-style gravy, sausage-sweetbread stuffing, mashed potatoes, smoked pit ham, local-style baked beans, tiger shrimp and clam scampi, pork ribs, seafood and salad bars, and desserts. Cost is $34.95 adults, and $15.95 kids 5 to 12. Call 871-8881.
Fausto will perform live music during the Thanksgiving dinner buffet from 4 p.m. to closing at Cary & Eddie's Hideaway. Located right on Kahului Harbor with ocean views, it will expand on its regular Hawaiian American buffet with the addition of roast turkey with all of the trimmings.
Other hot entrees are baked mahimahi, barbecue pork ribs and broiled salmon. In addition, crunch corn on the cob, check out the soup and salad bar and choose from the bottomless beverage list. Cost is $21.99 adults; and $10.99 keiki younger than 10. Call 873-6555.
Welcoming you in chilly Upcountry with three fireplaces and a cozy atmosphere will be Makawao Steak House - epitomizing the heart of paniolo country.
Its doors open at 4 p.m. and you get to choose from three entrees for $24.95 adults, and $10.95 keiki 10 and younger. All of the dinners include salad bar, mashed potatoes and gravy or white rice, country-style green beans, dinner rolls and for dessert, pumpkin pie or sherbet. The roast turkey plate also comes with traditional stuffing, yam puff and cranberry relish. Other entrees are panko-crusted mahimahi with lemon-caper sauce or roast prime rib of beef au jus. Call 572-8711.
You may see humpback whales and boat action from your table on the oceanfront lanai at The Waterfront restaurant in Maalaea. Doors will open early at 4 p.m. and the Smith family owners will serve a special, multicourse Thanksgiving meal for $45 for adults, and $21 for children 12 years of age and younger.
It begins with cream of tomato, cinnamon and basil soup, followed by fresh Kula greens with pumpkin-seed dressing, roasted tom turkey, chef's dressing, cranberry and orange relish, whipped potatoes, sweet peas, Pocahontas corn bread, and fresh pumpkin cheesecake with Jack Daniels caramel sauce for dessert.
A limited regular menu will also be served with pan-fried oysters, scampi, fresh catch, roasted rack of lamb, and lobster tails stuffed with snow crab. For reservations, you may call 244-9028.
Seascape Ma'alaea Restaurant at Maui Ocean Center will be the place for a nice Thanksgiving lunch. It overlooks the harbor on one side and has views into the aquarium on the other. And, you do not need to purchase admission into the aquarium as there is a side entrance that's separate.
For $14.95 per person, you may purchase slow-roasted turkey with gravy, pork-sausage stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pancetta-sauteed French beans. Desserts such as brownie cheesecake with berry sauce are extra. Call 270-7068.
Located on beautiful Keawakapu Beach in Kihei, Five Palms Beach Grill will offer a three-course turkey dinner as well as an a la carte plate from 3 to 9 p.m. There will be ocean views galore.
The three-course prix-fixe starts with a choice of Kabocha pumpkin bisque or Kula greens. The entree is rosemary-scented roast turkey, chestnut-and-sausage stuffing, garlic mashed potatoes, giblet gravy, honey-glazed Molokai sweet potatoes, seasonal veggies, and fresh cranberry relish. Topping it off will be pumpkin cheesecake in creme Anglaise sauce. Cost is $36.95 adults. The a la carte plate is $29.95 adults and $16.95 children 10 and younger. For reservations, call Five Palms at 879-2607.
Those with a Hawaii ID will get a turkey plate at Wolfgang Puck's Spago Maui in Wailea for $24 from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. The regular cost is $48. Call 879-2999.
It's hard to beat Grand Wailea's inspiring spread in the opulent Grand Dining Room with open-air fountain and ocean views. Running from 2 to 9 p.m., the buffet is an all-you-can-eat affair that has something for everyone in your party.
Begin with butternut squash soup, sushi and salads such as rock shrimp and yellow tomato gazpacho with avocado in a martini glass, prepared by an attendant. Then walk over to the pasta station and a chef will make you penne with lobster, clams and herb cream and garlic bread.
Other highlights are citrus-scallop ceviche, chilled shrimp and snow crab legs with a host of sauces, duck-and-pistachio terrine with port-wine vinaigrette and imported and domestic cheeses.
Hot entrees are whole roasted organic free-range turkey with cornbread stuffing and giblet gravy, roasted prime rib, apple-and-brandy-brined stuffed pork, confit of duck and seared-pepper-crusted fresh catch of the day in crab beurre blanc.
