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“You will like this good Hilo restaurant...” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Cafe Pesto

Cafe Pesto
Kawaihae Shopping Center, Kawaihae Harbor Hwy. 270, Kawaihae, Island of Hawaii, HI 96743
808-882-1071
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Ranked #7 of 9 Restaurants in Kawaihae
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Price range: $30 - $35
Cuisines: Eclectic
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Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children
Dining options: Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch, Dessert, Late Night, Reservations, Takeout
Dining style: Casual Dining
Cross street: Akoni Pule Hwy
Description: "The best of Hawaii's hidden treasures," claim food critics and locals alike. The menu features fresh local seafood, exotic pizzas, colorful eclectic salads and Asian inspired pastas and risottos. The harbor settings, rich in Hawai'ian history, provide a backdrop of authenticity and charm to the award-winning restaurant. Visit the stone temple Heiau of Kawaihae harbor to view the ancient shark deities on their sunset vigils.
Kahului, Hawaii
Top Contributor
88 reviews 88 reviews
22 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 41 cities Reviews in 41 cities
63 helpful votes 63 helpful votes
“You will like this good Hilo restaurant...”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 12, 2013

Conveniently located on bay front drive, this restaurant serves tourists and locals very good pizza, pasta and breads at a very reasonable price. You can go comfortably dressed and enjoy casual local Hawaiian ambience served with a great bar!!! You wont be disappointed!!

Visited October 2013
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615 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • Japanese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Davis, California
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Delicious Food on the West Side”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 11, 2013

My husband and I ate here for dinner one night during our honeymoon. We had been eating at hotels and wanted to switch it up. This place was great and came recommended to us by our travel agent. Make sure to order the volcano mist salad - I uploaded a picture- very yummy. I ordered the small shrimp scampi, also pictured and very tasty. Prices were reasonable in comparison to other restaurants, especially at the resorts. Service was also good. We will definitely visit again on our next trip.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Berkeley, California
Top Contributor
82 reviews 82 reviews
51 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
“Great food in a pleasant place”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 7, 2013

We really enjoyed our meal at Cafe Pesto. The food was excellent: I had a calzone, my wife pizza. The server was great and the food arrived promptly. They have a number of local microbrews on tap, and you can get a sampler consisting of four 6-ounce glasses for $8.95. A good deal on some very nice beers, including two dark beers (a porter and a nut brown ale), which seem to hard to find on the big island.

  • Visited November 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Torrance, California
Top Contributor
106 reviews 106 reviews
66 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 51 cities Reviews in 51 cities
133 helpful votes 133 helpful votes
“Something For Everybody”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 2, 2013

Sometimes it's not about swaying palm trees, tiki torches or perfect sunsets. Sometimes it's just about walking into a restaurant without a reservation and ordering a meal which doesn't require you to take out a second mortgage to pay the bill. Sometimes it's simply about a place which makes you feel good, servers who aren't overly starched, a good bottle of wine and a meal which is more than a mouthful and a dendrobium. Cafe Pesto would be one of these places, and for that reason remains a staple of our list of reliables when visiting The Big Island.

Chances are excellent that you'll need a car to get there. For us, the location is part of the restaurant's allure: it's off the beaten track and not smack in the center of Touristville. For those lodging in the Kohala Coast region, it's a pretty short drive north to Kawaihae and Cafe Pesto-- my recollection is that it took about 10 minutes from the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel. Don't look for a huge town or flashy signs; it's actually pretty easy to whiz right through Kawaihae and pass the restaurant entirely, set back as it is within a shopping center.

Our first experience with this restaurant probably came about ten years ago, when our son had a craving for pizza. It was standing room only that night, and the next time we visited as well: a crowd of hungry future diners spilling out of the building into the walkway and the parking lot. It was noisy, upbeat and patrons were exiting the restaurant looking pleased. Our pizza was satisfying with a medium crust; sauce that wasn't overly sweet and toppings that were fresh. We enjoyed a good bottle of Sangiovese, a happy palate and the urge to come back another time. We later learned through the grapevine that things besides pizza were good there as well-- things I might not normally have thought to try at a place called Cafe Pesto. Bearing that in mind, we determined to explore other avenues on our last visit this past July.

Things were surprisingly subdued not long from closing time on a Saturday night-- no crowds, no noise. A scattering of diners were murmuring to each other across the table, staff was hanging new artwork and the unexpected solitude at first had me a bit concerned. Then our meals came and I heaved a sigh of relief.

Unless you happen to have a hankering for shawarma or bulgogi, there's an excellent chance you'll find something to pique your interest on the menu. Pizza, pasta, fresh island fish galore, risotto, chicken and a number of salads are the chief offerings, and though I'd assumed that the emphasis would be on Italian dishes, the kitchen does just fine with its other offerings. My grilled mahimahi was succulent and flavorful served atop a tower of jasmine rice, eggplant, asparagus and fresh tomato. My husband's Smoked Salmon Alfredo was extremely tasty-- in my opinion better than a similar dish we'd had several years back at a trattoria in Rome. With our dinners, we enjoyed a bottle of Triennes Viognier (also available by the glass, as I recall) and a wonderful fresh coconut tart with sweet creme anglaise. Yum!

Cafe Pesto is a great place for families: finicky kids will be delighted with the pizza; Mom and Dad can enjoy fresh island fish and a great bottle of wine. And with so much to choose from on the menu, it's easy for this to become a place you can return to again and again.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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Los Angeles, California
Top Contributor
124 reviews 124 reviews
61 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 65 cities Reviews in 65 cities
92 helpful votes 92 helpful votes
“Great lunch spot”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 20, 2013

We stopped here for lunch after a day of driving the north part of the Big Island. We shared the Luau Pizza which was bbq pork, pineapple and sweet onion. A fantastic pizza. Would totally recommend this.

  • Visited October 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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