Mala Ocean Tavern in Lahaina

Welcome back to the Pride of Maui travel blog! Today, we would like to shine our spotlight on Māla Ocean Tavern, a beloved dining destination right in the heart of Lahaina, Maui.

Best Restaurant in Lahaina Mala Ocean Tavern

Known for its stunning oceanfront views, delectable food and drinks, and welcoming atmosphere, Mala Ocean Tavern is a longtime favorite of both locals and tourists. From brunch to dinner, this place boasts a unique mix of flavors that showcase the best of Maui’s culinary scene. Here, you can enjoy locally caught fish, Maui-grown produce, and a blend of flavors that could only be found in Hawaii.


How Mala Survived the Wildfires

Māla Ocean Tavern was incredibly fortunate to survive the devastating Lahaina wildfires in August of 2023. The fires were fueled by strong winds and caused significant damage to the area, forcing the restaurant to close its doors. Despite all of the destruction, the resilient team at Māla worked tirelessly to clean up and repair the damage. Thanks to their efforts and the outpouring of support from the community, Māla reopened on February 1, 2024. Their journey to recovery is just another testament to the strength and spirit of the Lahaina community.

The fires affected many businesses in the area, but the survival and reopening of Māla have become a symbol of hope for the community. Many of the staff lost their homes or were otherwise deeply impacted by the fires but returned to help rebuild. Their dedication and hard work have brought Māla back to life. It now continues to serve as a gathering place for Maui locals and visitors.

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Maui and Mala are Now Open!

After months of hard work, Mala Ocean Tavern is now open and welcoming guests again. The reopening has been met with immense support from the local community, as they have come together to celebrate Mala’s resilience and continued presence. Business has been steadily picking up as word spreads that Māla is back, and visitors are encouraged to check out this iconic dining spot.

The reopening has been not just about serving food again but restoring a sense of normalcy in the West Maui community as well. The familiar faces of the staff and the comforting vibes of the restaurant have provided a much-needed respite for many who are still dealing with the effects of the fires. Māla’s reopening is a symbol of recovery and the enduring spirit of the Lahaina community.

All are encouraged to come to the restaurant and enjoy the food, the friendly service, and those jaw-dropping ocean views!

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Epic Views from this
Oceanfront Restaurant

One of the best parts of a meal at Mala Ocean Tavern is the breathtaking oceanfront setting. Guests can take in awesome views of the Pacific Ocean with the chance to spot some sea turtles and—during the winter months—humpback whales. The outdoor seating also provides the perfect vantage point for guests to see the beauty of the outer islands of Molokai and Lanai. Whether you’re enjoying a meal during the day or watching a magical Maui sunset with a cocktail in your hand, the views from Mala Ocean Tavern are prime Maui magic.

Imagine sitting at your table and sharing a tasty meal with a loved one while sea turtles, or honu, swim gracefully in the clear waters below. In the winter months, the sight of humpback whales breaching in the distance is sure to add a magical touch to your Maui repast. The serene sound of the waves and the stunning panoramic views create a dining atmosphere that is second to none.

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Oceanfront Restaurant

History of Mala Ocean Tavern

Māla Ocean Tavern has a rich history that dates back to 2004, when it was established by famed Hawaii Chef Mark Ellman. Once a pineapple weigh station for the cannery, the building has been transformed into the iconic oceanfront restaurant we have come to know and love.

Over the years, Māla has become a go-to spot for birthdays, anniversaries, and kinds of special occasions. In 2018, while under new ownership, Māla underwent a rejuvenation. Its reputation went up a notch, due to the exceptional service, a superb wine list, first-rate cocktails, and an award-winning brunch. Today, Māla Ocean Tavern continues to be a pillar of the Maui restaurant and chef communities. Their fortitude and business practices truly embody the spirit of aloha.

