Standing in the parking lot outside of Tin Roof, you’d never guess that the mirrored windows hold some of the island’s best food.
Recently opened by Sheldon Simeon—the chef behind restaurants like Star Noodle and Migrant—this humble hideout in Kahului brings gourmet flare to traditional lunch plates at prices that don’t break $10. Order a bowl of Mochiko chicken and a side of ulu mac salad, and consider taking the food to go since seating is limited inside.
Set in a soulless Kahului strip mall off traffic-packed Dairy Road, the restaurant doesn’t even have a sign to let you know that it’s there. Turns out that they never needed one—the restaurant was already packed out the door on the very first morning it opened. Just look for the large, mirror windows to the left of Payday Loans and right of a shop named U‘i Gallery in the same parking lot as Piñatas.
*Note: Tin Roof has since acquired signage.
Taverna – Urban Drinks, Italian Eats
All the way up in Kapalua, the Filipino flare of Tin Roof is swapped for the Italian ambience of Taverna, a “neighborhood restaurant” with Italian classics beneath the Kapalua pines. Dip your bread in olive oil that’s made right here on Maui, or slurp the savory bounty of the ocean with a succulent seafood salad. Add a selection of craft beers and a menu of wines by the glass, and Taverna is a welcome—and affordable—addition to often high-priced Kapalua.
The Mill House
On Maui’s farm to table front, The Mill House restaurant at the Tropical Plantation is serving up plates of innovative food with items grown here on the farm. Not only is produce spectacularly fresh but is sometimes delivered down from the fields by a drone—rather than a truck—so the chef can call in small batch orders of produce almost on demand. Try the gnocchi with mac nut pesto or lemongrass pork bahn mi, though the menu often changes by the day to ensure the freshest selection.
808 on Main
Also in Wailuku is 808 on Main, an explosively popular panini shop that pumps out artisanal sandwiches—all of which are at modest prices that fit with old school Wailuku. It’s the perfect spot for a casual lunch on the drive to ʻIao Valley, and try the chicken mango chutney, served with Pepperjack on sourdough.
Hana Ranch Provisions
Finally, as if Paʻia wasn’t already packed with a plethora of popular food choices, the scene just got stronger and a little bit fancier with the opening of Hana Ranch Provisions. Using food that’s certified organic and sourced from Hana Ranch, the restaurant pairs it with house-made bread and produce from local farmers. The result is dishes like the endlessly popular ulu and sweet potato gnocchi, and carnivores will crave the Hana Burger, which is topped with a tangle of caramelized onions and a twist of horseradish aioli. Package it up in a brioche bun, and eating grass fed, Hana Ranch beef has never tasted so good.