Mele Kalikimaka

Maui chefs making sure your season is BRIGHT with dine-in restaurant feasts, take-out choices

Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort will be a wonderland of merriment, thanks in large part to the culinary talents of Executive Chef Ryan Urig, left, and newly named Executive Sous Chef Mike Lofaro. The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo

Are you having visions of fresh ono carpaccio, lilikoi-glazed ham and chestnut cremeux dessert dancing in your heads?

The holidays here on beautiful Maui are rolling onto shore faster than the latest surf and swells. Visitors are starting to arrive en masse, eager to whale watch, sunbathe and dine around Maui, so it’s best to pick up the phone now and make reservations.


Five Palms at Mana Kai Resort in Kihei will dish up spectacular views from its perch on Keawakapu Beach for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Starting at 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve, it will present an a la carte menu of the festive kind. Chefs will also showcase its annual three-course turkey dinners from 4 to 9 p.m. Christmas Day (which falls on Tuesday), and offer a la carte turkey plates and limited menu items.

Kahili Restaurant employees Kevin Behan (from left) Lisa Corpuz and Julie Corpus get in the holiday spirit at their restaurant in Waikapu. The team is gearing up for a Christmas Eve dinner buffet on Monday. DRE SHAW photo

The feast begins with roasted-butternut squash soup with a dollop of spiced creme fraiche or hand-picked baby greens with roasted beets and pomegranate drizzled with white-balsamic dressing. Then you get a plate of roasted turkey with giblet gravy, sausage-and-apple stuffing, fresh cranberry relish, potato puree, glazed yams and green beans almondine. Delight in the dessert of pumpkin-gingerbread cake topped in spiced eggnog creme Anglaise.

Early birds who dine from 3 to 4 p.m. pay $54.95 for adults. Regular pricing starts at 4 p.m. at $59.95 per adult. A turkey plate is $49.95 for adults and $32.95 for kids 12 and younger. Call 879-2607.

The Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort will present its lavish holiday buffet from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in its Grand Dining Room overlooking the dolphin pools, wedding chapel and Pacific Ocean beyond.

The all-you-can-eat affair will glisten with a raw bar packed with oysters, snow crab legs and claws and Hawaiian-style ceviche.

Soups and sides include Kona lobster bisque, roasted Hamakua mushrooms with winter truffles, citrus and fennel salad, housemade terrines, California rolls, local and imported cheeses and charcuterie items From the carvery will come whole-roasted prime strip loin served with eggnog gratin and truffle demi, and spiral ham with lilikoi glaze. Savor Hawaiian cioppino and dive into desserts from yule logs to chestnut cremeuxs to opera cakes. Cost is $98 for adults and $49 for keiki 6 to 12.

It will be glad tidings at Ka‘anapali Beach Hotel, where a fantasyland of food and merriment will take place Christmas Day. Strumming the ukulele in Santa’s getup is Director of Restaurants Alex Pelayo (from left,) Restaurant Manager Mattias Thompson and Executive Chef/Director of Food & Beverage Tom Muromoto. Ka‘anapali Beach Hotel photo

Grand Wailea’s Bistro Molokini and Humuhumunukunukuapua’a restaurants will serve regular dinner menus from 5 to 9 p.m. Christmas Day. For reservations, call 875-1234.

Seascape Ma’alaea Restaurant will dish up its special Christmas Day lunch menu from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday in addition to its regular menu.

After unwrapping gifts, jump in your car and make the drive to Maui Ocean Center in Maalaea to enjoy a harbor-view lunch. Seascape features a separate side entrance and does not require aquarium admission to dine. This year’s a la carte specials include fish of the day and poha-berry and lilikoi-glazed ham with wild mushroom sauce and pancetta-bacon-onion marmalade. Regular menu items will also be available such as mac-nut crusted mahi and mango-hoisin ribs. Call 270-7068.

Beach Bums Bar, BBQ & Grill in Maalaea will serve a Christmas Day feast from noon to 9 p.m. Choose from hot turkey or ham cooked in-house on Hawaii’s largest wood-fired smoker. The dinner includes mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, dinner roll, green-bean casserole and cranberry sauce. Cost is $23.99 per meal. Or opt for a prime rib dinner with all of the fixings for $26.99. Go for the gusto with pumpkin, apple or pecan pie for $5 a slice and add a scoop of ice cream for a little extra. For reservations, call 243-2286.

