The Feast at Lele is one of Maui’s great Luau options. This premium Luau is situated oceanfront right on the beach with a stunning backdrop, high-end 5-course dinner, open bar, and top-class production. There is a lot to like about the Feast of Luau on Paper. But what is it like in real life?
To bring you the Best Feast at Lele Luau Review we went along to a show to see what the Luau is really like. We took in the whole experience, the 5-course dinner, bottomless drinks, vibrant show, and incredible setting, forcing ourselves to eat drink, and be merry to bring you the full low-down on this premium Luau Experience. If you are looking for a Luau with a slightly different twist and some seriously good food and drink then this might be the perfect choice for you. So read on and find out if the Feast at Lele is worth it or if you should look elsewhere for your Maui Luau experience.
- Event: Oceanside Luau Feast and Show
- Location: Front Street, Lahaina -Behind the Shops At 505
- Cost: $192.71 – Adult – $103.12 Child (2-12yrs)
- Drinks: Open Bar
- Included: Flower Lei
- Best for: Foodies, People Wanting a Sit-Down Dinner, and those looking for a different take on the Luau.
- Premium Options: None
Feast At Lele Review
Is It Worth Attending a Luau
For many visiting a Luau is a top priority when visiting the Island, and we always make time to attend one of the island’s most “Hawaiian” activities. Luaus are really a great way to get a glimpse of the old Hawaiian way of life. They are certainly a sanitized and romanticized look at the past, but they are still fun and rewarding experiences.
They will usually include some fun cultural activities (although Feast at Lele Does not!), an unlimited Open Bar, Some kind of Luau Feast, and a vibrant and entreating Laua Show, usually at the end (again not the case with Lele).
We really think they are well worth taking the time and expense to visit one during your time in Hawaii. As repeat visitors, we still love getting along to a Laua, it just makes the whole Maui experience complete. We never tire of the show and find the whole dinner, drinks, and a show just a great way to spend an evening. In all honesty, there is very little to do in Maui once the sun has set and a Luau is a perfect way to keep those long sunny days long a bit longer.
With so many Luau’s to choose from it’s really hard to know which is the best choice for your party and with the entry costs so high it’s important to get it right. We put together our full Maui Luau Guide which toy can find here. But we felt we needed more detail on the individual Luaus so have treated our individual Luau Reviews as well.
This one along a look a the premium Feast At Lele
What is the Feat at Lele
Situated just off Front Street, behind the shops at 505 at the southern end of the town. The Luau is literally down on the beach. It is the sister Luau to the highly rated Old Lahaina Luau and offers a slightly different take on the Luau experience. It still has most of the various elements, just mixed up in a different order.
Here the focus is on the food and drink. A 5-course meal is served at the table and handcrafted cocktails, craft beers, or wine is brought to you from the open bar. The show runs through the meal with different presentations from various Polynesian Cultures that match the differing courses.
It’s an interesting take and the food is very high-end, making this a pretty unique experience and one that really suits people who have been to a Luau before and are looking for a different experience. It also appeals to adventurous food lovers, those looking for something different from pretty bland buffet food served up at most Luaus.
There is only really one booking option with the Feast at Lele, and that is standard seating. Everyone gets a private table per group, and seating is assigned when you book, so if you want front-row premium you need to book nice and early. There are no upgraded premium options, it is all considered premium.
Everyone gets the flower lei, a great view, and the same table served meal. This is pretty rare for Luau’s as they love trying to upsell the Premium packages.
We will first run through the overall experience before drilling down into the specific parts of the event that really makes the Feast unique, like the food, show, and setting.
The first port of call is the welcome point out the front of the building. Here you are greeted and assigned an usher to take you to your pre-assigned seat. These are all assigned based on booking order so there is no need to arrive super early to get the best seats, instead make sure you book well in advance. We booked approximately 1 month out and got good seats right in the middle about three rows back. These could have been better, so book as soon as you can, but they could have been worse as there were three rows behind us, and seating off to the side is less than ideal.
The Luau area is fairly small and situated right on the beach, with your feet literally in the sand! There is a small tape to restrict beachgoers from coming in but you can walk right down to the water’s edge for sunset photos, but you need to leave your drinks!
