Photo Courtesy Sonny Abesamis
On your visit to Maui’s north shore, be sure to stop for lunch in Paia. This charming little beach town has a variety of fun shops and restaurants, all within walking distance. In between Baldwin Beach and Hookipa Beach Park, you’ll find the center of town where Hana Highway meets Baldwin Avenue. Take some time to stroll along the storefronts and do a little shopping while you check out all the food choices. There’s something for everyone, from seafood to pizza and burgers to vegan and raw foods. Here are a few ideas for a great lunchtime meal:
Paia Fish Market
100 Baldwin Ave. paiafishmarket.com
If you’re looking for fresh fish, this is the place. Since 1989, Paia Fish Market has been serving up quality seafood, salads and more. The menu is varied and the prices are affordable. Each day the fish offerings are listed at the counter, with choices ranging from ono and mahi to opakapaka and salmon. Lunch plates can be prepared charbroiled, Cajun, or sauteed. The fish and chips is nicely portioned, crispy, and well seasoned. The salads are big and full of fresh veggies, and they can be topped with fish or chicken. The market also has a number of appetizers and even serves burgers and pasta. Beverages include beer and wine.
Milagros Food Company
3 Baldwin Ave. milagrosfoodcompany.com
With indoor seating and an outdoor patio dining area, Milagros is right in the middle of all the Paia town action. Serving gourmet southwest food with local ingredients, this family run restaurant combines Maui flavors with freshly made salsas, beans, guacamole, and tasty entrees. You’ll find fresh fish here too, along with Tex-Mex dishes like quesadillas, chimichangas and fajitas. Organic mixed green salads, homemade Spanish rice, and appetizers like black bean nachos with or without carne asada…what else could you ask for? Oh, and don’t forget to try an agave margarita from the tequila bar.
Charley’s Restaurant & Saloon
142 Hana Hwy. charleysmaui.com
Charley’s is well known as a live music venue for the night life crowd, but it’s also an excellent place to enjoy lunch. They’ve been an anchor of the Paia scene since 1969 and are considered a Maui landmark. The décor is rustic with a country feel, and the menu includes appetizers, entrees, salads, and vegetarian options. They offer a variety of favorites like jalapeno poppers, hot wings, burgers, plate lunches, fish, chicken, and steak. As a saloon, beer and bar beverages can also be ordered. Lunch at Charley’s is a great way to experience Maui’s history and try some local eats.
89 Hana Hwy. flatbreadcompany.com
Flatbread makes delicious wood-fired pizzas using organic ingredients, free-range meats, and locally farmed produce. Their flatbread is cooked in traditional clay ovens with dough made from 100% organic wheat. You can order it with or without sauce, topped with choices like homemade sausage, kiawe smoked free-range pork shoulder, organic Maui basil pesto, and of course lots of veggies. They even have vegan and gluten free options. The salads are fresh, and you can customize with your choice of veggies and meats. The atmosphere is charming, and there’s a bar with beer on tap.
Maka by Mana Raw Food Restaurant
115 Baldwin Ave. makabymana.com
A must try for vegan eaters, Maka by Mana is a raw food restaurant that’s an offshoot of Mana Foods, the popular natural foods grocery store at the center of Paia town. Maka’s menu is a fusion between raw and vegan. They offer unique salads like Twisted Beet with spiraled beets and veggies in an almond herb vinaigrette, and Royal Coconut Slaw with Maui coconut noodles and veggies in a creamy basil vinaigrette. They also serve wraps, sandwiches, chili, and plate lunch. Everything is vegan and many items feature all raw ingredients. The desserts are excellent, from coconut kefir yogurt pies and ice creams to hand-made chocolates. Beverages includes fresh juices, coffee, tea, and an amazing array of super healthy smoothies.
Hana Ranch Provisions
71 Baldwin Avenue. hanaranchprovisions.com
This is a brand new locally sourced restaurant “serving wholesome, delicious ingredient-focused food” with a wide variety of treats and tasty dishes including sandwiches, pastries, juices and salads. They offer house-smoked meats and sausages, a specialty of theirs, and lots of vegetarian options as well.
Photo Courtesy Mark Locchelli
If you’re planning a trip through Paia, consider a lunchtime stop. Along with the favorites described here, you’ll also find a number of cafes and restaurants with everything from Thai food to gelato. This little town has all you need for a perfect Maui day…beaches, ono grinds (yummy foods), and island history. Take some time to explore the north shore and do lunch in the heart of Paia.