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“Don't do it.***”

Amici Ristorante Italiano
Ranked #102 of 287 Restaurants in Kailua-Kona
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Groups, Special Occasion Dining, Child-friendly
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Full Bar, Parking Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Hilo, Hawaii
Level Contributor
52 reviews
20 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
“Don't do it.***”
Reviewed 26 January 2014

The title is the summary. It was so bad I starting taking notes... you wanna see 'em? Keep reading.

We got to the Kailua-Kona location at about 4pm. There were no posted hours and the door was open so we walked in. Once inside we were told that they open at 4:30p. Okay, that's reasonable. But it would have saved us all a little trouble if the hours were posted on/near the door.

We came back at 4:30 and people were already seated... but, whatevs. The hostess was nice and said she would check to see if there was room for us. Previous reviews indicated that they cannot seat inside yet for whatever reason. The tables are on the patio in the back. This makes for limited seating. But she did get us seated.

The ambiance is quite nice. It's a little crowded in the back since that's all they have for now. But it was a very pleasant al fresco space. The road noise bothered me a little, but you're very close to the water on the West (read, sunset) side of the island.

We were served tap water on ice. Normally, in Hawaii, that's not a bad thing. But Kona water is not good. They should at least filter it through a Brita or PUR. The soft drinks were not much better. And I don't mean that in a literary bridge soft of way. If the water was a 1/5 the soft drinks were 1.5/5. We ordered a Coke and a Sprite. Both were extremely watery and barely (if at all) carbonated. Still not good.

We got a calamari appetizer. And it started what would be a trend. The calamari was chewy and a little fishy. Almost like their refrigeration isn't exactly working 100%. It wasn't bad, but it was a little off. The bread was a white bread baked as a loaf. The olive oil had no character. It's as if they used the light oil from the salad dressing as the dipping sauce. I didn't care for it, but others in the party did. YMMV.

For our entrees we ordered chicken picata, spaghetti ala vongole (clams), a kid's spaghetti, and kid's pasta with white sauce.

The chicken picata was good. Really good. Unfortunately if came with a side of marinara dressed spaghetti. I'm no expert, but I know what I like. I don't like marinara with my picata. I'm not sure what happened there. Maybe they didn't have any plain pasta ready to go, or they're trying something new. Either way it's not for me. I also got a broccolini stalk. I say stalk because it looked like they whole piece that would have come from the store - leaves and all. I eat broccoli leaves and this was no different. "Rustic" would be a euphemism for how my greens were prepared. I will openly admit that the broccolini did taste good. That's worth something.

The spaghetti ala vongole was also decent. The clams this time, were fishy. See the trend? Again, I'm not saying they were turned. But I don't like fishy shellfish. At all. We also had a closed clam on the plate. This went uneaten.

The kids spaghetti. This was the best plate, taken as a whole. The marina tastes homemade. And so do the meatballs. Again... the meatballs were a little gamey. But the sauce made this dish. This one was good.

Kid's pasta with white sauce. Admittedly, it may be my fault for assuming white sauce means alfredo. At Amici's it does not. The "sauce" was heavy cream... that's about it. While that's not exactly the worst thing in the world, it was completely unexpected. My daughter didn't complain about it. So there's that.

The service overall was very pleasant. They really do seem to want to provide a nice dining experience. Unfortunately it was also extremely slow. We never did get the pepper for our salads, cheese for our entrees. Despite both being asked for and confirmed by the server. The check took about 15 minutes to come out after we asked for it.

There's potential here. Some of the food is good (save weird sides, heavy cream sauce, watery sodas, etc.). I asked a friend who lives in Kona and my impressions were confirmed.

This may be the first time I've given a 1-star rating to anything, anywhere. But I felt I like needed to put this out there. If the things that went wrong were fixed (and I think they are all fixable) Amici's could be a great place.

*** The 3-star ratings for individual criteria reflect the fact that not *everything* was terrible. Some things were, in fact, quite good. But taken as a whole I would not come back. Hence the 1-star.

  • Visited January 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank Tony K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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171 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    77
    52
    16
    10
    16
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
Kailua, Hawaii
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“There's a reason no one goes here.”
Reviewed 18 January 2014

First off, "The Cat".. Visions of cat hair all over everything, to rats in the seedy industrial park. Why else would you have a cat?? Food was average,, service poor, staff attitude snobby, and had to sit outside with the cat. Just not a good experience.

  • Visited January 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Kime S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
106 reviews
62 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“Awesome carbonara”
Reviewed 3 January 2014

We stumbled across Amici on the way to the Kona Brewing Co, which had an hour wait. So we quick called Amici, which was right down the street. They graciously told us if we came soon, they would have a table. What a little gem! Turns out that there is a sister restaurant in Mukilteo WA near our home. Hands down one of the best executions of linguini carbonara since I was in Rome. Good sized portions of pastas, bread with olive oil and balsamic for dipping. The other pastas with meatballs and red sauce were not extraordinary, but solid. Largest serving of gelato I've ever seen, but the tiramisu was just OK (not my thing). There was ONLY outdoor seating (not sure why) which is under tenting, so don't go in a blowing rainstorm. It is in this odd little industrial park, but the outdoor seating is nicely screened with plants and flowers. Try it!

  • Visited December 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank WAgal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
denver
Level Contributor
20 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Nice addition”
Reviewed 27 December 2013

They just moved to Old industrial area. We live nearby and had holiday guests in town so decided to give them a try. Very pleasant remodel of space although indoor hadn't yet been approved for use so only using outdoor space. Food was good and plentiful. Service was attentive. Chairs very comfortable. We will be back!

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank raejgar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Island of Hawaii, Hawaii
Level Contributor
10 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Love the Ambience”
Reviewed 3 December 2013

They have just moved from Kainaliu by the Aloha Theater to Downtown Kailua-Kona at the base of Old Industrial. They are still working out the kinks, it is a bit dark outside, but well worth sitting there, and the indoor decor is warm and cozy! They are attentive and want you to have a positive experience. I had the fresh catch MahiMahi with pasta and veggies and it was delicious!

  • Visited November 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Jogirlhawaii
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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