Café Pesto. In the sleepy harbor town of Kawaihae, the original Café Pesto ranks as a hidden find. Gourmet, wood-fired pizzas are topped with eclectic goodies like pork and pineapple, chili-grilled shrimp, shiitake mushrooms, and cilantro crème fraîche. The menu also includes Asian-inspired pastas and risottos, fresh-fish entrées, and an excellent array of salads, including the Volcano Mist, garnished with crisp, local onion rings. Local brews and a full-service bar make this a good place to end the evening, and the lounge-y bar area with sofas and comfy chairs provides a nice place to grab a drink while waiting for a table. Kawaihae Harbor Shopping Center, 61-3665 Akoni Pule Hwy. (Hwy. 270), Kawaihae, HI, 96743. 808/882–1071. www.cafepesto.com.
Feb 27, 2011
As a resident of the Big Island of Hawaii, I appreciate the fresh, locally-grown ingredients prepared consistently with creative presentation! Surprisingly affordable Pacific Rim Cuisine, and a menu that appeals to all ages and tastes. Fish, Salads, Steak, Tender Ribs, Mango Chicken, you name it, they've got it! The Seafood Risotto is my absolute favorite, and the kid's menu offers a free dessert if you order pizza, pasta, chicken or turkey with herbs
and caesar salad with croutons. The secret-formula Mai Tai and the Liliko`i Margaritas are a must, served with aloha! Just ask any Kama`aina, it's the BEST!
Oct 29, 2007
I have lived on the Big Island for 3 years and have watched the sad demise of this once great restaurant. The chef left about a year ago and the restaurant has not recovered and is surviving on its past reputation. We used to eat there 2-3 times per week and found everything terrific. However, over the past year the food and service have deteriorated remarkably. The wonderful blue cheese salad continues to shrink and the seafood risotto, once the
signature dish, has become trite. We keep going back about once a month, hoping that things will improve, but it continues to get worse. Last week we tried the Walu special and found it dry and without much of the usually marvelous Walu flavor. Once a haven for locals in the know, it has now become a trap for tourists relying on past ratings. About the only thing I could recommend at this point is the pizza, which is still reasonably priced and pretty good value. Very sad. The resaurant in Hilo may still be OK, but the one in Kaiwaihae is to be avoided. There are much better restaurants along the Kohala Coast.