As usual, Maui chefs are busy playing Cupid, aiming to please lovers on the most romantic holiday of the year. Here are some tips on where to take your honey out for a Valentine's dinner Monday on the island.
If you are looking for amore, there's no better place than Capische? at Hotel Wailea. That's because it was recently voted one of the 50 "Most Romantic Restaurants of 2011" in the U.S. by Open Table diners.
Lead hostess Amy Tansman and Chef-owner Brian Etheredge are celebrating Capische? being voted one of the top 50 “Most Romantic Restaurants of 2011” in the United States by Open Table.
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
"Guests tell me all the time what a romantic and wonderful dinner they enjoyed at Capische?," says Markus Schale, general manager of Hotel Wailea.
"The food is number one and the ambiance, unbelievable. Dining at one of their garden tables under the stars, or in the restaurant with picture perfect sunset and panoramic ocean views visible from every table, creates beautiful memories that last a lifetime."
A five-course Valentine's Day repast will cost $125 per person, and Chef-owner Brian Etheredge says, "Everything on that menu is sexy," from the lobster salad to the dessert for two. Call 879-2224.
The highly anticipated signature event at Maui Ocean Center in Maalaea is "Sea of Love." For $99 per person, plus tax and tip, it includes a welcome glass of sparkling wine, lei for the ladies, and semiprivate seating against the backdrop of the Living Reef exhibits or in the oceanview Seascape Maalaea Restaurant, and a four-course feast by Chef Henry Tariga. Seatings are from 6 to 8 p.m.
Share the lover's platter, indulge in Cupid's salad, then choose from five entrees, such as crab-stuffed opakapaka in champagne cream sauce or wild-mushroom ravioli drizzled with truffle oil. Chocolate decadence dessert is served with coffee or tea. Call 270-7088.
Mala Wailea will get you in the mood for flirtation with its sunset views from its oceanfront perch, lobby level of Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa. Seatings run from 5 to 10 p.m. in the lounge and from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. in the main dining room.
The four-course Valentine's Day tasting menu costs $55 per person and includes flatbread salad with hummus, Maui onions and organic greens with olive vinaigrette, and grilled spiny lobster with kabocha pumpkin puree. The entree is seared Kurobuta pork loin with applewood-smoked bacon, brussels sprouts and glazed carrots with balsamic drizzle. Top it off with dessert of raspberry mascarpone mousse cake with berry coulis. This will be served in addition to Mala's regular menu. Call 875-9394.
The landmark Buzz's Wharf in Maalaea will make it easy to serenade your mate with ocean and harbor views as well as a three-course meal for $65 per person.
Seafood lovers will adore appetizers from fresh big-eye ahi sashimi to coconut-fried oysters. The entrees include Black Angus beef short rib with kalbi demi-glace and sweet prawns Tahitian with garlic-mashed potatoes and stir-fried vegetables; or fresh Hawaiian fish topped with blue crab meat in a champagne beurre blanc sauce with steamed rice and stir-fried vegetables. For dessert, choose from Ono Gelato with seasonal fruits to chocolate-truffle cake. Call Buzz's at 244-5426.
Situated oceanfront on Keawakapu Beach in Kihei, Five Palms Beach Grill will get you snuggling with your sugar pie over the sunset views. Fall in love with the the chef's four-course tasting menu with wine pairings. Seatings are from 5 to 9:30 p.m., and there will also be limited a la carte selections. Call 879-2607.
Rendezvous at Stella Blues Cafe in Kihei and let Maui's own songbird Gail Swanson entertain you. Seatings are at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. and there is no cover and no set menu. Entree specials include prime rib with fresh herb jus, chive mashed potatoes and asparagus ($32); and grilled island shrimp topped with tropical fruit salsa with coconut rice and wilted spinach ($30). The dessert special is white-chocolate cheesecake topped with chocolate-dipped strawberry and freshly whipped cream.
Can't do date night Monday? Stellas will present dinner shows Friday and Sunday. Call 874-3779.
Lovebirds may hop aboard Pacific Whale Foundation's two-hour Valentine's Day dinner cruises, departing at 5 and 5:30 p.m. from Lahaina Harbor.
Both cruises include guaranteed outdoor seating for every passenger, three-course meal prepared by the onboard chef, cocktails and live music. Entree choices are Maui Cattle Co. top sirloin steak with local mushroom jus; boneless teriyaki chicken breast with pineapple and grilled onions; mahimahi in garlic-cream sauce; and sesame-cilantro tofu with mango sauce. Each ticket includes three alcoholic drinks, plus unlimited sodas and water. Cost is $84.95 for adults. Call PWF at 249-8811.
Want to start a new tradition for Valentine's Day? The Melting Pot in Lahaina will offer a four-course special from Saturday through Tuesday in addition to its regular menu. Cost is $65 per person or $130 per couple. The price goes down further with groups of four or more.
Melt her heart as you both begin with a choice of cheese fondue as well as a choice of strawberry-almond spinach salad or signature Caesar.
For the entree, dip bites of cold-water lobster, filet mignon, wasabi shrimp, teriyaki steak, citrus marinated pork, chicken pot stickers and fresh vegetables into signature sauces. Desert is chocolate fondue. Choose from a host of drink specials. Call 661-6181.
Prefer to snuggle up at home? Maui Prime Fine Foods will present a Valentine's special of a bottle of Nicolas Feuillatte champagne paired with one ounce of Osetra caviar for $99.95.
