Rating: *how we rate restaurants
In a nutshell: Oceanfront dining with a casual attitude
Minuses: Compact dining area, acoustics won’t drown out noisy neighbors
Sound-bite: “Practice Aloha”
Honu, owned by long time Maui restaurateurs Mark and Judy Ellman, is the decidedly more casual sister restaurant of neighboring Mala Ocean Tavern. Boasting the same ‘can’t get any closer to the sea’ location, Honu sits on the rocky shore in Lahaina beyond the jam-packed blocks of Lahaina Town and just past the the Old Lahaina Luau grounds. Like most places in Lahaina, parking can be a challenge so give yourself a few extra minutes to find a spot. Honu is set in a quaint building with a simple exterior, and inside ocean and sunset views are available from every seat in the house. Tables are placed with just space for servers to slide through, but the expanse of Pacific mere steps beyond the back deck help to keep the dining room feeling open. Proximity of adjacent diners and the room’s acoustics mean that it can lean towards the noisy side, something to keep in mind if you’re seeking a quiet, romantic experience. Request an ocean front table to minimize distracting neighbors and for an unobstructed view.
Honu offers the spectacular setting that makes Maui a world favorite for dining, friendly and efficient service and quality and inventiveness of the food that one would expect at an Ellman establishment. The menu at Honu is a slight departure from the usual fair found in Lahaina, with an emphasis on fresh, natural and local ingredients. Seafood abounds, as well as brick oven baked pizzas, plus a complete gluten-free menu (including the pizza) and some vegan options.
Starter portions are just enough to wet the appetite. The Ahi Bruschetta is a must try- the half portion comes with two pieces of toast (flax seed or gluten-free) topped with seasoned and seared rare Ahi, edamame puree, Olowalu tomatoes and a drizzle of 20 year old Balsamic. The combination is dreamy, and may just bring silence to the table as you savor this fresh spin on bruschetta.
Honu features many other starters fresh from the sea, from Oysters on the Half Shell to Grilled Spanish Octopus, which are sure to please pescetarians and omnivores alike. There are also several salad options such as kale with pomegranate, dates, walnuts and pecorino with a preserved lemon vinaigrette, or the Gado Gado with quinoa, tofu, green bean, tomato and a coco peanut sauce. The Butternut Squash Coconut soup is a vegan option available at lunch and dinner.
The lunch menu features sandwiches like the Fried Pacific Oyster or Dungeness Crab served on a portuguese flax chia seed sweet bread, or a grilled fish, Kobe beef or Lentil Quinoa burger on a house made brioche flax chia seed bun. Entrees are available at lunch and dinner, including the Crab Mac and Cheese and Bikini Blond Fish and Chips, and several seafood options including fresh fish. The pizzas are large enough to satisfy a hearty appetite or share with your companion.
Honu also offers a Keiki (Children) menu with enough options to satisfy most little ones. Dessert is also available, The Root Beer Float is a step up from the classic recipe, with Maui Brewing Root Beer, vanilla mac nut ice cream, french chocolate, whipped cream, nutmeg and caramel. Honu offers a full bar including a nice wine list and local brews on tap.
The atmosphere of Honu Seafood and Pizza lends itself nicely to a more casual take on refined oceanfront dining and is an excellent choice for those seeking to step out of the hustle and bustle of Front Street, enjoy a unique location, a great meal without a ton of fuss and still get that magical Maui sunset view.
Other Reviews: *ordered by accuracy
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