Like the force of the tide, Royal Lahaina's alluring beach and wealth of activities often pulls guests into staying near the resort grounds. A 3,500-seat tennis stadium holds clinics on its 10 courts and has hosted championship events. Other on-site lessons indulge crafty sojourners, such as the lei-making class. Families can wash out the taste of bad stamp flavors at the on-site ice-cream parlor, which dishes out locally made scoops of the frozen treat. A diverse spread of regional Hawaiian fare populates the menu at the alfresco Royal Ocean Terrace Restaurant & Lounge, where hula dancers sway to the melodies of a house musician.There's plenty of life beyond the resort, too. Coconut trees, lava rocks, and natural canals dot the landscape on the Robert Trent Jones–designed Ka'anapali Golf Course, whose two courses with gently sloping fairways often neighbor the shoreline. Royal Lahaina's activities desk attendant arranges trips for whale-watching cruises, parasailing trips, and helicopter tours.The historic town of Lahaina—founded by Polynesian settlers more than a thousand years ago—blends its rich cultural heritage with abundant shopping opportunities. A stroll along the iconic Front Street reveals resplendent restaurants and scores of knickknacks at souvenir stands, and nighttime hums with dynamic nightclubs.
The sunlight bathed, palm-fortified fairways of the beautifully landscaped Kaanapali Golf Course wend around the slatted windows of Paradise Grill, filling each portal with greenery backed by sunsets and rolling ocean. It's a stunning venue in which to enjoy some casual island culture. A high-vaulted diagonal ceiling stretches overhead, lending the eatery a modern feel. The first-floor bar boasts 11 flat-screen TVs and a quieter, second-floor dining room is where guests slice into ocean-fresh fish or pull gooey slices of handmade Round Table pizzas. The chefs whip up breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late-night meals affectionately called Buenas Noshes.
Since Cafe Mambo's original location is in Paia, a little surfer town near Maui, Hawaii, it makes sense that their menu of sandwiches, salads, and crepes features a Hawaiian flair. The chefs dress up their sweet and savory crepes with ingredients such as fresh pineapple and ham and build Big Kahuna sandwiches with turkey, ham, gruyere, and dijonaise.
Forty years ago, Sandy Beall had an epiphany—he would open a casual restaurant that serves handcrafted dishes made with quality ingredients, such as 100% USDA Choice or Prime ground beef, vine-ripened tomatoes, and applewood-smoked bacon. Ruby Tuesday opened near the University of Tennessee in 1972, and it proved to be so popular, that it is now an iconic American institution with about 900 restaurants across the United States and the world. Local culinary kings Ted Davenport and Rick Nakashima oversee the Ruby Tuesday Hawaii locations, teaming up to bring flavor that has earned their eateries mentions from Hawaii Sports Memories and MidWeek.
At Ruby Tuesday Hawaii, customers select dishes from the menu, such as jumbo skewered shrimp, top sirloin steaks with roasted spaghetti squash, or chunks of rich lobster meat swimming in a creamy mac ’n’ cheese. Cocktails from an ample bar menu compete with craft beer and frozen drinks.
Ruby Tuesday Hawaii’s staffers aren’t just concerned with making their customers happy—they also want to make Mother Nature happy and do so with a variety of green efforts and massages for trees. Recent programs include discussions on storm-water management and school rewards for students who perform well academically.
At first glance, The Grove is a paradox. It's family owned and operated, but helmed by the same world-class chef—Fred DeAngelo—who has run award-winning establishments such as the beachfront Ola restaurant at Turtle Bay Resort, and hosted a dinner at the James Beard House in New York City. Chef DeAngelo draws products from local farmers whenever possible, but also uses internationally gleaned ingredients such as cedar-plank New Zealand king salmon and Maine lobster. And although the twinkling party lights and live music on the laid-back patio give the restaurant a low-key, family-friendly vibe, the regular training, menu quizzing, and table hurdling of the attentive wait staff are reminiscent of a fine-dining experience.
The answer to the puzzle may be found in the diverse background of Chef DeAngelo's 'ohana, which is Hawaiian for family. As reported by the Honolulu Weekly, DeAngelo and his sister are Italian, Hawaiian, Korean, German, and Polish; his wife is Hawaiian, Chinese, Spanish, and Filipino; and his brother-in-law is Greek. So guests can order ahi poke, Greek-marinated roast chicken, or risotto all from the same menu, whose eclectic nature may also stem from Chef DeAngelo's world travels as a representative for the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau.
According to another Honolulu Weekly article, the blend of cultures is a success. "The food and well-trained service is white tablecloth … But the mood is palaka-covered picnic table. A rare and sweet balance." Whatever the reason behind the culinary choices, they seem to be working: the hot spot was named a Best New Restaurant silver medalist in Honolulu magazine's 2013 Hale Aina Awards.