Eclectic cuisine in the historic and tourist filled Paia plantation town. Perhaps the best restaurant on Maui.
Paia is notable first for being a plantation town on Maui, second for being the primary stop between Kahului and Hana, and third for being near a nice beach. As such, the town is often busy and full of tourists. Many places in Paia cater to this crowd, but there are some authentic spots.
Cafe Mambo is one of these authentic spots. Houses in what looks like an old plantation era store, it has great charm and character.
It’s small, but well decorated and laid out. The inside is full of reasonable amateur artwork (for sale) and is light and airy. The windows are open and the breeze is comfortable. The staff seem very happy at their work. As do the customers.
I had a crispy duck burger. At $16 the price is high, but reasonable for Hawaii. Given the quality and amount of fries, the value is superb. Each bite was tender, juicy, and crispy. The chef did a great job.
The seafood soup was also excellent. Similarly priced, it was delectable and full of flavor. The seafood was cooked perfectly. It also came with some of the best croutons we have ever had.
The bar at the restaurant is along the whole wall, but still small because it is part of the dining room. It is very well stocked for the size of the place and they have a good variety of beers on tap.
I rarely get dessert, but the waitress was quite convincing. It didn’t hurt that one kids spilled a lot of water and we wanted to make up for it. We were not disappointed. While the 4 year old didn’t appreciate the tiramisu, we sure did. It was not overly sweet like Midwest attempts at tiramisu, but it was perfectly done.
Overall, Cafe Mambo was the best restaurant we found on Maui. It was good enough to return again on our drive back to the airport. This is a great example of what can be done in a restaurant.
30 Baldwin Ave,
Paia, HI 96779
Yelp | Webpage
First Visit: 2020
Most Recent Visit: 10 January 2020
# OF VISITS: 2
Cuisine Rating: 15
Decoration Rating: 16
COST: $$ (on the higher side of $$)
BEST BET (meats): duck, seafood
BEST BET (meals): burgers, soup, desserts