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.
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