Dining Out Paleo: Mama’s Fish House (Paia, HI)

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Okay, I’d heard about Mama’s Fish House for a long fricking time but I always resisted coming here. Apparently, the fish was super fresh, the prices sky high, and the setting was old school Hawaiian. I also knew that it was a total tourist trap and I was skeptical about going to such a popular place. But can 580+ Yelpers be wrong? Well, my curiosity got the best of me and I booked us a table here tonight.

What did we eat? Our first taste was a freebie shot glass filled with tomato ginger bisque:

My appetizer was Ono marinated in coconut milk and lime, Tahitian style. You know how I love my coconut.

Fitbomb ordered the blue prawns in Tahitian vanilla beans and coconut milk sauce:

These prawns were super tasty. Maybe because they were coconut-y.

I was going to order their signature dish, macadamia nut crusted mahi mahi stuffed with lobster, crab, and Maui onion, but the server informed me that it wasn’t gluten free. Instead, she steered towards the Lehi fish that could be served gluten free. The Lehi fish was sautéed with tomatoes, white wine, garlic, and capers. I subbed out the lemongrass rice pilaf for some mixed vegetables.

My dish was fine but not mind blowing and there were some bitter zucchini in my mixed veggies.

Fitbomb ordered the Mahi Mahi Hawaiian style which came with a coconut butter sauce, Kalua pig, grilled Hana banana, sweet potato, star fruit, and poi:

Again, it was good but not $40+ good.

At the end of the meal, we got some free haupia (coconut jello):

What’s my verdict? It’s tasty and tiki-tastic but too damn expensive. I liked the Hawaiian theme, the friendly service,and the beautiful postcard views of the Pacific. However, it’s waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay over-priced, an hour drive from where we were staying, and maybe a little too kitschy. Plus, I like my food prepared more simply. If you have a super fresh fish caught within 24 hours, why is it necessary to drench it with a thick, heavy ass sauce? Would we return? Fitbomb says “NO!” but I say maybe. It appeals to a wide swath of the population for a reason so it’s a good place to take grandparents, picky eaters, kids, etc. if you’re willing to pay through your nose. But you better be willing to treat them, or you’ll be in the doghouse.