Food,  Travel

Mama’s Fish House Maui Review

There are good meals, and then there are GREAT memorable dining experiences. Mama’s Fish House in Maui is one of those meals I’ll always remember.

Spoiler alert… plan ahead and book reservations well in advance. But it will be so worth it! After a failed attempt at reservations on a past trip, I was fortunate to grab a mid-week 11:15am reservation. And I couldn’t have been happier!

The ocean-front view is phenomenal and the service is top-notch. The menu is local, fresh and every bite was impressive.

View from Mama's Fish House Maui: palm trees and ocean

In this review of Mama’s Fish House Maui, you’ll see all the details of my highly-rated dining experience, and why it’s the best ocean view restaurant in Maui.

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What Makes Mama’s Fish House So Special?

Nestled in the north shore of Maui, Mama’s Fish House Restaurant is truly an authentic Hawaiian culinary experience. There’s something special about a restaurant that can deliver not only incredible dishes, but an enchanting environment and top-level service. This iconic restaurant truly has it all.

Mama’s Fish house has been serving fresh, locally caught seafood for nearly 50 years! The restaurant’s founders, Floyd and Doris Christenson, were fishing enthusiasts who wanted to create a dining experience that showcased the best of local Hawaiian seafood and celebrated the island’s cultural heritage. It has become a staple of the Maui dining scene, and for good reason.

Mama’s Fish House was a 2018 James Beard Foundation Semi Finalist, which is a huge culinary achievement in itself! It was also rated in the Top 10 Fine Dining Restaurants in the US by TripAdvisor, and the 2nd Most Popular Restaurant in the US by OpenTable. Let me tell you… it lives up to the hype!

Entrance to Mama's Fish House Restaurant in Maui, Hawaii
Entrance to Mama’ Fish House Restaurant in Maui, Hawaii

How to Get Reservations at Mama’s Fish House

Mama’s Fish House usually books up 3-6 months in advance for lunch and dinner. About 6 months prior to our Maui trip, I looked for reservations and there happened to be ONE available slot remaining for our entire week-long trip, and it was right at their opening time. I snagged it and am so thankful that I did! 

Reservations are available online through OpenTable or on the Mama’s Fish House website up to 12 months in advance or by phone to the restaurant at (808) 579-8488, but they book up incredibly fast. If they are fully booked during your travel dates, you can sign up for OpenTable Availability Alerts for Mama’s Fish House and get the chance to be notified if a table becomes available on your selected date & time. To set this up, click the blue ‘Set alert’ button at end of the time slots section.

Reservations are requried for the dining room, but they do allow some walk ins at the bar on a first come first serve basis. Seating is very limited, so I’d recommend to go early for your best chances at grabbing a seat. 

Exterior of Mama's Fish House

Mama’s Fish House Review

Vibe Check

The atmosphere at Mama’s Fish House is just as memorable as the food, particularly the incredible ocean-front view. I would argue that Mama’s is the best ocean view restaurant in Maui.

The restaurant sits right on the beach at Kuau Cove and faces the ocean. When you arrive, you’ll pass through the beach-front walkway, speckled with beautiful, tall palm trees and crashing waves. It was calm and serene, and felt like walking into paradise. I was already swooning, and hadn’t even stepped foot in the dining room yet! You will definitely want to save time for photos here before or after the meal. We went at lunch time, but I imagine that a sunset dinner with an ocean view at Mama’s would be absolutely stunning!

The greeting area on the patio was also gorgeous and filled with lots of photos and things to look at while you wait. The staff were friendly and welcoming from the moment we arrived. 

The dining room layout gives nearly every table an ocean view. The decor transports you to a tropical oasis with thatched-roof pavilions and lush gardens. Every detail has been carefully crafted, and you can feel the intention to authentic Hawaiian culture. 

Mama’s Fish House Menu

It’s tough to pick if the star of the show is the oceanfront view or the incredible Mama’s Fish House menu. Let’s call it a tie.

The entire menu, from drinks to amuse bouche, all the way to dessert were impressive at every bite.

What Should you Order to Drink?

I ordered the ‘Pau Hana’ aka Guava Martini. It’s made with Haiku guava, Tahitian lime and Bombay gin – scented with ginger. I could taste the freshness of the guava and lime juice, and it was bright and balanced. Perfect for sipping, and taking in those tropical vibes. I would definitely order this again!

My husband and our friend ordered the Mai Tai Roa Ae. “Mai Tai Roa Ae” means “the very best.”. The server told us that the original recipe actually came from a bartender out of Oakland, CA, which was surprising! Some argue that Monkeypod Kitchen has the best mai tai on the island, and we’re big fans. But Mama’s was also great! You won’t find any foam, but you can taste the freshness and it’s a quality mai tai. 

Mai Tai and Guava Martini

Menu Prices 

One of the highlights of dining at Mama’s Fish House is the daily-changing menu, which features the freshest catches of the day and seasonal ingredients. So you won’t find prices on the website, but you can find them on TripAdvisor.

Expect to spend about $100-$150 per person to do three courses and a drink each. 

Appetizers and salads: $22-$38 each (shareable)

Entrees:  $65-$95 each

Dessert: $15-$20 (shareable)

Cocktails: $16-$22 each

They serve an all-day lunch and dinner menu, so there are no discounts at Mama’s Fish House for lunch menu prices or happy hour. We ended up sharing 1 appetizer, 2 entrees, and a dessert between three people at tlunch time, and found that it was plenty of food. 

