Dining Review: Mama’s Fish House – Maui, Hawaii
Almost all travelers of Maui point you in the direction of Mama’s Fish House. While it is said to be one of the best meals on the island, I wondered if it was worth the hype. It was very expensive and it seemed to be a “destination” which made be skeptical. I made reservations when we were flirting with the idea of taking this trip, well before I knew it was something we could make happen – but these reservations go fast so I was happy to have had to foresight to have snagged a table.
The menu changes routinely – sometimes daily – depending on what comes in fresh for the day or what they have on hand. And it is not an extensive menu – which I appreciate – just a handful of appetizers, entrees, and desserts to choose from. They are also known for their cocktails so I was looking forward to indulging since I so rarely have cocktails.
Parking was pretty intense as it was already a very full lot. Luckily an attendant was able to point us in the direction of a newly open spot but boy the car brands in this lot were certainly high class – we pulled in behind a Rolls Royce. As we descended down the stairs on the property, it was hard not to stop and stare.
The property is just stunning – right on the water, full of plants and palm trees, and the restaurant situated with ocean views in complete open air. I just love that dining here can be so relaxed and outside.
After checking in, we were seated at a booth directly facing the ocean! Now it was not front row seats but the booths were elevated and felt every much like we had the prefect spot. Already starting off on a good foot. And we adored the decor! The Tiki culture definitely speaks to us and it is so well appointed here.
For drinks to start, we each got a cocktail. We learned that most of the cocktails made while fetching up towards twenty dollars, are made with double shots. I think it was shared more of a warning for people to know so they don’y have issues driving home. Kevin ordered the Pau Hana – guava, Tahitian lime, and Bombay gin scented with ginger. Kevin has been on a guava kick ever since our first shaved ice bowl and the bar was able to swap the gin for vodka. I ordered the Strawberry Guava Fizz – Kula strawberries, guava, lime, Maui Pau Vodka, soda (and I asked to hold the soda which the bar was able to do).
Oh these drinks were perfection! Something about them made us feel even more in Hawaii, maybe cause it was our first alcoholic beverage of the trip. Mine was very fruit forward without being sweet and Kevin’s was well balanced and digging the guava.
The bread service appeared shortly after the drinks and was a peronsal sized, freshly baked loaf. Something about this bread was addicting and the butter had added salt on top that gave a fun burst of saltiness. Thumbs up on the bread! We were even offered more but I had to resist the offer or else I’d be stuffed on bread.
Then moments later a complimentary teaser of a mushroom soup was brought to the table. My goodness, this was so delicious! It was not offered as a bowl or else I would have ordered it. It was nice and thick with strong mushroom flavors.
Kauai Shrimp Won Tons with Macadamia nut sauce
Brilliant! Maybe it was a new concept to me but it was to me and I was loving it. What was nice is that it gave a crunch texture without taking away any of the flavor of the shrimp – the shrimp were still the star. While the dish only came with four shrimp, they were a really good size and the quality was really awesome. There was also a Macadamia nut sauce that gave a fresh flavor that counterbalanced the fried won ton nicely.
Salad of upcountry greens, Kula strawberries, spiced pecans and goat cheese with a Tahitian vanilla dressing
After struggling to inset vegetables, it felt only right to go with a salad. Well, does Mama know how to put a salad together. The Tahitian vanilla dressing was to die for and all the ingredients were super fresh – it was easy to tell. While ordering salad can be boring, I applaud them for creating a fun option.
Kanpachi stuffed with Kona lobster and crab, baked in a Macadamia nut crust (from the ocean waters off Hawaii Island)
Kevin commentary: Fish was baked perfectly, with fresh plump crab and lobster meat taking this dish straight to a 10. I didn’t get any strong impressions from the fish taste itself, just a delicious white fish (not too oily, not too much fat, little sweet. Believe it’s called amberjack back home, so not unknown to east coasters. And this was one of the restaurants where even the asparagus and carrots were a pleasure to eat. All mine were grilled to perfection and great with the macadamia sauce.
Side of Poi
Kevin commentary: You’re not really looking for food revelations when eating poi. you’re just enjoying an old school Hawaiian side. It tastes like someone mashed potatoes with water til it was slightly viscous. Think Mama’s fish house added a little something to sweeten it up a little, but otherwise just a plain palate cleanser that I enjoyed.
Patz & Hall Pinot Noir from Sonoma Coast – Kevin also got a glass of wine to go with his meal
New Caledonia Island Blue Prawns baked in butter, coconut, and Tahitian vanilla
I am not so much a fish that swims person but I am totally a fish that craws – love me some shellfish. This plate was picture perfect! I am a big fan of working for my food so I was cool with the shell on presentation. We laughed with our server because we have had them with the head still attached. Everything on the plate was incredible – this butter, coconut and Tahitian vanilla combination made for an incredible sauce for the prawns. The rice was served on a coconut piece and was infused with coconut flavors. And the broccolini was charred giving it a smoky and crunchy texture. Loved everything about this dish!
Polynesia Black Pearl – Liliko’i Chocolate mousse in a Pastry Seashell
Yes we both got the same dessert – a rule we typically never break but come on just look at this! It is a piece of art that while I did not want to ruin it I could simultaneously not wait to eat it. Underneath the “pearl” was chocolate mousse and in the middle was a creme brûlée custard – oh it was to die for! The cookie shell was almond flavored and reminded us of a biscotti – delightful! I mean this was a twenty dollar dessert and yes that’s a crazy price but I would not have gotten anything else and I am SO GLAD we did not share – zero regrets.
Kevin also got to try his first 100% Kona coffee while on this trip – a treat he really enjoyed. It even came in his own personal French press, nice touch Mama.
I think it goes without saying but the service here was just as fantastic as the food. Everything was prompt without feeling rushed, there was attention to detail with each dish, and they were more than willing to adjust or change an item to better fit our tastes when possible.
Overall, I would have to recommend a stop at Mama’s Fish House based on our experience. The food was excellent, the service was great, and we really enjoyed the ambiance and atmosphere. While the prices are high – expect to pay at least $100 or more per person – the portion sizes were generous for a place like this and the quality was noticeable. Yes, it’s expensive and yes, it is a destination spot for many, many tourists but if you are able, I would say treat yourself and enjoy.