Best New Japanese Restaurant: Morimoto Maui in Hawaii

Morimoto Maui's terrace overlooks the Pacific. - Photo by Morimoto

Foodies, consider yourselves on high alert: If you take a Hawaiian cruise, you can actually check out one of the hottest restaurant openings of the fall. From either of Maui’s ports, Lahaina or Kahului, it’s about a 30-minute drive to the highly anticipated eatery, the Morimoto Maui. November 5 marked celebrity chef Masaharu Morimoto’s debut at the just-opened Andaz Maui at Wailea hotel.

waikiki food

Bento boxes are always a good way to try new dishes.
Photo by Morimoto

The Iron Chef's restaurant has a 138-seat teakwood and black-stone tile interior dining area, an outdoor terrace, plus a terrace bar. The best part: Every area has a beach or ocean view, so there’s no bad table in the house.

Serious Morimoto fans should make reservations early (like when you book your cruise) for the coveted eight-seat sushi and sashimi bar, which feature a dizzying array of fresh fish, including golden big eye snapper, big island abalone, and local whitefish.

The main menu incorporates Hawaii’s bounty of unique produce with the chef’s traditional Japanese offerings: Picture toro and hamachi tar tars as well as the chef’s take on the island favorite, poke (chopped raw tuna), which he pairs with an avocado-wasabi sorbet.

Our favorites: Morimoto’s signature crispy rock shrimp tempura with a spicy cream sauce and his unforgettable ode to duck, an oft-changing trio that might include duck confit fried rice and frozen foie gras.

Insider Tip
This is Morimoto’s second Hawaiian restaurant — his Waikiki branch opened in 2010, so if you can’t get a table at the new spot, consider booking there.

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