11 tips for finding the best vegetarian food in Maui during your dream vacation.
I must admit, I cheated a little bit with this post. 10 out of 11 of these tips are similar to those of my How to Find the Best Vegetarian Food in Europe post.
But don’t worry, I didn’t just copy, paste, & post the same information.
Instead, I used it as a guide to help you find the best vegetarian food while traveling around Maui along with some tips about our favorite restaurants. These tips will help you find vegetarian/vegan restaurants as well as vegetarian-friendly restaurants (which is mainly what we frequent) around the island. Also, these tips are helpful for anyone with any type of food restrictions!
Roger & I use these tips whenever we travel anywhere (new or familiar) & are looking for delicious vegetarian cuisine.
But no matter what type of food you are looking for you will not be disappointed. Maui has some incredibly delicious eats!!
1. Know Your Schedule
The first step is to know your day-to-day travel plans.
I know this may sound crazy, you are in Maui, you are there to relax, to live & let live. No schedule just escapism.
But, even having a rough draft of an itinerary will help guide you as you look for restaurants.
By knowing when & where you will be each day you will better be able to search for restaurants by location for each day.
We had made an itinerary (more like a proposed semi-flexible schedule) for each day so we knew what part of the island we would be on during different parts of the day. This helped us better prepare to use the steps below to create a loose food schedule for our trip.
Our first stop everytime we arrive in Maui is to stop at Pita Paradise before checking into our resort.
2. Google Map Search
Once you know where you will be each day find the location on Google Maps & then search for restaurants.
Before we traveled to Maui we did this & found so many wonderful options. Some keywords I searched on Google Maps in Maui were “vegetarian,” “homemade pasta,” “pizza,” & “Thai.”
3. Google Search
Sounds basic enough, but there are a few tricks to searching for restaurants in Maui.
For example, you can search for “best homemade pizza in Maui,” or “best vegetarian restaurant in Maui,” “best breakfast food in Maui”, or “best shave ice.”
Make a list of your favorites & cross match them to locations on your itinerary. If you have too many restaurants & not enough time (or you find restaurants outside of your current itinerary) add them to a list of “Extra Restaurants.” That way if one of the restaurants you have planned falls through you have a list of backups.
Our favorite shave ice is from Ulani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice (pictured below). We always get our shave ice with a scoop of macadamia nut ice cream at the bottom & a snow cap (sweetened condensed milk mixture) on top. SO GOOD!!
5. Back Up Restaurants
As I mentioned in tip number three, it’s important to have a list of extra restaurants planned as a backup. If a restaurant you want to try is closed that day or you change your mind/itinerary you will have a plan.
Plus you may get hungry mid-day & need a quick snack or an entree to share to boost your energy for more sightseeing.
6. Make Reservations
During tourist season many restaurants in Maui can become crowded fast. So it can be very advantageous to book restaurants in advance so you can enjoy some amazing food without a long wait time!
We like to plan ahead for a few of our favorite restaurants, like Matteo’s Osteria in Wailea.
ps. Matteo’s Osteria has amazing gnocchi crema rosa & ravioli mantovana!
7. Use Current Location
Part of the fun of traveling to a new place is being spontaneous. Sometimes that means leaving your meal plans behind.
If that happens, an easy way to find a good restaurant is to go to your “Maps” & search restaurants using keywords like “vegetarian” or “Italian.” Then simply look at their menus to make sure they have something you are interested in trying & then call ahead to see if there is a wait time or if you need a reservation.
Even though we had made a few reservations & created a list of pre-planned restaurants, we also made sure to stay flexible throughout our trip. If we saw something that looked good through a window, mainly ice cream & gelato, we quickly researched the restaurant for reviews & then made a decision.
An easy way to do this is to hit “current location” on your map to find the restaurant.
ps. Ono Gelato Company in Lahaina is really good!
8. Ask the Locals
If spontaneity hits & you are low on phone power, or have no cell service, asking the locals is a great way to find good restaurants. The best place to ask is at a hotel or resort. Hotels will often give you local advice that won’t be too far to walk.
Plus they often have a list of restaurants on hand that they can recommend specifically for your dietary needs.
9. Ask Your Resort
Speaking of hotels, be sure to check with the one you are staying at to see if they have a concierge text messaging service.
Last year, during our first stay at the Fairmont Kea Lani in Maui we discovered this amazing service & used it often. You can text them anytime with any question & they will help you however they can.
During our stay at the beginning of 2017, we used this service multiple times to find restaurants in the area that fit our vegetarian lifestyle. During our second stay later that year, we asked questions about the local area, such as if Ioa Valley had been reopened since the flood, which it was! You can read more about the Fairmont Kea Lani & our favorite reasons to stay there in this post about 10 Reasons to Stay at the Fairmont Kea Lani.
We also enjoyed an incredibly delicious vegetarian meal at Kō during our stay at the Fairmont Kea Lani & you can read all about it here.
10. Check with the Food Network
Another great way to travel & find tried & true restaurants are by researching them on the Food Network.
And on a fun side note, when we were visiting Maui during our first visit to Maui in 2016 we actually saw Guy eating breakfast. By our next trip to Maui, his Maui episode had aired & we tried one of the restaurants featured on the show.
11. Keep a Mobile List
Before our trip, I created our itinerary in a note on my computer that was synched to my phone. Once the list of dates, times, tourist attractions, & restaurants were all matched up & synched to my phone I took screenshots of our plans so that if the note was lost I would still have the pictures. I can’t remember, but I may have also sent those pictures & the note to my husband’s phone as well, as a triple back up.
So no matter where we were I could look at our itinerary & know what & where we were going next. Plus, if spontaneity took us somewhere unplanned I also had the list of additional restaurants to fall back on in case we ended up near one of them.
And as you can imagine, I never went hungry & we ate a lot of delicious local treats!
Do you have any favorite vegetarian-friendly restaurants in Maui?
I’d love to hear from you!
Feel free to comment below, email me, or tweet me on Twitter.
With love, Giustina
Be completely humble and gentle;
be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Ephesians 4:2 NIV