This is the type of restaurant you visit for a special occassion; like an anniversary dinner, birthday, wedding dinner. Or if you’re like us, just to celebrate vacation and experience the Mama’s Fish House magic! But the entire experience is VERY MUCH worth the price. 


The chef sends out an amuse-bouche to start (amuse-bouche is a fancy French word for “to amuse the mouth”). Ours was a small portion of cremini mushroom bisque, and it was divine! I am actually not a fan of mushrooms, but the flavor of this soup was to die for. We were all surprised by the robust flavor it had. We’re off to a great start!

They also bring wheat bread and whipped butter to the table, which was soft and lovely. 

We ordered the Haleakala Beef in a grilled Hana papaya starter to share. The deep orange yellow color of the papaya was gorgeous and it paired beautifully with the grilled steak and red onions. The sauce was light, and enhanced the flavor, but still allowed the main ingredients to shine through. It was simple but innovative. 

Haleakala Beef in Papaya

The Main Attraction 

The chefs take great pride in crafting dishes that showcase the unique flavors of Hawaiian seafood, such as the Opakapaka (pink snapper) and Ono (wahoo) caught off the shores of Maui. We knew that their fresh-caught fish was a must, so we ordered two fish entrees to share between the three of us. 

Sesame-Rice Crusted A'Ku Fish Entree from Mama's Fish House in Maui, Hawaii
Sesame-Rice Crusted A’Ku

The first entree was the Sesame-Rice Crusted A’ Ku with Kula Vegetables and Kalua Pig Fried Rice.
The A’ Ku, also known as Skipjack Tuna, was caught in local waters north of Oahu Island aboard the fishing vessel “Queen Diamond”. It was served over a bed of fluffy rice and covered in a delicious sauce. The sesame-rice cust created a beautiful crunch on the outside of the fish and added some texture. 

The New Zealand Salmon entree was the star of the show in my opinion. It was served with baked banana and charred Maui gold pineapple. The presentation was unique and creative. It came wrapped in a large green tropical leaf that was tied off of the top, so it stood tall and made a statement at the table. The flavor of the banana was unlike other bananas I’ve had before. It was sweet, but not overly sweet, and super flavorful. It was as if I had been eating pastel bananas and I just had one in full color!

I wasn’t sure about the banana salmon combination at first, but surprisingly it paired perfectly. The balance and uniqueness of flavor was incredible. I absolutely love when a chef can pair surprising flavors in this way and make it balance harmoniously. It was divine! I couldn’t stop talking about it all week… 

Save Room for Dessert

As expected, Mama’s Fish House makes all of the dessert in-house and they are nothing short of spectacular. One of the popular desserts is the Polynesian Black Pearl which is chocolate liliko’i mousse in a pastry seashell. Keeping with the local ingredient theme, it features Maui Ku’ia Estates Chocolate.

Since I was so enamored by the banana from the salmon dish, we opted for the Warm Banana Macadamia Nut Crisp. I was surprised to see bananas as the main ingredient in a fruit crisp, but at this point I had given my full trust to the chef, so we went for it. And once again I was impressed! 

The bananas were soft, but not mushy. They had incredible flavor that worked well with the crumble and vanilla ice cream. We nearly scraped the bowl clean. Delicious! The chef sent out three mini mousse cups with our crumble, which were soft and flavorful.

Warm Banana Macadamia Nut Crisp from Mama's Fish House in Maui

They also bring you a tray of warm towels and little dark chocolates infused with local mango at the end of the meal. The chocolates are made in Maui and they were so decadent and delicious. Mama’s Fish House had already captured my heart at that point, but the chocolates and warm towels really sealed the deal! What more could you ask for?

Great Places to Stay Near Mama’s Fish House Maui

You can actually stay on-property at the Inn at Mama’s Fish House, which is attached to the restaurant. The location is near the famous Hookipa Beach, and close to the quaint town of Paia which has a lot of trendy shops and restaurants. They offer Studio, 1-bedroom or 2-bedroom suites and you can reserve them on their website

  • Paia Inn is located on the north shore in the heart of Paia, and has beautiful suites ranging up to 3 bedrooms. Kahului Airport is only a 15 minute drive for easy access to the airport. 
  • Staying with a group? Check out this gorgeous, newly listed 2500 sq ft vacation home conveniently located near the beach between Kahului and Paia. It has 3 bedrooms and a beautiful private pool. Stunning!
  • This Condo with Lanai is situated at the beginning of the Road to Hana, just minutes from Mama’s Fish House. It’s perfect for couples. 

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Run and Make Your Mama’s Fish House Reservations!

With its fresh local ingredients, traditional Hawaiian dishes, and excellent service, it’s no wonder Mama’s Fish House Maui has been a favorite for many years. In my mind, it’s the best ocean-front restaurant with a view in Maui and the perfect place to celebrate an occasion or just soak in the island vibe.

If you have a trip planned to Maui, check out the 10 Best Things to Do in Maui on a Budget. Then do yourself a favor and RUN to make a reservation for Mama’s Fish House. If you don’t have a trip to Maui planned, just go ahead and book one now… It was really that good. I already can’t wait to go back!

Happy Hawaiian travels, my friends!


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Plate & Compass is a food and travel blog written by Hannah Falkosky. After quitting her job and spending 8 weeks in Europe on just a few thousand dollars, she found her love for budget travel and sharing tips to help others explore the world. She also spent 15 years working with award-winning chefs and developed a love for artful food and cocktails. Hannah is now based out of Los Angeles, and when she’s not traveling she makes it her mission to explore the best restaurants and cocktail bars while living life to the fullest.