Follow the sizzle to Ruth’s Chris Steak House’s two locations on island from The Shops at Wailea to the Outlets of Maui mall in Lahaina. Both will open at 4 p.m. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day — with no happy hour and the regular menu only in its entirety. That seems to be enough for Ruth’s Chris diners.

Sink your teeth into a tempting T-bone, a full-bodied New York strip or a fabulously lean filet mignon. All USDA prime beef cuts are seared to perfection, finished with pats of butter and whisked to your table on sizzling 500-degree plates.

Arriving juicy and hot, the meaty cuts all pair well with steak-house salads, creamed spinach, au gratin potatoes, warm ambience and comfortable elegance. Sip a chilled martini, swirl a big, red cabernet from the award-winning wine list, share crab-stuffed mushrooms and delight in bread pudding paired with a fine whiskey. To experience New Orleans-inspired cuisine at its prime, book a reservation now. Call Ruth’s Chris Wailea at 874-8880 or Ruth’s in Lahaina at 661-8815.


The “Best Casual Dining Restaurant” in this year’s Best of Maui contest in The Maui News, Cafe O’Lei at the Dunes in Kahului will present its annual Christmas Eve prime-rib buffet from 4 to 8:30 p.m. Monday. It will also serve breakfast and lunch from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. that day.

Reservations get snapped up fast as the food is good, prices are right and it is a prime location fairly close to the big box stores, so make sure to pick up the phone now to make reservations.

The all-you-can-eat buffet will include a specialty salad station such as Kula greens with cranberries and blue cheese and Caesar salad in 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.

Kahili Restaurant will be dishing up Christmas Eve views of Haleakala and both the north and south shores of Maui from its spot in Waikapu on the slopes of the West Maui Mountains.

Executive Chef Eddie Munoz and his team will prepare an all-you-can-eat buffet from 4:30 to 9 p.m. Monday with mixed salad greens, an array of fresh and grilled vegetables, pasta salad, chicken Waldorf salad, shrimp cocktail, ahi poke, prime rib, honey-baked ham, roasted herb-rubbed chicken, pepper-crusted salmon, tiger shrimp in linguine, steamed white rice, mashed potatoes, succotash and pies, cakes and cookies. Cost is $43.95 for adults and $21.95 for kids 10 and younger. Reservations are required. Call 242-6000.

Wei Wei Cafe & Noodle House in Happy Valley in Wailuku will be open on Christmas Day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Famous for its housemade noodles, it offers take-out for gatherings.

Indulge in steaming bowls of saimin brimming with housemade broth and noodles with roast duck or fresh veggies in medium or large sizes. Or delight in house won ton mein, thick udon noodles with rich broth and beef or chicken toppings and cake noodles, too. Phone ahead for small or large catering pans of your favorite Chinese food. To order, call Wei Wei at 298-0960.


“Armchair quarterbacks” looking for a cool place to watch the game on Christmas Day may relax at Ka’anapali Grille & Tap Room at Marriott’s Maui Ocean Club.

“We have Direct TV, so we’re able to show all of the football games on our 10 large flat screen HDTVs,” says General Manager Kris Galon. “We recently reintroduced hamburger, kalua pork and braised short rib loco mocos, slow-cooked for six hours.”

“New specials are fresh Big Island beef burgers made of 100-percent grass fed beef formed into hand patties, and we recently debuted a bacon-wrapped eight-ounce filet mignon, again made with Big Island beef,” says Galon. “We’re serving this amazing dish for only $29, every day while supplies last — with mashed potatoes and seasoned broccoli.”

Ka’anapali Grille & Tap Room is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily with happy hours from 2 to 5 p.m. and again from 9 p.m. until closing with food and beverage specials. Enjoy free parking in Marriott Ocean Club’s parking structure.

“We have our own Waikiki Brewing Company beer with nine varieties, including our award-winning Blackstrap Molasses Porter, a silver medalist at the Great American Beer Fest. For more details, call 667-7733.

At Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bars in both Kapalua and Kihei, sushi chefs will be on a roll with Christmas and New Year’s specials until the end of the year for dinner from 5:15 to 10 p.m. nightly.

