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Find the Best Food in Kihei, Maui: 10 Affordable and Locally Recommended Spots

Kihei maui grocery stores
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Things to do in kihei 
Kihei maui dining 
Best restaurants kihei maui 
10 best things to do in Maui

These days, the Island of Maui has experienced a devastating loss. You can hear it in the cracks of voices as locals hold back tears describing the Lahaina fires. They’re hurting and rallying around one another. When our trip to Maui got the green light, it felt morally wrong even though we were assured the Island was encouraging tourists. Safe to say I was nervous about the reactions we might receive upon arrival. However, from the moment we landed, we were greeted with excitement and kindness. Pride oozed from locals as they gushed about the best things to do in Maui. It was as if they were ready to get back to life as usual and show off their beautiful Island. Much of the food in Kihei Maui on this list was suggested by an Uber driver. That ride was like a 2-for-1. He drove us safely to our destination while providing a free local guide. 

One of the 10 best things to do in Maui is eat. Between the poke, pineapple, sushi, and shaved ice we felt full and satisfied throughout our entire stay. While we stayed in Wailea with beautiful high-end restaurants and world-renowned chefs, we frequently ventured off-resort to try some food in Kihei Maui. They may not have been the fanciest spots with beachside views, but we never regretted these unique and authentic Hawaiian dining experiences. 

Headed to the Big Island on your trip to Hawaii? Check out my itinerary to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park too!

What is the Best Month to Go to Maui? 

The best months to visit Maui are in the spring and fall. So, that’s April-May and September-November. These are considered the “slow months” which means both demand and prices are lower. The busiest months in Maui are June and July. I know what you’re thinking… visiting in the spring and fall must mean that the weather stinks. However, we visited in October and had 5 days of gorgeous sun and perfect heat. 

Is Maui Hawaii Expensive? 

In our experience, it seemed to depend on what part of the Island you stayed whether or not things were expensive. In Kihei, prices seemed as expected for a tourist destination, so no surprises there. Activities like renting bikes or snorkel gear in Kihei cost no more than $20/day and most of the food was reasonable.

However, as I mentioned, we stayed in a resort area of Maui in which we had no business being. My partner works for a travel agency that treated its employees to this trip with points and networking. Wailea features several 5-star resorts like the Four Seasons Maui along a stretch of gorgeous beaches. In Wailea, things are expensive. If the stretch of 5-star resorts isn’t enough to convince you, then The Shops at Wailea are the perfect accent featuring brands like Gucci and Louis Vuitton. If you stay at the resorts, anything on the property comes at a high cost. We of course indulged in the convenience from time to time, but resort prices add up. 

I’d say there is a modest way to do Maui. Of course, getting to Maui on a budget and limited PTO may prove difficult. To make Maui more affordable, we used credit card points to book our flights. Once we were there, we spent most of our money on food in Kihei at more reasonable prices rather than at the restaurants in Wailea. Depending on where you’re coming from, take the time change into account throughout your travel. You may spend 2 days of travel on each leg of the trip. But hey, this is what we save PTO for right?

How do I spend a day in Kihei?

One of my favorite days in Maui was spent in Kihei. We rented bikes and snorkel gear from Auntie Snorkel and rode along the busy streets. One side is lined with shops and restaurants and the other shows off gorgeous beaches. You can shop and haggle for souvenirs at Kihei Kalama Village then head to Foodland, a grocery store in Kihei for some locally recommended poké bowls. Have a poké picnic at Kamaole Beach Park II. After your picnic, walk into the water and go snorkeling right off the shores of the beach. The best time to snorkel is in the morning as the waters are calmer and things are more visible, but this can be your test run. This is where we first swam with sea turtles! Hang on the beach as long as you’d like and then choose any recommendations for food in Kihei Maui from my list of the best restaurants in Kihei for dinner. 

Best Breakfast Food in Kihei, Maui

Kihei Caffe 

If you’re like me, then a diner is your absolute favorite place for breakfast. There are big menus with small prices, big portions, and constant coffee flowing into ceramic diner mugs. Go to Kihei Caffe to experience all of of this, Hawaiian style. The banana macadamia nut pancakes come highly recommended by our local tour guide (uber driver). Kihei Caffe is conveniently located just across the street from several beach parks, so head here before your relaxing beach day. 

