One of the beauties of vacationing on Maui is that’s it’s immensely restoring for the mind and body.
The lion’s share of residents here find great joy in their surf-and-sun lifestyle and stay fueled up for outdoor fun with the array of culinary delights the island has to offer.
And thanks to Hawaii’s focus on health—it’s consistently ranked the #1 spot in the country for well-being—those culinary delights include a range of vegetarian options.
Whether you’ve been a vegetarian for years or simply feel like going meatless for a meal, here are ten of our favorite venues that serve some delicious vegetarian dishes—and why you should snag a seat at one of their tables:
Nalu’s South Shore Grill, Kihei: Best Kickback Setting
Kihei residents are quick to name Nalu’s as one of the hottest new spots on their super- sunny side of the island.
Nestled into the back corner of Azeka Shopping Center (makai side), this airy eatery blends some of the best elements the Valley Isle has to offer: proximity to the sea, tap-cold island-crafted beers and kombucha, live music from homegrown talents, and warm, outdoor seating. Oh, and a menu brimming with local, seasonal, and meatless ingredients.
With a Hapa-Hawaiian name that means “go with the flow,” Nalu’s achieves just that with a mix of traditional and inventive flavors. Come for breakfast to try their Cornflake Crusted French Toast—grilled Hawaiian sweat bread with spears of golden pineapple, coconut crystals, and lilikoi marmalade. Or, swing by at dinner time for their luscious beet salad. This vegetarian fave pairs fresh greens with perfectly-cured beets, glazed macadamia nuts, and Surfing Goat Dairy cheese.
Best part yet? A portion of the proceeds from this particular salad goes to charity.
Choice Health Bar, Lahaina: Best Place for Superfoods
“Superfoods” is often tossed about with the same awe once reserved for the slow food movement—and yet many are quick to admit that they aren’t quite sure what the moniker means.
In short, superfoods are plant-centric foods that hold a higher nutritional profile than their counterparts (think: kale, quinoa, and chia).
Choice Health Bar gives these superfoods superpowers with an eclectic “improv” menu that changes with the season. No matter the time of year, you’re bound to find something that hits the spot, whether it’s an acai bowl topped with mangos, strawberries, and flax oil, or a kale salad with some serious crunch.
Looking to get revived in more ways than one? Try their Game Changer—a killer combination of cold pressed coffee, mac nut milk, vanilla, and maple. Choice indeed—if not first rate.
The Mill House, Waikapu: Best Seasonal Inventions
Jeff Scheer—the Executive Chef at what is arguably one of the island’s loveliest restaurants—takes the farm to fork concept to a whole new level with a menu that’s inspired by the crops that grow just outside the venue’s talentedly-manned kitchen.
New menus are printed twice a day in accordance with the most robust and delicious produce available, usually culminating in at least a few vegetarian options that range from root vegetables with carrot puree, cheese curd, and lemon to a Chickpea Panisse with corn puree, fennel, and harissa. And save room for dessert: Their Chocolate Profiterole is enhanced with brandy and salted caramel.
Honu, Lahaina: Best Venue for a Romantic Rendezvous
Located on Lahaina’s world famous Front Street, Honu is one of the sultriest spots to watch the sun go down while diving into vegan and vegetarian eats.
Started by the founder of Maui Tacos, Mark Ellman and his wife Judy, Honu gives tropical ingredients multicultural flair, including a vegan butternut squash soup with coconut crème and a Tofu Nicoise Salad with potatoes, green beans, and tarragon-Dijon. Those looking to taste a part of Ellman’s Italian heritage ought to opt for their Ali’i Hamakua Mushroom Pizza, which arrives with black truffle cheese, white truffle oil, and lavender. Brava—or, rather, Honu Hou.
Joy’s Place, Kihei: Best Spot for a Post-Surf Snack
Joy’s Place offers vegans and vegetarians a ton of elation with their carefully curated menu—and in their prime location in South Kihei.
