Where do I start?... I LOVE the MILL HOUSE!
I can say with confidence that the Mill House is my FAVORITE restaurant on Maui, which is a big statement. A statement that holds a lot of weight, which I understand. But the Mill House is not just a restaurant. It is more of an experience. An adventure. A feeling.
Let's set the stage. The setting at the Mill House is one of the best on the island because it is situated perfectly at the Maui Tropical Plantation, surrounded by farmlands in the heart of Waikapu (my hometown.) The Mill House was inspired by the sugar cane agriculture era here on Maui. The first thing you will notice are the giant industrial gear wheels, then you will start to notice every little detail throughout the restaurant is sugar mill inspired. You may also notice the train. Yes, an actual train locomotive and a passengar car, both just sitting in the restaurant.
Sorry, there are no ocean views, and that's usually a big selling point on a island. But, the view of Mauna Kahalawai (commonly known as the West Maui Mountains) is nothing short of spectacular. There are moments when you are sitting at your table, staring off at the mountain (sipping on a perfectly-crafted cocktail) and rays of sunshine are perfectly shining through the clouds over the mountain, and you truly feel this earth, this island, the true beauty of this life. Okay, so some of that feeling may be caused by the cocktail, but once you sit there and experience it, you will understand.
Next, let's move on to the first course: Cocktails. It's only fitting because that's the first item you will order, and trust me, you will want to try all of their hand-crafted cocktails. My favorite go-to cocktail is the Easy Rider: bourbon, orange, pineapple, lemon, lilikoi, macadamia orgeat & tiki bitters (mouth watering). My second favorite is the Suzy Cake: Maui Pau Vodka, Cucumber and lime - the perfect cocktail for a hot island day!
I'm very passionate about this next course: Pupu's (translates to appetizers). Actually, I don't ever make it past this course. When I go to Mill House, I will always order "family style," even if there is no family and it is just me and one other person. The problem is I can't deceide on just one or two items. I want everything. So, if I order family style, I can have a little of several things. I will generally order a couple items from each section: BITES, CHEF'S PLATES, GARDEN + GRAINS, (on occasion) FISH + LIVESTOCK, and (of course) DESSERT.
BITES: this may be my favorite selection. I love every plate of little bite-sized goodness. I love the Smoked Fish Profiteroles, Ali'i Mushroom Croquetas and the chick pea cakes. But, all of them are worth a try.
CHEF'S PLATES: these are larger appetizer plates and all of them are decadent. My absolute favorite is the bone marrow, and you can ask for it with the taro leaf risotto. It's the perfect combination of flavors. I suggest trying the Pork Musubi and Manapua. But again, everything is fabulous and you will not be disapointed.
GARDEN + GRAINS: this section is a new take on the salad course. You will find dishes like pork belly and Italian sausage pizza. It's an assortment of culinary comforts like Bean Stew and Braised Beef pasta. There is something for everyone in this section.
FISH + LIVESTOCK: This is where the ordinary person will choose a main course.. but I would prefer to split a couple of dishes. The last time I dined here the Tomahawk steak was on special. Yes, that's the giant steak with the Flintstone bone sticking out! It is amazing, but so is the Paniolo Ribeye, which is always on the menu. The Kauai Prawn + Fish Coconut Curry is another favorite, and highly recommended. This section is where you tend to be less adventurous, and stick to what you love.
DESSERT: Sesame Chocolate bomb is a favorite, along with any of the sorbet flavors. All of the desserts are absolutely satisfying, especially when paired with an Amari or one of the desert wines.
Okay, even I admit, that list was quite lengthy. And, full disclosure, I don't order all of those items on the same night, unless I'm with a large group... then it's game on.
Pick an open afternoon and visit the Maui Tropical Plantation. Energize at the Mill House Roasting Co, then jump on the Tropical Express and get a lay of the land. If it's hot out (which is every day) then you can grab a cold treat at The Scoop, then enjoy it sitting along the edge of the pond while feed the ducks and fish. If you're feeling adventurous, they offer two Zipline tours. One is higher up the mountain, featuring 8 of the highest, and fastest ziplines on Maui. The second zipline is on the grounds and is perfect for the kids. This zipline ends at the perfect spot, right next to the Mill House.