Restaurant Review - Baci Bistro

By: Kevin McQuarrie
Oahu Island News

I recently had a taste for Italian food and to solve my food craving I made a dinner reservation at Baci Bistro located just off the main drag in Kailua. When my dining companion and I arrived at Baci we were transported into a European style bistro. The twinkling white lights wrapped around the vines surrounding the atrium indoor dining area and the white linen tablecloths give the feeling of an old-world atmosphere reminiscent of Rome or Florence.

Baci Bistro is well-known for its use of fresh homemade pastas and fresh baked breads. Chef Reza Azeri, who has been at Baci Bistro since the restaurant opened over 6 years ago, always impresses me with his unique culinary talents.

On this evening, we were both very hungry and were ready to begin our Italian feast. Our first course consisted of the Calamari all Griglia ($7.95). It is a deliciously different grilled calamari steak served with spicy tomato sauce – instead of the traditional battered fried ring style that most restaurants serve. I always enjoy the Insalata Caprese ($6.95), which consists of sliced vine-ripened tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil and onion, but decided I would pass this time because I wanted to save room for dessert.

For my main entree I chose an Italian rice dish, the Risotto con Frutti di Mare with mixed seafood ($17.95). It’s a flavorful meal loaded with a huge selection of seafood and then paired with the rice-style pasta. From the fresh homemade pasta selections I have always enjoyed the Gnocchi con Gorgonzola ($13.95) which consists of potato dumplings with gorgonzola, garlic and fresh tomatoes. This dish is always satisfying, and it would even please the most discerning vegetarian.

My dinner partner ordered his favorite entrée, Saltimbocca di Vitello ($19.95) which has layers of veal, fresh mozzarella and prosciutto ham, sautéed in a wine and demi-glace. He gets the same dish every time, “I’ve found a great meal; why change?” I guess you can’t argue with him.

The staff at Baci are all very knowledgeable about the menu, daily specials and they will be more than happy to help you select the proper wine to accompany your meal – the selection of Italian and California wines might just be one of the best on the island. The food is served at a leisurely pace, so you have time to fully enjoy each course. I would not recommend trying to fit in a movie on the same night you dine at Baci. The food is too good to be rushed and frankly you would be too stuffed to feel comfortable sitting for two hour in a theater.

            Which brings me to the dessert selections, and of course yet again I am so satisfyingly full from my meal (with the leftovers boxed up to take home for lunch the next day), stuffing in some sweets seemed like it would have put me over the edge. My companion ordered an after dinner coffee, which was European-style, very strong and flavorful. What a fantastic way to fill our evening and be transported to a quaint European getaway: a corner restaurant in Kailua. Baci will never disappoint the palate or the senses – I’m already looking forward to my next visit.