Have a Maui Christmas with feasts cooked by top island restaurants
Who wants to slave over a hot stove when it's, well, hot outside!?
For those of you who would prefer to head to the beach, frolic in the surf and enjoy a Maui Christmas, note that island chefs are preparing a host of feasts - from brunches to dinner buffets.
Aaron Placourakis of the Tri-Star restaurant group sips some bubbly as his son, Manoli, dives into creamy, rich tiramisu at Sarento’s on the Beach, oceanfront at Keawakapu in Kihei.
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
Just remember to make reservations as soon as you read this, as many restaurants sell out fast.
Sarento's on the Beach in Kihei will open at 4 p.m. Christmas Day with holiday specials in addition to its regular gourmet dinner menu. The appetizer special is lump crab and applewood smoked bacon chowder with Kula corn parmesan tart.
For the entree, sink your teeth into the 14-ounce roast prime rib of beef with loaded baked potato, Maui onion rings, grilled asparagus, black-truffle peppercorn jus and horseradish Hollandaise.
Those watching their calories will find a number of suggestions by the owner's wife, who is a personal trainer. Just look for the icon on the menu for dishes such as grilled Hawaiian ahi, and Kula greens with toasted pine nuts and blood-orange vinaigrette. For reservations, call 875-7555.
Also located right on Keawakapu Beach in Kihei, Five Palms will offer a three-course turkey dinner Christmas Day from 3 to 9 p.m. for $39.95.
For the first course, choose from kabocha pumpkin bisque or Kula greens. The entree is rosemary-scented roasted turkey, garlic mashed potatoes, macadamia nut-sausage stuffing, glazed Molokai sweet potato, fresh cranberry relish and seasonal vegetables. The dessert will be a surprise based on the chef's discretion.
Cost of the meal for keiki 10 and younger is $16.95. An a la carte turkey meal plate is $29.95. For Five Palms reservations, call 879-2607.
The landmark Buzz's Wharf at Maalaea Harbor will serve a holiday tasting menu from 5 to 9 p.m. Choose from three festive appetizers, salads, entrees and desserts for four courses at $65.
Entree choices are petite filet and savory lobster tail combo, ginger-steamed fresh snapper with baby bok choy and shiitake mushrooms; and flame-broiled rib-eye steak and Tahitian prawns. The special tasting is available all day from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. For reservations, call 222-5426.
Makena Beach & Golf Resort will pull out all of the stops at three all-you-can-eat buffets in its oceanfront Molokini Bar & Grill restaurant. The Christmas Eve buffet and the Christmas Day buffets will offer seatings from 5:30 to 9 p.m., while a brunch buffet will get you in a merry mood from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.
All are varied to keep in-house guests coming back for more and all cost the same price. It's $60 for adults, and $48 for kids 9 to 12 years of age. Seafood favorites will be positioned around ice sculptures and include dungeness crab, fresh sashimi, rolled sushi and house-made pokes.
Traditional favorites include roasted tom turkey with giblet gravy, cranberry relish and cornbread stuffing; and spit-roasted leg of lamb. You may also feast on Cuban mojo pork loin with pineapple salsa, seared fresh snapper with avocado tomato relish and chicken saltimbocca.
At the brunch, savor breakfast selections such as made-to-order French toast with strawberries, waffles with whipped cream and other toppings, and thick-cut bacon and mango-chicken sausage.
Travel the world of flavors in the sea-to- field station with dim sum and Oriental dipping sauces, and heirloom tomato with goat cheese and artichokes, and desserts from the talented culinary team.
For Makena reservations, call 875-5888.
Stella Blues Cafe, located at Azeka II shopping center in a free-standing building with plenty of parking, will be open from 7:30 a.m. to noon on Christmas Day for breakfast, and from 2 to 9 p.m. for dinner with a limited menu. It's usually open for lunch, but not on that day.
Everything is a la carte and moderately priced and you may dine indoors in the air conditioning or outdoors on the expansive patio.
Starters include homemade hummus with toasted pita, blackened ahi, shrimp cocktail and crisp crab cakes. Salads range from classic Caesar to holiday greens with blue cheese and green apples.
Entrees at Stella Blues on Christmas Day will be traditional turkey dinner, prime rib, surf and turf, crab-stuffed mahimahi and stir fries with your choice of tofu, chicken or shrimp added into the mix. Entree prices range from $18 to $38. For reservations, you may call 874-3779.
Mala Wailea at Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa will set an elegant stage for its holiday buffet.
The lounge will be open from 4 to 10 p.m. Sunday with its full menu and the buffet will be available there. In the restaurant, there will be an early seatings at 3 and 3:30 p.m. for $49.95 adults and $29.95 children 12 and younger.
The evening seatings run from 5 to 9:30 p.m. at $62 for adults and $34 for children 12 and younger.
Mala's menu sampling includes a salad and seafood bar with poached salmon and dill creme fraiche, imported and domestic cheeses, island fruit, assorted sushi, island sashimi and full salad bar.