On the way to the table, you are presented with a wonderful Orchid Flower Lei and shown o your private table. Our table was a small 4-person wooden table but only the two of us were seated at it. Every group gets its own table and are facing the Stage. We love this approach, but also miss some of the friendly conversations we often get at Luaus. The intimacy is nice, but we enjoy the alternative too.
The Appetizer plate was brought straight out, and the first drink order was taken. A Mai Tai greeting is advertised but this is not enforced and the opening drink cab be anything off the menu (see below). But it’s a Luau so Mai Tai’s are always our opener! It was also a good Mai Tai too, a bit too sweet and tropical, but a good dark rum float!
There was very little going on in terms of cultural presentations. It really was a case of getting seated and awaiting the food, drinks ad show. Most luaus have some form of display or demonstration of traditional art, crafts, or games. But here it was straight into the food and show.
The first Course is served and then shortly after the relevant portion of the show begins. The opening Course is Hawaii and the first set of dances are all Hawaiian based, with chanting singing, and of course Hula Dancing.
Next up, was Aotearoa – New Zealand, then Tahiti, and finally Samoa, all with accompanying food and dances, which we look at more below. Between each show section, there is a short break while the food of the region is served. We found however that the show had started back up well before we had finished the course. This felt a little awkward as we couldn’t really give both the food and the show the attention they deserved!
Sometime around the middle of the show, the sun set and darkness fell. Naturally, there is ample additional light put on by the venue so you can continue dining. But you should make sure you look around regularly during the show as the sun sets over the ocean and reveals stunning light and color! Really it’s a bit of a shame the Sunset is two your back as you watch the show, but that is just the quirk of this location.
After the final show section, dessert was served and the finale of the show began. This is the traditional Samoan Fire Knife Dancer. A dramatic and always popular display of daring and skill.
With that, the night was over. The lights came on and the clearing up started. The Bar remained open until right at the end and we had a final drink remaining well after the show and feast had ended.
This is when we were presented with a check. Which felt odd, as we had pre-paid. But when we read the slip, it was basically requesting a tip. This is the first time we have had this at a Luau, but as the meal is served restaurant style we think this is maybe why they go down this root. It didn’t feel exactly right, we had already dropped $400 on the meal, did we need to tip as well? To be honest, the way the drinks had just flowed all night meant we didn’t really mind so left an appropriate amount quite willingly.
That said, they simply left the Check on the table and there was no pressure at all to tip, we could have just as easily walked out no questions asked.
The Feast is advertised as a 5-Course meal but in reality, it’s 6 courses including a small appetizer/snack platter and a dessert. And while each course only consists of a selection of small plates to share, there is a lot of food. We were really full by the end.
Each course is designed to reflect a different Polynesian Cuisine, Hawaii, Aotearoa – New Zealand, Tahiti, and Samoa. There is a Seafood dish, a meat dish, and a side dish on every course.
There is also a Chefs Special that changes daily and depends on the season and available ingredients. We have included what we received on the day, but this can and does change, although not as frequently as made out.
Dried Ahi & Molokai ‘Uala Chips (Dried Tuna @ SweetPotato Chips)
Served w/an Ulu & Kiawe Dip. (Breadfruit and Carob Dip)
The chips and dip were really nice and we arrived really hungry so it just took the edge off while we waited for the first main course. The Dried Ahi was very tasty, but this is going to be pretty subjective and a lot of these will go back uneaten. It’s essentially fish jerky!
Chef’s Special – Gardenia Jasmine Rice – Garnished w/Hibiscus Soy Puree
Lomi Lomi Salmon & Poi – Sous Vide Cured Salmon & Maui Poi
w/Tomato, Onion & ‘Alaea Sea Salt
Kãlua Pua’a – Prepared in a Traditional Cooking Style, Slow
Roasted in an Imu (Underground Oven). Served
w/ Butter Sautéed Cabbage
Ok let’s start with a revelation, this was the best Poi we have ever eaten…which isn’t saying much, but it was actually ok, and a little tastier than the usual wallpaper paste. But apart from that, this course was excellent.
