Updated June 27, 2020.
It’s What I Ate Wednesday! Steve and I rounded out our trip to Maui with a meal at the highly-recommended Mama’s Fish House on Maui. Our flight home was scheduled to leave at 10:20pm, so we needed something special to fill up that last evening and really take advantage of having a late flight. So a fine dining experience on the beach sounded like a great idea! Here’s the low-down on the experience, what we ate, and whether or not we’d recommend it to friends.
Know Before You Go
- You will want a reservation. I called to get our reservations two months in advance, and I’m glad I did! This is a very popular dinner destination–near the airport, at the beginning of the Road to Hana, on the beach, fine dining–so it fills up quickly.
- There is a dress code. It’s not a terrible dress code–they are a beach-side restaurant after all! They just ask that women not show any bathing suit straps and men not wear tank tops. Easy enough. It is a fine dining establishment, so just try to look like you knew that before you got dressed.
- Complimentary valet parking is included. Because the restaurant is so popular and their parking lot is small, they provide valet service free of charge. Just remember to tip!
- You can visit the beach without visiting the restaurant or inn. All beaches on the Hawaiian islands are public beaches. You can park along the road or in the designated spots in the parking lot to access the beach.
- Your special occasion will be recognized. I didn’t know this before we went, but I suspected it. When I called for our reservation, they asked if we were celebrating a special occasion, so I told them we would be celebrating our anniversary! There was a card on the table for us when we were seated, and the manager came over to wish us a happy anniversary and bring a lei for Steve to put on me with a kiss on the cheek, as is the Hawaiian custom!
Mama’s Fish House is a seaside restaurant and inn, they have some stunning views! There are plenty of photo opportunities, so plan to get there a little while before your reservation time, and get some sweet pictures by the sea.
It’s also right at the beginning of the famous Road to Hana, but if you plan to end your road trip here with a nice meal, reconsider if you plan on doing some hiking on your trip. The aforementioned dress code does not include sweat and mud, which you will inevitably encounter along the way! Feel free to stop by and take a look at the beautiful beach and even get your photo with the boat out front, but reserve for a different day!
It’s relatively close to the airport, so if you’re like us and you’re hoping to fill up your last evening on the island with something special, this is a great choice!
Service here is top-notch. Our server was Crystal, and she was attentive but not hovering. She answered all our questions, wished us a happy anniversary, and she was kind! Everyone who had a hand in serving us had a smile on their face and offered to tell us what everything was and how it was prepared. The chef was even sensitive to my very weird carrot juice allergy. I’m find to eat carrots, but he made sure to leave them off my plate and even separated the slaw (which included carrots) from our shrimp appetizer, just in case.
Now let’s get down to it–the food! We really went all out–drinks, appetizers, entrees, and dessert–because we really don’t go out to eat all that often. Even when we travel, we usually prefer to get take-out and eat back in our room or on our balcony if we have a nice view, so this really was a very special occasion for us!
We usually stick with water (and Steve occasionally likes a Coke Zero), but this was special, so Steve got a fun drink, and I got one off the kids menu–I would be driving later, plus I hate alcohol!
While just about everything sounded amazing, and our server suggested the Crispy Mahi Mahi Rolls (like a spring roll), we opted for the Kauai Shrimp Won Tons with Macadamia Nut Dipping sauce! Those were some of the biggest shrimp I’ve ever had. Before that came out, however, we were delighted to sample some gifts from the chef!
So… we were already satisfied by the time our meal arrived, but we suffered through anyway! Steve got their signature dish: Mama’s Stuffed Fish, filled with lobster and crab, encrusted with macadamia nuts, and topped with asparagus with a side of potatoes.
I, on the other hand, had to try out their Traditional Hawaiian meal! From left to right and starting at the top, I had: octopus luau (in a green sauce, possibly curry, and it was the best thing I think I had all night!), tuna poke (cubed tuna sashimi in soy sauce, house-made poi, and tomato and onion salad. On the bottom: purple sweet potatoes (first time I’ve had them since I lived in Japan 12 years ago, and I can’t believe I had forgotten how yummy they are!), grilled fish (mahi mahi, I think), the tenderest wild boar cooked in a ti leaf, and another grilled fish (opakapaka, I think!).
I couldn’t finish it all. That might be the first time that’s happened! It was an absolutely incredible dish.
By golly, I was going to order a dessert even if it meant I might pop! How could I get anything other than the Polynesial Black Pearl with liliko’i (passion fruit) and chocolate mousse in a pastry shell? It was stunning from every angle!
And as if that wasn’t enough, they brought out warm, scented towels and coconut haupia treats with the check.
I don’t usually mention the prices of meals or the things we do because prices can really vary quite a bit, and there are always ways to find a deal or save a little and still have an incredible experience. However, I will let you know that this meal cost just under $200 after taxes, but before the tip, for the two of us. Like I said before, we are usually happy with grocery store food and take-out, even when we travel, but for a very special occasion like this, we were prepared to splurge. If you want to make Mama’s Fish House a part of your trip, go for it! Just save up if you need to and be prepared!
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