Everyone wants to score a first-rate deal on the road. But deals can be difficult to come by in a tourist zone — especially one like Maui, where the cost of dining can be as breathtaking as the landscape. – So we went to the people who know Maui best — its residents — and asked them for suggestions on how to eat well here on a budget.
CJ’S DELI & DINER – Price: $7.95 to $9.95
PAIA FISH MARKET – Price: $8.50 to $17.95
Scoping it out: This is a popular place in a popular town. Paia, a one-time sugar plantation town turned New Age settlement, is one of the last stops on the North Shore road to Hana, so things can get hectic, especially on weekends. Seafood, of course, is the specialty at Paia Fish Market. Order at a counter; you have your choice of various seafoods prepared as a steak, in a sandwich or a taco, and you can have it fried, charbroiled, sautéed in butter with garlic and lemon, or blackened Cajun-style. We loved. . . the ahi and the mahi-mahi. We didn’t love. . . waiting in line and jockeying for a table.
Scoping it out: Baja-style tacos go Hawaiian here. Jawz is a strip-mall cafe in Kihei (also operating two taco trucks at Big Beach daily) that will help satisfy your need for a Mexican beer, chips and a good jolt of salsa. Diners order fast-food-style at a counter, but the dining room has an appealing tropical ambience, with floral tablecloths, beach murals and plants. The salsa bay is one of the most interesting we’ve seen, with roasted jalapeño, serrano, habanero, corn and chipotle salsas. We loved. . . the enchilada pie and the many varieties of salsa. We didn’t love . . . the mounds of salad and paucity of protein on the tacos.