Thursday, June 16, 2016

Travel: Dining in Maui at Mama's Fish House

Travelling and eating the local best

Sometimes you eat a meal and the memory of it just stays with you. This was one of those amazing experiences. To date, my meal at Mama's Fish House in Paia was one of the most unforgettable ones of my life. The reasons are many.

Visiting Maui

This was my first meal upon arriving in Maui. I had arranged a reservation ahead of time for the day that we arrived, as the restaurant is closer to the airport than it was to where we were staying.

 If you are visiting Maui for the first time, I'd highly recommend renting a car in order to get around the island and planning a stop as soon as you get off the plane. This, of course is dependent on what time of day you land, but I love to do this as it gets your vacay off to a great start. If you plan your route well, it's also a huge time saver.

Mama's Fish House

My first stop after getting off the plane was definitely a special one.

I had read a lot about Mama's Fish House and really wanted to try it out for myself. This restaurant has such a cute story which really pulled me in.

In 1960, A California couple,  Floyd and Doris Christenson bought a boat and set sail to explore the South Pacific. Hawaii had just become a state and they were eager to explore. Sailing to and staying in French Polynesia and Tahiti allowed them to soak up the unique culture. Many adventures, fresh caught fish and sunsets later they heard that Maui was set to become a tourist destination and decided to open their dream restaurant there- Mama's Fish House.

Soon it developed into an inn and an acclaimed restaurant - the fish sourced from local fishermen and served within 24 hours. There's nothing frozen here - except perhaps their icy cocktails. 

The Menu

This is the type of restaurant you go to when you are in the mood for a leisurely meal. I savoured the entire experience and for me- this was the perfect way to get a sense of the island lifestyle.

We were seated in front of the large open windows and our table looked out the stunning view of the beach and coconut trees.

Everything felt laid back but beautiful and I loved the tropical touches on the table decor and the wicker light fixtures. The island's vibe is captured so perfectly in the decor and ambience here - it's upscale but relaxed and I completely loved it.

The staff knew their menu like the back of their hand and we were treated to a feast for all of our senses.

We started off with some cocktails...

Classic Hawaiian drink- Mai Tai

Pau Hana- Lime, Guava & Bombay Gin scented with ginger

Then we tried the most amazing tropical ceviche. It was literally the best ceviche I've ever had in my life. Made with - fresh opakapaka fish, hawaiian chili pepper, maui onions, micro greens, mango, kaffir lime leaves and lime. 

It was served with Molokai sweet potato chips which were also delicious. I love eating local and seasonal at home and when I travel- and this was the perfect place to do it.

Wasabi Crusted Calamari

Some delicious fresh salsas (even mango!) and sauces to accompany our meal

Here's our main - we were stuffed so we shared one. Mahi Mahi, A'u ku and Ahi in a Panang- coconut milk Curry- it was insanely delicious!

Everything was so delicious, we couldn't pass up on dessert. It was their Liliko'i Creme Brulee and was topped with some brunoise pineapple - call me crazy but I think the delicate cut made it even more enjoyable.

After all that, I'm sure you can imagine, we desperately needed an espresso!

Two full hours later we floated out of the restaurant on something of a food high and took some time to relax on the beach. I can honestly say this was one of the most memorable meals of my entire life and I will definitely be back to dine here again.

While the price tag was on the high side - close to $200 USD for a lunch for two - for me experiencing local food is a huge part of travelling so I'd still recommend it as a special meal and memorable experience.

If you decide to stop by...

I'd recommend choosing to dine at lunch so you can enjoy the view and making a reservation is a must.

If you can't eat or stay here - I'd still recommend stopping by for the spectacular view and photo opportunities.

The Christenson family welcomes visitors to enjoy their little slice of paradise, complete with a private beach and coconut grove - it's the perfect place to listen to a little Elvis and really soak up the feeling of old world Hawaii.


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