At first I couldn’t tell what was different about the sweet-smelling pizza that was dusted with parmesan cheese and placed in front of me. It hit me after a few moments: rather than mix up the four toppings (artichokes, prosciutto, black olives and mushrooms) the chef had placed them in their own sections—all the olives covering these two slices, all the mushrooms over there, a healthy slice of prosciutto next to that, and so on, with just the barest mixing of toppings at the edges.
The only place I know of where you can find a pizza like that—on this island, at least—is Matteo’s Pizzeria in Wailea. It’s called the Quattro Stagione, and you can get it in a thin crust eight-inch version like I enjoyed or with a thicker 16-inch pan crust. Like Matteo’s itself, it’s quite different than what you’re used to.
Opened a year or so ago by Matteo Mistura, formerly of Ferraro’s at the Four Seasons, Matteo’s offers some of the best and most reasonably priced Italian food you’ll find on Maui. Like some pizza joints on the mainland, they save costs by having everybody order and pay the beautiful woman working the counter when you walk in, who then gives you a number on a slim metal stand you place on your table so the food runner can find you.
Still, sitting outside on Matteo’s balcony that overlooks the ocean and one of Wailea’s many golf courses, I could hardly believe the delicious and filling pizza I was quickly dismantling cost about $11.
As I ate, Samantha and Wendy similarly made short work of their meals. Sam opted for Gianna’s Salad, which contains mixed greens, Radicchio lettuce, tomates, bleu cheese all tossed with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, while Wendy opted for the Vegetarian Sandwich, which has roasted vegetables, melted Mozzarella cheese and basil on a multigrain Italian roll. As they ate they sipped from flutes filled with Prosecco.
“What’s Prosecco?” I asked while drinking Coca-Cola from a paper cup that bore that company’s logo.
“Do you want a sip?” Samantha asked.
“It tastes like really dry sparkling white wine,” I said after my taste.
Later our friend Scott showed up. I figured he would—not simply because I invited him to show up, but because his office is next door, and the way he talks about Matteo’s I figured he goes there every day anyway. He ordered the Ligurian Pizza, which is topped with shrimp, Mascarpone cheese and Genovese Pesto, though I couldn’t help but notice that his toppings were all mixed together.
Of course, some people just go to Matteo’s for the daily lunch and dinner specials.
“They’re phenomenal,” Scott said. “Last time I was here they had an ahi carpaccio wrapped around cantaloupe. They’re all like three-course meals.”
Matteo’s was very quiet and peaceful when we had our lunch there, but Scott assured us it’s different at night.
“It gets packed,” he said. “After about 6:30, there’s a line out the door.” MTW