Avalon Nostalgia at Honu and Mala

Owner-Chef Mark Ellman and his wife Judy used to run Avalon, a fine dining establishment in Maui a decade or two ago. Sold in 1998, Avolon has since closed, while they concentrated on growing mini-island-chains Maui Tacos and Penne Pasta Café (both also since sold). They came back to fine dining by opening Mala’s Ocean Tavern in 2005 and opened Honu Seafood and Pizza right next door about a year ago. Both restaurants serve some of the classic dishes from Avalon.

We started with lunch at Honu. Fried chickpeas are brought to the table after ordering:

Like most other places in Hawaii, their cocktails lean too much towards the sweet side for our liking and are generally made with vodka. We asked for gin substitutions for their Honu Refresh (gin, lime juice, thai basil and coconut water) and the Cucumber Breeze (gin, ginger liqueur, lime juice and cucumber):

Fried pig’s ears were crispy good and plentiful. The menu said it came with fried lavender, but other than the garnish, we didn’t see or taste anything floral. The offal dish was served with Korean aioli and cocktail dipping sauces:

The Olowalu Tomato Salad came with a miso yuzu dressing, mint leaves and crispy rice pearls:

We shared the fresh Ahi “Lifeguard-style” which came with miso ginger glaze, tomato caper salsa, brussel sprouts, string beans and grits. The tuna arrived perfectly rare:

Later on, we watched another beautiful sunset:

We returned for dinner to Mala Ocean Tavern to check out if the classic Avalon dishes held up through time. Fried tortilla chips and a molcajete filled with salsa arrived as soon as we sat at the table:

The Indonesian-influenced Gado Gado salad with tofu, snap peas, tomatoes, chickpeas, brown rice and edamame came with a coconut peanut dressing:

Hiding among a list of expensive and boring domestic wines, we found a 2004 Aglianico to drink with our meal. The server was not at all familiar with this wine and said it was the first time he had opened one:

We opted to go with the classic Avalon whole wok fried fish which turned out to be Loup de Mer. It was served over brown rice with shitake mushrooms, tomatoes, edamame and snap peas:

We left a good “Flintstone” comb behind:

Set apart from the Lahaina Front Street scene, both restaurants offer a relaxing atmosphere with beautiful ocean views.

Note: The BarFlys are vacationing in Hawaii. SF posts will return soon; in the meantime, hope you enjoy these travel-related posts.

Honu Seafood and Pizza on Urbanspoon

Mala Ocean Tavern on Urbanspoon


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