Situated on the slope of Haleakala, Up Country Maui is collectively the towns of Hali’imaile, Kula, Makawao, Olinda, Pukalani, and Keokea. While most of up country Maui is ranch and farm land, there are hidden gems if you know where to look. Our local Maui contributor shares with you the best Up Country Maui restaurants.

Editor Notes: I lived in Makawao and had the opportunity to explore much of what Up Country has to offer. From hikes in Olinda to rodeos in Kula, there is plenty of fun to be had if you know where to look. I’d say the most popular destinations up country are Maui Wine in Ulupalakua, Haili’imaile General Store, and downtown Makawao. If you happen to be in town on the 4th of July, the Oskie Rice Rodeo in Olinda is a must see.

About Up Country Maui

History of Kula

Best known for its pristine pastures and paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) culture, Kula is a unique destination that offers visitors a whole new Hawaii experience. The little known story of Sun Mei and his history on Maui is a major part of Kula’s history. Sun Mei won a bid for 3,900 acres of land where he settled after a long history of working in Hawaii.

Known as the “King of Kula” because of the size of the property he owned, Sun Mei ran a successful grocery store in Kahului. His brother, Yat-Sen also lived in Hawaii. His focus was to rally support for a revolution in China. A cause he devoted his full effort to for over 17 years (1894 – 1911). Eventually, Sun Mei started to sell off parcels of his ranch to support his brothers cause. Today, Haleakala Ranch owns the 3,900 acres that Sun Mei once owned. While up country, stop by the Sun Mei statue at Sun Yat-sen Park in Kēōkea.

Best Restaurants in Kula

Most of the destinations in Kula are fairly spread out. One of the most iconic restaurants in Kula is the Kula Lodge. Soak in the stunning panoramic views from the dining area or grab a cocktail by the large wood burning fireplace… the Kula Lodge is at 3,200′ elevation and gets cold in the evenings.

If you are looking for something more casual, try La Provence located at 3158 Lower Kula Rd. La Provence is my favorite breakfast restaurant in Kula. The decadent pastries and healthy farm-to-table breakfast makes this the best breakfast spot in Kula.

Editor Notes: I have eaten at Kula Lodge probably a dozen or more times now. The restaurant as had to overcome challenges over the years due to its isolated location. It seems like every time I visit there is a new chef, or issues with being understaffed. While I have to admit that service isn’t always the best and quality of food varies, I will still keep visiting Kula Lodge… and recommend you do as well. If you want an authentic up country experience, Kula Lodge is the spot.

Best Restaurants in Makawao

Satori Sushi

Downtown Makawao has the perfect blend of shops and restaurants. The newest addition to Makawao is the Satori food truck that is next to the Rodeo General Store. Satori offers fresh sushi handrolls and rolls that are 5-star restaurant quality. The farm to table ingredients that Satori uses make all the difference. This is my favorite lunch spot in Makawao and I would wager to say that Satori is the best lunch spot in Makawao. Check them out here.

Hali’imaile General Store

Looking for fine dining in up country Maui? Hali’imaile General Store ( is the place for authentic local food and hospitality. My personal favorite is the Mac Nut Crusted Mahi Mahi with Mang-Lilikoi Butter Sauce on the side. A close runner up is the Paniolo BBQ Ribs with fries and honey sesame slaw. Whether you’re in the mood for surf or turf, Hali’imaile has you covered.

What to do Up Country Maui

Makawao is the cowboy capital of Maui and a fun spot to visit. I recently wrote a post about things to do in Makawao. If you are visiting Maui and want to explore what life is like for many of the locals, Makawao and up country Maui is a great place to start. The paniolo (Hawaiian Cowboy) culture of up country is a unique experience. While you may think board shorts and cowboy boots, the weather is actually much cooler in the up country of Maui. Situated about a quarter of the way up Haleakala, Makawao is at roughly 2,000′ elevation. Kula, which is further up the slope (~2,500′ elevation) gets even colder.

  • Shop for unique souvenirs at quaint boutiques throughout downtown; Enjoy island-style ice cream after taking a leisurely stroll down historic Baldwin Avenue.
  • Attend the Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center’s annual Makawao Paniolos Heritage Festival to celebrate local paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) traditions with music, food, art exhibits and more
  • Explore the town’s historic sites, including the Makawao Union Church that was built in 1917 by New England Missionary Jonathan Smith Green.