I went to two luaus during my trip to Hawaii in 2002. One of them was part of the Polynesian Cultural Centre tour and the other one was the unforgetable beach-side meal at Feast At Lele in Maui. Our original plan was to attend Old Lahaina Luau but we were able to make a reservation for Feast At Lele at the last minute.
We arrived at the site and were each greeted with a beautiful orchid lei and a Mai Tai. Instead of communal tables found in most luaus, we were seated at small tables covered with white linen. The luau is located on a beach with the sunset and ocean as the backdrop. This is a small intimate affair where each table has a clear view of the stage. While we were waiting for the night to begin, we had our pictures taken by professional photographers and munched on grilled bananas, taro, among other amuse-bouche. When the music began, our attentions were directed to a catamaran slowly sailing towards the beach and a group of dancers descended on the waterside stage. The show itself was a mixture of different Polynesian cultures that coincides with the menu. I highly recommend you to check out their menu because the dishes are familiar luau offereings yet they are given a haute-makeover. My favourite dishes were the Imu Roasted Kalua Pig, Steamed Chicken and Taro Leafs in Coconut Milk, and whole fish grilled in banana leafs (unfortunately, this dish is no longer available in the current menu). It is a perfect way to sample wonderful interpretations of traditional Polynesian cuisine. Kudos to Chef James MacDonald. Instead of the typical buffet style of other luaus, Feast At Lele serves you at your table which just made the whole experience so much more enjoyable.
Needless to say, this luau was the perfect way to end our wonderful vacation in Hawaii. If I'm ever in Maui again, I would definitely go back for another dinner.