Dining at Mama’s Fish House in Maui, Hawaii

Welcome to the 508th Tablescape Thursday!

When I announced I was visiting Maui, one restaurant that was recommended to me over and over again was Mama’s Fish House. Even after I got to Hawaii and started asking the locals for recommendations, Mama’s Fish House was always one of the first places mentioned.

During the helicopter tour I took over Maui last week, our pilot, Mike, who was continually pointing our various land features throughout the tour, pointed to a building with a green roof and said, “That’s Mama’s Fish House.” When I realized the heliport was pretty close to Paia where the restaurant was located, I decided right then and there that I would Google for directions and head there once we landed.

You know how sometimes you get these preconceived ideas about a place before you actually have the opportunity to visit? I’m not sure why, but the name “Mama’s Fish House” had me imagining a small, hang-out sorta spot where the locals go regularly for a good fish dinner.

I was very surprised when I arrived. I was greeted by a hostess on the upper level near the parking lot who immediately asked if I had reservations. I told her I didn’t but that it was just me and hopefully they could squeeze me in. She said she was sure they could, and ushered me past her with directions on how to find the restaurant.

It’s a little walk down to the restaurant and I thought the walkways were so pretty. If you’re having a poured concrete walkway installed, this is certainly a nice way to dress it up.

Concrete Walkway with Vine-Leaf Design

 

As I rounded the corner following the signs to the front door, I saw the restaurant. It was much larger than I had expected, definitely not the hole-in-the-wall, local hangout I had envisioned.

Mama's Fish House, Maui

 

Directly across from the restaurant and just a few feet away, this was the view.

Maui, Hawaii

 

Sooo beautiful!

 

Mama’s Fish House has an outdoor seating area, so if you ever visit Maui and want to eat there, when you make your reservations ask for the outdoor area. It’s sheltered so you’re not in direct sunlight, but you’ll have those nice ocean breezes and that stunning view in the photo above.

Outdoor Eating Area, Mama's Fish House, Maui, Hawaii

 

I had arrived pretty early for dinner, so though they were busy they still had a few open tables. I was offered a small table in the front part of the restaurant, or a table in the bar. I chose the bar area when I saw where I’d be sitting.

I loved the low lighting here, and the tables in the bar had the beautiful views of the ocean. The light coming in through the window freaked out my camera, so it’s hard to see the ocean in the photo below, but it was lovely!

Inside Mama's Fish House

 

If I looked through the shelves to my left, I could see another section of the restaurant. I loved how it was decorated—the blues combined with the rich wood tones. Really a pretty place!

Mamas Fish House

 

The bar area was also pretty with more of those rich wood tones and bamboo accents.

Mama's Fish House Bar Area

 

I really liked the ceiling…felt very Ernest Hemmingway, island-like.

Mama's Fish House, Ceiling

 

One thing I noticed during my week in Maui is how unafraid the birds are of people. So many of the buildings and restaurants have windows or areas that are completely open–as in a whole wall missing! So the birds just come and go as they wish, which I loved! The lobby of the Kaanapali Beach Club where I was staying was like that, birds were always flying around inside the lobbies and common areas.

I enjoyed watching the birds coming into the bar area, searching for any wayward crumbs they could scout out on the floor. Do you see the little bird there on the floor? When someone would walk by, he would fly back toward the open area, then return again once the coast was clear.

Little Bird in Mama's Fish House

 

I had gotten a bit queasy on my helicopter ride earlier in the day. I never felt really sick, just a bit queasy due to the heat and movement. I decided to treat myself to a cocktail since I wasn’t in any rush. I asked my server for recommendations and went with the Pau Hana which the menu stated contained “Bombay Gin, guava and lime-scented with ginger.”

Cocktail Menu, Mama's Fish House, Maui

 

Another server from the bar brought my drink over in a shaker, shook it well, then poured it into a glass.

Pau Hana Cocktail, Mama's Fish House, Paia, Maui, Hawaii

 

So pretty!

Pau Hana from Mama's Fish House, Maui, Hawaii

 

Next I checked out the regular menu. I had been eating pretty frugally up to this point, but when I saw the menu I decided to just throw caution to the wind and enjoy myself.

I started with “Mama’s Salad” described as Waipoli Farm’s greens, heart of palm, strawberries, honey macadamia nuts and goat cheese with Tahitian vanilla vinaigrette.”

For the main course, I chose, “Ono caught by Adam Wong trolling off the backside of Lanai, Skillet-seared, caramelized Maui onion and spicy coconut.” That’s literally how it was listed on the menu.

Mama's Fish House Menu, Maui, Hawaii

 

Bread was brought out and it was sooo good! It was all I could do to not eat it all while I waited for my main course. I didn’t want to fill up on bread and have no room for dinner.

Fresh Bread, Mama's Fish House, Paia, Maui

 

A ginger bisque was brought out complimentary, which was really nice. It was delicious! I can’t remember its actual name, but I think it had the words ginger and bisque in the name.

Ginger Bisque

 

Next, I enjoyed, “Mama’s Salad” and it was excellent. Again, it was described on the menu as: Waipoli Farm’s greens, heart of palm, strawberries, honey macadamia nuts and goat cheese with Tahitian vanilla vinaigrette.

Mama's Salad, Mama's Fish House

 

Not long after I finished my salad, my fish arrived. The menu states the fish they prepare each day has been caught by the local fisherman in the last 24 hours. It’s then listed on the menu along with the name of the fisherman.

The fish I selected was listed on the menu as: Ono, caught by Adam Wong trolling off the backside of Lanai, skillet-seared, caramelized Maui onion and spicy coconut. I’ve never seen a menu like this one!

Ono Caught by Adam Wong Trolling Off the Backside of Lanai, Mama's Fish House

 

When eating out, I’m usually never able to finish a meal, but I ate every single bite of my salad and fish, including the little gourmet-cooked broccoli/carrots that were on the plate but hidden in this view. Everything tasted wonderful and the service was excellent. My server was attentive, but never intrusive. She was great!

 

The desserts all sounded amazing, so it was a struggle to choose just one. I finally made my selection and while I waited for it to arrive, coffee was served. I’m not a “real” coffee drinker, I never drink it in the morning–just occasionally have an iced coffee as a treat once or twice during the week. But I do love coffee with dessert when eating out. They just seem to go together.

The coffee was served in a cute, little container, you can see it there in the background. You real coffee drinkers will know what that little device is called. Is it called a press? My son has something like it at his house, but I’ve forgotten what he calls it.

Coffee, Mama's Fish House

 

Then–out came the most amazing looking dessert! Wow!

Mama's Fish House, Polynesian Black Pearl, Chocolate Mousse, Pastry Seashell

 

This little work of art was called a “Polynesian Black Pearl.” It was described on the menu as: Lilikoi chocolate mousse in a pastry seashell.

Polynesian Black Pearl, Chocolate Mousse, Pastry Seashell, Mama's Fish House

 

Beautiful!

Mama's Fish House, Polynesian Black Pearl, Chocolate Mousse in Pastry Seashell

 

I was so full by this point, I only ate about half of my dessert. I never even tried the shell…was just way too full. I did dip my spoon in the yellow stuff around the outside and it was tart and lemony. Yum! This dessert was insanely good, can highly recommend it if you ever visit Mama’s Fish House.

Polynesian Black Pearl, Chocolate Mousse in Pastry Seashell, Mama's Fish House

 

After dessert, my server brought out this adorable little thing. I can’t remember now what she called it, but I think she said it was something to cleanse the palate, or something like that. It wasn’t on the menu or anything I had ordered. I was so full by this point, I wasn’t able to even try it, but it looked delicious!

I was just googling trying to remember what my server called it. It reminds me of something I found online called an “amuse-bouche” but it was served at the end of the meal, not at the start, so not sure if that’s it or not.

 

After I had finished my dessert and waddled out, I stopped by the restroom before I began the hour-long trek back to Kaanapali. I had to take a picture of this—now that’s attention to detail! I’m pretty sure this is the only Tablescape Thursday post that will ever include a photo of toilet paper. 😉

TP Decorated with Flowers in Mama's Fish House

 

After leaving Mama’s, I sat for a while admiring this gorgeous view.

 

 

If you ever visit Maui, be sure to check out Mama’s Fish House. It’s just a little hole-in-the-wall place 😉 but I think you’ll love it!

 

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Comments

  1. “everyone tasted wonderful” …. hope not! LOL! Thanks … really enjoyed this post but had to really laugh about the typo! Almost choked on my coffee laughing …

    • Rosie S says:

      I got a chuckle too! 🙂 What a wonderful trip!! Love reading the details!

