Buon Gusto! Café Pesto Gets Even Better!June 17, 2016, 9:09 AM HST (Updated June 17, 2016, 6:01 PM)
When I heard that Café Pesto was remodeling, my reaction was, “Why? It’s already so lovely.” Remodel they did, however, and I recently stopped in to check it out.
Café Pesto is located inside the historic Hilo S. Hata building, just around the corner from the Hilo Farmers Market. Once inside, the jewel of the remodel is evident.
A gorgeous, long, marble bar stretches around the bar area, and the layout has changed for a more “open concept” atmosphere. It’s light and airy, but the materials used retain the character of a historical building and restaurant.
There are copper bar service rails, which really give it a vintage feel. I am glad they kept the old-fashioned diamond-pattern flooring.
A beautiful espresso machine gleams.
The hostess station has been moved outside, which makes more sense. It both added more table space and made ingress and egress much easier.
All in all, it has been given a warm, comfortable, yet elegant makeover. I was a little sorry to be working and not dining.
Still popular are the wood-fired pizzas, in 9-inch or 12-inch sizes, ($9.95–$20.95). There are both meat-lover and vegetarian options. Calzones are also on the menu, and they’re huge! They come with soup or salad for $19.95.
They also have a wide range of organic salads. I love the Fresh Catch (market price) and the Blue Caesar ($7.95).
For bigger appetites, don’t miss the café’s “Creative Island Cuisine,” which takes advantage of locally-sourced fish, meats and produce. In true Italian style, you can also order pasta (don’t miss the Smoked Salmon Alfredo at $19.95).
Save room for one of my top ten favorite desserts: The Warm Coconut Tart ($5.95). It’s perfect with a cup of their locally grown Hamakua coffee.
Café Pesto is located at 308 Kamehameha St., Ste. 101. Hours are Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Phone: (808) 969-6640. Website: www.cafepesto.com. Parking: street. There is another location, in the Kawaihae Shopping Center, 61-3665 Highway 270 in Kawaihae. Phone: (808) 882-1071.