Mama's Fish House
799 Poho Pl Paia, HI 96779, United States
Tastiness Factor: 4.5/5
Locavore approved? YES (menu is reprinted everyday with daily fish specials made with fish caught by local fisherman whose names are actually printed on the menu along with the dish!)
On our recent trip to Hawaii, my husband and I stayed a couple of days in the tiny little town of Paia. With only a few streets and one B&B, it is a sleepy little place but we loved it! So much character, some nice stores, great bakeshops and amazing yoga- what more can you ask for?
The other draw of staying in Paia is its proxomity to Mama's Fish House, one of Maui's most reputable restaurants. Before leaving for our trip, Mama's had been recommended to us by several of our foodie friends so was on our list of places to check out.
One of the "claims to fame" of Mama's is its location. It is located right on the water with absolutely breathtaking views. One of the drawbacks of going at night for dinner as we did is that you cannot really appreciate its full beauty. During the day, you can see surfers frolicking in the water and bask in the glory of the sunny skies. Brunch here would certainly be an ideal time to enjoy Mama's to its fullest, but the setting during our dinner with the waves rolling long the shore and the fresh wind blowing around us was still quite a treat.
Service at Mama's was attentive, yet relaxed and friendly just like Maui itself. Our server was enthusiastic in describing the food and very helpful with our menu picks. The pace of the meal was excellent and our food arrived piping hot. Our server certainly contributed to the success of the evening.
There are 3 different menus- one that changes daily based on what is fresh and available (whatever the fisherman can haul in!), a drink menu with many very original cocktails and a dessert menu. Here were our picks:
Cocktails- My hubby had our first and only Mai Tai of the trip and, after this version, he regretted that it was our last night and he had not enjoyed more of this signature Maui drink. I had the "Refresher", a very refreshing, not-too-sweet conocut milk-based drink with fresh mint. Loved it.
Tomato-ginger soup (amuse)- This cute little sip of soup was served along with a large, fresh half loaf of bread that my carb-loving hubby demolished in about 5 minutes. The soup was creamy and full of tomato flavour with just a hint of ginger. The perfect way to prepare our palate for the delicious meal to come. It was served with a large loaf of bread to which my "bread-connaisseur" hubby gave an enthusiastic thumbs up and then ate the whoe thing!
Ahi sashimi salad- This salad caught my eye not only because of the fact that I love the Ahi here in Maui, but also because of its other intriguing ingredients such as wasabi goat cheese and pohole. This was a light and refreshing way to start the meal. On a base of fresh greens were several thin slices of ahi, topped with a tower of thinly shaved cabbage, carrots and crispy wontons. I was a bit dismayed to only 1 little pohole in the mix but maybe they just ran out since we are at the very end of the night (would have preferred more veggies and less wontons). Overall though, a very solid dish.
Coconut ceviche- This was the appetizer recommended by our waiter and my husband jumped on it since he loves ceviche. And he was glad he did. He, and I quote, says "best dish of the trip". It was served in a half-coconut with a side of yellow and purple taro chips for scooping the ceviche. The fish was super-fresh and the sauce was light so as to not overpower the fish. This dish screamed Hawaii and it was easy to tell why it comes so well recommended.
Curry- I ordered this main, again on the recommendation of our very attentive server as well as the hostess of our hotel. It was a bit of an "out of the box" choice for me but, with 3 different types of fish and lock veggies, how could I go wrong? The rich coconut curry was chock-full of Hawaiian veggies (taro, green beans, red pepper) and large pieces of perfectly cooked ahi, mahi-mahi and snapper. Served alongside were little spoons of chili sauce, banana, mango chutney and macadamia nuts (so fun!!!). If you are hungry, I definitely recommend this dish. As my server promised, they have perfected the art of curry!
Stuffed mahi-mahi- Our server told us that this has been the top seller at Mama's every day since the place opened many years ago. The fish comes with a lobster tail on the top, and is then stuffed with lobster and crab. It is served with a simple side of rice and green beans to let the fish shine. Simply delicious.
Banana Macadamian Nut Crisp- My hubby and I shared this dessert (more my pick than his!) and, let me tell you, this is one rich dessert. The first bites were amazing but, after a big meal, we could hardly finish it between the two of us. Maybe a better dessert to enjoy as an afternoon snack while one sits watching the waves.
After eating at Mama's, it is very evident why Mama's has such a woderful reputation amongst locals and tourists alike. There are not many places where you enjoy magnificent food served with a smiling face, while watching Maui surfers frolicking in the waves. We cannot wait to try Mama's for brunch (and maybe another dinner too!) on our next trip to Maui!
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