Let me be honest, I consider myself a food snob. Unfortunately, nothing on the Big Island satisfies my discerning palate. My love for high-quality cuisine stems from growing up in the Bay Area, where excellent food is abundant and hidden gem restaurants are easy to find. My standards became even higher after marrying a chef. Thus, I must admit that I have become a foodie with an uncompromising taste.
Usually, I travel off the Island once or twice a year solely for the purpose of dining out. I plan my vacation with the intention of not cooking at all, but only indulging in eating out. However, my family does not always share the same enthusiasm for these trips as dining out for every meal can be costly. Nevertheless, my inner foodie craves this experience and insists on being satiated with exceptional cuisine.
Therefore, when I claim to have discovered the best restaurant on the Island, rest assured that I am not exaggerating. I am thrilled to share this gem with the world.
Drum roll, please!!!!
Cipriano’s Kitchen, located in Kawaihae.
Cipriano’s Kitchen is a restaurant owned by Gino (Chef) and Claudia who are from Peru. They run the business with their beautiful daughter Nina and cousin, Cesare. *Excuse my spelling; I’m not sure how to spell their names**
Allow me to recount how I stumbled upon and savored this remarkable cuisine.
I called up my friend Jeff to make a lunch date after not seeing him for over six months. I suggested we try out a new restaurant that neither of us had been to before, and we eventually settled on Cipriano’s Kitchen. We decided to meet up there for lunch on a Wednesday afternoon.
Upon arriving at Cipriano’s Kitchen, Claudia, one of the owners who was also our server, warmly greeted us. She also cooks the fresh Focaccia bread and pasta. Her passion for the cuisine was contagious, and we thoroughly enjoyed chatting with her and learning about the menu. We were so impressed with the food that we stayed for over three hours. It was truly a fantastic meal and overall experience! (Please note that they only serve breakfast and lunch.)
As we finally paid, Claudia told us they make dinner once a month. We signed up instantly.
Now, let us talk about their dinners and see if I can delight your tastebuds.
We had no idea what to expect from the evening when we arrived for dinner. We only knew that it would be a five-course meal starting at 4:30 pm for $139 per person. We dressed appropriately and entered with anticipation to see what the night would bring.
We reached the venue at 4:30 pm and were happy to see our good friends Jeff and his wife seated at the family-style tables, which could accommodate around 25-30 people. I was undecided about what to order as Claudia arrived to take our drink orders. I enquired about the Lilikoi Pasco sour, to which Claudia replied with a bold statement, “It’s the best drink; if you don’t like it, then I’ll drink it.” Intrigued, my husband and I ordered the Lilikoi Pasco sour, which was delicious. Even today, I cannot recall the ingredients, but I remember thoroughly enjoying it. Anyway, enough about the cocktails; let’s get to the main course!
After the third course, the person seated beside us kindly shared the menu since we seemed to have missed it. As the entrees kept improving, it was a relief to have the menu to discuss and analyze each dish. Being a food enthusiast, I thoroughly enjoyed talking about the food with my husband, who is a chef, and asking him about the ingredients and cooking methods used in each dish.
After six courses, I was a happy foodie.
Though unrelated to the food, one thing worth mentioning is that the restaurant was quite noisy. The acoustics of the building made it difficult to hold a conversation without raising our voices. As the night went on, the noise level became increasingly bothersome, which was a significant negative for me. In the future, I may opt to enjoy exceptional cuisine during breakfast or lunch instead.
Have you been and enjoyed their food? I’d love to hear about it…