Haute Pacific cuisine in Maui
When Cane & Canoe restaurant opened in June 2014, it showcased a haute new Pacific cuisine under executive chef David Viviano, but it didn’t forget tradition. Montage took over management of the new 50-suite Kapalua resort and decided immediately to build its signature restaurant as an homage to the old Hawaiian meeting ground — the canoe hale, where locals would socialize, craft sails and baskets and whittle wood.
The hale itself presides over the two stories of the lobby, making a dramatic entry feature, and forming the elegant and tall open-air A-frame rooftop of the restaurant. Cane & Canoe's dining room embraces the exceptional Kapalua weather, with the roof so high up you don't feel boxed in, yet the light drizzles typical of the area are caught overhead, making dining outside a pleasure no matter what the clouds hold.
The dining room is refined despite being alfresco. You’ll find heavy dark wood tables, new-school rattan, cushioned couches with white curtained tables for privacy and soft lighting at night. Whether you are visiting at sun up for breakfast or coming in for a dazzling dinner, Cane & Canoe is casual yet sophisticated. In the evening, dinner-hour ambiance is accentuated by live Hawaiian music.
Start breakfast with fresh Molokai papaya, steel-cut oats or buttermilk malasadas (Portuguese doughnuts). Then move onto griddled purple sweet potato pancakes with banana, Portuguese sweet bread French toast, buttermilk pancakes or waffles if you have a sweet tooth. A Kobe beef burger elevates the loco moco (a traditional local dish that typically consists of a hamburger patty, rice, a fried egg and brown gravy), and healthy choices like an egg white frittata with broccolini and fingerlings are other high points on the morning menu.
For dinner, the Kula Country Farms strawberry panzanella with burrata, crispy basil, braised walnuts and pickled fennel is a pleasure. The grilled octopus with duck chorizo appetizer is another. The must-try dish is the calamari chow fun, where the calamari is sliced into thick flat pieces and passed off as fun noodle. The mains have a great range of proteins from the sea and land. Scallops with XO sauce, balsamic-glazed ono and crudo, or the spectacular seared ahi in tempura crust with foie gras nage dipping sauce honor the ocean's bounty. Dishes like the Maui coffee-crusted beef tenderloin with bourbonized Maui onion, and herbed lamb on cauliflower couscous and Japanese eggplant take the classic cuts to a new station. The sides menu has a lot to offer as far as vegetable dishes (Brussels sprouts with macadamia nuts and horseradish; corn with chili pepper and cotija cheese), though the lobster mac and cheese is a guest favorite made with gnocchi.
Off to the south side of the Maui restaurant, there’s a piano bar where you can sip handcrafted tropical cocktails like the popular Kapalua Butterfly (dark rum, orange, pineapple, coconut and more fresh citrus) before dinner. The bar also offers a lounge menu with snacks during the day like cheeseburgers; roasted turkey club sandwiches; grilled naan with hummus, banana-mint chutney and cheese curd spread; lettuce wraps with vegetables, fresh herbs and a citrus vinaigrette; and spring rolls with pulled pork and guava barbecue sauce, while it serves the dinner menu starting at 5 p.m.