Spicy, homemade Sicilian classics plus many daily specials are served at moderate prices in this teensy strip mall storefront. There’s no gentle way of stating this: the walls are in dire need of a scrub. We’d be hesitant to eat here if we didn’t have an unobstructed view of the kitchen, which in contrast looks well-kept. Red-checked tablecloths drape the handful of tables, verging on cheesy until you realize the entire cook staff is Asian and it just seems bizarre. (That’s OK, though. One of the best Italian restaurants in Honolulu has an entirely Asian staff, too — there are simply more Asians than Italians in Hawaii. A love of good cooking can be inherited from any culture.)
Most everything is homemade. (We have our suspicions about the Thousand Island and Ranch dressings offered with the house salad, but the garlic bread’s thick, fragrant mash is the real stuff.) The pink sauce — tomatoes, vodka, cream — is divine, better than we’ve had at pricier establishments. The stuffed pasta with gorgonzola, ricotta, and spinach touches our heart (and maybe puts a little extra strain on it, too).
We also like the homemade sausages, tender and bursting with flavor. Daily specials usually feature a chicken, steak, and fresh fish. Many dishes are or can be made vegetarianfriendly. Lunches are mainly burgers, sandwiches, and basic pasta dishes. The wine list is limited but reasonably priced, and the tiramisu is lovely. Worth a stop if you’re on the South Side looking for a moderately priced homemade meal. The menu is more creative than Aroma D’Italia, but that means there’s a higher risk of inconsistency, too.
The outstanding veal, for example, comes with a strange brown mushroom sauce. Swap that for marinara or pink sauce and you have a truly winning dish. When in doubt, let the waiter steer you. You may want to call ahead for reservations, as there aren’t that many tables.
Address: 1215 S. Kihei Rd., Kihei, South Maui
Location: In the Long’s Shopping Center
Meals: Lunch, Dinner
Hours: F-Su 11:30am-2pm; Daily 5pm-9pm