The Kalua pork was excellent, succulent, and a touch smoky, The Lomi Lomi was cool and fresh and the Local Tomatoes had loads of flavor. The rice was good, but it’s just rice, but it went really well with the pork. A great start.
Aotearoa – New Zealand
Chef’s Special – Pikopiko Salad – Pohole Fern Shoot from Hana & Kabocha
w/House Smoked Fish & Roasted Tomato Slice
Harore Kumara – Medley of Stewed Mushrooms & Onion Over Baked Orange Sweet Potato
5 Hour Horopito Scented Braised Short Ribs – in a Kiwi Fruit Jus
The Short ribs were stunning. Super tender and just fell off the bone. The Mushroom Stew was nice but a little bit of a non-event. Finally, the Pikopiko Salad was also really good. We didn’t really expect this but the flavors really sang. Sweet and salty with a deep umami flavor. The veg was crunchy and perfect. One of our favorite dishes!
Chef’s Special – Tahitian Vanilla Baked Shrimp –
w/Ogo Dust (Seaweed Dust)
E’iota – Poisson Cru – Fresh Island Diced Fish & Vegetables in Coconut Milk & Lime Juice
Ginger Moa – Ginger Chicken Breast in a Mango Soy Sauce
w/Tahitian Lime Aioli & Mango Relish
This was the best of an already good bunch. The Shrimp were huge, plump, and perfectly cooked. It’s really a shame there was only one each! The Chicken was also really good and the mango pickle really cut through the sweet sauce.
Finally hidden under an unnecessary Taro Chip was a gorgeous Fish Poisson Cru, very similar to a Ceviche but full of fresh island flavors of coconut and lime! Really good.
Chef’s Special – Figota Stew – Vegetable & Shellfish Stew over Fresh Fish
w/Coconut Banana Caviar Cream
Palusami – Braised Coconut Cream Corned Beef
w/Baked Ulu Wrapped in Young Taro Leaf (Baked Breadfruit)
Pani Popo – Baked Soft Taro Roll in Creamy Coconut Milk
The courses were really piling up now in our stomachs! We think as this is supposed to be a tasting menu of very different flavors from around Polynesia, they assume many items will not be to some people’s tastes, so many dishes will be tried but not finished. We had not really found this, we have very broad tastes and enjoy most foods, especially Polynesian and pacific rim flavors. So we devoured everything put in front of us. Lots of little courses do seem like you are eating much but it soon creeps up on you!
This meant we didn’t enjoy this course as much as the others. The Ulu (Breadfruit) was pretty bland, but the Corned Beef was really good and the coconut really gave it a tropical lift. The Seafood Stew was about the most disappointing thing on the entire menu. We love seafood, but the sauce was just bland, it felt almost tinned and was a letdown.
The Taro rolls were utterly divine, but there was no room left in the tummy for much of it. If you had been skimping up until now this would surely fill just about everyone else up. But we could only manage a taste.
Dessert – Trio
Guava Chiffon Cake
Lilikoi Lemon Tartlet
Chocolate Dipped Mango – Whipped Haupia Cream
After the last course left us nearly bursting, we were kind f dreading dessert…especially as it was a trio. Thankfully it was pretty light. Dessert is not really Hawaii’s strong point. You can get great desserts in Hawaii, but they tend to be Asian or American based, and the traditional Hawaiian fare tends to be disappointing, we guess it was just not a big thing in traditional Hawaiian culture.
This was epitomized here, the cake was nice, but we doubt many Hawaiian chiefs ever ate this, and the Tart was more pastry than filling. The Mango was pretty stunning though, partially dehydrated and candied then dipped in chocolate, amazing. We are glad we had not saved room for this but were suitably stuffed instead.
Fussy Eaters or Dietary Requirements
For those with specific dietary requirements, this might be a bit of a struggle. The set menu means if you have problems with a common food ingredient it may be present in many of the dishes. The wait staff were very clear when we sat down on asking us about any allergies or dietary requirements but short of steering us away from any allergens, there is not much they can do, there are no additional menus for various dietary requirements. We are sure they will bring extra, of the things you can eat, if you are struggling to eat much, but it is a set menu, unfortunately.
