They say the family that cooks together stays together. We don’t know how much “together time” the brothers who own these busy Mexican taquerias get, but we’re glad they’re cooking for us. The three locations — one in a backwater North Kihei strip mall, one in the back of the Wharf Center in busy Lahaina, and one in Kahului across from McDonald’s — all serve up good quality Mexican dishes spiced with plenty of what we call Love. Let’s talk about Love, just for a moment. When we say a dish has a high Love quotient, what we really mean is that the person who prepared the dish was deliberate, thoughtful, and skillful. We also mean the food tastes good.
We also mean … oh, darn it! We mean lots of things. Love in food is one of those ineffable, indefinable “you know it when you taste it” things, like the difference between good art and great art, or where erotica crosses a line and becomes pornography. Anyway … we feel — or taste — the Love in the food at Amigo’s. These guys have love for their food, their families, their culture, and for their customers.
You can tell by the way you’re greeted when you walk in. The smiles are warm, the advice on what to order is sound, and they bring the chips (freshly fried) quickly. You get your own salsa from the bar, which features a wide selection, all made in house. (They instituted a two-ramekin limit to the salsa, which we regularly break.) We like the chili verde, or green chili sauce served over pork. The sauce brings both full sweet flavors to the tongue and sneaking heat to the tonsils, just like it should. The pork is tender and flavorful. We also like the enchiladas, which feature fresh corn tortillas and generous fillings. You get a choice of red or green sauce for the top. We tend to get the red chili because we’re often getting the green on another dish.
They have good burritos, flautas, chimichangas, and of course, tacos (flour or corn). We also like the chile relleno. A mild green pepper is stuffed with cheese, dipped in egg batter, and fried. The whole concoction is served with guacamole, pico de gallo, and ranchera sauce. The result is a crispy shell around a tender pepper that yields to the rather decadent cheese. The chicken mole is a commendable, if not outstanding version, of this traditional dish. The shrimp diabla (devil shrimp) is not for the faint of heart … but we adore the burst of flavor, and the way it clears our head. The combination plates feature several house favorites and are a good value. They also come with the excellent spicy Spanish rice and delicious, perfectly seasoned beans, which taste like a family recipe (a good one).This is very good, fast Mexican food for takeout or dining in.
If you choose to stay, they have bottled beer and generous margaritas to go with the daily specials. (We splurge and get the top shelf margarita, which runs you about $7 and is made with fresh juices.) The Kahului location is probably the least appetizing, as it’s right off a gas station parking lot, but they’ve recently fortified the seating area’s walls to create a more dignified atmosphere.
Address: 41 E. Lipoa St., Kihei, South Maui
Location: Just off South Kihei Road in the Lipoa Center.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Hours: Daily 9am-9pm
Address: 333 Dairy Rd., Kahului, Central Maui – Airport
Location: Across from McDonald’s on Dairy Road
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Hours: M-Sa 8am-9pm; Su 9am-9pm
Address: 658 Front St., Wharf Cinema Center, Lahaina, West Maui
Location: In the back of the Wharf Cinema Center across from the Banyan tree.
Meals: Lunch, Dinner
Hours: Daily 9am – 10pm
Parking: Lot, Street