Bistro Casanova

33 Lono Ave. Ste. 150, Kahului, 873-3650
Tues.-Sat. 11am-close; Mon. lunch only

I’m surprised it didn’t occur to me sooner that central Maui lacks filet mignon. Yet another reason to love the arrival of Bistro Casanova, the new Kahului venture from seasoned Maui restauranteur Giovanni Steven Cappelli.

Steven deflects credit from himself and heaps it on his experienced crew, the same one that helped maintain his award-winning Upcountry Italian restaurant and bar. The new eatery boasts an array of Casanova Makawao ex-pats, including Executive Chef David Gemberling and manager Jean Francois Lefevre. When I ask Steven about Casanova Bistro he muses, “I only create the spaces, it’s what the community does with it that really makes it something.”

If you’re expecting a reincarnation of the Upcountry Casanova, clear your mind and your palate—Bistro Casanova has its own distinct personality and flavor. The restaurant is appointed in shades of blue, with dark wood furniture that, along with the driftwood art installation by Piero Resta and blue sky frescos on the ceiling, lend the place a nautical vibe.

There’s a lot of diversity packed into the evening menu. Carafes (La Caraffa $10) of wine (or margaritas or mojitos) and a tapas ($5-9) menu make it easy for a casual gathering of friends pre- or post-show. Of course you’ll find Italian favorites: a list of pastas like the Linguine al Funghi, a wild mushroom in cream sauce ($12) and the meaty Tagliatelle alla Bolognese ($14). But what you don’t expect is the infusion of Spanish, Mediterranean and French cuisines. Duck graces the menu from the Quawck Salad ($12) to a rich roasted leg of duck in the Duck Confit ($20). Some friends nearby had the Paella ($28), which serves two, and admitted the flavors were exactly like what they had in Spain.

Start with The Antipasto di Mare ($14) a fresh mix of succulent chilled seafood: scallops, shrimp, mussels, calamari and clams tossed in olive oil with tomatoes, greens, and capers. Every bite was amazing, the light dressing and fresh seafood a refreshing change from the usual fried seafood starters. The menu also contains an array of mouth-watering steaks, including the aforementioned filet mingnon. Maui Time Weekly, Jen Russo