The Ellman family’s vision for Māla was to create a relaxed and beautiful space where the community could come and enjoy high-quality food. The new owners, the Down the Hatch restaurant group, have carried on this vision seamlessly. They have breathed new life into the menu while still maintaining the beloved Māla classics. Māla’s history is a testament to its ability to evolve and thrive while staying true to its roots. Māla’s not just a great place to eat; it’s a core part of Lahaina’s legacy.

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About the Menus


Brunch at Māla Ocean Tavern is served daily from 9 am to 2 pm and is in a class all by itself. The menu features a mix of classic breakfast dishes and unique creations, all made with locally sourced and organic ingredients. Some of the standouts here are the Poisson Cru, Eggs Benedict (with Seared Ahi, Lamb Sausage, Grilled Fish, or Ribeye Steak), Avo Toast, and the Māla Wagyu Cheeseburger. To start your day out right, pair your meal with a build-your-own mimosa or a Bloody Mary with lots of fun add-ons like coconut shrimp. There are also some healthier brunch options like the Hummus Plate or a Greek Salad, providing something for every palate.

Happy Hour

Happy Hour at Māla Ocean Tavern is from 2 to 4 pm, and offers an impressive range of discounted beers, well-drinks, and select cocktails and wines. Live music adds to the vibrant ambiance, making it a great spot to unwind with friends. The happy hour menu has a lineup of small plates that are perfect for sharing and provide a family-style experience for all guests. It’s the perfect time to enjoy the laid-back atmosphere while you savor favorites like the Seared Ahi Bruschetta and Hood Canal Oyster Shooters.


Dinner at Māla is from 4 to 9 pm and showcases the restaurant’s commitment to fresh, locally sourced ingredients. The menu includes gourmet specialties like the Māla Signature Seared Ahi, Braised Pork Shank, and Grilled Rib Eye. There are first-rate vegetarian and vegan options available as well. Each dish is thoughtfully prepared to highlight the rich flavors of Maui. The dinner drink menu is an impressive selection of wine and craft cocktails. It has been expertly curated to provide the perfect pair to any meal.

Make sure to stay after dinner for Late Night Entertainment on Friday and Saturday nights! The fun kicks off at 10 pm and you won’t want to miss it.


How to Continue to Support Maui with Wildfire Recovery

Māla Ocean Tavern has been a core part of the Lahaina community for over two decades. Their resilience and hard work in spite of the wildfires shows their dedication. To support the ongoing recovery efforts in Maui, you can donate to the Hana Hou Hospitality Lahaina Fire Fund via their GoFundMe page. Your contributions will aid those who were affected by the fires and will help to rebuild the vibrant community of Lahaina.

Beyond donations, visitors can help just by continuing to dine at local establishments like Māla and contributing to the local economy. They can also support community events and participate in local volunteer opportunities to help make a meaningful impact.

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Māla Ocean Tavern is more than just a great restaurant. It’s a celebration of the beauty, resilience, and warm hospitality of Maui. With its stunning oceanfront views, peerless cuisine, and rich history, it shines as a restaurant beloved by both locals and visitors. No matter if it’s for brunch, happy hour, or dinner, a visit to Māla promises an unforgettable experience.

Join us in support of this iconic Lahaina gem and the wider Maui community as they continue to recover and thrive!

A visit to Māla Ocean Tavern offers more than just an amazing meal. It provides a glimpse into the heart and soul of West Maui. From the moment you step in, you can feel the warm aloha spirit envelop you, promising an experience that you’ll savor long after your visit.

Make sure that Māla Ocean Tavern is part of your Maui to-do list. Witness firsthand the resilience and beauty of our communities, and see why Maui nō ka ʻoi (Maui is the best)!

Alexandra Mitchell

Alexandra is a marketing professional with a passion for writing about travel to the Hawaiian Islands, vacation rentals, and luxury real estate. She exposes readers to glimpses of 'Old Hawaii,' new destinations to explore, local events, and all the best things to do on Maui.