You may also head to the soup station with everything from Maui onion soup to Upcountry butternut squash. Chefs will hand carve prime rib of beef with horseradish and au jus, and honey-glazed bone-in ham with pineapple glaze. Dig into other hot entrees such as turkey, ham and lamb; and desserts such as pecan pie and chocolate cookies. Call 875-9394.
Seascape Ma'alaea Restaurant is located at Maui Ocean Center in Maalaea. While you don't have to tour the aquarium to dine there, you may want to as Scuba Claus dives daily at 11 a.m. and is great for photo ops for the whole family.
Seascape is open for lunch only from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and you proceed straight there through the side entrance. Christmas Day specials include crab cake over spinach salad with feta, grape tomatoes and basil vinaigrette for $8.95.
Entrees include the Mauka Makai with herb-marinated filet mignon with demi glace and king crab legs with drawn butter and lemon; and fresh catch, shrimp and salmon mousse over angel hair pasta. Both include starch and vegetables. Prices are $17.95 and $16.95, respectively. Hot apple pie and fun drinks such as banana nut latte and candy can shakes are available. For reservations at Seascape, call 270-7068.
Diamond Resort International's Ka'anapali Beach Club will present a crowd-pleasing Christmas buffet from 4 to 8 p.m. Sunday. Dine oceanfront with floor- to-ceiling glass French doors that open to the beach, on a variety of foods such as soup, salads, carving station, sides, entrees and baked goods.
"We'll have Hawaiian chowder with scallops, shrimp, snapper and fresh taro," says Steven Horn, food and beverage director and a former chef for two presidents at the White House.
"We'll also serve slow-roasted prime rib with Hawaiian sea salt rub, ahi poke with fresh tuna and ogo, ham glazed with bourbon and honey, and crab legs with drawn butter. Of course, all of our pies are baked in house."
Cost is $39 adults, and $21 for children 6 to 12 years of age. Call 661-2000.
Ka'anapali Beach Hotel will host a lunch buffet from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and dinner buffet from 3 to 7 p.m. Reservations are a must for both as repeat diners crave the 60 items prepared by Executive Chef Tom Muromoto and book early.
Highlights are macadamia-nut-crusted leg of lamb, rotisserie-roasted goose with poha-berry chutney, kiawe-smoked pepper-crusted prime rib, roasted turkey with shiitake mushroom and cornbread stuffing, and a cold seafood buffet with crag legs, oyster on the half shell and sashimi.
Keiki will love their own station, complete with hourly visits by Santa himself. Cost of the lunch buffet is $42.95 for adults; and $22 for keiki ages 6 to 12. The dinner buffet is $46.95 adults and the same for children. You may also enjoy Hawaiian entertainment in the evening. Call 667-0124.
Five Palms Lahaina (the former Canoes) will offer the same three-course holiday menu and a la carte plate as its sister restaurant in Kihei (see Page 21). But the prices are slightly lower. The prix-fixe is $32.95 adults, and $16.95 for children 10 and younger. The turkey plate costs $24.95. For Five Palms Lahaina reservations, call 661-0937.
Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa in Kaanapali will offer a Taste from Around the World buffet Saturday; and Christmas By the Beach Sunday. Both buffets will run from 4 to 9 p.m.
Both will be situated in the resort's open-air Black Rock Steak & Seafood Restaurant and will feature inspired dishes such as mahimahi Wellington, Hawaiian seafood grill, oysters, salads and desserts such as lilikoi-cream cake.
The Taste from Around the World buffet is $63 per adult, and $31 for children 6 to 12 years of age. The Christmas By the Beach buffet costs $68 for adults and $34 for children 6 to 12. For Sheraton dining reservations, call 808-921-4600.
The Westin Maui Resort & Spa in Kaanapali will present its lavish Christmas Day dinner buffet with seatings from 4:30 to 8 p.m. in its poolside 'Ono Bar & Grill restaurant.
It will feature roasted young turkey, pepper-crusted prime rib, roasted swordfish in tomato-and-fennel bouillabaisse along with a special keiki station with kid-friendly foods such as chicken fingers, mac and cheese and desserts.
Cost is $59.50 for adults, and $29.75 for keiki ages 6 to 12. Call 667-2525.
Honu Seafood & Pizza in Lahaina is selling an assortment of 24 holiday cookies and vegan and gluten-free brownies in separate boxes at $19 each for pickup with 48 hours' notice.
The cookie varieties are chocolate chip, ricotta biscuits, almond raspberry thumbprint, and chocolate-hazelnut lava flavor. The vegan brownies come with mac nuts and fudge. Call Pastry Chef Liz McDonald at 667-9390. Honu will be closed for Christmas lunch service.
In Kahana Gateway shopping center, there is plenty of parking and the RB Steakhouse will be open with a limited menu from 4 p.m. until closing. Choose from prime rib to ham to steaks. Call 669-8889.
Four Sisters Kitchen on Vineyard Street in Wailuku will present a Christmas Day brunch buffet from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and it's also now taking orders for holiday meals that will be available for pickup.
