by smmmarti guide
August 3, 2004
Pinata's dive-like charm finds brightly colored pinatas hanging from the ceiling barely managing to hide the stains on the acoustic tiles. Formica topped tables and mismatched chairs give the establishment just enough seedy warmth while the overall cleanliness factor assure diners the focus remains simply on the food, not the decor.
Hey, the food must be good! In spite of the out-of-the-way location tucked into the back corner of the nondescript strip mall, in spite of the absence of any semblance of chic, arrive at lunch or dinner and find the joint jumping with locals and visitors crossing all lines of social and ethnic distinction. But then again, that is true of most of Maui's more popular local eateries.
Pinanta's wraps a great enchilada. Their "kitchen sink burrito" is now legendary having recently won the Reader's Poll for best on the island. Large enough to feed a family of four for about $6, you can't beat the flavor and value.
I've ordered the taco salad and been overly sated with the restaurant's version of "light" eating since the salad fixin's come with grilled chicken or steak, sour cream, guacamole and cheese tucked into a fried tortilla shell bowl. If you are sincere in your desire to eat light try the fish tacos - delicate locally caught snapper wrapped in a soft, warm tortilla served with a special creamy sauce and shredded cabbage. Most entrees are also offered as a plate lunch which includes seasoned rice and cheese smothered refried beans for a small additional charge.
Most important to note is Pinatas authentic south of the border seasonings and use of fresh ingredients. They serve nothing that reeks of plastic packaging or portion controlled servings froma metal tube. They don't even attempt to be cute or with-it. Instead, you get the idea that mamacita is in the back patting handmade tortillas just for you.
Order, then help yourself to the red, green, mild, medium, hot and muy caliente salsa, or try the jalapenos and fresh chopped cilantro to further bring out the flavors of the foods.
There is something empowering about filling up those little condiment cups while you anticipate your made-to-order lunch. Then, diving into the gigantic portions of piping hot mouth-watering and nutritious food you realize this would be a good value at twice the price.
To me that's more fun than a papier-mache burro filled with candy!
From journal Maui Local Favorites