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South Maui Eats – Monkeypod Kitchen and Sushi Paradise

This post is part of our 5th Anniversary Trip to Maui.

While staying at the Andaz Wailea we went out for dinner every night. Here are two very different places that we really enjoyed in South Maui.

Merriman’s Monkeypod Kitchen

We’ve been to Merrman’s other restaurants on Maui, including his namesake Merriman’s in Kapalua, as well as Hula Grill in Kaanapali. We enjoyed both of them very much so we definitely had to try his new, casual eater, Monkeypod Kitchen located at the Gateway shops in Wailea. It’s really just a small shopping complex but Monkeypod Kitchen is a big draw. The place was hopping when we went! Lots of people eating or having drinks and watching sports at the bar. It had a very lively, fun atmosphere. We made reservations via Opentable.com and waited about 10 minutes for our table. Here are a few pics I snapped inside the restaurant.

The menu has lots of options and they had a few specials that day. I ordered a Merriman’s Mai Tai as well as the lobster pizza which is something different for me. I don’t know why but I rarely order pizza outside of a bona fide pizza place but it sounded interesting and I was feeling adventurous. Steve went with a special of the day, and Upcountry plate with Maui cattle ribeye, ulu mashed potatoes, and greens. We shared an local arugula salad with blue cheese and asian pear.

Arugula salad which they were kind enough to split for us

The lobster pizza. It had a white sauce topped with truffle oil. It was surprisingly pretty good.

Steve’s ribeye which had a lot going on but it all meshed well – everything was tasty and well prepared!

Overall, we enjoyed Monkeypod Kitchen for a fun meal with lively atmosphere. Service was great! I would go here with groups too – lots of families. It’s not really a romantic restaurant, but if you want a few (good) drinks and some snacks, they have a great happy hour too!

Monkeypod Kitchen 10 Wailea Ike Dr #201, Kihei, HI 96753   Phone:(808) 891-2322

Oh and if you save your receipt from your meal, you get 10% off most of the stores in the complex! I guess no one really knows about this because even our sever was surprised when we asked if that was true! Steve had seen a sign on the way up, so she went to verify and apparently it does exist! So, I managed to get this amazing canvas beach bag from chic women’s boutique Otaheite Hawaii which is located downstairs from Merrimans. The clever print involves whale tails! It’s large and has multiple pockets so its become the most useful bag…I know, I said I don’t love to pack canvas bags because they ARE bulky but I just loved this one so much.

The most adorable beach bag

Sushi Paradise

Sushi Paradise is located in an unassuming strip mall in Kihei. From the outside it looks like a shabby little take-out sushi spot stuck in the 80s. An laserdisc player was blasting karaoke classics by Barbara Streisand and Barry Manilow…the furniture looks like it hasn’t changed in decades, but what it lacks in ambiance it makes up for in some of the best and freshest sushi on Maui.

Sushi Paradise. Pic from Mauitime.com

Reservations are a must here, but we were able to secure 6pm reservations on the same day, although probably calling a few days earlier during busy season wouldn’t hurt. Even though the place was barely full, they only serve a certain number of patrons a day. There were numerous parties being turned away because they did not have a reservation.

The place is run by a sushi chef and his wife, she is the front of house and server and he prepares all the sushi. Most people were sitting around the sushi bar but we sat at a table. Even though we got there at 6pm, the wait for our food was going to be long and she let us know ahead of time. We ordered the sushi and sashimi set, and the seafood dynamite. We also got some edamame on the house because we were waiting patiently for our food.

Seafood dynamite…basically a baked seafood gratin

It was creamy, cheesy and yummy. We got it spicy so it was topped with spicy mayo too.

As part of our sushi/sashimi combo, it also included a small appetizer of prepared clams and octopus in a cold vinaigrette, as well as chawanmushi, which is basically a soft baked silky egg custard.

Our seafood “salad” appetizer with seaweed, octopus and I think clam in a cold vinaigrette

The piping hot savory and silky chawanmushi

Then came the sashimi – super clean, amazing fresh fish.

And finally our sushi platter. Check out the chunks of tuna on the spicy tuna roll.

 

Check out the size of the shimp! It was practically a langoustine

The sushi was amazing. It was cut with precision technique and super fresh. The sushi chef sure knows his fish. I also ordered the uni and ikura sushi as well (not pictured). I love my sea urchin and fish eggs!

Dinner was extremely reasonable for such great sushi – we paid less than 100 for our meal including a beer. How amazing is that for fish that is just as food if not fresher than what is served at the best omakase restaurants in America? Go here for the food and not for the ambiance. We’ll surely be returning!

Sushi Paradise, 1215 S Kihei Rd #1, Kihei, HI 96753     Phone:(808) 879-3751

To read more about Maui eats including more places we went on this trip, read my series on Cheap Eats Maui: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Also read more about our 5th Anniversary Trip to Maui!

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