Got a birthday, anniversary, wedding, graduation, or just the need to treat yourself and friends or loved ones to a great meal in a beautiful setting? Go to Mama’s Fish House. Very pricey, very good; Mama’s is a Maui institution. Unless you order a sandwich (still expensive), expect to pay $50+ per person for lunch and more for dinner. The + is for appetizers, drinks, and desserts. While the word “economical” doesn’t really apply to Mama’s, you could have a very satisfying meal with just appetizers and desserts. Reservations recommended anytime – a must in high season. Mention a special occasion and you just might find an aloha card on your table.
Located on a small beach at 799 Poho Place (1.5 miles east of the stoplight in Paia just off the Hana Highway), the Mama’s Fish House sign (see the picture to the right) is hard to miss. Turn in and turn your car over for free valet parking. Be prepared to stay a while.
Walk slowly because everything you see from the time you leave your car until you drive away is tastefully done: admire the views, admire the trees, admire the woodwork, admire the floral arrangements. (Admire the restrooms.) Before you take a bite to eat, admire the presentation of what’s set before you. Of course “tastefully done” uses every sense of the word when applied to food and drinks.
While it’s possible to get something else, Mama’s is known for fish. Even if you normally go for the turf rather than the surf, there’s a fish at Mama’s that just might be the best you’ve ever had. The menu is new every day but there are favorites that are always available. For many of the entrées, the menu tells not only where the fish was caught, but who caught it. The waitstaff is knowledgeable, solicitious and displays just the right amount of friendly.
If you can, save room for dessert. We were stuffed, but three of us recently shared a small Liliko’i Crème Brulèe that was amazing. The perfect ending to a splendid meal.
Your wallet will be lighter when you leave, but I predict you won’t be disappointed. It’s not just a meal, it’s a memory.