When we polled the 16,000+ baby boomer travelers on our Facebook page about what to do on the island of Maui, the number one response was: have dinner at Mama’s Fish House.
It didn’t take a whole lot of mental prowess to figure out that we had better do just that!
Nestled away in a coconut grove on a secluded white sand beach in Maui’s North Shore, Mama’s Fish House has been serving fresh local fish, in the style of old Polynesia, since 1973.
The first thing we noticed as we pulled up to the valet stand is that the parking lot was absolutely jam-packed. Therefore, our first bit of advice is to make certain that you have reservations.
As we stepped from our car and down a few steps to the restaurant, first impressions were high as our eyes darted around the beautiful beach setting, coconut trees swaying in the breeze, and a stunning Polynesian structure absolutely filled to-the-gills with unusual knickknacks, artworks, ceiling and wall hangings, and a whole lot of people greatly enjoying themselves. Seemingly everyone was filled with laughter and smiles.
We arrived to Mama’s Fish House a bit early, so we plopped ourselves at the bar to sample one of their famous Mai Tais. I (David) am not really a big fan of Mai Tais, so we just ordered one to split between us. Well, let me just say, it was so good that I received a friendly punch in the arm from Carol as I had nearly sucked the glass dry all by myself.
As you might guess, our friendly bartender picked up on my selfish dilemma and promptly plunked another sample of the delicious tropical nectar right in front of Carol for her to enjoy.
When I inquired about why Mama’s Mai Tai was so good, our bartender talked about Trader Vic’s secret recipe, and a myriad of ingredients like light rum, dark rum, pineapple juice, lime juice, orgeat, curacao, pomegranate syrups, all of which flew right over my head. All I know is that it was very good and you should order one when you visit!
Once seated at our ocean-view table, the chef sent out our first appetizer: Beef Polynesian (seared tenderloin in a grilled ripe Hana papaya). Not only was it beautiful to look at, it was delicious beyond words.
As we are not fussy eaters, we asked the chef to send out his best creations. We are huge lovers of ceviche, so we were very pleased that Chef Perry Bateman next sent out Tahitian Ceviche (Ono marinated in lime and coconut milk in a fresh coconut).
Now, I realize that I gave high praise to our first dish, but this dish took our taste buds to a euphoric place that had them dancing for joy. Every single bite was followed by eyes rolling back in our heads with our mouths proclaiming great praise. The very freshest of fish with flavors that were simply mind boggling. Bravo!
I hesitate to say this, but if these two dishes were the only ones we had sampled, we would have left very happy diners. Absolute show stealers, both of them!
Thankfully, the show didn’t stop there. Mama’s is a fish house after all, and out next came Mama’s famous Stuffed Mahimahi (stuffed with lobster, crab, and baked in a macadamia nut crust).
Our waitress shared that our Mahimahi was caught fresh from local fisherman Kamaki Everett outside his homeport of Hana Bay. This is the dish that put Mama’s Fish House on the map and it certainly did not disappoint. YUM!
We’ve been fortunate to make Hawaii an annual stop in our world-wide roaming, and when Carol finds Opakapaka (Hawaiian Pink Snapper) on the menu, she never passes it by.
For her entrée, Carol greatly enjoyed Opakapaka (sautéed with Hamakua mushrooms, garlic butter, white wine and capers). As before, we learned that our Opakapaka was caught in deep sea reefs near Lanai by local fisherman Layne Nakagawa.
Absolutely delish, and I got my hands slapped for stealing too many of Carol’s Hamakua mushrooms. I get my hands slapped a lot. Have you noticed that?
It was now time for dessert and it seems that Mama’s Fish House is also famous for their Polynesian Black Pearl (Liliko’i chocolate mousse in a pastry seashell).
An absolutely stunning display and great taste too! YUM!
Now, I have a confession to make. Mr. Roaming Boomers has a total sweet tooth. It’s bad, I know. But, it’s true.
And, when we make our annual trip to Hawaii, I’m looking for one thing: Liliko’i! Liliko’i is what the Hawaiians call passion fruit, and I’m absolutely head over heals in love with it.
Oh how happy to find that the chef sent us out Liliko”i Creme Brulée! Oh my dear sweet Lord, have you ever created anything as delightful to the taste as Liliko’i?
I’m serious, I used my finger to scoop out each and every morsel. Absolutely nothing but shiny bowl left! I’m so bad!
Phew! What an absolutely fabulous dining experience.
You should know that as with any restaurant that is wildly popular, there is a certain price to be paid when all the world is clamoring for a seat at the table. The main entrées are priced in the $50 range, and a dinner for two with wine and mai tais can easily set you back $300.
With that said, when it comes to dining, we love to have a wonderful overall experience. Mama’s Fish House serves up an outstanding ocean-front setting, a fun restaurant that will keep you constantly looking about, and best of all, cuisine that will completely rock your world.
Listen folks, when you visit Maui, you simply must invest in an evening at Mama’s Fish House. I promise, you’ll thank us later!
Link: Mama’s Fish House
Disclosure: our wonderful dining experience was provided by the kind folks at Mama’s Fish House and our Maui press trip was provided by the Maui Convention and Visitors Bureau. Thanks!
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