19 Sep 2018
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like pizza. I am no different. Pizza has been called the “perfect meal.” If visiting Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii, come and enjoy some delicious pizza — Hawaiian style. Here are my top 5 picks for Kona pizza, starting with my personal favorite:
- Big Island Pizza Napoletana
- Kona Brewing Company
- Get Sum Pizza
- Bianelli’s Gourmet Pizza and Pasta
- Longboard Legends Pizza
There are basically three types of pizza: the standard medium crust, the New York (or thin crust), and the Chicago style (also referred to as deep dish or stuffed crust pizza). My personal preference is the stone oven baked thin crust. The first recorded use of the word pizza dates way back to 997AD in southern Italy. While the exact origins are uncertain, the Greeks have the word pikte and in Latin has the word picta. They all translate to round, flat bread.
Whatever anyone wants to call it is fine by me. I just call it delicious!
Let’s begin our Kona pizza exploration with my top pick, Big Island Pizza Napoletana. It is located on Maiau St., just above Costco. It is one of those hole-in-the-wall great finds, that unless you are told about it, it’s easy to miss.
I love this pizza because it is stone oven baked with that amazing New York-style thin crust. This really allows you to savor and taste the variety of fresh ingredients while not filling up too quickly with so much crust. Just like a fine wine or a good beer, dough needs time to develop. By allowing the yeast enough time to ferment, it in turn gives the crust that unique flavor and hearty character. I really like their simple cheese pizza, or I like to make my own with bruschetta, arugula, black olives, artichoke hearts, and a little feta. Delizioso!
Moving on to my next favorite Kona pizza joint is none other than the Kona Brewing Company. Besides their world-renowed selections of locally brewed beers, their pizza is something to write home about. One thing I love about the Kona Brew is their consistency. You will always get great food that tastes fresh and high quality no matter how many different cooks are in the kitchen (if you know what I mean). I love to pair their Wailua Wheat beer with either the Kohala Pizza or the Thai Chicken Pizza. They also have live music on certain nights of the week and bring in some great concerts.
Tucked away in the back by the parking lot of the Coconut Grove Market Place is a little restaurant called Get Sum’ Pizza. They operate from the standard of ‘quality rather than quantity.’ I can appreciate smaller restaurants because they can take that extra time and pay special attention to detail, which ensures great food and service. If you like to eat a little healthier, try their amazing gluten-free pizza made with local ulu or breadfruit flour. When in Hawaii, do as the Hawaiians do…sample their pizza called Ho’Hawaiian made with, you guessed it, ham and pineapple. I am sure this Hawaiian-style pizza was inspired by a luau.
Next, take a little drive south on Alii Drive (about four miles or so) to the Keauhou Shopping Center. There you will find Bianelli’s Gourmet Pizza and Pasta. Although a staple in Kona for many years, this pizzeria has moved locations several times. I can tell you from personal experience that the food is still worth the drive.
It was established in 1989 by George Goldstine, an avid triathlete. Since Kona hosts the World Championship Ironman every October, this restaurant has been a gathering place of triathletes from around the world who love to talk shop and carb-load for the big event. Bianelli’s serves that standard medium thick crust. My top two pizza choices from there are the Gourmet Veggie Pizza and the Greek.
Last but not least, is the fairly new Longboard Legends Pizza, located catty corner to Kuakini and Hualalai. Their portion sizes are enormous, and you will definitely get your money’s worth. They pride themselves on using fresh ingredients while combining local favorites and traditional dishes that aren’t standard to pizza. For instance, they have a stone-baked taro pizza. For those of you who aren’t familiar with taro, it has been a staple in the Hawaiian diet since ancient times. The plant is grown in water and the root is eaten and has been compared to the likes of a potato. A couple of favorites off the menu to include the Beach Boy and the Big Island Adventure.
Feeling Hungry? Now that we have wrapped up our pizza excursion – if I haven’t made you start to salivate and think about going out to eat some pizza immediately — at least I hope that it has cooked up a little excitement for your next trip to Kona. So, come try our delicious pizza places! Vacation is all about stimulating the senses, your pizza palate included.
Authored by Rebekah Lussiaa for Hawai'i Life Vacations