Those in the mood for . . . dining out this Valentine's Day weekend will find sensual sunsets and romantic menus. Here are some suggestions to share with your "ku'uipo" or sweetheart. Please note to add tax and gratuity to most of the dinners at each restaurant; however, it's wise to check when making reservations.
Maui Ocean Center photo
Maui Ocean Center’s operations manager Wayne Miller toasts to his wife, Connie Miller, in front of the Open Ocean Exhibit, where the eighth annual Sea of Love dinner will entice couples with an unusual background of undersea aquarium life.
It will be love at first bite at the landmark Buzz's Wharf in Maalaea this Valentine's Day Sunday. Dinner seatings start at 4:30 p.m. and you may enjoy a prix-fixe meal of four courses for $59.95 per person.
Entree choices include herb-stuffed fresh island moi (the food of Hawaiian kings), boneless short rib with prawn Tahitian, or herb-crusted rack of lamb. All are served with starch, steamed veggies, appetizer, house salad and freshly made dessert. Call 244-5426.
Those with a love of things aquatic will want to savor the eighth annual Sea of Love dinner at the Maui Ocean Center in Maalaea.
Dine on a four-course meal by James Beard nominee Chef Henry Tariga and enjoy seating along the aquarium's Living Reef or Open Ocean exhibits.
Begin with, say, the lover's platter to be shared, featuring hamachi sashimi drizzled with lemon-chile oil, followed by Cupid's salad and entree choices such as ginger-steamed opakapaka in champagne-cream sauce or beef Wellington with wild mushrooms and green peppercorns. Dessert will be chocolate decadence, garnished with chocolate-dipped strawberries.
Cost of $99 per person includes a welcome glass of sparkling wine, coffee or tea and lei for the ladies. Seatings run from 6 to 8 p.m. Other beverages are extra. For further details call 270-7088.
The Waterfront in Maalaea will open for dinner at 5 p.m. and reservations are highly recommended. "We'll serve our regular dinner menu, because that's what repeat customers want," says owner Gary Smith.
So rest assured you'll find Caesar salad tossed table-side, fresh sashimi, baked oysters and six different varieties of fish served nine different ways for a total of 54 choices. For reservations, call 244-9028.
Warm your heart with sunset views and open-air lanai seatings from 5 to 10 p.m. at Mala Wailea in the Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa. Executive Chef Corey Waite has created a special four-course Valentine's dinner menu for $59 per person.
Begin with chicken quesadilla with Alii mushrooms and Surfing Goat Dairy cheese. The second course is potato and jalapeno soup or farmer's salad. Entree choices include crab- crusted mahi, grilled veal chop, braised short ribs and vegan lasagne. Dessert is chocolate bar with creme Anglaise. The regular menu will also be available. Validated parking is free. Call 875-9394.
Ruth's Chris Steak House will sizzle with its full a la carte menu along with a chef's selection of specials today through Valentine's Day. Doors will open early at 4 p.m. Sunday and at 5 p.m. the other days. Sink your teeth into prime steaks, grilled catch, lobster and sides such as creamed spinach and potatoes Lyonnaise.
There are two Ruth's Chris locations on Maui, one at The Shops at Wailea, 874-8880; and the other in the Lahaina Center. Call 661-8815.
Located in a free-standing building at the Azeka Mauka shopping center in Kihei, Stella Blues Cafe will feature two seatings Valentine's Day and both will get to hear the music of Gail Swanson. "The first seating will be from 5 to 7 p.m. and the second from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.," says partner Cindy Eiting. "Guests at each seating will be entertained by Gail for an hour."
Specials include shrimp ceviche served in a martini glass with fresh tortilla chips. Entree specials include grilled Maui Cattle Co. rib-eye steak with black pepper demi glaze; and crab-stuffed mahimahi in citrus beurre blanc. Both come with mashed potatoes and asparagus and range in price from $28 to $34.
The Valentine's Day dessert is fresh chocolate-covered strawberries served with macadamia-nut brittle, vanilla ice cream and whipped cream. For reservations, call Stella Blues at 874-3779.
The new Kai Wailea in the former Fire Dragon will serve a four-course Valentine's Day dinner from 5 to 10 p.m. at a cost of $39 per person. It includes soup, appetizer, entree and dessert. Call 875-1955.
At Longhi's in Wailea, each lady will get a long-stemmed rose and each diner will get a chocolate-dipped strawberry. For more details, call 891-8883.
Want to dine in with your sweetheart this Valentine's Day? Maui Prime fine foods store at the Emerald Plaza in Lahaina features the his-and-hers special with American Kobe-style beef, Maine lobster tail and a bottle of Signorello cabernet sauvignon for $75 (while supplies last). For more details, call 661-4912.