    • lol a typo can really change the meaning of a sentence, can’t it? 🙂

      • Rosie S says:

        Heehee, that was a cute one…….one of the worst typos I made was, luckily, to a friend, and I MEANT to type, ‘you know’……and typed…’you kow’….and it actually MADE SENSE in the context of the sentence. So I essentially called my friend a cow… sheesh ….. She still kids me about it though….thank goodness I wasn’t writing to someone without a sense of humor!

  2. Oh wow Susan, what an amazing restaurant! So glad you took this trip and visited Mama’s. Such a once in a lifetime adventure.

  3. How positively beautiful! Glad you had a wonderful time! I love Hawaii. I think it’s beautiful, it’s peaceful, it’s calming; I just really enjoy it

  4. Sounds like the idyllic place to be for a true Hawaiian meal, Susan. It also sounded like you were maybe sick hungry! That view would cure any ailment. Thank you for being host the 508th TT, the 1st TPT. 😉

  5. Great post. Yes to Mamas Fish House ! We also had the pleasure of going and dinning, the food was awesome but the views were breathtaking. So glad you enjoyed it too. This read really brought back great memories. We framed the front side of the menu with the pretty Hawaiian ladies.

  6. Love all your travels ! So enjoy your pictures and stories that go with them. Its about the only way I get to travel– through others.

  7. Beautiful! I will certainly plan to visit this restaurant on my next trip to Hawaii. Thank you so much for sharing these beautiful photos.

  8. Now that was an experience…I just love a dining…treat!! Hawaiian coffee…the best I ever had IN MY LIFE on early morning Aloha Airlines flight hop from one island to another to tour ancient volcanos…it was a “gift” from the gods. I’ve never had it duplicated. Ahhh…the things we remember…franki

  9. Dawne Marie says:

    This is highly interesting! The view, the named fisherman, the shell dessert. Even the toidy paper! Thanks for sharing. It took me away for a bit. Back to work. Bill paying day.

    • Wasn’t that amazing?! I’ve never eaten fish in a restaurant where I knew the name of the fisherman who caught it and where he caught it!

  10. Cecilia says:

    OH.MY.GOSH, Susan!
    All I can say is OH.MY.GOSH!
    I love, love, love every single picture you took and everything you showed us!
    The Ocean, the beach, Mama’s Fish House, its walkways and its dishes (especially that Polynesian Black Pearl looks sooo sooo sooo amazing!), 🙂 the nice and friendly people there, the courageous birds and… yes, even that TP-pic is… beautiful! 🙂 I’ve never seen TP displayed in such a… feminine way! lol
    I knew Hawaii is beautiful but that place is really something out of this world! Next time someone tells me there’s no proof of Heaven, I’ll show him this post which is proof there’s even a Heaven on Earth! Ha!
    Thank you, Susan!

    • Thanks so much, Cecilia! Really, it was like heaven–that meal! I enjoyed it so much! The view was just icing on the cake!
      By the way, I think the caching issue is straightened out now on this end, hope you are able to see all the posts/comments now.

      • Cecilia says:

        Susan,
        I just cleaned the browser’s cache and can read this post and all comments now. Before clearing the cache, Firefox didn’t show up this post.
        Explorer did, but it said there were only 2 comments!?
        I just called my son and he “scolded” me, I can solve this, I am not stupid! What can I say? He was right! LOL

        • Cecilia, have you ever used Google’s Chrome browser? It’s my favorite and is super fast. Explorer is very outdated now, from what I’ve heard. I love Chrome, it’s all I use now.
          Glad clearing the cache worked!

  11. Bonnie Gutierrez says:

    Now I have the urge to take a trip and a sudden craving for Mama’s! That ocean view is mesmerizing. So glad you enjoyed the trip!

  12. WOW what a wonderful place to eat and so very pretty. I cannot believe the looks of that beautiful dessert. The view is breathtaking. And the decorative toilet paper!!!! LOVE IT! Hugs and blessings, Cindy

  13. Thanks for sharing your Hawaiian dinner Susan, it sounded like a lot of fun and of course that dessert was a show stopper!

  14. This place looks heavenly!!! I have never been to Hawaii, always kind of said we would some day – maybe we should move it up on our list of things to do and include Mama’s!! That dessert alone looks worth the trip, but the view is spectacular!! Thanks for sharing this jewel of a place!

  15. Aloha Kakahiaka! What a beautiful and delicious sounding meal – OMGosh!!! It sounds like you made the most out of your vacation – good for you. Your coffee was served to you in a French Press! Ahoha!

