More than climbing to the top of Haleakala, more than flying over the green cliffs of Molokai in a helicopter, even more than driving the road to Hana, I was looking forward to dining at Mama’s Fish House. On the advice of an acquaintance that had eaten there on her honeymoon, I made the reservation for lunch rather than dinner so we could enjoy the gorgeous view.
Located on the north shore of Maui in the tiny town of Paia, Mama’s is fine dining in a casual beach setting. After taking numerous photos out front, LC and I checked in and were seated near the open windows with a view of the ocean. Decorated with bamboo lampshades and blues that matched the sky, the nautical theme didn’t come across as kitschy but rather reminded me of a vintage tiki bar.
We started with cocktails, champagne for me and a tropical cocktail for LC. Our server introduced himself, then delivered fresh bread and a tantalizing taste of spicy mahi mahi and lemongrass soup from the chef. The menu focuses on fresh, locally caught seafood. In fact, the description for each seafood dish says where it was caught and by whom.
Every dish sounded amazing, from the Tahitian ceviche appetizer to entrees like opakapaka and mahi mahi sauteed in panang curry. But our mutual love of lobster and guacamole made the lobster guacamole a must. Served with housemade chips, the large martini glass was full of chunky guacamole (almost as good as mine!) gently tossed with chunks of steamed, chilled lobster. It was decadent yet light, and a lovely pairing with my champagne.
We also ordered the grilled Maui he’e (octopus) caught by Cliff Chow free-diving near Kuau Cove. Usually somewhat chewy, this octopus was the most tender I have ever had, simply served grilled with sliced avocado.
Seafood entrees range from $38 to $52 (except the $75 Tristan Island lobster tail, from the most remote inhabited island in the world), while the prime tenderloin steak with bordelaise comes in at $58. Don’t forget…this is their lunch menu.
As usual, we decided to split an entree, the mahi mahi caught by Mike Holley along the north shore, stuffed with lobster and crab, baked in a macadamia nut crust. Naturally, it was the most expensive choice, yet seemingly quite popular noting our neighboring tables each ordered one. Or two.
It is hard to impress me with baked fish. But this…this was more than baked fish. Bread crumbs combined with crushed macadamia nuts to form a crunchy crust. Chunks of crab were hidden beneath the filet and a fat piece of lobster garnished the top. A few spears of asparagus made a lovely presentation. The texture and flavor of the fish was simply unparalleled.
Impeccable service, an idyllic setting, and flawless cuisine made our meal at Mama’s Fish House among the most memorable of all time. With an inn located on the property, Mama’s plays host to weddings and honeymooners. Would it be an ideal place to propose? Probably, especially along the secluded stretch of beach in front. It’s the perfect choice for any special occasion!
799 Poho Place 808-579-9248