Ever had an experience so delightful that you can’t help but share it with everyone? That’s exactly how I felt after my boyfriend and I explored the heavenly treat of sushi in Kihei, Maui. We were on a mission, fueled by our love for seafood and inspired by whispers of world-class sushi on this beautiful island.
As seasoned food enthusiasts, we knew better than to fall into the tourist trap scene. Instead, we relied on trustworthy local recommendations for our sushi escapades. Over two weeks, we savored scrumptious bites at nearly ten different spots. While each one offered a unique taste, three places simply blew us away.
Now, let me tell ya’, after countless hours spent learning about sushi (and eating more than I’d like to admit), I feel confident in sharing these top 3 gems with you – fellow seafood lovers! These standout dining experiences are guaranteed to satisfy your cravings and leave your taste buds dancing with joy.
Warning: Proceeding to dine at these irresistible sushi spots may cause extreme happiness and an insatiable desire for return visits!
So buckle up and get ready – it’s time to embark on a mouth-watering adventure filled with delectable flavors that will forever change your concept of exceptional sushi!
#1. Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar (Kihei location) – A High-Quality Local Spot
This local place is great to eat if you want delicious food and a nice atmosphere. It’s located in a shopping plaza, so there are no fancy beach views. But everything else is so pleasant you won’t care. There is inside and outside seating. The tables are spread apart and have a clear view of the sushi chef station. They have large table seating options for large groups and families.
We made a dinner reservation a day ahead for two people. We were seated right away after arriving, even though the restaurant was almost full. The waitress was friendly and took our drink order right away. She did not rush us, which I enjoyed. The drink card was large, with a lot of options. I would recommend the lychee Lemon Drop cocktail and the Blanc Rose wine.
We had Blue fin Toro, red snapper sashimi, and butterfish tempura roll. Oh yeah, I had the mango crab salad roll (not sushi but tasty!) The fish was perfectly fresh, nicely cut, and had butter to eat. I liked that the food was not over-seasoned with too much sauce. The rice was sticky, and the nori wasn’t chewy, which we appreciated.
For dessert, we had the granny smith apple tart with ice cream and New York-style cheesecake. Both were delicious, but the apple tart was better. If you have kids, they have a menu for them too. They offer chicken and teriyaki beef options for picky eaters.
This restaurant is a must-visit because:
- The focus here is on the food and service, which attracts the local eaters.
- The fish is fresh, well cut and perfectly seasoned (without too many toppings).
- They have a large menu with lots of food and drink options.
- This is a great dinner option for families and a romantic date night.
#2. 1054 Togoshi Sushi Restaurant – Best Modern Lunch Spot
A fun modern restaurant and my favorite lunch on the trip! This restaurant is beautifully decorated in Hawaiian style. The walls have driftwood art, and some local stuffed teddy bears hang out. There is a spacious wood bar and wooden tables that are well-spaced out.
We had lunch reservations and were seated very quickly. Our waitress was friendly and accommodating. The menu was creative with many options (including lots of options for the non-raw fish people).
We started with the Chirashi (rice topped with several cuts of salmon, tuna, and butterfish). The fish pieces were fresh, well-trimmed, and very large. The rice was perfectly seasoned and sticky. We also had the Yellowtail Carpaccio (with jalapenos for the spicy food lovers) and rainbow roll. Both are clean tasting with delicious seasoning. I enjoyed the wasabi with the rainbow roll, and the meal was delicious.
They also have flying fish row, octopus, and sea urchins if you want something different. If you enjoy wine, try the Joel Gott chardonnay.
This restaurant is my second pick for great sushi because:
- It is a fun, modern space and menu with a great relaxed atmosphere.
- The food is creative but still classic, with simple and fresh cuts of fish.
- There are options for non-sushi eaters (disguised as sushi).
- They have a friendly staff and great drinks.
#3. Koiso Sushi Bar – The Best Old-School Traditional Sushi Place
This place is a small family-owned sushi spot. Something like a mom-and-pop spot. It is traditional with limited seating (only a few tables and a bar). This spot is perfect if you want great fresh and simple pieces of fish served n a traditional way.
We reserved our dinner spot two weeks in advance (by calling many times – no online option). The restaurant seats less than 15 people and has two fixed dinner times each night. The service was particularly welcoming and attentive.
This place is great for getting the Omasake platter with over 20 pieces (chef’s choice) for only $50. I thought this was a great deal since the price of this type of meal can run into the hundreds in most high-end restaurants. The platter had a combination of tunas, salmon, unagi, swordfish, yellowtail, octopus, and fresh herbs on the side.
Each day they put up the menu with fresh fish they received, which is a no-miss option too. The fish pieces were well-trimmed and the right size. It was an authentic Japanese sushi experience in every way.
Here’s why this restaurant is worth checking out:
- The food is simple, fresh, and extremely well prepared.
- This is a traditional Japanese experience in a small and intimate setting.
- The prices are reasonable, and the portions are large.
- This is not a kid’s friendly experience but is perfect for a date night.
Kihei was a fun and diverse place to visit. I loved all the restaurant choices, especially the sushi places. If you are looking for a fun modern lunch, visit 1054 Togoshi Sushi. For a traditional Japanese experience, head to Koiso Sushi Bar.
Everyone will find and enjoy something special in these places.
Overall, I rate Kihei as a highly recommended sushi destination.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
Does Hawaii have fresh sushi?
Yes. Hawaii has some of the freshest sushi in the world. This is because they have the best access to fresh fish, usually caught locally. Food turnaround is quick, and ingredients are constantly coming in, including fresh local produce.
Is Hawaii good for sushi?
Yes. Rich fishing grounds surround Hawaii. This means most top restaurants in Hawaii have access to the highest quality, same-day fish. They also have locally grown and available fresh produce. Because of tourism and long Japanese traditions, Hawaii attracts experienced chefs. The restaurants offer many different styles, including traditional Japanese, American, contemporary, and styles accommodating to dietary restrictions like gluten-free and vegan.
What do you call someone who makes sushi?
Itamae is the term used in Japan. It means – in front of the board – in English. This means he is the headmaster Chef in front of the entire sushi preparation team. In Japan, becoming an Itamae of sushi takes many years and lots of experience. They are required to undertake many years of training and apprenticeship. In the United States, we would call him head sushi chef.
Last Updated on March 30, 2023 by Brigitte