    • Awww, yes…that’s what it’s called! Thanks for sharing that Leslie! I really felt spoiled throughout dinner…lovely experience!

    • Lori MacKenzie says:

      I came on to mention the French Press too. When I want to savor my coffee I use mine. Susan, Your cocktail looked so delish…..I could almost taste it!

  16. Donna zoltanski says:

    Simply gorgeous. So happy you had a wonderful vacation.

  17. Oh, my, I’d like to just go there for dessert! That chocolate pearl looks AMAZING! I am not a coffee drinker, but I think maybe that’s a French Press? I’m glad you took the recommendations to visit this lovely restaurant.

    • That’s it! Thanks, Joy…couldn’t remember the name. You would love it. I think we all need to go enough times until we’ve tried all the desserts. lol I wanted all of them when I looked at the dessert menu!

  18. I really enjoyed your post today. Thank you!

  19. Margaret says:

    You ate at one of my favorite places in Maui. We go to Maui every year and Mama’s is a must for dinner. Lunch is no cheaper than dinner for anyone who is planning to go, just the ambience is different. It’s also an expensive place to eat but well worth it. Glad you were able to make it.

  20. Such a delightful post, Susan. And great photos. But how could you leave that dessert on the table? At least get the leftovers to go, lol. Were the ginger drinks/dishes a coincidence, or did you mention your queasiness and they chose for you? Such a feast.

    • I know, I should have asked for a doggie bag. It was so yummy! I can’t remember now if I mentioned the queasiness or not, I may have. It definitely helped…maybe it was the ginger.

  21. Next time you visit…Paia, the town where Mama’s is located, is worth a walk around as well. Each island has its own charm, even Oahu!

    • We drove through it on our “Road to Hana” tour and I really did want to come back. I should have done that. I remember seeing Charlie’s, Willie Nelson’s restaurant where occasionally he plays and another restaurant owned by another musician…forgotten the name now.

  22. All the Mamma’s Fish house photos were great. Thanks for sharing !

  23. Terri Santiago says:

    Maui – LOVE IT!!!!!

  24. What a meal! The dessert looked like an eye ball in one photo with eyelashes around it!

  25. I’m booking a trip to Maui just to eat at Mama’s. Everything looks so delicious!

  26. So glad you enjoyed your trip! I also did a helicopter ride only out of Honolulu, what a great way to get the feel of the whole Island. I had to laugh at your toilet paper pictures so I also took a picture of some toilet paper rolls in a washroom of a jewellry/accessory store in the big mall in Honolulu! The store was done in black and whites and the rolls were wrapped in black and white French inspired tissue paper. Very attractive. Always enjoy your posts.

  27. Edith Bice says:

    The food sounds heavenly! Would love to visit that restaurant if ever in Hawaii!

  28. So glad you took this trip!! What an exciting adventure, thanks for taking me along through the photos!!! You jumped in feet first and so open for something new…………good for you girl!!! xoxoxo

  29. Caroline says:

    Looks pretty good, but oh my gosh those prices 😮
    And hope you took the rest of that beautiful desert with ya 😉

    • I was a bit surprised, too…then I just decided to enjoy since I had been eating modestly for my other meals. It was definitely worth it!
      I didn’t take the dessert, but I should have!

  30. Patricia says:

    That dessert looks heavenly! My mouth is watering for it!
    And I’d love to taste that coffee!
    Thank you for posting this.

  31. Marlene says:

    Wow, Susan, everything is sumptious — the restaurant, the view, dinner from drinks to soup to dessert — everything a work of art! Even the sweet little bird, my favorite part, until the Polynesian Pearl showed up. It made me a little weak in the knees, I have to say!

  32. My mother sent me the link to your blog regarding Mamas Fish House . We recently went there with my parents and they took us to Mamas fish house. Needless to say the place is amazing. Views are breathtaking restaurant is quite the shoot is beyond excellent. I definitely recommend this to anybody who thinks they are going to Maui however it is a smart idea to have reservations my father booked reservations six months advance and we got in at 4 PM. Anyway it was great to see your pictures- I also just followed you want Instagram and posted pictures and tag you in them as well. (PS we also stayed In Kaanapali and it was lovely also!)