The Cinnamon Roll Place

Not another viral cinnamon roll…I know I know, but I promise this one is actually worth it. I can confidently say it’s the best Cinnamon Roll I’ve ever had. Contrary to Kihei Caffe’s large menu, The Cinnamon Roll Place has no frills. As demonstrated by the flowery name. Anyway, get in line sooner rather than later because these cinnamon rolls sell out. To accompany your cinnamon roll, get a classic Hawaiian combo, the spam and egg breakfast sandwich. As a final tip, know your order when you’re up they’re busy and have no time for your dilly-dallying nonsense. 

Akamai Coffee Co. 

It’s difficult to have a bad cup of coffee in Hawaii, but Akamai tops them all. Offering 100% Maui coffee ensures that you’re getting the most authentic Maui coffee experience. There are several locations throughout the Island. I kept it simple with a black cup of coffee and was not disappointed. I went here strictly for coffee but was surprised by their sophisticated breakfast menu and ordered the lox toast. It was a delicious surprise to pair with my perfect cup of coffee.

Best Lunch Food in Kihei, Maui

Foodland Grocery Store Poké Bowls

Another grand recommendation from our Uber driver/tour guide. And I quote “The best poké on the Island”. It was absolutely delicious and made for the perfect afternoon picnic in the park. Walk in and go to the back right corner where you’ll find several variations of prepared poké. We got some wonton chips too because we are dippers. Anyway, poké is a Hawaiian specialty so you have to eat it while you’re there. Foodland is a perfectly authentic way to do that.

Coconut’s Fish Cafe

Coconuts has several locations in Kihei. It’s a fast-casual joint that saved us from starvation after spending a day in the mountains. Hawaiian comfort food done right. We recommend their two most famous dishes, the fish tacos, and fish and chips.

Maui Brewing Company

Maui Brewing Company is Hawaii’s largest craft brewery. The Kihei restaurant and taproom provide the ideal brewery experience that you’re looking for. There is giant outdoor garden seating, live music every night, and over 30 variations of craft beer to enjoy. The food has a Hawaiin twist on brewery mainstays. Definitely a delicious and Island aesthetic way to spend your afternoon.

Da Kine Shave Ice

Okay so technically not “lunch”, but Hawaiin shaved ice is an essential experience on the islands. Not to mention, it’s a great afternoon cool down after the beach. I’ve never been one for snow cones or slushies, so I was skeptical of the hype. I was proven wrong by the first bite. Hawaiian shaved ice is barely comparable to slushies. The perfect balance of sugar with an ice cream surprise on the bottom. So delicious and a pleasant surprise.

Best Dinner Food in Kihei, Maui

Monkeypod

Okay, so technically…Monkeypod Kitchen is in Wailea. However, the two towns are often synonymous and referred to as Kihei-Wailea so I decided it makes the cut. Anyway, Monkeypod is known for its delicious hand-crafted cocktails and classicly trained chef who focuses on cultivating a menu inspired by local Hawaiian ingredients. Unfortunately, we didn’t snag a reservation (definitely recommend!)  so we ended up indulging in the cocktails and were not disappointed. Everything feels very authentically Hawaiian. It seems to be worth the price, but happy hour is every day from 3:30-5 p.m. if you’re looking to save! 

Miso Phat Sushi

Miso Phat was by far the most recommended food in Kihei. It’s an award-winning sushi bar that was featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. That fact alone was enough to convince me, but if you need more, the fish is freshly plucked out of the ocean every day. It’s also a family-owned business making the service top-notch and friendly. While dining in is lovely, this is also a nice takeout option when you’re feeling tired from your travels. 

Three’s Bar and Grill  

Another “Triple D” feature, Three’s has some of the best food in Kihei along with an incredible happy hour every day from 3-6 p.m. Started by three surfing bros with culinary training, the bar combines the chef’s three cuisines: Hawaiian, Pacific Rim, and Southwestern. Three’s is also located in what locals call “The Triangle”…or the “Barmuda” Triangle. So, grab dinner then hit any number of local bars for late-night karaoke or just one more cocktail to cap off the night. Check out this guide to “The Triangle” to find all the best nightlife in Maui. 

As you can see, one of the best things to do in Kihei is simply eat. My favorite thing about dining in Kihei Maui was the affordable prices and casual Island atmosphere. Not to mention, the Maui locals are so welcoming and kind that you can’t help but relax as you experience their Island culture and lifestyle. So, do yourself a favor and visit Kihei, Maui for some incredible foodie triumphs…and the Mai Tai’s of course.

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