I wanted desperately to like Monkeypod Kitchen more as they have made an effort to use as many local ingredients in their food as possible. The interior is also nicely decorated and clean, something you don’t see too often north of their location in Wailea Village Mall. I especially love the hanging ropes that serve as dividers between the patio, bar, and dining room. Nice touch there. Unfortunately, that’s about as good as it gets at Monkeypod Kitchen as the immediate view off the patio is of the main road that winds on down to Wailea, tiki torches notwithstanding.
Despite the use of local ingredients, nothing great comes out of it. Yes, the Garlic-Truffle-Oil Fries with Aioli sauce are a respectable attempt, but it’s not enough to give you that surprise you long for when you try something that sounds so good at first.
Cocktails, spirits, and beer are all par-for-the-course. While Monkeypod Kitchen boasts a greater variety of beers on tap than any other restaurant on Maui, all of their tap beer can be bought at any local supermarket for much less money. $10 for a coconut porter? I can get a four pack at the store for $8.
Service was respectable, neither fast nor slow, though you tend to get the sense that no matter who serves you on Maui, you can tell they are thinking about surfing while taking your order. Personally, I don’t care how distant my local server is as long as I don’t go completely unnoticed and I’m served what I actually ordered. I’m relaxed that way.
Fortunately, not many people come to Maui expecting great dining experiences. While you won’t be disappointed here, you will not be wowed either.