Traveling to Maui? This is a must-try best vegan-friendly restaurant
Are you planning a tropical getaway to the breathtaking island of Maui? If you're a vegan or simply enjoy plant-based cuisine, we have a hidden gem recommendation for you. Look no further than Wailea Kitchen, an enchanting open-air restaurant situated atop a tennis club, oasting stunning views of the skyline and the sparkling ocean. Nestled amidst South Maui's idyllic sunsets and snorkel-ready beaches, Wailea Kitchen stands out as the ultimate vegan-friendly dining destination.
While Maui offers a decent amount of plant-based food options such as smoothie bars and casual daytime cafes, finding a captivating spot for dinner with an abundance of dedicated vegan choices, especially in the Wailea/Kihei area, has been quite a challenge. Fortunately, Wailea Kitchen has emerged to fill this void.
What sets Wailea Kitchen apart is not only its extensive menu featuring over 20 dedicated vegan items but also its commitment to sourcing local produce and other ingredients whenever possible. This farm-to-table approach, coupled with Chef Christopher Malik Cousins' creativity and playfulness, results in a remarkable plant-forward menu that will delight your taste buds.
Locating Wailea Kitchen may be a bit tricky, but we've got you covered. As you drive up Wailea Ike Place, be sure to turn onto the other Wailea Ike Place and immediately park in the lot. Keep an eye out for the small, almost hidden signage pointing to Wailea Kitchen. Once parked, you'll come across a lush green walking path flanked by two tiki torches. Follow this path as it descends, and along the way, take a moment to capture a memorable photo against the scenic backdrop.
For the optimal experience, plan your visit during happy hour for some sweet discounts, offered daily from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Not only will you enjoy a 20% discount on everything—a valuable perk given that food and drinks in Hawaii can be pricey—but you'll also witness the captivating sunset over the ocean views. With its spacious and open layout, Wailea Kitchen is an ideal venue for large groups or dinner parties, or maybe even a casual pre-wedding gathering ... as they can easily accommodate your party.
When it comes to ordering, Wailea Kitchen's menu is designed for sharing. Begin your culinary journey with the Nacho Daddy, a generous plate of nachos that tantalize your taste buds with house-made chips, vegan chipotle cheese, cashew cream, papaya hot sauce, and a topping of jalapeños. For added protein, you can opt for Beyond Beef, Soy Curls, or BBQ jackfruit. Even non-vegans and skeptics of plant-based fare will appreciate the absence of a fake cheese taste, thanks to the creative in-house plant-based cheese and cream. Additionally, the Sunflower Fries, accompanied by their delightful house-made vegan ranch, are simply heavenly.
Make sure not to miss a few noteworthy items on the menu. Indulge in one of their Island-inspired cocktails, such as the Dragonfruit Margarita, which not only looks beautiful but also delights the palate. Another standout is the Kitchen Quesadilla, a creative twist on the traditional version, filled with a medley of vegetables and topped with a delectable vegan almond chipotle cheese. For a rich and creamy treat, try the Vegan Pesto Primavera, featuring a white wine vegan pesto sauce. And if you're craving a burst of flavor in every bite, the WK Tacos, filled with jackfruit as a mouthwatering meat substitute, won't disappoint.
Save room for dessert! Wailea Kitchen stands out among Maui's sit-down restaurants with its impressive selection of plant-based desserts. In fact, the entire dessert menu is vegan-friendly. You'll be delighted by a variety of rich and flavorful options that rotate based on seasonal ingredients, including Blueberry Cheesecake, Banana Cream Pie, and a delectable Chocolate Tart. And, of course, there's always a selection of delightful coconut-based ice creams to satisfy your sweet tooth.
So, if you're embarking on a Maui adventure, and looking for some of the best vegan eats and restaurants, be sure to add Wailea Kitchen to your itinerary. This vegan-friendly hidden gem is ready to enchant you with its exceptional menu, enchanting views, and warm aloha spirit.
A few pics from my tasting at Wailea Kitchen. Hopefully this helped you find one of the best restaurants with great vegan options in Maui!
*Photo reuse: Credit Anna Keeve, @lifesalternateroute