From the sushi bar will come fresh Hawaiian ono carpaccio with truffle ponzu, fresno peppers and shiso leaf; and surf ‘n’ turf rolls with torched Wagyu beef atop a lobster-asparagus roll. From the main kitchen, Executive Chef Kaipo Nakata will present porcini-dusted seared ahi tuna; grilled Kunoa Cattle Co. filet tenderloins and apple banana and mac-nut bread pudding. Prices are a la carte from $9.50 for the dessert to $39.95 for the steak. For reservations, call Sansei Kapalua at 669-6286 or Sansei Kihei at 879-0004.

Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa in Kaanapali will tempt holiday diners from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Christmas Day at the legendary Swan Court, where waterfalls, lagoon, swans, tropical plants and soaring ceilings add to the ambience.

Enjoy an all-you-can-eat holiday buffet featuring sea salt-brined roasted turkey with stuffing and giblet gravy, fresh island fish on a bed of couscous, prime rib, bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin, autumn squash, chicken breast marsala, fresh local salads, artisan cheeses, fruit display, seafood on ice and pies and chocolate treats. Cost is $69 for adults and $35 for children 5 to 12 years old. Self-parking in the Hyatt lot will be free.

Or celebrate the holidays at Hyatt’s Drums of the Pacific Lu’au with 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 regular menus at the resort’s Japengo and ‘Umalu restaurants. For reservations, call 667-4727 or visit

On Christmas Day, Ka’anapali Beach Hotel will present a choice of an all-you-can-eat brunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. or a dinner buffet from 3 to 7 p.m. Cost for either meal service is $55 for adults, $26 for children 6 to 12.

Renowned as “Maui’s most Hawaiian hotel,” KBH exudes hospitality and warmth from valet to servers. Executive Chef Tom Muromoto and Executive Sous Chef Chris Napoleon wow you with kiawe-roasted goose with poha-berry chutney, leg of lamb with mint relish and prime rib with creamy horseradish and au jus. Other KBH highlights are specialty salads, assorted sushi, island poke in a variety of styles and a cold seafood display of fresh oysters on the half shell, crab legs and shrimp cocktail.

Pile your plates with hot entrees such as tortilla soup, Cajun pilaf, pork laulau, passion-fruit glazed ham, salmon enchiladas, roasted turkey, braised boneless short ribs and vegetarian stir fry.

The little ones will delight in the knee-high keiki buffet, and there will be a feast of desserts from assorted fruit tarts to bibingka. KBH reservations are required — call 667-0124.

Baking up a storm of seasonal pies, Leoda’s Kitchen & Pie Shop chefs in Olowalu are taking orders through Friday for pick up from 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday. The shop will be closed on Christmas Day. Executive Pastry Chef Ed Morita and the Hoaloha bakeshop team have an incredible pie lineup including pumpkin, pecan, sweet potato, double-crust apple, imu butternut, custard, berry and guava chiffon.

Leoda’s regular favorites are also available to order now. You may choose banana cream, Olowalu lime, chocolate haupia, chocolate mac nut or peanut butter fillings in your pies. For more details, call 662-3600.

The signature Cane & Canoe restaurant at Montage Kapalua Bay will present Christmas Eve prix-fixe dinner from 5 to 9 p.m. at $75 per person; and a Christmas Day dinner buffet from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. for $115 per adult and and $40 children ages 5 to 12. The lavish seasonal craft menu on the buffet by Chef de Cuisine Robert Barrera will include Maui onion soup, hand-carved Colorado rack of lamb, prime rib, jumbo lump crab cakes, seasonal fruits, local vegetables, Hawaiian sweet rolls, cheese and charcuterie items, raw bar with sashimi, Kona lobster tails, oysters on the half shell and Kauai prawns.

Savor wild-mushroom risotto, tri-color broccoflower au gratin, roast Brussels sprouts and Yukon Gold potato puree. Desserts will include coconut Bouche de Noel, mango opera tart, Maui Gold mini pineapple upside down cakes, triple berry frangipane and much more.

The keiki station with pizza and tater tots appeals to the knee-high set. Desserts of carrot cake cupcakes to classic pumpkin pie with chantilly cream will please those with a sweet tooth. Cost is $90 for adults and $30 for keiki ages 5 to 12. For reservations, call Montage Kapalua Bay at 662-6681.

Montage’s Champagne Hale at the Cliff House will return during the holidays with fine champagne and appetizers today through Dec. 31, with exceptions on Christmas Eve and Dec. 29. For Cliff House info, call 662-6600.

Mele Kalikimaka, everyone!