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Monday 31 May 2010

Kimo's Restaurant Lahaina Maui - casual food with a lovely seaside view

Rating 7.5/10
Being one of the earlist eateries on the island set in the quaint touristy town of Old Lahaina, we couldn't pass up an opportunity to have a taste of history.  After meandering through picturesque parks with towering and majestic banyan trees, doing our part to beat the recession in the numerous tourist shops, and walking by the scenic boardwalks by the ocean, we worked up an appetite and stepped into a restaurant with antique (some cartoonized) ocean themed memorabilia with a casual feel.  The waitress proudly pronounced that they definitely know how to make their fish - and the kitchen was true to her word as we found out later after being seated in a shaded portion of the patio overlooking the ocean.  Kimo's is family friendly with super friendly staff shifting tables over to accommodate a highchair, or to position customers out of the sun beating down onto our heads.  The drinks menu looked better and better as we settled in.

Offering a selection of fresh tropical juices, beers and cocktails, we went with a variety of cocktails - an Island Itch which came with a tongue in cheek wooden backscratcher as a stirstick, Mai Tai's... all served in amusing tiki faced glasses.  Stingy with the alcohol they are not - though the fresh fruit juices used add a nice fresh sweetness to the cocktails.  The drinks immediately have beads of condensation on them as soon as they're set out on the sunny patio tables, but we do the tiki's proud and make quick work of the tasty offerings within.  The inner child within us joins the kids at other tables into mimicking the faces on the tiki cups while we wait for our food.

the FOOD
Smoked Hawaiian fish carpaccio
A bit of a misnomer as it turns out the appetizer is just thin slices of smoked white fish. Delicately smoked, the fish is tender with a slight creamy texture and melts in your mouth.  Its served with a thin light yogurty garlic dip that balances out the smokiness without you garnering looks from the garlic-phobes. A light, savory and promising start to our meal.  Plating is minimal, with the fish slices atop of a piece of banana leaf and a few pretty flowers we normally see on leis garnishing the plate.  While non-toxic, they are not supposed to be edible flowers, so don't eat the garnish.

Grilled herbed mahi mahi
The fresh mahi mahi has a light herb crust, grilled and served on a banana leaf, with macaroni salad and white long grained rice.  The white almost translucent flesh of the mahi mahi is succulent and perfectly cooked - moist without being flaky with the herbs adding subtle flavor without overwhelming the delicate fish.  The macaroni salad has a tangy finish and is a nice side on a hot sunny afternoon.  This meal is reminiscent of a lazy fishing picnic on a long weekend at the lake.

Icecream pie dessert
We finish off our meal by sharing Kimo's infamous icecream pie between four of us - our friendly waitress stated we couldn't leave without trying it - though she initially was too optimistic.  She thought each one of us wanted a slice of the gargantuan pie rather than sharing a single slice.  The single slice was the size of the entire dinner plate!  Smooth vanilla icecream sits on top of a crunchy cookie crust, topped with a thick layer of chocolate fudge, toasted macadamia nuts (we are in Hawaii!) and a luscious mini mountain of whipped cream.  It was a heroic battle to finish the delectable pie before the ambient sunny temperatures threatened to melt it into a sugary sweet puddle.

Overall, a nice casual setting to head to for simple fare with friends and family.  Friendly staff, simply prepared food and a patio that overlooks the ocean is a definite bonus.  Sharing and attempting to finish the enormous desserts seem to be a bit of a family tradition at many of the tables around us with kids, parents and grandparents cheerfully bickering and challenging each other to the next bite of dessert.  If the kitchen took a mind to plating and a bit more attention to detail, I can see this restaurant sticking around for another hundred years or so.  Go try for yourself, and see if you don't get sucked into a dessert eating contest with your friends.

Kimo's Restaurant
Address 845 Front St # A, Lahaina, HI
Phone (808) 661-4811 
Hours Lunch till 3:30pm, Dinner service starts at 5pm, first come first served
Kimo's on Urbanspoon


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