Kula Bistro – Upcountry Goes Italian
By Susan Halas
The Kula Bistro is the new Upcountry Restaurant in the spot formerly occupied by Café 808 across the street from the Morihara Store.
Open almost a month, the nicely renovated dining room and the Italian themed menu is already generating quite a favorable buzz. The parking lot gives a good indication of the patrons: an equal mix of Mercedes/Lexus drivers and those who favor heavy duty trucks.
On a recent weekday Maui Now stopped by for lunch to see if the new restaurant lived up to its advance notices.
The short answer is “yes” with a few provisos. Maui Now ordered a basic 12” Margherita pizza and a Caesar salad with grilled vegetables. One of us drank coffee, the other just water. We shared a cream horn for dessert. The meal was ample for two with a bit left over to take home. The portions were generous, and the wait staff helpful and friendly. The lunch was tasty and appealing, if a bit on the pricey side – the tab for the meal for two was $36 including tip.
The provisos were the Caesar dressing had a distinctly bottled taste – more ranch than Italian, and the custard-filled pastry was more crust than custard. While the seating was fast and the atmosphere pleasant, it took quite a while for the meal to appear on the table.
However, taken as a whole, it was definitely an enjoyable experience, and the bistro is sure to be an appreciated addition to the Upcountry scene.
Around us diners from around the island were uniformly impressed with the new establishment and those who spoke with Maui Now unanimously said they’d be back.
Frances Hirano of Kahului and her guest Arlene Tibayan from Honolulu both had the Panini Ruben ($11.95) and both liked it. Others recommended a variety of items, and some stressed the pasta dishes priced $12 – $18 a la carte. The house specialty pizzas are similarly priced.
The fresh made baked goods made an attractive display and are offered by the piece from about $2-$5.
The restaurant seats about 60 at four top tables. Seating is first come first served, no reservations are taken and evenings are apt to be busy. Everything on the menu is also available for take-out. Currently the Kula Bistro does not have a liquor license, patrons may BYOB. There is no corkage fee. The restaurant has its own parking lot and street parking is also available.
Owner Luciano Zanon reminded Mauians he also specializes in catering for large or small events, and encouraged them to visit his website; www.bellaveneziacatering.com.
(Across From Morihara Store)
Kula, Maui Open Daily 871-2960
Breakfast 7:00 -10:45, Lunch 11:30 – 2:00,
Dinner 6:30 – 8:00 (sometimes later)
No Liquor License, BYOB OK
Moderate to Expensive