On the Big Island of Hawaii, tucked away on a side road of the Mauna Lani Beach Club, a resort about a half an hour or so from the Kona Airport is the Napua Restaurant. Embracing the spirit of Hawaii’s authenticity and the Aloha spirit, Napua faces the ocean and like most Hawaiian evenings, it was warm enough to sit outside when I was there, where you have just enough of a warm breeze to make the temperature perfect.
The bar is in the middle of the restaurant and actually ‘part of it’ and the place is small and intimate (only 14 tables). They often have a musician playing like they did the night I was there. Sadly, I missed out on seeing well known Hawaiian musician Sonny Lim, who normally plays there on a Sunday night, but was on tour apparently. (the musician they did have was very entertaining however and added to the fabulous beach meets resort ambiance of the place).
Napua features locally raised and grown food and whether you’re there for lunch (try the BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich which is smoked for 4 hours then brazed for 8 hours and shredded and sautéed in Napua’s house made guava BBQ sauce) or dinner (try the Whole Moi, a whole fish fit for royalty, served with ginger soy garlic and sesame sauce), it’s a great night out.
They also have a yummy Pa’auilo Grass Fed Filet Mignon, which is 8oz of savory natural island-grazed beef served with a spinach bacon hash and a velvety Hamakua mushroom cream sauce. Dinner entrees range from $26 – $36.
My host decided I should try a few things so we sampled smaller versions of several things so I had a wider representation of the menu. Below is the Ahupua’a salad, which is served with Rincon Family Farms strawberries and Wow Farms tomatoes tossed with Paniau white honey garlic vinaigrette dressing. (the white on the top? Ahualoa Goat cheese of course). A definite thumbs up.
I guess this one is a favorite: Big Island Bruschetta, which is served with peppered big island filet mignon on focaccia bread, herb mozzarella, tomato poke, all topped off with a balsamic citrus reduction.
I’d also recommend the Fresh Poke Napoleon, an ahi and ono tartare topped with Waimea avocado and tortilla chips, the Opakapaka if they have it, which is local, fresh Hawaiian sea bass, and the BBQ Pork Ribs. Below is the Mauka and Makai “Oscar Filet,” a local Mauka Ranch filet mignon with crab and asparagus served over mashed potatoes.
Note: the photos were not taken on my trusty Canon 7D but my iPhone camera and it was quite dark outside, so the photos don’t do a great job of representing just how amazing the food looked or tasted. (a WBTW Thumbs Up and we’d definitely go back).
My only issue was how hard it was to find the place. If you’re not a local, there are no signs on the property nor are there many landmarks to find it easily once you do get directions. Guys – put up some more signs and lights as your eager-to-eat at your fabulous restaurant guests would appreciate it!! :-) I love the fact that its so tucked away when you finally get there.
For another locally-inspired Hawaiian restaurant in Maui, check out Ko, which is inside The Fairmont. (definitely worth a stop).