The 3 ‘M’s: Our most memorable meals in Hawaii

When we weren’t on the road in Hawai’i (as A likes to remind me, we  he drove a total of 1900 km across 3 islands) or gawking at the stop-in-your-tracks vistas or watching television shows (Mahabharat #greatnewtake and Bigg Boss Season 7 #justdontask) while curled up in our hotel room, we were busy stuffing our faces with some incredible food while sipping on many, many, many Mai Tais.

Here then, are my 3 favourite restaurants from the trip. BTW, it is totally co-incidental that they all happen to be named with M, leading to the lovely pun-intended alliteration in the title of the post (don’t tell me you didn’t notice!).

#1. Merriman’s, Waimea, Big Island

MerrimansWhen Jacqueline at the Waipio Wayside Inn suggested this restaurant for dinner, we sure weren’t expecting to be blown away. Apparently Wiamea is the restaurant capital of the Big Island, and I had completely missed the page in my Lonely Planet guide identifying Merriman’s as its shining star.

The place had us charmed right from the moment we entered – with their cosy ambiance and impeccable service. And then we got the food! Suffice to say that we soon started planning a change in the next day’s itinerary, just to be able to come back for lunch. We tried the Mixed Plate with three signature dishes (my Libran hubby couldn’t decide on what he wanted) and the “Day Boat” catch of the day. Everything was spectacular, but if you could have only ONE dish, let that be the Wok Charred Ahi – seared on the outside, sashimi on the inside. It is chef Merriman’s original creation and what a creation it is!

# 2.    Morimoto Maui, Wailea, Maui

Morimoto Maui

Upon discovering that the Andaz, where we were staying, was home to the just-opened Morimoto Maui by Chef Masaharu Morimoto (of Iron Chef and Wasabi fame), a dinner there was a foregone conclusion.

The Tajima wagyu beef steak was good, as expected. The bone marrow appetizer was absolutely scrumptious. But what really kept us talking about this place long after our trip, was the garam masla lobster. A simple dish with an unexpected juxtaposition of ingredients that worked really well. Great service in an okay ambience (unless you sit on an outside table and arrive early to catch the beautiful sunset), and finally a bill that was extremely reasonable for a celebrity-chef restaurant. Sadly, these iphone pics do no justice to the meal.

# 3. Mama’s Fish House, Paia, Maui

Mamas Fish House

We passed a sign for this restaurant on our way to and back from Hana, and it caught our attention each time. Then we heard from someone that it was highly recommended for seafood, and we decided to round up our excursion to the Haleakala Crater, with a meal there. The humble name did nothing to prepare us for the sheer size and popularity of this place. It was HUGE, yet fully packed! The beach-side location was spectacular and I’d reckon it would have been a great place for lunch and sunset cocktails too.

The three fish sashimi appetizer was not up our alley, but the lobster soup was excellent – full of flavorful chunks of lobster. The opakapaka with mushrooms, garlic bitter, white wine and capers was right on the mark and ono, mahimahi and ahi in panang curry was delicious. Be warned though– the place is not cheap.

And as I conclude this, let me also confess to you that while in Kauai, for three consecutive nights we ate Chinese takeout from a little joint in Princeville called Lotus Garden, because we were so into the Mahabharat and Bigg Boss 7  their garlic salt and pepper prawns were so good.

Yes, our ‘tastes’ are refined like that 😉

So tell me, what have been some of your most memorable meals and recommended restaurants in Hawai’i?