    • Yes, definitely would recommend reservations. I arrived early and since I was by myself, I think that made it easy for them to squeeze me in.
      Thanks, Denise! XXX

  33. Thanks for the pix of Mama’s Fish House. We ate there several years ago on a trip to Maui. Your post reminded me of the beauty of that place and how good it was…I hadn’t thought of it in a long while.

    • It really is beautiful! Such a fun trip with so many great experiences! I feel like I only scratched the surface during my time there, though.

  34. We were in The Kaanapal area in Spring of 2017 and it is Beautiful. It was our second visit. Also our second visit at the wonderful Mamas Fish House.
    I agree with all you said about the food and the service and the beautiful ocean view. I am ready to go back. So glad you enjoyed your vacation and enjoyed seeing the way the food is delivered to your table.

  35. Jeanette says:

    Wouldn’t it be nice if every restaurant had the catch of the day and who caught it and where? Love food in Hawaii everything is so fresh.

  36. Wow Mamma’s Fish House looks like the perfect Hawaiian experience! That dessert looks wonderful. That picture on the beach looking between the palm trees at the ocean is fantastic- so dreamy!

  37. That view! Oh my goodness, can you imagine looking at that every day? How wonderful that would be. The food looked delicious and that amazing Black Pearl looked substantial enough to be a meal in itself!

    The coffee carafe you mentioned is called a French Press. 🙂

    I’m so happy you took the plunge and accepted the offer to take the trip. I’m sure you’ll have wonderful memories of this experience and no regrets.

  38. I really enjoyed this post and pictures of Mama’s Fish House! Like a little virtual vacation I could “hear” the waves crashing in that beautiful ocean view picture, and salivate at your plates of food! I don’t blame you for splurging on the meal, that’s part of the vacation fun and it makes for a great food memory. Funny, but the name would have made me think it was a local plain but good food place, what a pleasant surprise for you it was so different! I think it would be worth going just for dessert too! Yes, that coffee pot thingy is a French Press, as a twitter friend of mine has stated she loves hers and it makes much better coffee than just a drip machine. I’m thinking of purchasing one, as I’m told they have them in Target.

  39. After reading this post; I may just have to put another visit to Hawaii on my bucket list since I’m not getting any younger and I do love sea food particularly when it comes with such a beautiful view. Thanks for sharing Susan. Hugs -Brenda-

  40. Cyndi Raines says:

    Over-the-top! Every picture was awesome, that view especially! And the desert, oh my! A work of art! I am sure this event made up for the “less than” cafeteria meal at the hotel.

  41. Cyndi Raines says:

    Love that view! This meal surely makes up for the “not so great buffet one” at the hotel. The presentation is awesome also. I would have had to ask for a treat baggie, lol.

  42. That dessert looks incredible and the surroundings like paradise. Thank you for sharing!

  43. Hi Susan, I’ve been too Mama’s Fish House several times. My sister owns a place in Maui, so when we go (I’ve been there 4 times so far) we make sure to hit Mama’s. I liked watching the surfers while we ate. Speaking about the birds. I attended mass on Sunday morning and they were flying in and out the open windows. It was just beautiful. Isn’t it great how you can eat out at night there and there are no bugs??? Enjoy yourself.

    • Yes, it’s amazing! I was wondering if the whole island is treated for mosquitoes because I never got bitten sitting outdoors. Do they just naturally not have mosquitoes there? I do so love how the birds just come and go everywhere! 🙂

  44. Charlotte says:

    Mama’s House looks like a perfect setting! The dessert is amazing! I am enjoying the pictures and stories of your trip! What a beautiful place.

  45. Theresa says:

    Thanks for the memories. My sister and I ate there. I wish we would have had that desert. Your pictures are great.

  46. Debbi Shahabian says:

    Maui No Ka Oi…Maui is the best❣️ Was so lucky to live there for 3+ yrs, right after college…heavenly, right? Mama’s is where I always took our guests for an extraordinary dinner experience too! Your drink, ‘Pau Hana’ means done with work literally, so a perfect after work cocktail to relax. I’m a fair skinned redhead, and bugs usually love me. No skeeters at all while in Maui luckily, lol… Just a magical place…took my hubby there for our honeymoon 14 years ago now too! We hope to go back one day…glad you got to take in the best of this special island!

  47. Alice Stephens says:

    What a wonderful post. I have laughed till I cried and really loved hearing about your dinner experience as only you can tell it. Thank you for making my day. Keep up the good work keeping our lives filled with laughter and new interesting things to think about.

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