Remember the Doublemint Gum ads that touted, “Double your pleasure, double your fun?”
That sentiment is just how I feel about Fabiani’s Italian restaurants with locations off Lipoa Street in Kihei and at ground level of Wailea Gateway Center.
Both restaurants seem to attract different clientele for their specific signature items, such as Osso Buco in Wailea and brick-oven pizzas in Kihei.
In addition, both dish up Italian-American specialties for breakfast, lunch and dinner; and freshly baked pastry items – all at moderate prices. Did I mention full bars? They’ve got those, too.
“Contrary to recent scuttlebutt, Kihei and Wailea Fabiani’s restaurants are on fire,” says partner Mike O’Dwyer, who also owns and operates Mulligans on the Blue Irish pub and restaurant in Wailea.
Lorenzo Fabiani is O’Dwyer’s partner and the restaurants’ namesake. A native of Lerici, Liguria, he honed his culinary skills at his dad’s hotel along the coast of what is known as the Italian Riviera.
Fabiani braises the veal shank in red wine stock for almost three hours and serves it with saffron risotto, natural jus and seasonal vegetables. It’s a meaty Italian masterpiece, and then some.
The risotto is colorful and aromatic, and al dente: “to the bite.” The carrots impart an earthiness to the dish. The veal shank is full of marbled flavor, holding the prize marrow that you eat with a spoon.
His eggplant Napolitana is a best seller, layered three slices thick with oven-roasted fresh tomato, organic baby spinach, melted mozzarella and mushrooms, served on a bed of mixed greens and topped with marinara sauce and basil oil.
“Buon cibo, buon vino, buon amici,” says Fabiani in his native tongue. “It means, ‘good food, good wine and good friends.’ This is what Mike and I set out to achieve in our second restaurant in Wailea. And I think we have found our niche.”
O’Dwyer adds, “It’s casual, it’s Italian and the prices are really attractive. You won’t find Osso Buco at our price anywhere. We’re even starting to take reservations now. We never did that before.
“We are also proud to welcome back Chef Frank ‘Junior’ Ortega Alpizar of Pura Vida Costa Rican food truck fame to head up the Wailea kitchen,” he continues. “Frank also worked in Wailea at Gannon’s: A Pacific View Restaurant, Wolfgang Puck’s Spago in the Four Seasons Resort Maui and was head chef previously at our Fabiani’s Bakery & Pizzeria in Kihei.”
He’ll wow you with chopped salads, meat and vegetable lasagnes, pizzas and calzones, fresh catch and chicken piccata.
Alpizar and Fabiani whip up full breakfast items of Italian loco moco with Bolognese, farm-fresh eggs and risotto; Italian frittatas with Italian sausage and caramelized onions; and eggplant parmesan Benedicts. Or you may pick up a quick cappuccino and a pastry if you are on the go. The Kihei location has just recently started breakfast service to fill the void left by Stella Blues.
Fabiani’s pastry chef-wife, Michelle, bakes everything in house. Her Red Velvet cake is legendary, as are the crumb cakes, tiramisu and the Hummingbird Cake, called so when it was invented in the 1950s because crowds would hover around it.
Fabiani will soon spend time at his dad’s hotel in Lerici with Michelle. The couple will help out the family and hope to “double our pleasure” upon their return with even more authentic Ligurian tastes.