Whether you savor a sexy a la carte affair or go for an indulgent, all-you-can-eat buffet, Valentine's Day options are plentiful on the Valley Isle.
The sweetest day for romance will fall on Tuesday this year, so some Maui chefs have dreamed up menus for before and after the actual holiday. Be sure to make reservations fast, as seats fill up.
At Merriman’s Kapalua, server Marc Godwin and hostess Margaux Nelson drink in the views of Kapalua Bay from the oceanfront restaurant. On Valentine’s Day, kamaaina get deals on food after 8:30 p.m.
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
For instance, David Paul's Island Grill in Lahaina will feature a four-course special running Friday through Monday for people who want to get a jump on romance or who want to beat the crowds.
For $45 per person, plus tax and gratuity, the gourmet courses sound tempting, and you may add champagnes and wines in a flight or by the glass.
The first course is chilled roasted red beet soup with creme fraiche and baby chives; the second is hearts of palm salad drizzled with blood-orange vinaigrette. Entree choices are mahimahi "gone bananas" with grilled apple bananas and lemon Hollandaise sauce; petite filet Oscar with asparagus; or orange-glazed stuffed duck with truffles.
Dessert choices are rose-petal creme brulee or red-velvet raspberry white chocolate cake. On Valentine's Day, David Paul will also do specials. Call 662-3000.
At The Melting Pot upstairs in Lahaina, you may "dip into romance" any day of the week from Friday to Wednesday with a special Valentine's menu.
You and your date begin with a choice of garlic-and-herb-cheddar or champagne Swiss cheese fondues, followed by the signature Caesar or the strawberry-almond salad. Then for the entree, you get cold-water lobster tail, garlic-and-wine sirloin, white shrimp, breast of duck, herb-crusted chicken, old-world ravioli stuffed with wild mushrooms and fresh vegetables.
Dessert is chocolate fondue special. Cost is $130 per couple, plus tax and 18 percent gratuity. Call 661-6181.
Ruth's Chris Steak House will cover all of the bases with two locations and multiple days of Valentine's specials. You may dine at Ruth's Chris in the Lahaina Center or the one upstairs at the Shops at Wailea. Both will open early at 4 p.m. Tuesday. Couples who dine there anytime from Monday to Sunday, Feb. 19, will receive a Valentine's gift as a special treat. For reservations, call 661-8815 or 874-8880.
At Ka'anapali Beach Hotel, you may choose from dinner at Tiki Terrace with hula show and music for dancing under the stars; or the Kupanaha Magic Dinner Theater. Every lady will receive a long-stemmed rose Valentine's Day.
At Tiki Terrace, guests will select from a special menu with appetizers such as fresh ahi tartare or avocado and pohole fern shoot; and entrees such as seafood Lawalu, Koala lamb chops or kiawe-roasted prime rib. Top it off with banana-caramel eruption, a warm fudge brownie with a molten center and ice cream to cool you off. The cost of $49.95 per adult includes a glass of champagne or house wine. Call 667-0124.
Gerard's at the Plantation Inn in Lahaina is the ultimate "date night" restaurant with its gourmet French cuisine with an island twist.
For Valentine's Day, Chef-owner Gerard Reversade of Gerard's at the Plantation Inn in Lahaina will team with Malama Farm in Peahi to serve dishes made from whole Berkshire pigs. Savor pork confit, braised ham, head cheese and his famous rillettes with crusty bread and French cornichons (pickles). In addition to the items mentioned, he will also offer a charcuterie plate. For reservations, call 661-8939.
Want to have amorous dinner at home or in your condo? Maui Prime Fine Foods at Emerald Plaza in Lahaina is the go-to store for fine wines, cheeses and all manner of fun, gourmet products.
"For starters, we have Louis Roederer brut premier champagne," says Maui Prime's owner Cary Button, who is also an executive chef and master butcher and seafood cutter. "We also have a nice Italian prosecco for sipping."
