Posted on: December 23, 2011

New Flame-Fired Artisan Pizza Restaurant Opens in Ma'alaea

There's pizza -- and then there's "pizza with a purpose" -- the motto of Porto, a new flame-fired artisan pizza restaurant that has opened at the Ma'alaea Harbor Shops off Route 30, adjacent to Maui Ocean Center.

Named after the Italian word for "port" or "harbor,"  Porto is committed to using locally grown foods and supporting local farmers – and will also help raise money for Pacific Whale Foundation’s ongoing research, education and advocacy work on behalf of the marine environment.
Porto's menu showcases an array of signature handcrafted flame-fired pizzas, featuring a house made crust prepared fresh with all-natural ingredients including authentic semolina flour. Organic pomodoro sauce forms the base for many of the delicious variations, including the popular Margherita, made with locally grown, freshly torn basil and extra virgin olive oil, and the Salsiccia di Pollo Italian (Italian Chicken Sausage), which features Maui sweet onions, locally grown mushrooms and peppers, house made natural cage-free chicken sausage, mozzarella, provolone and parmesan cheeses, plus Hawaiian sea salt, fennel and roasted garlic. 
Each pizza is flame-fired in a copper-clad high-tech oven that can cook a pizza in ten minutes or less. "The resulting pizza is crisp on the bottom with just the right amount of chewiness where dough meets sauce, and the slightest hint of flame charring -- the ideal for an artisan pizza," says Meagan Kilgore, Managing Chef. "We've already had guests from Chicago and New York tell us that Porto's pizza is the best they've ever eaten."
Porto also serves tantalizing appetizers, including a daily bruscetta special featuring crusty, fresh-baked Italian pane and an antipasti plate. Salads include Caesar Salad, Maui Mista Salad, and a Roasted Beet Salad with crumbled goat cheese and citrus oil. There's even soup -- Fagioloi E Scarola (white beans, greens, sauce and parmigiano reggiano cheese),plus three types of  panini including Caprese, Cubano (with Hawaiian-style roasted kalua pork) and Italian Chicken Sausage. 
Desserts include Boccone Dolce ("Sweet Mouthfuls") featuring crumbled meringue with housemade chocolate sauce, fresh fruit and whipped cream, Tiramisu Cupcake and Strawberry Shortcake, made with local Kula strawberries. 
Breakfast is served starting at 6 am at Porto. On the a la carte menu, you will find mini Vegetable Frittatas made with roasted red peppers, garlic, spinach and feta cheese folded into fluffy eggs; a Smoked Pancetta Frittata with crisp smoked pancetta, cheddar cheese, local mushrooms and onions, and a 7” Breakfast Pizza with Two Eggs, featuring a choice of vegetables on an alfredo sauce or kalua pork on a pomodoro sauce. The breakfast menu also includes a Yogurt Parfait, layered with local pineapple, papaya and strawberries topped with fresh granola. Locally grown Maui coffee, espresso, organic teas, juices and milk are available. 
Porto's continental breakfast plate reminds many of the morning fare served in  Italian country inns -- with a slight tropical twist. The plate includes fresh local fruits (pineapple, papaya, Kula strawberries), plus housemade banana bread, foccacia bread served with mango honey butter and red pepper feta butter, plus sweetened ricotta cheese with a pineapple coconut compote. The price for the continental breakfast plate includes coffee and juice. 
Located near the children’s play area at the Ma’alaea Harbor Shops, Porto offers take-out and dine-in options. Porto is open from 6 am to 9 pm, offering breakfast, lunch and dinner. To learn more about Porto, visit
Members of Pacific Whale Foundation will receive a 20% discount on purchases at Porto. "Porto is operated by Pacific Whale Foundation Eco Adventures (a wholly owned subsidiary of Pacific Whale Foundation) and supports our goal of promoting local, sustainable agriculture as a smarter choice for the environment," says Greg Kaufman, Founder and President of Pacific Whale Foundation. "We emphasize that the choices you make on land, especially the food that you purchase, has an impact on the health of the oceans."
Porto grew out of Pacific Whale Foundation's new inhouse catering service, launched last summer to provide fresh, healthy and delicious foods, featuring locally grown products, for Pacific WhaleFoundation’s ocean ecotours out of Ma'alaea. The catering operation is named "Ola" in honor of a Hawaiian word meaning to strive to live in balance, so that all may thrive and prosper. "We wanted to use the vacant restaurant space for the catering service, but we were required by the lease to have a retail presence," says  Kilgore. "We looked at what was lacking in the area and decided that there was a need for delicious flame-fired pizzas.
Kilgore, who received her professional training at Maui Culinary Academy, has helped to open numerous pizza eateries in the Pacific Northwest. She works directly with many of Maui's farmers to bring in the freshly harvested greens, herbs, vegetables and fruits that add flavor to her menu items. "We also make our tomato sauce with organic tomatoes, prepare our own sausage and use hormone-free meats,"she notes. "We are always looking at what's healthier for the planet and the consumer."
Pacific Whale Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting our planet's oceans through science and conservation advocacy. Pacific Whale Foundation is based in Ma'alaea, with projectsin Hawai'i, Australia, Ecuador, Chile and Tonga. The organization is supported by profits from its ocean ecotours and Ocean Store -- and now from Porto -- and by members and friends from around the world. To learn more, visit