Maui Eats pt.2: Paia Fish Market

Maui Eats pt.2: Paia Fish Market

We spent the third day in Maui enjoying the views.

Initially, I was a bit disappointed that our hotel was so far away from good food (think Mama’s Fish House, Sam Sato, Nuka…). Turns out there’s a goldmine only 20 minutes from the hotel on Front street

There’s shops, art galleries, ocean front views for days and of course, great restaurants.

Paia Fish Market

Paia Fish Market is a bustling fast casual seafood joint right on the beach. It was founded in 1989 to serve hungry workers and surfers fresh fish. The delicious food and easy atmosphere quickly made it an award winning favourite. They now have 5 locations- 3 in Maui and 2 in Oahu. The original location is on Hana Highway. Unfortunately, that’s way too far. Luckily, my little bro had surfing lessons practically right across the street from the Front street location, so it was the perfect opportunity to go!

Food

When at a fish market, we order…. Fish (sort of)

We got started with onion rings and calamari. 

I typically avoid fried foods like the plague, but decided to have a bite. The calamari really surprised me. As expected, the calamari was incredibly fresh. The breading had old bay spices and a touch of Parmesan, which enhanced the natural sweetness of the calamari. They were also cooked to perfection- crispy outside, tender inside and not oily at all. The onion rings were similarly well done. 

We’re two appetisers enough? No. I couldn’t pass up Blackened (Cajun spiced) ahi sashimi. 

I am a huge sucker for cross cultural combinations. Cajun spice with ahi just makes so much sense. The spicy sweet Cajun spice blended perfectly with the ahi’s distinct meaty taste. Highly recommend.

Onto the mains!

I had to order grilled fish of course. Paia offers 6 options: mahi mahi, Ono (mackerel), salmon, snapper, ahi and opah (moon fish) . I really wanted opah. Unfortunately they were out. I settled for charbroiled ono on salad

The fish was amazing- fresh and buttery. It was a tad overcooked for my taste, but the bit of char made up for the slight dryness.

Mum went for a fish taco- grilled snapper on corn tortilla with lettuce, tomato, cheese and salsa

It was very well seasoned and more moist than the ono I ordered. I loved the flaky texture and slight sweetness of the fish, which worked beautifully in the taco.

On the Mexican theme, my brother decided to try the chicken fajita- chicken sauteed with garlic, onion and bell pepper in a tomato wine sauce served with rice, cheese and tortilla. I really appreciated the deconstructed plate. Nobody wants a soggy tortilla or dry fajita!

The chicken had a good balance of flavours and was extremely tender, but unsurprisingly nothing special. It’s a very solid option for someone who doesn’t enjoy (or can’t eat) fish/seafood.

Finally, some seafood pasta.

This dish was well made but nothing special. Just a standard seafood pasta, with better than average fish.

Service and Atmosphere

The atmosphere is one word: Chill. We lined up and ordered at the counter before taking seats at the long picnic style table in the centre. It was the perfect place to grab a quick lunch before heading to the beach. If we were to go again, I’d love to sit out on the patio and enjoy the views.

There’s not too much to say about service given how self service it was, but the food came out quick and our waitress was very courteous.

Overall Impressions

Overall, I loved Paia Fish Market. It’s serves top notch seafood with a said of views and a great atmosphere. I’d love to come back and try the grilled fish, Cajun style and their charbroiled chicken. Of course, visiting other locations would definitely sweeten the deal too!

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