Pa`ia is an old sugar plantation town on Maui’s North Shore, about 8 miles east of Kahului (site of the island’s main airport). It’s now regarded as a haven for windsurfers, artists, guitarists, peace activists, and other free spirits – and tourists looking for a good meal before or after venturing to Hana.
Pa`ia is also a vegan’s delight, offering an array of great food choices. It’s also a real town, – a walkable town – an increasingly rare and wonderful thing in Hawai`i and the rest of America.
Parking is a problem. I recommend not even trying to find parking on the street or in a store parking lot. Rather, I recommend using the free municipal parking lot on Hana Highway at the entrance to the town (coming from Kahului). Or, you could just take the Maui Bus.
Walking from the parking lot toward Baldwin Avenue, the first place I recommend visiting is Anthony’s Coffee. My regular meal at Anthony’s is a combination of brown rice, salsa, and avocado. Simple goodness! And the highly efficient kitchen staff often has it ready for me even before I’ve finished paying.
But, as the name suggests, it’s the coffee that makes Anthony’s famous. I almost always have the ultra-strong organic French roast. It’s pricey ($2+). But refills are offered at a discount. And, if you can handle strong coffee, you’ll want a refill. The soy lattes are terrific too.
Anthony’s amenities including a flat-screen TV and free wi-fi (although there are no electrical outlets). There are a lot of cool little gifts available.
Proceeding down Hana Highway, you can take a right and walk up Baldwin Avenue to Cafe Mambo. This Mediterranean-themed hotspot features free movies on Thursday nights at 9 and a plentiful selection of vegan appetizers, entrees, and side dishes. There’s a wide price range. Combine some of the inexpensive side orders, and you can end up with a full meal that’s much more affordable than some of the entrees.
Friendly service from an international staff, hearty stews, and lots of couscous are among Cafe Mambo’s guarantees.
Cafe Des Amis – Mambo’s sister restaurant – is just a little farther up the avenue. Cafe Des Amis also has a largely Mediterranean orientation, but Indian cuisine is also represented. I recommend the vegetable curry with mango chutney on the side. The coffee is also strong and tasty and will be refilled frequently, without charge. The service can be a little languid, but the wait staff is friendly and doesn’t mind gentle reminders.
There’s a crosswalk between Des Amis and Mambo that you can use to get to the other side of Baldwin Avenue and visit Pa`ia’s unofficial vegan headquarters, Mana Foods. ….(to read the complete post, go to The Gluttonous Vegan Blog. (click here))