If you contact the restaurant and give them at least 24 hours’ notice, they will do their best to provide a menu that is suitable, but it tends to be based on dropping foods rather than replacing them.
Again Vegan and Vegetarians may struggle slightly, there was normally a vegetarian option on every course, but that is not really a whole heap of food. Again like the Allergens above, contact the restaurant first and they will do their best.
Fussy Eaters might just do best avoiding this one. Unlike people with dietary restrictions if you are just unlikely to like much on the menu then this is a lot of money to eat a bit of rice, and maybe some chips. We have explained the menu in detail and if that’s not your cup of tea, the restaurant is unable to just whip up some burgers and fries for you.
Really this is a pretty challenging menu, there are several unique and new flavors and contains a few raw fish dishes. It’s not for everyone, and while we loved it, we are definitely in the adventurous eater category.
The Feast at Lele, like most Maui Luau’s, operates an Open bar and the drinks were really excellent. They were a real highlight and they kept flowing all night. We rarely had an empty glass and our servers were usually already taking our order as the last drink was getting low.
The cocktails were excellent and were proper hand-crafted items and not just horrid pre-mixes. The Mai Tai used orange and pineapple which is disappointing as we prefer a more sour traditional mix, but they were nice and strong and had a proper Dark Rum float.
We also tried the Planters Punch, Island Tea, Banana Madness, and Lava Flow. All were excellent. The one thing we would say is to avoid too many of the creamier drinks. The Banana Madness and Lava Flow were delicious, but they were pretty heavy and with a large amount of food coming, they really didn’t help!
There is also a daily Cocktail special, the O,O Farm Fresh Cocktail that changes with the seasons. We had a Pineapple and Ginger Mojito that was really nice and was actually a really authentic Mojito despite the inauthentic additional flavors. They will also make what they can from the Spirits and mixers available so feel free to ask, if they have it, they will make it.
The Beer and wine selection are also pretty good. I stuck with the Big Swell IPA as this was pretty much my drink of the trip, and kate was happy with both the Rose and the Sparkling Wine.
There was not a single hint of stinginess in the drinks service, it was more than generous to keep us thirsty brits lubricated and we doubt anyone would be anything but satisfied with the frequency of the drinks. It really was constant!
The show is very different from most Luau Shows in that it takes place as you are dining rather than being a full production show that takes place after the feast/meal/buffet. This is essentially one of the Feast at Lele’s selling points. It is trying to be different, but how does this method actually work out in practice?
The whole feast and show take place throughout the night and there is always something new either happening at the table or on the stage. It’s hard to believe the event is over 3 hours long as the constant food and show mean the time really flies by.
Overall we don’t actually like this format as much as the Traditional Feast then Show. Basically in order to serve the whole event and get the various show elements done, the show and the food overlap. There is always a break while the food is served, but once all the food is out the show kick back into gear. Our issue with this is it does not allow you to fully appreciate the food and the show. You cannot devote 100% attention to 2 things so you either kinda ignore the show for a bit, or thoughtlessly shovel the food in. Neither is ideal!
We tended to focus on the meal and then once that was done, started to give our full attention to the show. It was only a short overlap, and we still enjoyed the show. The other issue with the show is it really is not a lot of time to showcase each culture, there are generally 3 performances from each section and it’s just a taste of what that cultures, dance, and music are about. There is more room for a story or structure in a show when it is a full production. The constant stop-and-start kind of distracts you from the themes. It’s basically 5 independent shows, rather than one flowing production.
All this said, it is still a really fun and well-produced show and we loved it. The performers are all top of their profession and produce some really mesmerizing displays of Polynesian dancing. The compere is fairly serious and this is not a very joky performance and more focused on explaining the various cultures that are presented.
The Hawaii presentation is really relaxed and filled with mellow gentle island vibes. There is some traditional chanting (Oli), followed by a solo singer(Mele), and finishes off with both a solo and group Hula Dance. It’s the perfect way to kick off the show, and as the sun is just setting the higher intensity lighting feels right before the darkness falls.