Lovers may wake up to six types of eggs Benedict as well as legendary Bloody Marys served from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Plantation House in Kapalua. Dinner specials include cold- water lobster bisque with cognac and creme fraiche, fresh Washington oysters by the half dozen and jumbo shrimp cocktail martini.
Entree specials are surf 'n' turf with Maui asparagus; and butternut squash ravioli with white-truffle cream sauce and young parmesan sprinkles. The dessert is double-chocolate raspberry cake for two with rose petals. For reservations, call Plantation House at 669-6299.
Celebrate all things romantic with a night out at Lahaina Grill. A la carte specials include asiago-crusted opakapaka and grilled tiger prawn with herb-truffle risotto and lobster champagne sauce, and 18-ounce, bone-in certified Angus beef rib chop with blue-cheese mashed potatoes and baby carrot puree. Call 667-5117.
Free-flowing champagne and the Hawaiian music of Maui's own superstars George Kahumoku Jr. and Richard Ho'opi'i will take the extravagant buffet of over 70 items over the top at Ka'anapali Beach Hotel.
Seatings are from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and cost is $36.95 adults and $22 children 6 to 12.
Ka'anapali Beach Hotel's menu highlights include slow-roasted kiawe-smoked prime rib, Kurobuta ham with tropical fruit glaze, a teppanyaki station, roasted pork loin with apple sauce, cold seafood bar, keiki food station and desserts.
"In addition to the buffet, we'll roll out a special four-course a la carte dinner at Tiki Terrace," says Food and Beverage Director Tom Fairbanks.
"It will include a hula show, dancing under the stars and a red rose for the ladies."
Select from Executive Chef Tom Muromoto's award-winning seared diver scallops, Koala lamb chops or kiawe-roasted prime rib. Top off the evening with his Taste of Lahaina Best of Show dessert, banana-caramel eruption. Seating is from 6 to 9 p.m. Cost is $49.95 per person. A glass of wine or champagne is included. For reservations, call KBH at 667-0124.
Home of Hawaii Regional Cuisine, Merriman's in Kapalua will arouse your passion with its sunset views of Molokai and four-course gourmet meal that comes with a bottle of champagne and roses. The cost is $300 per couple. The regular menu will be available as well from crispy day-boat mahimahi with ponzu to Maui Cattle Co. filet of beef on creamed Kula corn with Kula spinach. Call 669-6400.
Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa in Kaanapali will host two events Valentine's Day. Cascades will let you toast to your luck in love with a chilled bottle of Domain St. Michelle and a three course prix-fixe that includes lemongrass-infused lobster bisque with lump crab, butter-poached cold-water lobster and grilled petit filet mignon. Dessert is chocolate molten lava cake in port sabayan sauce. Six chocolate-covered strawberries add to the fun. Hours are 5 to 10 p.m. Cost is $64 per person.
The Hyatt's 'Umalu restaurant will tempt lovers with its put-your-toes-in-the-sand outdoor ambience and prix-fixe menu. Choices include grilled Kurobuta pork chop, slow-roasted prime rib and tequila-lime shrimp. Dessert is "little bomb" of pineapple-coconut ice cream, deep fried, with fresh berries, whipped cream and honey drizzle. Cost is $55 per person. For more details, call 661-1234.
Pineapple Grill in Kapalua will serve romance du jour with special selections in addition to its regular menu. Begin with the appetizer aphrodisiac of half dozen assorted British Columbia chilled oysters with calamansi-lime horseradish. Then savor the entree of sauteed Hawaiian snapper with Alaskan king crab and butternut squash ravioli, with green and white asparagus spears in sherry-saffron cream sauce. Dessert is heart-shaped trio. Prices are a la carte and vary. Call 669-9600.
Stir up some love at The Melting Pot fondue house in Lahaina with a Valentine's Day four-course meal for $65 per person. Double date or bring in a group of six and it gets less expensive. Highlights include herb- and-garlic cheese fondue, strawberry-almond salad, and entree bites of cold-water lobster tail, filet mignon, zesty lime shrimp, peppered duck rum chicken and ravioli. Dessert is raspberry Frangelico dark chocolate. Call 661-6181.
Buy the coffee lover in your life MauiGrown French Kiss dark-roasted Maui coffee "kissed" with other Maui roasts, at MauiGrown Coffee Company Store in Lahaina. Call 661-2728.
Hop aboard Pacific Whale Foundation's sunset dinner cruise, departing Lahaina Harbor at 5:30 p.m. and returning at 7:30 p.m. Passengers will fall in love with the three-course dinner, cocktails, live music, and views of the ocean, Neighbor Islands and humpback whales.
Each plate will be prepared by an onboard chef and you'll get tableside service. Entree choices are grilled Maui Cattle Co. sirloin steak with local mushroom jus, panko-crusted mahimahi in garlic-soy-cream sauce; or boneless teriyaki chicken breast with pineapple and grilled onions.