As for food, Maui Prime has a Valentine's special of 8-ounce tenderloin with a Maine lobster tail for $21.95. You may also buy the ultimate aphrodisiac food of oysters such as Fanny Bay, Eagle Creek, Kumamoto, Kusshi and Stellar Bay. The store is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday. For more details, call 661-4912.
Plantation House in Kapalua will dish up sweeping island and ocean views from its perch and Valentine's Day dinner specials from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Served a la carte with varying prices, starters include Cinderella squash bisque, mushroom risotto in two sizes and almond-brie bruschetta.
Special entrees are surf and turf of petit filet mignon with cold-water lobster tail, and fish Oscar with crab and sauce Bernaise. The sweethearts dessert is a double chocolate raspberry cake with rose petals. For further details, call 669-6299.
Also in the resort, Merriman's Kapalua will serve its regular gourmet dinner menu Valentine's Day. Kamaaina who dine there after 8:30 p.m. will get 25 percent discount on all food. From the sea will comes toasted garlic-butter poached Keahole lobster, wok-charred ahi and pan-roasted diver scallops with creamed local corn. From the land will be Colorado lamb, pan-sauteed Maui Lehua taro cakes and five-spice Jidori chicken. Call Merriman's at 669-6400.
Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa will feature a few al fresco private dining spots on its oceanfront grounds in Kaanapali, featuring four-course feasts, plus an amuse bouche and an intermezzo. Call (808) 921-4600.
The landmark Buzz's Wharf at Maalaea will present an evening for lovers with sultry jazz sounds by Phil and Angela Benoit from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday.
As for the meal, it will be a special dinner for two starting with a appetizer to share of fresh oysters, crab claws and prawn cocktail, followed by two small house salads with your choice of dressing.
Entree choices are whole snapper, seafood tower with crab legs, prawns and Tristan lobster tail; or ribeye-lobster- tail combo. Dessert choices are chocolate ganache, layered strawberry parfait; and trio of mango brulee, mac-nut pie, and Adrian's delight. Cost is $120 per couple. The regular menu will also be available. For Buzz's Wharf reservations, call 244-5426.
At the nearby Maui Ocean Center, you may romance your sweetheart with the decidedly different Sea of Love dinner for two.
For $99 per person, plus tax and tip, you each will get a welcome glass of sparkling wine and the ladies will receive a special lei. You will then be escorted through the aquarium to be seated at the Living Reef Exhibit or the Seascape Maalaea Restaurant.
James Beard nominee Chef Henry Tariga will prepare the four-course meal with seatings between 6 and 8 p.m. Begin with the Lover's Platter and share seared ahi sashimi, chilled shrimp and smoked duck breast confit. Cupid's Salad will be drizzled in balsamic vinaigrette.
Entree choices are many and include crab-stuffed baked fish in champagne cream sauce; broiled prawns and filet mignon with veal demi glaze, truffle-butter baked chicken breast, lamb chops with rosemary au jus, or wild-mushroom ravioli - all with accompaniments. Dessert is strawberries Florentine. Call 270-7088.
Sarento's on the Beach in Kihei will offer ocean views and a Valentine's Day special plate of fresh Hawaiian spiny lobster tail and petite filet mignon. It includes roasted new potatoes, organic mushrooms, fresh asparagus in brandy and peppercorn sauce Bernaise. Cost is $55, plus tax and tip. Sarento's will open a little early that day at 4:30 p.m. For reservations, call 875-7555.
Vietnamese Cuisine at Azeka Shopping Center in Kihei will provide an exotic oasis Valentine's Day for lunch or dinner from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. In addition to the regular menu, choose from crispy duck, whole opakapaka steamed or fried in a wok, clams with lemongrass, or veggies in a rich soup broth. Call 875-2088.
