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Nui Italian Brings Authentic Cuisine to North Kona

November 14, 2018, 11:00 AM HST (Updated November 9, 2018, 6:59 AM)
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    For most people, running off to Italy to relax in a café and enjoy comforting bowls of pasta with carafes of wine is just a dream. While this fantasy is out of reach for many, the Hilton Waikoloa Village has brought Hawai‘i Island residents and guests the next best thing—the Nui Italian restaurant. The dishes are stunningly authentic; the service attentive and hospitality genuine.

    Chef Gino Cipriano, a native of Italy, recreates his favorite dishes from home, infusing over 25 years of culinary experience. Italian cuisine is a true experience of the senses. It’s about focusing on the aroma, flavors and visual presentation of the dishes. Chef Gino has curated this experience into an art.

    When the first Italian immigrants arrived in America, their traditional ingredients, like prosciutto, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, were difficult or impossible to find. They had to adapt their recipes to incorporate the available ingredients, resulting in dishes with more meats and garlic. These Italian-American dishes share an incomplete story of traditional Italian food. At Nui Italian, diners get the rest of the story.

    “Not only is the food authentic, but the atmosphere is authentic,” said Manager Steve Katz. “In a lot of the Italian restaurants, you feel like part of the family. That is how it is here.”

    “Our chef does everything with such flair,” he continued. “The simplicity and beauty of his ingredients is impressive. I could eat something different every day, from the fish to the pork to the pastas. I’m proud not only of the food, but that people feel they’re part of the restaurant and the restaurant’s part of the community.”

    Choosing a favorite dish from Nui Restaurant would be next to impossible. Everything is fresh, delicious and beautifully authentic. Here are a few mouth-watering dishes worth trying.

    Nui Italian’s appetizers are as genuine as they come. The Ahi Tuna Crudo is served with olive tapenade, tomato, shaved fennel, basil oil, arugula and focaccia chips. The Burrata and Prosciutto is served with a creamy mozzarella that far exceeds any expectation of what mozzarella should taste like. It is joined by prosciutto, golden beets, arugula and extra virgin olive oil (EVOO, the natural juice squeezed from olives one day after the harvest).

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    For bread lovers, the Bruschetta is made with heirloom tomatoes, pesto and parmigiana reggiano. The Roman-style focaccia boasts rosemary and sea salt with roasted garlic, extra virgin olive oil and pomegranate balsamic vinegar.

    The salads are unique, not because of the fresh ingredients, but the unique dressings. The Mixed Greens are served with a creamy balsamic dressing, and the Caesar is adorned with hearts of romaine, shaved parmesan, heirloom cherry tomato, focaccia croutons and white anchovies.

    The real standout salad is the Toscana, made with baby spinach, hearts of palm, goat cheese, golden raisins, sliced almonds and an outstanding lemon-basil vinaigrette.

    Choosing the main course may be challenging, as the pizzas are a gift from the heavens. The pizzas are made on an open, kiawe wood-flame oven and are offered in two authentic styles— Neapolitan- or Roman-style. Both are spectacular, the primary difference being how long the dough is left to rise.

    Other standout entrees, include the Grilled Ribeye with crispy smashed potato and sautéed spinach with a red-wine reduction. The Grilled Mahi Mahi is served with broccolini, fregola pasta, capers and bruschetta-lemon-butter sauce. The popular Linguini Scampi is served with seared shrimp, white wine, garlic, heirloom cherry tomatoes, basil and EVOO.

    If your still hungry, and even if you’re not, you’ll want to try the Dolci chef’s dessert sampler, offering a sweet selection of favorite Italian desserts.

    Nui Italian is destined become a new island favorite. And with its great selection of Italian wines, diners can enjoy their mini Italian getaway and opt to stay on the property rather than drive home if they so desire. With great food, great service, genuine hospitality, and a heaping spoonful of aloha, this new restaurant is one of the Big Island’s perfect dining experiences. Saluti!

    Call (808) 886-2894 to make reservations. Go online for more information.

    The restaurant is located at 69-425 Waikoloa Beach Drive in Waikoloa Village.

    Ahi Tuna Crudo at Nui Italian. PC: Karen Rose

    Burrata and Prosciutto at Nui Italian. PC: Karen Rose

    Dolci at Nui Italian. PC: Karen Rose

    Grilled Ribeye at Nui Italian. PC: Karen Rose

    Linguini Scampi at Nui Italian. PC: Karen Rose

    Mixed Greens at Nui Italian. PC: Karen Rose

    Neapolitan-Style Pizza at Nui Italian. PC: Karen Rose

    Tiramisu at Nui Italian. PC: Karen Rose

    Toscana Insalate at Nui Italian. PC: Karen Rose

     

    Karen Rose
    Karen Rose is a writer and journalist living on the Big Island of Hawai‘i. Her writing focuses on food, wine, travel, arts and entertainment. She never met a food she didn't like—except black licorice.
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