WARNING: I EAT A LOT

Maui. The first thing that comes up in my head is the “superman” song where the only line I remember is Maui. It is by far, my favorite island to visit and  favorite place to go to relax. I was able to come for a couple of days to clear my head and fill my stomach. There’s good food all around Maui, but I felt like being a boujie kid and decided on basically living in Wailea for a day or two. This led me to Ka’ana Kitchen at the Andaz Maui.

DINING AT THE ANDAZ

Ka'ana Kitchen

Ka’ana Kitchen, the flagship restaurant at the Andaz hotel, is a boutique brand from the Hyatt chain. Now, it’s not my first time here, but it’s definitely not my last. There are reasons why I’ve been here multiple times. Here’s a hint, it’s fantabulously delicious. And yes that’s a made-up word… I think but there’s no spell check thingy, weird. 

As you enter the restaurant, you’ll realize it’s different. It’s not like any restaurant you’ve ever been in. There is no host stand. Instead, you’re greeted by a host (or hostess) who welcomes you into the restaurant and helps you to your table. You look onward, and there is an island that is a makeshift bar full of spirits and fresh juices to make whatever cocktail you desire (wish to have). Beyond that, you see what is considered one of the most beautiful open kitchens in Hawaii (I firmly believe that at least). Marble countertops, polished stainless steel, and cooks dressed up in Maui Built shirts make it that much better. 

I am greeted by the server, who seems pretty nice and explains the menu to me. The menu is built like a spreadsheet, where the column headers explain where the food is sourced. A focus on local and sustainable products is executed in a beautiful and clean presentation. Anyways, enough of that. Let’s talk about the food.

Ka'ana Kitchen
Ulu Hushpuppies

The Ulu Hush Puppies came out first, accompanied by a spicy remoulade type sauce, celery ribbons, and radishes.  I was really excited about this dish. Unfortunately, this was probably my least favorite dish of the night. The hush puppies and the sauce had great flavor, but they were a little dense and dry. They were still delicious, but I wish they were a little more moist and corny.

Ka'ana Kitchen
Ahi Tataki

The Ahi Tataki was the next dish to be delivered.  When I first had this dish back at Ka’ana Kitchen in 2014, it was probably the best dish I ate that year. I mean, the dish is fish, cheese, lilikoi, and tomato. I would never have thought that combination would ever work, but bruh, it’s delicious. I can’t even explain why it’s good.. Granted, it is a dish where you need to have every component in your mouth to get that perfect bite. Good thing I have a big mouth, hehe.

Ka'ana Kitchen
Black Sesame Noodles

I’m a fan of black sesame. So naturally, I had to order the black sesame noodles dish. It was nice. Nothing crazy special or unique, but straightforward and simple. If Jayjangmeong had black sesame in it, this is basically what you would have, which I feel like was their intention.

Ka'ana Kitchen
Grilled He’e

Another classic dish that Ka’ana Kitchen features on their menu is their Grilled Octopus. The octopus is super tender, and it’s such a simple and delicious dish that really highlights the local cheese and greens that are included with the salad. Subtle hints of citrus made this dish a lot lighter than I thought it would be.

Ka'ana Kitchen
“Kalbi” Wagyu Hanger Steak

We received a little gift, compliments of the kitchen, which was their Kalbi marinated wagyu hanger steak. It had a very nice char on the outside of the meat just from the sugar it was marinated in. Accompanied by a green papaya salad and nuoc cham, I really enjoyed it. It had a  lot of flavor and because it was a nicely balanced of acid and spice and salt, it was great!

Ka'ana Kitchen
Pork Belly Bao Buns

Whenever I look at a menu, if I see a component in a dish that seems intriguing, I will always order it. This time, it was zucchini bao buns. I’m a big fan of zucchini and how versatile it is (zoodles ftw?) so seeing it incorporated into the bao buns was nice. It was served with pork belly like how any other good Chinese bao should be. It was nice. I don’t think the zucchini added anything special to the buns, maybe some moisture but that would be about it. Overall it was a nice bite but not really anything special.

Ka'ana Kitchen
Kona Clams

Clams are something that I don’t really ever order at restaurants but I figured why not. The clams are locally raised in Kona but the species isn’t local (it’s like Maine lobsters that are brought in to be raised in Hawaiian waters). The broth of the clams was good.  It had a very nice kick to it. The sun-dried tomato butter added a nice depth of umami, and the grilled bread was just yum. I mean, grilled bread in broth, soak up that JUICE. How can you ever go wrong?

Ka'ana Kitchen
Scallop Risotto

The last of the savory dishes I had would be the scallop risotto. I mean, damn!  This was a good dish. The risotto was straight-up delicious, and the scallops were seared with a great crust. It was definitely a very simple dish that was well executed. 

Ka'ana Kitchen
“Pavlova”

I honestly was full. I opted to go for a lighter dessert of pavlova and fruits. Upon ordering it, the waiter told us that it was definitely a lot different from a traditional pavlova (made with egg whites). It was actually vegan, and it was made using chickpea liquid thus making it vegan! Served with a matcha sorbet and a variety of fresh fruit it was a great way to end the meal.

TOLD YOU I EAT A LOT...

Overall, Ka’ana Kitchen was a great meal. Definitely something that I would want to revisit (again). Now, what would I recommend to order? I tell people to order whatever they think looks good. Yes, the “Classics” are always worth ordering because they’ve been on the menu forever, but if something sounds good, get it. Chances are you’ll be on vacation if you’re eating at this restaurant, so live life and order the whole menu. 

Okay, but really, if you want to know what I would recommend. Top three: Ahi tataki, Scallop Risotto, Clams. Not in any particular order, but those three are awesome. That’s it for this post.  The next post you read will be fun…maybe…but for now, enjoy life, eat slow, and prosper.

Ka’ana Kitchen
Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort
3550 Wailea Alanui Drive
Wailea, HI 96753
Ph: 808-573-1234
Andaz Maui dining

Want more? Check out another review of Ka’ana Kitchen at our sister site!