Little Dante's Italian Eatery just celebrated its second anniversary at the Lahaina Cannery Mall. Most regulars know it as an authentic Italian alternative at the food court, reasonably priced with a walk-up counter and its own seating.
Now, owner-chef Mauro Gramuglia is wowing diners with his new dining room that transports you into Milano, Tuscany and the Amalfi Coast.
This veteran Maui chef can impress you easily, as his awards attest. His eatery is the reigning "Best Italian Restaurant on Maui" in the most recent Best of Maui contest in The Maui News.
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
Originally from Milan, Italy, Chef Mauro Gramuglia is impressing customers with his new and intimate dining room at Lahaina Cannery Mall. The Italian tastes are authentic and the prices are right.
"People have been telling me for the past two years, 'your food is so good, you should have a sit-down restaurant.' So I opened the dining room in December."
Located directly across from the side entrance to his food-court eatery, the private dining room is decorated with colorful posters of Chef Mauro's homeland. He is originally from Milan, Italy, but has been a popular fixture on the Maui dining scene for literally decades.
He's cooked everywhere from Va Bene to Caffe Ciao to the Sheraton resort to Molokini Bistro before opening his own establishment in Lahaina.
"The only difference between the eatery and the sit-down dining room is that there are no half-orders in the sit-down. We have full service, China, wine glasses, and you may BYOB."
Chef Mauro cooks flavorful linguine with clams, shrimp-and-crab ravioli, and Italian sausage-and-pepper pizzas along with his housemade desserts.
But the best deal of all is the four-course feast for two at a cost of $46.50, plus tax and tip. You begin this romantic repast with steamer clams in tomato, garlic and basil broth; followed by crisp Romaine Caesar salad with Italian flat bread. Both of these courses are shared, but the portions are huge for the price. "You know my portions are not small," he says shyly.
For the entree, one person gets parmesan-crusted opakapaka with lobster cheese penne pasta and the other person, sauteed jumbo shrimp. Dessert of tiramisu is then shared at the end of the meal.
This room is perfect for private parties, showers and other small events. Other top selling items are chicken Alfredo, gnocchi al gorgonzola, veal parmesan and daily fresh fish. Dante's sells its own sauce line from Pomodoro to Arrabiata. The sit-down is open from 4:30 to 9 p.m.
"All menu items are prepared using fresh ingredients and a lot of love," says Mauro.
For more details, call 661-3838.