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“Best of 50 years in Hawaii dining” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Paolo's Bistro

Paolo's Bistro
Ranked #6 of 35 Restaurants in Pahoa
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Child-friendly, Special Occasion Dining
Dining options: Dinner, Reservations, Seating, Waitstaff
Enumclaw, Washington
Level Contributor
14 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Best of 50 years in Hawaii dining”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 March 2014

Staying at Kapoho for two months and last year for one...Finally went to Pahoa Bistro for dinner this year in February....one of the best in the islands and I've been coming for fifty years! Lamb Osso Bucco was a culinary delight and ambience. Small, one room and maybe nine tables and some out back on makeshift patio. Do NOT miss it for dinner only.

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank JudiP98022
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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143 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    102
    27
    8
    3
    3
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Polish first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
84 reviews
30 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
“The owner from my state!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 March 2014 via mobile

After an all day tour with (Hawaii Forest & Trail) Over The Saddle to The Thurston Lava Tube then on to VNP we ended up at Palols! It was dark & Pahoa looked like a old wild West town,a lil run down,lol...and theres a little Italian place with a cat roaming around. It was strange but the owner If I recall from Barberton OH? And the food? To die for!!! It was,to be honest an odd but great experience. Go eat here...you'll never regret it. Aloha!

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
Thank Kelly S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Germany
Level Contributor
114 reviews
42 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
“More about the food than the ambience”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 February 2014

I think Paolo's deserves it's place on Tripadvisor more for the food than the ambience or décor. Like most of the restaurants in Pahoa, Paolo's is old and somewhat rundown, a fact that seems to not affect business here. The walls are peeling, the floor is slanted, there is unkemptness everywhere. However, what Paolo lacks in charm he more than makes up for in his cooking.

As stated elsewhere, the menu is spoken not written which makes for a little mental gymnastics remembering the options (which were not many). We opted for the Caprese salad for appetizer (which is more than a traditional tomato/mozzarella/basil combo, as this one also comes with local greens in the middle in a caper/vinaigrette spritz.) It was very good. For entrees, my wife chose the portabella mushroom stuffed ravioli with meat sauce, a very rich combo in a basil marinara meat sauce. Mine was the black pasta with fresh ono fish in a marinara sauce. All of Paolo's pasta is handmade fresh, and mine was a rather different shape: long, flat pieces, rather like cutting ribbons of lasagna, but thinner. The blackness comes from calamari ink.

We didn't have room for dessert or coffee, but their selection was a tiramisu or macadamia nut ice cream made on the island. Total price for our meal (with one soda) was $42.

  • Visited February 2014
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank DarwynK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
29 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Hawaiin/Italian? Italian/ Hawaiian? ”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 February 2014 via mobile

In the tiny Big Island Hawaii town of Pahoa there is a real Italian chef who uses local ingredients to create several dishes each night. Fish, meat, vegetables, pasta
Whatever tempts the chef from whatever is available.

In any city you'd pay twice the price. The service is casual and super friendly. BYOW

In a hurry? Subway is just down the street. A Hawaiian phrase: "Try Wait." You'll be glad you did.

Helpful?
Thank Danwershow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Level Contributor
241 reviews
117 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 215 helpful votes
“Remarkably interesting”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 February 2014

My wife and I decided to eat at Paolo's after discovering it through TripAdvisor. What a remarkable experience. The small "main drag" (we assume) of Pahoa looks to be only a few years away from being a ghost town. Narrow street with bedraggled nondescript buildings on both sides of the street, some of them shuttered up and with a look to them that says they've been that way for a long time. No way you'd be enticed to go to a restaurant on such a street based on that appearance. The exterior of Paolo's is similar--it looks like a dump. Once you get inside, though, you get a quaint, picturesque little restaurant such as we used to run across in northern Italy back in the 1970's. The tablecloths are clean but a bit faded and perhaps not ironed. The decorations and ambience we found charming. The menu was presented to us verbally (they were updating their printed menus, we were told). We dove right in. They opened the bottle of wine we'd brought along (they don't serve alcohol but you can bring your own bottle of wine for a $5 corkage fee--almost everyone in the restaurant had clearly done this) and we placed our order. The soup was nothing extraordinary but we both cleaned the bowl. The entree I had was the black pasta with ahi. The pasta was excellent, clearly homemade and tasty, but the ahi was bland to me. My wife had the seafood pasta with angel-hair pasta and it seemed better than my entree. I had the tiramisu for dessert, which I ordinarily don't order because it's nothing special and that held true here. I perhaps can say it was a bit better than what I've had in other restaurants but I'm not sure. My wife had chocolate macadamia ice cream, again nothing special but fully satisfactory. So we feel on balance we had a very interesting experience and we're glad we went. It's not for everyone but some of you will be a bit enchanted by the rustic ambience as we were.

  • Visited February 2014
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank ArtColorado
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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