Rating: *how we rate restaurants
In a nutshell: Quaint cafe; loved by locals; quirky location
Sound-bite: “Homemade ice cream sandwiches?”
Prices and portions are reasonable and the food is satisfying without being heavy. The lunch menu features salads, sandwiches, paninis and specialties like the Hainan style chicken rice bowl. Luca’s Chicken Chop Chop salad is a light option on those hot days and the Philly Cheesesteak will satisfy those with a larger appetite without inducing a food-coma afterwards. Owner Lynn and the team work hard to create fresh and tasty meals and make much of the ingredients from scratch. There is also a selection of drinks, including a creative cocktail list and a quality selection of beer and wine. Coffee and espresso drinks feature Hana Bay Brew coffee.
Cafe Carmen is open for dinner Monday thru Saturday and Happy Hour is from 4-5:30pm, perfect for those finishing up a day in the office or on the course. Brunch is served on Sundays when Cafe Carmen also offers a bloody mary bar. Whatever time of day you visit, make sure to save room for one of those homemade ice cream sandwiches.
The location may be a little unconventional, but the view is all Maui with the greens of Ellair golf course and the blue of the Pacific just outside. Snag a seat outdoors or at the custom-made picnic table for the best vistas. Most likely you’ll be dining alongside Maui residents who work in the surrounding office buildings or have just finished up on the course. Many frequent Cafe Carmen several times a week, which is a good indicator that you’ve found a quality spot. There is a walk up counter for those who want to take their meals back to the desk or off to the beach, or sit at one of the indoor or outdoor tables and let their friendly staff wait on you.
Cafe Carmen is conveniently located in the heart of Kihei but off the well-beaten path, one stoplight from Safeway and just past Ellair Maui Golf Course in the Kihei Tech Park. Turn makai on Lipoa Pkwy and drive up the tree lined street until you see the black mirrored office building on the left. Cafe Carmen is located on the ground floor, accessed through the lobby. A small sign placed outside the main entrance lets you know you’re at the right place. Owner Lynn has taken what could have easily been a simple cafeteria style eatery and created a warm and charming space. There is an eco-friendly eclectic vibe to the decor and a story behind each piece that was collected or created.
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