Cafe Pesto – Kawaihae Harbor and Downtown Hilo

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Cafe Pesto has come a far way since 1988, a time when it was best known for take out pizzas from its Kawaihae Harbor location.

Back in the late 80s, Hawai’i Regional Cuisine became increasingly more popular as a “branded” culinary idea, and Cafe Pesto definitely jumped aboard this trend. They eventually opened a second location in Downtown Hilo in 1992, and since then have been offering a really unique fusion menu full of classic Italian/European recipes created with the delicate balance that Hawai’i grown ingredients and flavors of the Pacific Rim can provide.

Cafe Pesto is constantly gaining nationwide and regional attention through various culinary media outlets, including being rated “2014‘s Top 10 Diner’s Choice” by OpenTable, “Best Places to Eat In Hilo” by, “Top 10 Classic Restaurants on the Big Island” by TravelAge West, “Best Kids Menu in America” by Restaurant News, “Best Big Island Restaurant” by Honolulu Magazine, “Hawai’i’s Top Restaurants” by Zagat, “Best of Hawai’i’s Hidden Treasures” by Fodors, and the list goes on, and on, and on…

Besides the fact that Cafe Pesto offers a crazy selection of items (like pizza) that you can easily imagine yourself eating while perusing through their menu, they also use local ingredients whenever possible and have extremely reasonable price points.


On the Dinner menu, definitely start out with a Tahitian Lychee Cosmo or the Ginger Lemon Drop. They are both to die for. The Smoked Salmon Pizzette, served with rosemary gorgonzola, fresh spinach, and local sweet onions, and the Volcano Mist Salad are great for appetizer sharing plates, and entree choices are a plenty with a variety of flavorful options, like the wood-roasted Free Range Chicken and Forest Mushroom Risotto, served with caramelized onions, Hamakua mushroom medley, and saffron arborio rice, the Shrimp Scampi, or the Tenderloin of Beef and Asian Tiger Shrimp dish. No dinner at Cafe Pesto would be complete without a dessert, so have fun choosing from classic gourmet selections, like their signature Creme Brulee or the Warm Coconut Tart, served with a sweet cream anglaise.

Cafe Pesto is a great restaurant to choose for all kinds of occasions, whether you are a resident or a visitor. The atmosphere is professional and casual, making it a super easy restaurant choice for family dinners, a lunch date with friends, birthday celebrations, or a romantic night out for two that won’t break the bank.

For more information about Cafe Pesto, click here.



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