By Chasity Cadaoas
When driving through beautiful Upcountry Maui, restaurants are few and far between. Many of its finest restaurants are found while taking an accidental turn. One Saturday morning, I had the pleasure of stumbling upon an unexpected treat while traveling on Highway 37 and taking a random turn by a True Value store.
Hidden amongst the picturesque views of Kula is a quaint little café that offers the sophistication of French cuisine to the island. La Provence is a family-owned restaurant known for brining a little taste of France to Maui with its delectable treats and savory dishes.
From the entryway, the restaurant radiates with cute and quaint appeal. A popular spot amongst the locals for their weekend-only breakfast menu, expect a little bit of a wait. If you just want a nice cup of coffee or tea, and some pastries to go, their little pastry counter showcases some of their sinful delights (which are available for your pleasure Wednesday through Sunday). Beware of being seduced by the aroma of fresh bread and candied spices mixed with freshly ground coffee beans as you enter. La Provence is known for making all of their dishes and pastries from scratch using only the freshest local ingredients.
Their seating area is a carport cleverly disguised as a garden setting with a brick oven built into it for their special dinner menus. The atmosphere is casual, light and refreshing due to the cool Kula air, lush scenic views and mellow jazz music playing in the background. The only protest to this setting would be their use of cushion-less iron made patio furniture. It’s a bit hard on the bum, and leaves quite the imprints on the thighs if you happen to be wearing shorts. There was only one waitress on the floor catering to approximately 12 tables, and I was impressed by her calm and friendly demeanor. Room temperature water, utensils and a menu was given upon being seated as she quickly introduced herself and took my café mocha order.
Although the menu seemed very simple, everything on it sounded delicious, and the prices were slightly above budget-friendly. My steamy chocolate drink arrived fairly quickly, and the server was very helpful with choosing an item from the menu. According to her, any style of their eggs benedict is a favorite dish, so I chose the Canadian bacon benedict and added spinach—and with the upgrade, it cost me nearly $15.
Within 15 minutes, a beautifully plated eggs benedict with spinach and Canadian bacon was placed in front of me. It was dressed in hollandaise sauce with a side of fresh Kula greens drizzled in a balsamic lilikoi dressing. The smell of the balsamic lilikoi was mouthwatering. The colors on my plate created an enticing piece of art with its yellow, greens, purples and reds. As lovely as it looked I anticipated the taste. The hollandaise sauce had an exceptional consistency. Its savory creamy flavor was well met with an ever so light hint of tanginess. As I cut into the egg, its velvety yolk slowly poured forth; it was poached not too soft, not too hard, but perfectly. The amount of each layer of the dish was balanced nicely. The texture of the buttery cooked spinach was excellent; the chef managed to keep a light crunchiness to it as it elevated the tender juiciness of the Canadian bacon. Holding this delightful dish together was a lightly toasted English muffin kept crisp around the edges and soft in the middle. Not one flavor overpowered the other, but combined to create a burst of synchronized flavors dancing on my palate.
The Kula greens were fresh, but the highlight of this simple side was—by far—the balsamic lilikoi dressing. Made daily, their balsamic lilikoi dressing packs a punch. An infusion of sweetness and tartness with a tinge of salty exterior creates an explosion of refreshing bites of yumminess. A complementary side dish to an already delectable meal. A superb balance of flavors and textures makes this dish very satisfying.
A cool and casual atmosphere with deliciously satisfying meals, La Provence gets a four out of five star rating. Although their patio furniture could use some spicing up, and it wouldn’t hurt to have one more wait staff on the floor, La Provence really does bring the flavors of France to Maui with the freshness of their products, their unique and exceptional flavors and their fair prices.
Try a little taste of France and visit La Provence at 3158 Lower Kula Rd. They are open Wednesday through Sunday, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.; lunch is served from 11:30 a.m. to 1:45 p.m., and their breakfast menu is available only Saturday and Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. Reservation only dinners are available every second and fourth Friday of the month. For more information and reservations, call (808) 878-1313.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars