Leave the touristy hustle and bustle of Lahaina behind and walk down Front Street to the complex of shops and restaurants at 505 Front Street, which would dearly love to become part of the touristy hustle and bustle of Lahaina. Wind through the shops until you reach Chef James McDonald's empire by the shore. To your right: Pacific'o. To your left: I'o. Further left: the Feast at Lele. All three have menus developed by Chef McDonald . . . not that there's anything wrong with that! He also owns the O'o Farm, Pacific'o's source of fresh salad fixings.
Pacific'o overlooks Lahaina harbor and the island of Lanai. Seating is either outdoors, on a patio with flaming torches, or inside overlooking the patio. Inside is a bit of a misnomer. Actually, with the amount of open wall space, it's more like sitting on a covered deck. We felt that tables inside had a better view of the sunset, but no one outside was complaining!
Pacific'o specializes in 'contemporary Pacific cuisine.' When I asked our server what that meant, she looked around conspiratorially, then said quietly, "Chef likes his curry." Hmmm . . . this wasn't great praise in our book, but the menu sounded so good. Two examples --"Kona Winds: Fresh fish seared with house spices, served over wilted O'o Farm grown argula and bean sprouts. Topped with warm avocado, Maui onion salsa, goat cheese, macadamia nuts and soy bacon vinaigrette. Painted Fish: Fresh fish painted with Indonesian soy, grilled and served with ginger, pineapple and red pepper salsa with ginger sweet and sour sauce." Sorry, I'm drooling on the keyboard!
Note that the type of fish isn't specified. That's because it depends on what's been caught that day. These dishes are offered with a choice of three or more types of fish, each of which will be lovingly described by your server.
The food was outstanding. Appetisers range from $8 to 14, entrees from $22 to 29 and desserts from $6.50 to $8.50. Pacific'o also offers a specially prepared five- or six-course dinner, each course complimented by a 3 oz. glass of wine selected to match the food, for $99.