Long dubbed one of the best, most romantic, top and most sought after restaurants on Maui, or in Hawaii for that matter, I finally made my way to Mama's Fish House in Paia, Maui. I've driven by many times and always thought to myself "that's the world famous Mama's Fish House" but I was also concerned that it may be a tourist trap where visitors are coerced into going because they receive drinks with umbrellas and beachfront dining.
Well you might wonder what's so good about it and why all the positive buzz? I was a bit skeptical, but after a lovely afternoon lunch, I am now a believer. One thing I must point out is the price point is very high, but the portions are generous. The fish is freshly caught and literally brought from boat to the kitchen and then to the table in less than 24 hours. Recipes are a great combination of Hawaiian, pacific, Asian and classic flavors. The service is amazing. Waiters are easy-going yet very attentive and knowledgable, runners, hosts and bussers are also personable and quick. The median age of the other guests was about 60, but the semi-tacky tiki interior design and accents of fresh flowers paired with multi-colored Hawaiian prints make the venue a fun, lively, tropical experience. The main highlight is definitely the food, it's bursting with flavor, freshness and innovation!
Mama's Ahi Sashimi salad, this reminded me of the Ahi Entree at Alan Wong's back in the day because it came with an "asian slaw". This dish was light served with romaine, pohole fern, wasabi goat cheese and roasted sesame dressing $28. Refreshing, perfectly seasoned, the fish is highlighted well and is extremely fresh.
This was phenomenal. The fresh ahi seared with sesame seeds, served over cabbage with papaya and coconut rice. Holy moly this was amazing. I will dream about this fish. Super good! $48 The sauce is a sweet and savory, the crust is crunchy and the meat perfectly seared. (note this was a tasting size and not a full order pictured).
Huge portion enough for two to share: Uke, Mahi or Ahi (your choice) in Panang curry, coconut milk, fresh veggies and mango chutney $49. This entree is a nice gentle panang that isn't overwhelming. The bowl is extra large and full of sautéed vegetables and large filets of freshly caught fish. Good choice if you like something exotic.
As you can imagine, our stomachs were too full for dessert. Everything was sensational and I would definitely return. Be sure to make reservations at least 24 hours in advance as they fill up quick. The view of the ocean and the soft breeze will also entice you to come back again and again. Valet parking only and allow for extra travel time due to a bit of backup while you drive through Paia.