Like many north shore communities in Hawaii, Paia is charming, hip, cultured and fun. I love to walk through the streets and discover new places to shop, browse and dine at. For a few months I've been eyeing up the delicious plates at Paia Inn Cafe and finally had a moment to sit down, visit for brunch and try a good amount of their specialities.
Paia Inn Cafe is located along the makai end of Paia Inn, you walk along the corridor and find yourself in this cozy outdoor patio.
A few years ago, while I was in television broadcast news, I did a story on the inn and its long-standing history. I always thought the location was stellar and the vibe was a great combination of chic mixed with rustic. I was delighted to see they transformed the back patio into a lovely, al fresco, open-air, outdoor dining area complete with live entertainment. To cut straight to the point -- this place is super cute!
A great place for brunch, this hot spot is open everyday 8am-1pm. When we visited Eric Gilliom was performing live with his acoustic guitar and strong voice it created a soothing soundtrack for the morning meal.
The eatery showcases freshly made juices and also invigorating juice shots. Currently, they are BYOB. If you bring in your own bottle of bubbly or wine they will discreetly provide you with cups and whatever else you need. The menu is plentiful and offers a good range of breakfast items, brunch delights, eggs, salads and sandwiches. I had heard that the prices were really high, but was surprised to see they were pretty standard as far as diner and brunch (restaurant/cafe) entrees are concerned.
First of all, the dishes are beautiful and very photogenic. They are each bursting with color, freshness and are generous in portion-size. I was a little jealous of my friend who ordered the smoked salmon avocado toast. it was almost too pretty to eat. The serving is good, the toppings are overflowing and the lox tender and fresh. The only critique I have is the avocado had a mild bitter/metallic flavor almost likened to the prepackaged/bagged guacamole you buy from mass produced outlets. $17 ($14 +$3 for lox).
As an Eggs Benedict afionado, these were spot on! The Foccacia bread is nicely toasted and has a good crunch, the prosciutto is a lovely salty, crispy element, eggs are poached perfectly, the hollandaise is on-point and its served with house potatoes and a small side of fresh greens. $17
Not going to lie, my Lox & Eggs scramble was not as pretty as the other dishes, but it sure was delicious and such a hefty portion. Served with fresh avocado, white truffle, cream cheese, potatoes and greens this was so large I couldn't finish it all. The truffle has a nice earthy element, while the cream cheese adds in a comforting milky cream essence and the avocado helps to breakup the meatiness of the lox. This would also be really great on a crisp bagel $16.
The Breakfast Board is killer! Served with avocado, pork belly, lox, boiled egg, pickles vegetables, seasonal fruits, tomato crudo and crackers this was a beautiful presentation, nice and hearty and all of the items complimented each other. You had some salty, fatty, sour, sweet, fresh, crisp, I loved the elements and would also like to make this at home, it's great for sharing and if you order this just for yourself you may need a takeout box. $19
Overall, this was a stellar meal. The service was excellent, our waitress was well informed, attentive yet not overbearing. The atmosphere is beautiful (the sun was blocked by the umbrellas and trees) but it can get a little steamy as the cafe is in the open air. I made my reservation online via Open Table and noted that we were celebrating a birthday, but nothing was mentioned, noted or addressed, which was fine but mildly disappointing. They are currently working on getting their liquor license so you can expect some craft cocktails and brunchy beverages possibly in the works.
If you're in the mood for a delightful brunch with beautiful, fresh, vibrant food I would highly recommend this cafe as one of my Ono Eats choices on Maui.
Paia Inn Cafe
93 Hana Highway
Paia, HI 96779
*My understanding is they offer a 10% off Kamaaina Discount Monday-Thursday.