The Four Seasons Resort Maui in Wailea will present special a la carte entrees for Valentine's Day at its dining outlets. The resort's culinary team was still busy acquiring the freshest ingredients and creating the dishes at press time for DUO Steak & Seafood, Ferraro's Bar e Ristorante and Wolfgang Puck's Spago. But if you call the concierge now, they will be able to tell you exactly what the specials are. For more details, call 874-2201.
Across South Kihei Road at the Azeka Mauka shopping center, Stella Blues Cafe will present two live performances by HAPA preceded by four-course Valentine's Day dinners as part of its ongoing supper club program. Seatings are at 5 as well as 8 p.m.
Begin with seared scallop with honey-wasabi drizzle, then crunch a tropical salad of Upcountry greens with jicama, red bell peppers and fresh mango in lavender-mango dressing. Entree choices are seared fresh fish with rice pilaf and fresh asparagus; or free-range chicken with herb-mashed potatoes and asparagus. Dessert is chocolate souffle. Cost of $100 per person includes dinner, show and a glass of champagne. Call 874-3779.
If you are infatuated with coast-to-coast views, then the Kahili Clubhouse in Waikapu is the place to dine in Central Maui from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday for its all-you-can-eat buffet. Begin with salad bar items such as crisp Romaine with Caesar dressing, fresh grilled vegetables, Caprese tomato bites and red-potato salad. Seafood on ice includes fresh oysters, ahi poke, kimchee tako poke and poached shrimp with tangy cocktail sauce.
Chefs will carve prime rib. Other hot entrees are chicken Marsala, grilled pork loin with ponzu sauce, five-pepper salmon, and tri-color cheese tortellini with Alfredo sauce. Save room for dessert bar with traditional and contemporary favorites. Cost is $34.95 adults and $17.95 children 6 to 17 years old. Call 242-6000.
Coconut Grill in the Maui Seaside Hotel in Kahului will delight you with cushy booths and a special a la carte menu for Valentine's Day from 5 to 8 p.m. You may order filet mignon and jumbo prawns, New York strip loin and rock lobster tail, Alaskan king crab legs, slow-roasted prime rib of beef, yellowfin tuna roulade, or classic chicken Cordon Bleu. Call 871-8881.
Also in Kahului, Marcos Grill & Deli will tempt you with Italian pasta puttanesca, vodka rigatoni, blue-cheese wedge salads, and plump and juicy clams in aromatic broth for both lunch and dinner. House-made tiramisu and cheesecakes add a sweet ending. Call 877-4446.
The Maui Beach Hotel in Kahului will draw in the lovebirds with its "two for $50" prime rib and shrimp buffet from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. Begin at the garden salad bar with local favorites such as shrimp cocktail, macaroni-potato salad, and chicken long rice salad.
Hot entrees include shrimp Canton with sweet and sour sauce, vegetable tempura, Mongolian beef, roast Asian chicken, and baked salmon topped with crab Imperial. Prime rib, miso soup, sushi, cakes, frozen yogurt bar and ice tea top it off. For reservations, call 877-0051.
Cary & Eddie's Hideaway in?Kahului will serve its traditional holiday dinner buffet as well as a la carte items from 4:30 p.m. to closing. The buffet includes but is not limited to baby back pork ribs, ranch-baked ono, broiled teriyaki salmon, roast top sirloin, kalua pig and cabbage, Southern fried chicken, and soup and salad island. Cost for adults is $25.99; and children 10 and younger $12.99.
A la carte choices range from New York steak to sauteed opakapaka to crab and prime rib combo and prices are from $22.99 to $46.99. For more details, call 873-6555.
The Makawao Steak House in cool Upcountry will offer cozy fireplaces in the lounge as well as some specials in addition to its regular dinner menu. On Tuesday, you'll find happy hour will live music and $2 off drinks and appetizers from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Entree specials include slow-roasted prime rib, steak, chicken, pork chops and ribs. On the seafood side, dig into calamari that's crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside, along with crab, fresh fish, lobster and shrimp. All dinners include fresh bread and brown or white rice. Call 572-8711.