Aotearoa – New Zealand
With the sun set and two courses in things get a bit more aggressive with the Aotearoa presentation as the Maori take to the stage. They perform the Haka War Dance and the dark and moody lighting really sets the scene perfectly. It’s a great part of the show.
Tahiti keeps the intensity but replaces the aggression and moodiness for fun and high energy. Lots of heavy percussion, fancy costumes, and hypnotic hip movements in this vibrant and fun part of the show.
The final part of the show is the Samoan dancing, again this is high energy and fun, with lots of hand slapping and chanting.
Samoa – Fire Knife Dancing
The Finale is the amazing Knife Fire Dancer, who literally sets the performance on fire.
We have seen a lot of these in our time on the islands and this was a fairly average performance. All Fire Knife Dancers are amazing, so average is still pretty awesome, but there were no stand-out “tricks” and it was just a single dancer doing his stuff. We have seen some shows with multiple performers doing incredible feats, so this was not a standout. It was also a shame that, due to the stage being wood, the display was done on the ground in front of the stage. This meant the performer was behind the front seats for most of the show. We guess this is better than burning down the stage, but still, it was hard to fully see the performer.
It’s a great finale and everyone loves and really appreciates the performance, guaranteed a standing ovation.
Overall the Feat at Lele is a really excellent Luau. The food is basically as good as it gets for Maui Luaus. The many courses are all of the highest quality and there is very little to not like, and even if a few courses are not to your liking there is a lot of food on offer. But it is definitely for adventurous eaters, willing to try things outside their usual tastes.
The Show arrives piecemeal and it really doesn’t work as well as the traditional format but the focus here rally is on the food with the show second fiddle, rather than the equal billing you get from more traditional Luaus.
We know some people are going to struggle with the fixed menu, there is a lot of food but if you have particular tastes and do not like to stray from what you know there is little on the menu that will be familiar. Kids in particular will struggle if they are fussy eaters and the Luau cost will feel pretty steep if you have to go looking for food afterward.
Despite the few issues with the format, the Luau is a real standout overall. It comes a close second to only its sister Luau the Old Lahaina, and even then in certain ways has even that beat. It is not as horrifically priced as some of the Wailia Events that seem to really be seeing just how much they can get away with charging at the minute.
Its unique elements really do lend to making this not a first timers Luau but more for those that have been to Lauas before and just looking for a slightly different experience. It is certainly that and it is certainly a really good and fun evening out in Lahaina. The Excellent Open bar definitely sees to that!
For a full run-down check out our full review of every Maui Luau available on the Island. We look at all of the different events and show you the best the island has to offer. However, we have a couple of suggestions for you below too.
Old Lahaina Luau
The Old Lahaina Luau is still the king of Luaus on Maui. This is Sister Luau to the Feast at Lele, and offers similarly excellent food, currently a Sit Down Meal also as opposed to a Buffet, which changed after the Covid Shutdown. But it still has the traditional format of a Luau, Dinner, and then a Show.
The show is also the best on the island and only the Polynesian Cultural Centers Show on Oahu really tops it. The show is the most storied and tells a wonderful tale of gods, kings, and voyagers. The only downside of the show is the lack of Fire Dancers. The Old Lahaina Luau attempts to be as authentic as possible and Fire Dancers are Sa moan not Hawaiian, so they don’t get on the bill here. We for one applaud them for their refusal to sell out just for popularity.
It’s our favorite event and while the food at Lele is better, the Old Lahaina is better in most other respects. Lele is a great choice, however, if Lahaina is sold-out, which it will be MONTHS in advance, or you are looking for something different, or if the Fire Dancers are so important you can’t do without.
Feast at Mokopu
If you are situated in South Maui and looking for a Luau then consider the Feast at Mokupu.
The Feast at Mokopu is a new Luau and runs a very similar format to the Feast at Lele. The food is again very high-end and served table service. It has a great bar and a stunning oceanside setting. The only downside is the quite shocking price!
Have your Say
Have you been to the Feast at Lele? What did you think of the experience? How was the food? Did you enjoy the show? Did you think it was good value? Whatever your thoughts we would love to hear your opinion so just drop us a comment. If you have any questions just fire away in the comments as well.