Maui Shops at Ma’alaea February 18, 2016

Have you ever been to the Shops at Ma’alaea?

Where is that, you may ask? While it’s just off the beaten path, chances are great you’ve driven right by it on your way to Lahaina and probably even parked there! This shopping center is located at Ma’alaea Harbor and shares a parking lot with the Maui Ocean Center. The Pacific Whale Foundation has its store, activities center and offices here as well. Ma’alaea Harbor is where you catch many of the whale watching, snorkeling and sunset cruises.

The Shops at Ma’alaea used to be a bustling shopping area but has in recent years sadly lost a number of its businesses. This past year new owners purchased the shopping center and change is happening. The little dolphin playground area has been removed, Saltimbocca is gone – replaced with the brand-new Oceanside Restaurant, featuring farm-to-table cuisine. The owner is a chef, the sous chef from Merriman’s, and the food is American-Mediterranean. While they are waiting for their liquor license, it is BYOB, or as the sign at the door says ‘cheapest drinks on the island’. You just can’t beat the harbor view from this restaurant! 

Ma'alea Harbor view from Oceanside Restaurant at the Shops at Ma'alaea

Ma’alaea Harbor view from Oceanside Restaurant.

Besides the new restaurant, the former Porto Pizza place has a ‘coming soon’ sign, advertising a new Cafe del Vino – intriguing.

Hula Cookies is still here (they have the best cookies and serve homemade ice cream sandwiches with Roselani ice cream of your choice). There is also an Arts and Crafts fair. I tend to be skeptical of these so-called Arts and Crafts fairs, so often I have found them to have cheap imported items. However, this one really features locally made crafts, mainly jewelry, but also art, pictures made from tree bark, soaps, knitted goods etc. I am particularly intrigued by the coffee-bean jewelry. Check out their facebook page for more info on the Ma’alaea Harbor Shops Arts and Crafts.

A few other shops and restaurants are Beach Bum’s (think kiawe wood bbq), the historic Ma’alaea General Store, the Maui Ocean Center with it’s Seascape Restaurant, a new coffee shop, a Red Dirt Shirts store and a few smaller touristy shops.

The Shops at Ma’alaea Harbor are not just a blow by from south Maui to west Maui. With the Pacific Whale Foundation and Maui Ocean Center, this area is quickly becoming a destination entertainment area.