Or Maui Prime customers may opt for steak and lobster for two, bottle of Conn Creek 2006 limited release cabernet sauvignon and chocolate for $75. You cook the entrees, of course. Call 661-4912.
Looking for something seductive to give to your coffee- loving beau? MauiGrown Coffee Company Store next to the historic smokestack in Lahaina is selling its French Kiss 100-percent Maui coffee and it's an alluring dark roast. The store is open from 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday and you may ship to the Mainland. Call 661-2728 or order online at www.mauigrowncoffee.com.
Ruth's Chris Steak House will turn up the heat with its full a la carte menu as well as a tantalizing selection of chef's specials Friday through Monday, which is Valentine's Day. Then it will open at 4 p.m. and diners will receive a special gift. This offer is being featured at the Lahaina Center and you may call 661-8815. Those in South Maui may call the Shops at Wailea location at 874-8880.
Celebrate with your loved ones Sunday at the Ka'anapali Beach Hotel's annual Valentine's brunch. Presented from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., it will feature Richard Hoopi'i and George Kahumoku, free-flowing champagne and a lavish buffet with more than 70 items. Cost is $36.95 for adults and $20 for children 6 to 12.
In addition, Ka'anapali Beach Hotel will pull out all the stops for Valetine's Day on Monday from 6 to 9 p.m. in its open-air Tiki Terrace. It includes a special four-course menu along with a hula show and dancing under the stars. Ladies will receive a red rose. Appetizers are bruschetta, smoked pork medallions or seared scallops. Garden salad follows. Main entrees are tofu curry, kalua lamb chops, roasted prime rib and stuffed island snapper. Banana-caramel eruption tops it off. Cost is $49.95. For reservations at KBH events, call 667-0124.
Heartthrobs will gather at Cafe O'Lei at the Dunes in Kahului from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Valentine's Day to listen to love songs by Reiko Fukino and a special prix-fixe meal.
Make a toast with sparkling wine with raspberries, and follow it with seafood bisque, crab cake salad, prime rib of beef with au jus, jumbo garlic shrimp, truffled mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables. The dessert is chocolate banana-cream pie with caramel and chocolate sauces and rich cream. Cost is $38 per person, plus tax and tip. (The regular menu will not be available.) Call 877-0073.
Its sister restaurant, Cafe O'Lei Kihei, will be open for dinner from 5 to 9:30 p.m., serving its full regular menu and a Valentine's Day chef's special. For more details, call 891-1368.
Share the love with your whole ohana at the special Valentine's Day seafood-and-prime rib buffet at the Coconut Grill in Maui Seaside Hotel in Kahului. The seatings are 5 and 7:30 p.m.
The menu includes slow-roasted prime rib of beef, snap-and-eat crab legs with lemon and drawn butter, grilled mahimahi and dungeness crab, stuffed chicken Mauna Loa, tiger shrimp and clam scampi, paniolo pork ribs, chilled seafood on ice, salad bar and dessert display. Cost is $34.95 adults, and $17.95 children 5 to 12. Call 871-8881.
Cary & Eddie's Hideaway in Kahului will offer north shore and harbor views along with live music by Francois from 5 p.m. to closing. Lovebirds may choose the Hawaiian and American barbecue buffet with soup and salad island for $21.99; or select from the a la carte menu with beef, seafood and barbecue entrees. All include steamed rice, baked potato or French fries along with soup and salad island. Tax and tip are extra. Call 873-6555.
Kahili Restaurant in Waikapu will pull you closer to your mate with dinner and dancing Friday at its seafood and prime rib buffet from 5:30 to 10 p.m.; the cost is $29.95 per person.
Or come on Valentine's Day on Monday for more dinner and dancing and a special buffet for $39.95. Savor fresh oysters and other chilled seafood, salads, pastas, sushi and prime rib, handcarved to your liking.
Other hot entrees are tiger shrimps in chardonnay-cream sauce on linguine; braised beef medallions in red wine, panko-crusted snapper; and mac-nut chicken. Pick your sweetheart's favorite at the dessert display. Call 242-6000.
Cozy up to the two-for-$50 Valentine's Day dinner buffet at Maui Beach Hotel in Kahului that runs from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. The local favorites include salad bar with ahi poke, fried noodles, Mongolian beef, roasted chicken, baked mahimahi, shrimp Canton, California rolls, maki sushi, miso soup and roasted prime rib with au jus. Save room for an assortment of cakes, fresh fruit, self-serve frozen yogurt and coffee and tea. Call 877-0051.
At Stopwatch Bar & Grill in Makawao, take your main squeeze out for a casual dinner at the Cheers bar of Upcountry any time from 5 to 9 p.m. Monday evening's special is New York steak and shrimp for $23.95. Call 572-1380.
Makawao Steak House will be sizzling with fine cuts of meat and fish along with roaring fires in its multiple fireplaces. The full menu will be served, with the exception of the regular Monday all-you-can-eat prime rib.
Choices include strip loin, top sirloin, filet mignon and petit filet sizzled to your liking - and you may add sauteed onions, mushrooms or pepper sauce as extras.
Seafood lovers will find succulent lobster, king crab legs, fresh island fish and a number of combos. Or opt for St. Louis pork ribs, or chicken Zoie stuffed with spinach and ham. A trip to the salad bar is included with entrees. Call 572-8711.