Desserts include brandied pears flambe with spice cake and maple-creme brulee. The little ones will love the knee-high buffet. Cost is $75 adults; and $37 children ages 5 to 12. Call 875-1234.
Voted the "Best Restaurant on Maui" in The Maui News' recent contest, Stella Blues Cafe is a casual and convenient hot spot in Kihei for the whole family.
Thanksgiving Day, wake up to breakfast from 7:30 to 11 a.m. with Stella's regular menu. Or come for dinner from 1 to 9 p.m. for the special limited menu.
The traditional oven-roasted turkey comes with mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, vegetables and cranberries at a cost of $24 per adult and $12 for children. Other choices are tofu stir-fry, pan-seared mahi with lemon-caper sauce, prime rib and crab stuffed mahi.
Stella Blues' extras include house-made hummus with toasted pita, shrimp cocktail, and crisp crab cakes with tangy remoulade sauce. Salads range from classic Caesar to festive Waldorf.
DUO Steak and Seafood restaurant at the Four Seasons Resort Maui in Wailea will put on a lavish Thanksgiving buffet with hours from 3 to 8 p.m.
Flavors of the sea are Alaskan snow crab claws, oysters on the half shell, chilled jumbo prawns, spiny lobster tails poached in chardonnay and assorted sushi and sashimi with condiments. Local garden items include roasted duck breast and baby spinach salad, Maine lobster salad with sweet-corn parfait and artichoke and leek quiche.
Other stations will be laden with imported and domestic cheeses, charcuterie items, gourmet salads and sugarcane skewers with pineapple-blackened tiger prawns. Chefs will hand carve lavender-honey glazed tom turkey, pancetta-baked mint-crusted lamb loin and citrus-coated prime rib with natural jus. There are many other entrees, a host of desserts and a keiki buffet full of yummy stuff for the little ones.
Cost is $87 per person, and $39 per child ages 6 to 12. For reservations, call the Four Seasons at 874-8000.
Mulligan's on the Blue in Wailea will dish up a turkey buffet with all of the trimmings from 4 to 8 p.m. at a cost of $25 per person. It features seafood bisque, Emerald salad, roast turkey, carved honey-glazed ham with pineapple and raisin chutney, mashed potatoes, butternut squash, green bean almondine and apple crisp and haupia as icing on the cake. Call 874-1131.
Known for its prime cuts of meat, Ruth's Chris Steak House in both the Shops at Wailea and Lahaina Center will present special Thanksgiving prix-fixe menus at a cost of $45 per person, or $19 for keiki 12 and younger. Both restaurants open early at 4 p.m.
Guests may choose from corn and crab chowder or steak house salad. The entree will be oven-roasted turkey that is complemented with rich giblet gravy, mashed potatoes with a hint of garlic, sweet island Kahuku corn, Southern corn bread and andouille stuffing and Ruth's famous recipe for cranberry sauce.
For dessert, you may choose from a creamy New York-style pumpkin cheesecake or New Orlean sweet potato pie a la mode. For reservations, call Ruth's Wailea at 874-8880 or Ruth's Lahaina at 661-8815.
Here's something different-Pacific Whale Foundation will ride the high seas on a Thanksgiving Dinner Cruise that departs Lahaina Harbor at 5:30 p.m.
Guests may enjoy all the traditional Thanksgiving fixings, cocktails, sunset, live entertainment, and the chance to see some of the first humpback whales of the season. The two-hour cruise costs $84.95 adults and $49.95 children 3 to 12. For reservations, call 249-8811.
The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua will celebrate Thanksgiving by presenting a buffet from 3 to 7 p.m. in its family-style The Terrace restaurant, The buffet is open to resort guests and the local community.
Sample an array of appetizers such as oyster-clam chowder, and warm baked brie topped with toasted macadamia nuts and brown sugar. Entrees include roasted tom turkey, honey-and-cinnamon-glazed ham and garlic-crusted prime rib. In addition, guests may enjoy sushi rolls, jumbo shrimp and smoked salmon from the seafood display. Desserts include walnut cheesecake, cranberry raisin scones and bourbon pecan pie. Cost is $75 per adult, and $27.50 per child 5 to 12 years old. Call 665-7089.