Sides are baked spinach dip with fresh taro bread sticks, island-grown greens with Maui onion dressing, rice pilaf, sauteed carrots and zucchini, dessert, tea and Maui Oma coffee, and three alcoholic beverages. Cost is $84.95 adults; and $59.95 children ages 12 and younger. Upgraded premium seating is available for an additional fee. Call 249-8811, ext. 1.
Passionate pals may enjoy a three-course tasting menu at Tropica Restaurant & Bar oceanfront and under the stars at the Westin Maui Resort & Spa in Kaanapali. The tasting menu is served Wednesdays and Sundays in February. It includes a bittersweet chocolate torte.
In addition, you may enjoy the dessert for free throughout the month of February if you book a spa treatment at the Heavenly Spa by Westin. Choose from the 50-minute chocolate massage, the chocolate- mousse facial or the chocolate-dipped-strawberry-toes pedicure. Call 667-2525.
Dine to your heart's desire at the all-you-can-eat Valentine's Day buffet at Cafe O'Lei at the Dunes in Kahului from 5 to 9 p.m.
Local favorites include Manoa lettuce wraps, Cafe O'Lei crab cakes, assorted sushi, seafood chowder, organic baby greens, Caesar salad with creamy garlic dressing, and a selection of international cheeses with fresh fruit and crostini.
Hot entrees are jumbo shrimp linguine, lightly blackened mahimahi in ginger-butter sauce, mac-nut chicken in lemon-caper sauce, and carved roast prime rib. A glass of champagne, assorted fresh pastries and desserts, and music and dancing are included in the $48 per person cost. Call 877-0073.
Its sister restaurant, Cafe O'Lei in Kihei will offer its regular menu plus a Valentine's Day chef's special, sushi bar and raw seafood bar from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. Call 891-1368.
Faustino will entertain on guitar during brunch from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Cary & Eddie's Hideaway in Kahului. "We'll serve our regular $11.99 mini brunch we serve every Sunday," says Eddie. It includes an omelette station, scrambled eggs, potatoes, fried rice, Portuguese and link sausages, baked ham, pancakes, salads, fruits and beverages.
Th Hideaway will also feature piano music with its regular Hawaiian and American buffet beginning at 5 p.m. for $21.99. In addition, limited dinner combos with Alaskan king crab, spiny lobster tail, prime rib, New York steak and barbecued pork ribs are for sale a la carte. Call 873-6555.
Located at the Maui Seaside Hotel in Kahului, the Coconut Grill will get you in the mood for love with a la carte specials from 5 p.m., including pan-roasted rock lobster, coconut shrimp tiki, fresh island catch, slow-roasted prime rib of beef, New York strip loin and paniolo pork ribs. Enjoy salads and desserts. For reservations, call 871-8881.
Celebrate Sweetheart Night Out at the Stopwatch in Makawao from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
"We will be serving our New York steak and three crispy jumbo shrimp combo with soup or salad, and choice of garlic mashed potatoes, steak fries or rice for $23.95," says partner Haru Hiu-Arian. For more details, call 572-1380.
Want to have a romantic picnic for two? Go to the scenic Ali'i Kula Lavender Farm and order the gourmet lunch basket and find your own private area to nosh. In addition, dark chocolate truffles will be 15 percent off. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Call 878-3004.
Makawao Steak House will be an intimate and cozy spot to have a romantic dinner with your choice of steak, prime rib, fish or lobster. Entrees include salad bar and freshly baked bread. For reservations, call 571-8711.
Ulupalakua Ranch Store will feature barbecue specials and live Hawaiian paniolo music of Bradda Francis in conjunction with Jazz Alley TV/Maui Fest Hawaii. Take your honey for a ride to the country and savor Ulupalakua Ranch elk burgers, sliced teriyaki beef, steaks, barbecue beans, assorted salads and fresh desserts from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Then walk across the street and sip some of the new chardonnay at Maui Winery's tasting room.
Casanova Makawao will present BrownChicken BrownCow to serenade dates and singles. The regular menu will be offered. Call 572-0220.
Last but not least, Surfing Goat Dairy in Kula will let you and your sweetheart take a walk around the Black Forest (in the culinary sense) at 6:30 p.m. this Saturday and Sunday.
The German-style eight-course meal will offer appetizers from the Baden/Alsace region with duck pate, Black Forest ham, salami, smoked trout, quail eggs, cheeses and crackling goose fat on dark rye bread. Entrees include smoked pork and salt pork with sauerkraut, pretzels with cheese, sausage salad, leek and escargot soup. Cost is $79 per person. Call 878-2870.
*This article contains a correction from the one originally published on February 11, 2010. Surfing Goat Dairy is serving an eight-course meal.