The brunch will include prime rib, omelets, waffles, American, Asian and local foods, soups and desserts. You may also sink your teeth into ham with glazed pineapples turkey and pork loin. Cost is $15.99.
The special holiday meals must be prepaid at least 48 hours in advance. Order turkey with mashed potatoes, mac salad, gravy, stuffing and pumpkin pie for $64.95. Or ham with mashed potatoes, mac salad, dinner rolls and pie for $79.95. Prime rib and whole lechon (pig) dinners are also available. Call 242-1135.
Want to go out Christmas Eve? Cafe O'Lei at the Dunes in Kahului will put out a holiday buffet spread Saturday from 4 to 8 p.m.
Crunch Kula greens with cranberries and bleu cheese and balsamic dressing; and crisp Caesar salad with creamy garlic dressing. Savor prime rib of beef carved to order with au jus and creamed horseradish; macadamia nut-crusted mahimahi; and chicken linguine with tomatoes, garlic and basil in a light cream sauce.
Sauteed seasonal vegetables, steamed rice and buttermilk mashed potatoes add to the mix as well as a selection of cakes, cookies, fresh fruit and Maui Oma coffee. Cost is $24.95 adults, and $12.95 for children ages 4 through 12. Call 877-0073.
Christmas dinner at Cary & Eddie's Hideaway will dish up views of Kahului Harbor and the West Maui Mountains. Hours are 5 p.m. to closing.
The traditional dinner buffet will include roasted turkey, barbecue baby-back pork ribs, ranch-baked ono, broiled teriyaki salmon, roast top sirloin, garlic mashed potatoes, gravy, candied yams and corn on the cob. Ethnic entrees are kalua pig and cabbage, and Chinese chook or turkey rice soup along with salad bar. Cost is $25.99 for adults, and $12.99 for keiki 10 and younger. You may also order an a la carte prime rib dinner with choice of salad bar and rice or baked potato for $24.99. Call 873-6555.
The Maui Beach Hotel in Kahului will present its annual holiday all-you-can eat Christmas Eve and Christmas Day affairs with seatings at 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. in its expansive, air-conditioned Elleair Ballroom.
On the ice will be island ahi poke, assorted sushi with wasabi and pickled ginger, and shrimp cocktail in tangy red sauce. Salads include local favorites such as crab and fresh broccoli, rainbow pasta, macaroni-potato mix and tossed fresh garden greens.
Chefs will carve roasted prime rib with au jus and roasted turkey with savory gravy at the heat stations. Other hot items are shrimp and vegetable tempura, chicken stir fry, baked salmon, mussels topped with bacon and cheese, buttered corn, fried noodles, seafood chowder, steamed fresh veggies and dinner rolls.
Top it all off with chocolate fountain bar with fresh fruits, and pretzels and other desserts. Cost is $36 for adults, and $18 for children 6 to 11. Call 872-9307.
Nearby at the Maui Seaside Hotel, also located right on Kahului Harbor, is Coconut Grill. The popular restaurant will serve brunch, lunch and dinner buffets Christmas Day with a host of seatings.
In the morning, choose from 10 or 10:30 a.m. seatings; and for lunch or dinner, dine there at 1, 1:30, 4, 4:30, or 7 or 7:30 p.m. Highlights include slow-roasted prime rib of beef, local-style pan-fried ono, stuffed chicken Marsala, Farmer John smoked ham with guava and pineapple glaze, cold seafood station, scalloped potatoes and assorted desserts to suit every taste.
Cost of brunch is $29.95 for adults, and $14.95 for children 5 to 12, and $1 or $2 higher for lunch and dinner. For more details, call 871-8881.
Last but certainly not least, Kahili Restaurant in the slopes of the West Maui Mountains in Waikapu will offer coast-to-coast views and an all-you-can-eat Christmas Day dinner buffet from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Salad bar items include baby Romaine and spinach, array of grilled vegetables, pastas and fruits. Savor seafood on ice such as shrimp cocktail, ahi poke and take with tomatoes. Chefs will carve oven-roasted prime rib, and other entrees are honey-mustard glazed ham, herb-rubbed Cornish game hens, pepper-crusted salmon in shoyu-ginger sauce, desserts and much more. Cost is $34.95 for adults, and $17.95 for keiki 6 to 12. Call 242-6000.
* Christmas buffets. The price of Maui Beach Hotel's all-you-can-eat Christmas Eve and Christmas Day buffets is $36 for adults, $18 for children 6 to 11 years old. An incorrect price for adults was listed in the Season's Eatings story published on Pages 21 to 23 of Thursday's Maui Scene. For reservations, call 872-9307. Also, in the same story, the prices for early-bird seatings at Mala Wailea's Christmas Day holiday buffet were incorrect. The correct price for early-bird seatings at 3 and 3:30 p.m. for adults is $49.95, and for children 12 years old and under it's $29.95. For reservations, call 875-9394.
The Maui News apologizes for the errors.
* The Maui News wants to promptly correct errors in fact or make clarifications on information appearing in the newspaper. To report an error or clarification, please call 242-6343 or send email to email@example.com.