“My goal was to do something different than what everyone else was doing on Maui,” says executive chef Rico Bartolome of Cane & Canoe, the gourmet restaurant venue at the Montage Kapalua Bay, which opened last summer following a $15-million renovation of the former Residences at Kapalua Bay. The 24-acre oceanfront property offers 50 residential-style suites ranging from one to four bedrooms (from $595 per night), with gourmet kitchens and expansive water-view lanais, plus 54 private residences available for purchase. While the suites and pool spaces have been refreshed with some new furnishings and decorative touches, the restaurant is entirely new, providing Bartolome, who describes his style as simple and unfussy, with a blank culinary slate.
Cane & Canoe greets diners with a bread service consisting of ulu (breadfruit) hummus and bread that incorporates sweet potato from the neighboring island of Molokai. While tuna is naturally a staple, Bartolome eschews salmon and halibut for locally caught monchong, opah, spearfish and marlin. One hit is the calamari “chow fun,” with the squid shaved into matchsticks and stir-fried like a noodle dish. The octopus grillé is paired with house-made duck chorizo in a fusion dish that blends saffron with coconut for a dash of indigenous flavor. “Hawaiian regional does not necessarily have to be Asian,” adds Bartolome, pointing out his focus on locally grown ingredients.
Over dinner, you can recap the day’s activities—lounging by the labyrinth of connecting pools that spill down to the sea, snorkeling with sea turtles in the cove, hiking the lava-strewn seaside trail, spending an afternoon in the spa where you can get a massage or a shave in the barber shop, or playing a round of golf on one of two championship courses at Kapalua Golf, where you are welcome to light up between holes.
“When you smoke a cigar, you are at leisure and have the luxury of time,” says vice president and managing director Richard Holtzman. “To me, it’s a sign to take a break, to step off the crazy train, have a drink and enjoy.” While the suites are nonsmoking, Holtzman has plans to build fire pits designated for smokers. “They will be places for people to celebrate that cigar—it won’t be like you’re banished,” he says. “Of course, we have an incredible landscape along the coastline, so you can also pick any spot along that split rail fence.”