The owner of Amici Italian Bar & Grill has relocated his restaurant from their Kainaliu location, adjacent to the Aloha Theatre, to the Old Industrial Area across the street from the West Hawaii Today newspaper offices. Although the previous location of the restaurant was known as “Amici Italian Bar And Grill” now it is known as “Amici Ristorante Italiano” was a good one, the move was precipitated by the lack of consistency, and the owner’s personal loss of a close family member which called for a fresh start. Fortunately for the loyal and hungry clientele of Amici, the relocation has not affected the quality of the Italian cuisine, to which the owner remains committed.
- Owners Giovanni Saffioti and Devon Drake
The food scene in West Hawaii was first introduced to the authentic Italian cuisine of Amici Ristorante Italiano Kona, from the home country of Chef Giovanni Saffioti, in 2012. Together with his co-owner, Devon Drake, they have relocated the restaurant in an attempt to spread their culinary expertise further. They have been open for a short while and their new establishment, which is in close proximity to most businesses located in the Old Industrial Area, that makes it easier to gain access to foot traffic. There is plenty of parking space, and the new restaurant includes an outdoor dining area. This is a fresh start for the sixty year old Italian who was born in Genoa, a Mediterranean sea port in North West Italy. The region is well known for excellent Italian cuisine, but especially for its famous pesto sauce. Saffioti moved to Canada with his family in 1969, and his passion for cooking compelled him to travel frequently between Canada, Italy and America, to gain experience at various restaurants. He has studied under many chefs and slowly worked his way up from being a busboy at the age of 15, to being a Chef in his own right in 1983.
- Executive Chef / Owner Giovanni Saffioti and Owner/ Manager Devon Drake
During his many travels abroad, he fell in love with the island of Hawaii ,with its unique pace of life, and developed a desire to present the residents of Hawaii with something different in the line of Mediterranean cuisine. At Amici Ristorante Italiano Kona, his authentic recipes for many of the dishes that can be enjoyed at the restaurant, have been the result of his vast experience , as well as his rich heritage. His style embraces a fusion of Mediterranean and Italian cuisines and his love for fresh ingredients shows in his dishes, which are infused with authentic Italian flavor. Saffioti enjoys preparing his dishes from scratch and likes to make his own bread, pesto sauce and tiramisu the way it has always been made in the kitchens of Italy.
Executive Chef Saffioti’s specialty is the great enjoyment he derives from crafting his own sauces. He is proud of the fact that none of the sauces in the dishes served at his restaurant taste the same, as he says, each sauce should honor the unique ingredients in that particular dish. He also likes to cook food that he himself would like to eat, which makes all his dishes taste sumptuous and flavorful. Together with his professional and competent staff, they prepare exotic dishes such as:
- Amici Ristorante Italiano Chefs
- “Tenderloin of Pork scallopini saltimbocca, sautéed in white wine, light tomato and sage, with a prosciutto topping”
- “Filet Mignon with a port wine reduction, gorgonzola cheese and alii mushrooms”
- “Spaghetti in a tomato, white wine and garlic broth with mussels”
- “Chicken Marsala with mushrooms”
- True Italiano Chefs teaching the ways of the old style cooking and the younger Chefs turn around and teach the new style of fusion…
- The bar is well stocked with Italian wines, the famous Limoncello Drop or Amici Bloom, after dinner liqueurs or grappas, and Italian sparkling wines with flavors like wild hibiscus blossom.
A lot of thought was put into the creation of the atmosphere of the restaurant to portray a feeling of little Italy where dining becomes an experience of pure pleasure. Plans for the future include a piano bar and light jazz to enhance the romantic, intimate atmosphere. Amici means “friends” in Italian, and Executive Chef Saffioti, along with co-owner/Manager, Devon Drake, would like to welcome a lot more to their restaurant.
- Amici Ristorante Italiano Kona has a wonderful bar/lounge area that changes colors.