A Little Bit Of Italy In Waipouli

Pizza and pasta look appetizing -- and taste even better

From the moment you walk into Bobby V’s Italian Restaurant Pizzeria, located across the highway from McDonald’s in Waipouli, the aroma of pizza, pasta sauces, calzones and other specialties tell you that you’re in a great spot for a hearty, homestyle Italian meal.

The food lives up to its aromatic tantalization. Toss in friendly service, casual atmosphere, a light breeze coming through the windows – all accompanied by a soundtrack of Italian music – and you’ve got a recipe for an enjoyable and satisfying dining experience.

Co-owner Robert Valenti says all the food at Bobby V’s has a warm, homestyle quality because much of it is prepared the way it was generations ago: Approximately a quarter of the recipes are made the way his and his wife Kristen’s grandmothers used to make them.

My dining companion and I began with the spinach and artichoke dip, a not-so-Italian item that Valenti says is on the menu because people like it. Served in a fresh-baked, soft sourdough bread bowl from Deli & Bread Connection in Lihu’e, the dip hit the spot while we waited for our pizza and pasta.

The atmosphere is warm and casual at Bobby V’s

We opted for a conventional Margherita thin-crust pizza with mozzarella cheese, tomato, garlic and fresh Kaua’i basil. It was just what we’d hoped for with more than enough cheese and a smooth blend of flavors.

Our Eggplant Parmigiana was tender and baked to perfection. The dish also was $2 off its normal menu price. Check the board outside the kitchen for specials that change every few days.

The Penne Pesto has a Hawaiian flair with crushed macadamia nuts and Kaua’i basil-fueled sauce. Valenti says his basil is the freshest possible because friends and customers bring it in for him: “It’s really a community affair.”

Though we were too stuffed to contemplate dessert, diners can choose from Tiramisu, New York Cheesecake or the homemade Cannoli.

Prices range from $6.99 for salads, $7.99 for sandwiches and pasta dishes, and pizzas from $13.99. A keiki menu also is available.

Ryan Maloney hand tosses pizza dough at Bobby V’s

Bobby V’s was created for family-style dining, and it’s a true mom-and-pop restaurant, Valenti says. More often than not, he can be found making his hand-tossed pizza dough while Kristen works the front of the house. If their 6-year-old son Jake is there, “he’ll hand you a menu,” Valenti says.

Sunday nights are the busiest times, and when the couple has a baby-sitter for Jake and 3-year-old daughter Gianna, they can work together. “If you want a good show, come in on Sunday and you can watch us,” he says.

Indoor and outdoor dining is available, with seating for 24 inside, two tables for two on the front lanai, and room for 18 in the backyard under umbrellas.

Valenti recommends that groups of eight or more call ahead so the restaurant can have tables ready for them.

Alcohol is not served, but those who like beer or wine with their pizza or pasta may bring their own.

Kaua’i residents can receive a kama’aina card good for 10 percent off, and 50 percent off on its annual customer appreciation day.

Bobby V’s Pizzeria is open Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to midnight; Sunday from noon to 9 p.m. Call 821-8080; bobbyvpizzeria.com.

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