Eat cheap on that Hawaii golf trip: It's no Scottsdale or Las Vegas
One of the joys of that splurge golf trip is a blowout meal or three that you’ll remember almost as long as the courses. In Hawaii, it’s best not to spend too much time looking for those great meals. You’re better off concentrating on everything else that the islands have to offer - beautiful scenery, incredible beaches and more ocean golf courses than you’ve ever seen anywhere.
The money you set aside for those all-out meals would be better spent on a surfboard - or snorkeling lessons.
That’s because after all almost two weeks of exacting research, I’ve concluded that those great meals just aren’t there to be found in Hawaii.
The islands do a lot of things great. But culinary excellence is not close to one of them. In fact, the most disappointing part of a trip that’s rarely disappointed is how average to mediocre the fish is in Hawaii’s restaurants. If any place could do wonderful fish, you’d think it’d be a land surrounded by water, water and well, more water.
Only that’s anything but the case. Let’s just say that the chefs of New York City are quaking at the thought of Hawaii’s fish preparers about as much as the New England Patriots are worried about those incredibly overrated (as usual) Pittsburgh Steelers.
It doesn’t matter if it’s highly-hyped expensive restaurants or bargain food stands, the fish in Hawaii simply hasn’t been anything special.
A few of the dining spots pumped up in the guide books are all right. Pineapple Grill - the restaurant right next to the Kapalua Bay Course’s clubhouse - has a nice atmosphere with all its torches and the high-end food’s not bad. I thought the Terrace restaurant in the Lodge at Koele on the little island of Lanai was near non-major-major-city Four Seasons quality.
Though someone who dined with me one of the nights and got the lamb strongly disagreed.
Still, Cilantro - a very reasonable Mexican place in Maui without waiters - was better than all those spots. Easily. And the best thing at Cilantro? The pork tacos. The fish tacos weren’t anything great - as usual with Hawaii fish.
You’re not going to remember a meal at a Cilantros for a month, let alone a lifetime though. Which is the point. Don’t bother fixating on food in Hawaii.
Save that for other West Coast golf meccas with great dining like Scottsdale, Las Vegas (if you do some research) and definitely Cabo.
In Hawaii, just eat like a surfer (cheap) and concentrate on other things in life.
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