• Lisa Hanly

MAMA'S FISH HOUSE, MAUI

When planning our trip to Maui, my food friends who have been to Maui all said, “Did you get a reservation to Mama’s Fish House?” Luckily, even with not-full-capacity bookings available—we snagged a spot for lunch.



Why lunch at Mama's Fish House?

· Potentially easier to get a reservation.

· Didn’t want to take two teens to a romantic dinner spot.

· Heard the view was amazing, so daylight made sure I could see it.

· There is nothing wrong with eating a big meal at lunch and taking a nap by the pool in the afternoon. (right? It’s vacation!)

· You can still get in a full day of activities, even with lunch plans. We had a morning hike and swim at nearby Twin Fallas, and did not want to look bad for lunch. So we popped into the public bathrooms very close by at Hookipa Beach. We enjoyed watched the surfers, cleaned up and changed into nice clothes and didn’t have to go back to our VRBO or give up our morning plans.



"That may have been the best meal of my life." —19 year-old-son who usually doesn't say things like this

The details:

  • The fish is so fresh that the fisherman/woman’s name is listed next to the dish on the menu.

  • The well-known dishes are well-known for a reason. The macadamia-nut encrusted fish was sweet, flaky and just absolutely perfectly cooked. Still trying to replicate this at home (mine needs work!)

  • The name of the restaurant belies the beautiful setting, inside and out. The open air windows provide a lovely view of the beach.

  • Mama was a real person (Doris Christenson, 84) and she died the week before we visited Maui. She and her husband started the restaurant in 1973. There was a beautiful “seat” at the bar where the staff honored her with a glass of wine, her photo and lots of flowers. It was really sweet and our waitress got choked up with tears when I asked her about it. It was clear Mama had quite a presence.

  • This is a very, very expensive meal. I don’t regret it but go in with eyes wide open. Go with people who will share bites and all order something different! Even at lunch, you will end up spending $75-100+ per person if you have more than the entrée.

  • The pearl dessert that is so Instagrammable is gorgeous (tasty too)...cookie shell crust, chocolate ganache surrounding a ball of chocolate mousse...more photos below, could not resist.



  • Aloha vibe means everyone is included…even the people who wore barely covered up swimming suits to lunch. My husband was irritated by the casualness of the other guests since we had made an effort.

  • The indoor setting is very nice, with wonderful flower arrangements. The outdoor setting is picture-perfect and there is a special tree just outside where everyone sits on to pose (when we got home, saw a favorite actress posted her photo on the tree a day after we were there). There are always plenty of happy, vacation-vibe people around who will probably snap a couple of shots of you and yours. Dress for pictures! (ours will probably be the 2021 Christmas card photo)



Next visit to Mama’s Fish House, we will:

  • Have a romantic dinner reservation without kids.

  • Plan a full Mama's evening with cocktails on the outdoor deck first, then dinner.

  • Consider staying at The Inn at Mama’s Fish House. We needed a family-sized place to stay this visit, but with the beach, view and restaurant right there—you might not even need to leave the area if you stayed on site!

As promised, a little bit more pearl dessert action, even with a peek inside!



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