Situated high above Kapalua Resort with sweeping ocean and mountain views, Plantation House will set a holiday mood with its two-sided fireplace and Thanksgiving plate that costs $29.50 adults, and $17.50 keiki 12 and younger. Dig into fresh oven-roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, giblet gravy, sage stuffing, candied yams, fresh cranberry relish and braised brussels sprouts. Other options include braised lamb shanks with red wine sauce,and filet mignon with fresh mushroom demi glace. For reservations, call 669-6299.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving at romantic Gerard's in the Plantation Inn in Lahaina, starting at 5:30 p.m. Dine on the lanai or inside in air-conditioned comfort. The holiday plate includes roasted turkey, Madeira sauce, chestnut stuffing, green beans in shallot butter and chervil, baked yam, and cranberry and orange compote. Cost is $32.50 adults; and half price for children 12 and younger. The entire a la carte menu is also available. Kamaaina will get 20 percent off the food. Call 661-8939.
Located right on the ocean at 505 Front Street in Lahaina, Pacific'o opens at 5 p.m. Thanksgiving to offer a special plate in addition to its regular menu. The plate includes kalua turkey, O'o Farm herb stuffing, Yukon crushed potatoes, Molokai sweet potatoes, gravy, roasted vegetables, sweet rolls and cranberry sauce with pineapple chunks. Cost is $38 per person. Call 661-8422.
Prefer to dine at home? 'Aina Gourmet Market at Honua Kai Resort & Spa will offer the same Pacific's menu to go, serving four for $120. It will be cooked and simply requires heating and some final touches. Order in advance for pick up from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday at the market. To reserve, call 662-2832.
Bring the whole ohana (family) for an all-you-can eat feast at Ka'anapali Beach Hotel's Tiki Terrace, Courtyard and Kanahele Room. The menu features kiawe-smoked prime rib of beef, rotisserie turkey, shiitake mushroom and corn stuffing, plum-glazed Kurobuta ham, braised boneless short ribs, baked mahimahi, honey-rosemary rack of lamb, and seafood on the ice bar.
Mix together the keiki buffet, an array of desserts, and live Hawaiian music and hula show and you've got the recipe for a fun holiday. Dinner hours are 3 to 7 p.m. Cost is $45.95 adults; and $22 keiki 6 to 12. Early-bird hours and pricing are also available. Kamaaina room rates start at $99. Call KBH?at 667-0124.
The Maui Grill at Napili Shores resort invites you to sit down and enjoy views of the peaceful courtyard and savor the three-course traditional turkey with all of the trimmings, salad and dessert for $24.95 per person. Lunch hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner is served from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. A limited regular menu will also be available, such as steaks and seafood. Call 442-3700.
The Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa in Kaanapali will offer two options Thanksgiving, including a casual Hawaiian-style buffet at 'Umalu, its poolside restaurant where you can put your toes in the sand and wear your board shorts and beach wear.
Umalu's buffet runs from 4 to 8 p.m. and features live Hawaiian music and hula. Dig into roasted Diestal Farms turkey, pan-seared mahimahi with lemongrass beurre blanc, roasted pork loin, New York strip steaks in fresh Hamakua mushroom sauce, Caesar and other salads, roasted pumpkin soup, chestnut and Portuguese sausage stuffing, artisan cheeses, breads, and desserts. Cost is $45 for adults. Or head to the Hyatt's Cascades for a pre-fixe dinner with turkey and other favorites for $46 per person.
"Diestal Farms turkeys from Sonoma are sustainable and organic and free range," says the Hyatt's Executive Chef Matt Smith. "And Umalu uses all local produce." For Hyatt reservations, call 667-4727.
Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa on Kaanapali Beach will celebrate with an oceanfront feast from 4 to 9 p.m. at the Black Rock Steak & Seafood. The all-you-can-eat buffet will feature live entertainment.
From the ocean will come sea scallops, chilled shrimp, blackened seafood pasta, ahi sashimi, futo maki sushi and Kona crab cakes. From the butcher's block will be whole roasted tom turkey, honey-mustard baked ham with rum raisin glaze and prime rib. Top it off with a host of salads and desserts. Cost is $39 adults; and $19 children 5 to 12 years old. Call 661-0031.
Enjoy glorious sunset and ocean views from Merriman's at Kapalua with dinner from 4 to 9 p.m. The menu features a fresh butter-and-thyme-roasted natural tom turkey and a take-out menu is also available. Call 669-6400.
Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving, everyone!