Hungry surfers pau paddling at nearby Cove Park can get their fill on a menu that promotes smart eating. Think: an Indo Crunch Collard Wrap with marinated tempeh and peanut sauce, and a “live” burrito with cashew cheese, cabbage, avo, sprouts, and salsa. Get your order to go and head to the grassy expanse at Kam II—it’ll be a one of a kind meal that’ll leave you feeling fabulous.
Veg Out, Haiku: Best Take Out
Veg Out makes vegging out in your hotel room mighty delightful with its selection of nutritious options.
The Haiku outpost takes its cues from multicultural influences and features vegetarian options that range from a Middle Eastern plate with falafel, hummus, and naan to baked lasagna with roasted eggplant and ricotta. Have keiki in your crew? The children’s menu offers tofu nuggets with basmati rice and cheese quesadillas. Those on a tight schedule—or just eager to luxuriate at their condo or resort—can expedite it all by ordering online.
Maka by Mana, Paia: Best Vegan Fare
Paia is nothing if not a living advertisement for healthy living. Home to Maui’s hippie movement, the newly-gentrified North Shore town is a mecca for wholesome restaurants.
Of those top spots is Maka by Mana, an elegant, vegan fusion spot owned and operated by the geniuses behind the much-beloved Mana Foods. Though their restaurant is no longer running, they offer a walk up dining option immediately to your left when you walk into Mana.
Maka maintains Mana’s commitment to providing patrons with the freshest ingredients available by featuring items that are 99% organic and 100% natural or non-GMO. From this arrived ultra-nourishing surprises, like Portobello Sandwiches with roasted red peppers and tomato cayenne cheese, a peanut butter cup smoothie with katuk, cacao, pecans, and dates, and a Sunflower Quinoa Burger with “nacho cheese” and beans. Their menu has been drastically altered since they moved into Mana, butthey still have some great options. All vegan and gluten-free, this is the go-to spot for those with specific dietary considerations.
Miso Phat Sushi, Kihei and Kahana: Best Sushi
Locals flock to Miso Phat Sushi’s locations on the south and west sides of the island for a reason: Here, fresh ingredients are served in chic environs, with a generous section of their menu dedicated to vegetarian options.
Of those, one can choose a variety of veggies to fill their hand-crafted rolls, whether it’s a kapa roll with fresh cucumber or a veggie maki with asparagus, cucumber, avocado, and inari. Burdock root also finds its place in both hosomaki and their veggie combo plate, while pickled relish tantalizes in their takuwan rolls. Or ask for their Joy Roll without the hamachi—this baby comes with sliced jalapenos, habanero tobiko, and sriracha.
The Preserve Kitchen + Bar, Hana: Best Setting, Period
Heavenly Hana is world famous for its astounding waterfalls, gorgeous hikes, and windy road, but The Preserve Kitchen + Bar at Travaasa Hana, Maui gives guests a glimpse of an entirely different side of Hana.
With a lanai overlooking one of the prettiest slices of shoreline on the island, The Preserve Kitchen + Bar utilizes Maui’s bounty in its bold, beautiful dishes. Vegetarians can start off their meal with a ruby heirloom tomato tart—complete with herbed goat cheese and balsamic—before digging into a Poblanito Invierno, which combines poblano peppers with achiote quinoa, zucchini, roasted veggie salsa, and cilantro-pepita oil. Wash it all down with a glass of vino: their wine list is divine and inspired, much like the island upon which the stunning restaurant is located.
Maui Brick Oven, Kihei: Best Gluten-Free Pizza
While vacationing in Hawaii isn’t exactly synonymous with Italian eats, one has to ask, what’s a holiday without pizza?
Vegetarians (and gluten-free diners) will find their pleasure at Maui Brick Oven on the Valley Isle’s south shore. The bright, tiny space was created by two fantastic chefs with celiac disease (where one must avoid gluten entirely) who now turn to local, organic ingredients to fashion a menu of tasty treats. Get the party started with beer battered mushrooms, onions, or avo, try a caprese with fresh mozzarella, and then indulge in a pie with roasted garlic, artichoke hearts, and sundried tomatoes. Not convinced yet? Three words to consider: caramel apple amaretto.