It was time. The last stakeout at Kula Bistro was weeks ago before they opened. A few people had emailed about their experiences and to let me know it was open. (Thank you!!) It was my turn.
I scooped up fellow food adventurers Jane and Jen Brown, along with Ester and we carpooled up to Kula for dinner. Kula Bistro is open 7 days a week, from 7 am to 8 pm. They do their own baked goods, and the bakery case is full of desserts. The menu is HUGE. The lunch and dinner menu is the same, I photographed it below so you could see the pages we had to choose from.
The server said they were known for the crab cakes so we started there. served with a delicious cream sauce that is swirled with sweet thai chili sauce and a swath of Kula Greens. They were Maryland crab cakes which my East Coast dining buddies said is awesome. I was not so familiar. The two crab cakes in the app were served soft, almost the texture of a cream dip. The real lump crab had a bit of a fishy taste, but overall the dish was enjoyable. I married each bite with a bunch of greens for crunch.
We took forever to order dinner, mainly because we had so many decisions to make. In the end, Jen got the pesto with veggies dish, Jane got the canneloni, I had the grilled veggie panini, and Ester had the saimin. The menu has Italian and local food favorites. (See the photos below for the lunch and dinner menu.)
The dining room filled up to capacity while we were there. I thought the chairs were really comfortable, I want them for my kitchen table. The dining room is large and comfortable, dominated by 4 tops, very family friendly. We all decided we would eat here again, bring more family and friends.
Food did not take long at all and everything was delicious. Jane’s canneloni came the size of a taco del mar burrito. It was stuffed with seafood, really tasty. She had to take half home. Ester’s Imamura noodle saimin was just how she ordered it, plain with no veggies, and char sui on the side. Jen’s pesto with veggies was creamy and delicious. She had the penne, it was cooked perfect. Lots of veggies on it, eggplant, squash, peppers, onions, mushroom.
After years of getting crappy paninis suddenly I have beholden great panini. The trick is to use fresh focaccia, it grills crisp on the outside but not too tough. The roasted veggie panini hit the spot. It was beautiful in presentation served with a side of Caesar salad. Cheese oozed hot over the vegetables and the bread was succulent.
I would not let us leave without a taste of some of the baked goods, I mean after all they bake it themselves! There is a beautiful case of desserts in the restaurant, which Ester would go over and check out. We let her pick, so it was Black Forest Cake. A tall 4 layers of rich fudge cake separated with thick fudgy cream with lots of cherries in it, this cake is too rich for just one. The maui coffee was perfect with it. I loved the almond side of the cake.
There is some rough spots they are still working out in the service. But I believe they will get there. Our server didnt bring us proper napkins and silverware at first, and we kept forgetting to ask when he was nearby, but we got them all eventually. Its hardly something to complain about. We did not order any adult beverages, but I saw the waiters serving wine, so I think they have it on the menu. (Update from commenter Wendy below-they do not have a liquor license, however they are serving BYOB. This is awesome! Just bring your bottle of wine or beer or pick it up across the street at Morihara Store)
Open for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, from 7 am to 8pm. Have you tried Kula Bistro? What did you think? Let us know! Comment below!
4566 Lower Kula Rd., Kula, HI 96790, (808) 871-2960
About Jen Russo
I write lifestyle and culinary columns for MauiTime. I love being a Maui girl and adore my big family. Dedicated food taster, blogger, internet fanatic, and Maui and Hawaii specialist.