Chef Mark Ellman owns the original Mala Ocean Tavern in Lahaina on the island of Maui but Ellman himself actually lives 45 minutes away in Wailea. Ellman got tired of driving all the way to Lahaina so he found financial backers among some of the celebrity residents of Wailea to open up a second Mala restaurant (Mala Wailea)within the Wailea Beach Marriott Resort. Ownership includes Clint Eastwood, Alice Cooper, Don Nelson, and Jim Wiatt, and has helped to make it “Maui’s place to see the stars”.

The menu includes a soup of the day which was a delicious Potato Jalapeño during my visit. Many of the meals include either the soup of the day or a salad.

If you go the salad route try the farmers salad which features many local ingredients. I am a sucker for any salad with candied walnuts and feta cheese.

I am not a big fan of fish but wanted to try fish on Maui since I have heard how great it is. I could tell it was a good fish dish but it did not change me into a great lover of seafood. As an aside, is fish the only dish where people try and sell you by saying that it does not taste like fish? Would anyone say “try the beef, it does not taste too beefy?”

The dessert I had was the very colorful Carmel Miranda which is not only tasty but also extremely fun to say. The small grape looking fruit is actually a small coconut like fruit.

I was a guest of the Maui Visitors Bureau on this trip and so I first thought the wonderfully conversational service that I was getting was due to that. But the more I listened the more I heard the waitresses and manager treating everyone with the same sort of friendly casual service.

Mala is not inexpensive but does have a fixed price menu at $39 for a complete meal not including your wine.

Originally posted at Amateur Traveler