Cafe Pesto - Hilo Bay
Cafe Pesto - Hilo Bay

Cafe Pesto - Hilo Bay

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.cafepesto.com/
  • Phone: 8089696640
  • Hours of Operation:
    Lunch: Daily: 11:00am - 4:30pm; Dinner: Sunday - Thursday: 4:30pm - 9:00pm, Friday - Saturday: 4:30pm - 10:00pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Diners Club,Discover,JCB,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Fusion / Eclectic, Mediterranean, Contemporary American
  • Executive Chef: Casey Halpern
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Counter Seating, Entertainment, Farm to Table, Fireplace, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Takeout, View, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Catering: Onsite or Offsite Catering Available. Email for information.
  • Entertainment: Live Music; Thursday 6-8pm, Friday 6-9pm, Saturday 6-9pm and Sunday 5-8pm

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Mamo Street
  • Public Transit: Bus stop across street.
  • Parking: Public Lot
A word from Cafe Pesto - Hilo Bay
Cafe Pesto offers creative and locally fresh Island cuisine in a casually elegant setting at truly affordable prices. It's menu draws from the diverse multicultural influences found throughout the Big Island and applies them to wood fired pizzas, ethnically inspired pastas, risottos, the freshest of seafood and organic salads.
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Food
  • Diners' Choice WinnerFit for Foodies
  • Diners' Choice WinnerGreat for Lunch
Cafe Pesto - Hilo Bay reviews from OpenTable diners
58 reviews since May 19, 2014
Overall Rating4.1
  • Food4.4
    Service4.1
  • Ambiance3.8
    Noise LevelEnergetic
97% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
great for lunch (35)fit for foodies (33)special occasion (28)good for groups (27)neighborhood gem (25)kid-friendly (17)hot spot (12)great for brunch (10)notable wine list (10)romantic (8)scenic view (7)late-night find (3)vibrant bar scene (2)great for outdoor dining (1)Show More
  • Great experience!
    lamb
    Dined on 8/31/2014
    I booked our reservation thru Open Table and added requests for a window seat near the musicians and VOILA! That is exactly what we got and enjoyed every minute after that from Carrot Bisque to Apple Crisp. Wait help was very good as was the food being served.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for brunch, great for lunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Good food
    James
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    Good casual atmosphere. Food was flavorful. A lot of people were eating pizza although we had pasta which was very good. Definitely the place. recommend
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great pizzas salads app & pastas
    laenani50
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    It's a hit and miss on service- last visit walking in in happy only not to be greeted by a male hostess that never smiled and had a attitude, it wasn't busy no line and we had a reservation - never even said a word except your name - was weird and turn off- don't normally share this kind of stuff but feel maybe it will help their business. Generally I feel that the male waiters r always good and consistent therr
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great find in Hilo!
    Out2dinnerVIP
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    We spent four nights in Hilo to visit son at UHH and ate at Cafe Pesto for a lunch and a dinner. Loved the food. Found it a bit noisy for dinner but since options are limited in Hilo you won't regret eating here. Pizzas are great (not typical pizza joint), sandwiches were yummy and for dinner they have great choices like, local fish, pasta, salads, and stir fry. Food is mostly local and fresh. Great drinks and like-able wine list. Service can be inconsistent-- because the place is small and very,very busy. So my best advice is that if you are hungry and want a tasty meal--- go to Cafe Pesto. If you want a quiet dinner for two--this is not the place. Also, highly recommend reservations.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Chowhound
    chowhound
    Dined on 8/17/2014
    The fish special was absolutely delicious. As always, the chef's creativity is absolutely outstanding. We look forward to our next dining experience at Café Pesto.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Worth stopping for
    MMcFarland
    Dined on 8/11/2014
    My husband and I chose to dine at Café Pesto in Hilo, Hawai'i based on reviews and scores from other diners. We arrived at 5:00 p.m. so we would have plenty of time before the dinner rush started. I had the fresh catch calzone with seafood combination (price $24.95USD). The food tasted good, but I didn't feel it was worth $25 -- 1/3 of the meal was a spring mix salad with canned crab flaked over it. I'm not sure I would recommend this to a friend.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Best food in Hilo
    Traveler
    Dined on 8/8/2014
    We loved the food and the fact that they had a terrific kids menu that was not the standard "grilled cheese, hot dog, pasta" version. Would go back all the time (if we lived in Hilo).
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • What awesome suprises 🌀👍👍
    Hnlkenny
    Dined on 8/6/2014
    We were in Hilo to see some volcanos and check a program at University of Hawaii ... first Hurricane Iselle ... then an amazing dinner. Kids loved it, we loved it.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good for a last night in town
    ELFintheCity
    Dined on 8/5/2014
    The food was tasty, and our waiter was fine. The busboy, notably, was the hardest working body in the joint! What we loved most was the atmosphere of the restaurant. It was reminiscent of old deco Hawaii, and we loved that. It was easy to find, right on the main stretch of Hilo, walkable from our hotel. If in Hilo again, we'd eat there happily.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Hilo
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    On a one day trip to Hilo, this was essential for dinner and it delivered! Had not been to the Hilo version recently, but always liked the Kawaihae location. This was a little noisier, but food was great including the piazzas. Definitely will be back.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Just Good Food
    AC72
    Dined on 7/30/2014
    Discovered Cafe Pesto on the other side of the Big Island on the Kohala Coast. Clean, friendly service with great pizza. Not touristy, just Italian food at reasonable prices. Decided that it would be a great place for dinner after hiking Volcanoes. Had the locally sourced steak with gorgonzola butter - awesome.
    Special Features:
    hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Cafe Pesto is a great place
    almar
    Dined on 7/20/2014
    Great food, good music & a very romantic atmosphere.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, romantic, special occasion, scenic view, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • dependably good
    HLW648
    Dined on 7/19/2014
    best creme brulee ever...main courses, calzones and salads always hit a high mark.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, scenic view, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Our family's favorite!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010VIP
    Dined on 7/18/2014
    We love Cafe Pesto -- any time of the day or night. A must try!
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 7/17/2014
    I was recommened to dine there our a group I was hosting. I believe the service was excellent and the atmosphere was fine. The singer wasn't too loud and just enough background music. However, way overpriced. It's pasta guys. Four people and the bill with tip is over $150. Not worth it. The salmon on the pasta was hard and not very flavorful and yet someone else ordered the same and her's wasn't cooked through. Sorry. I love Italian and pasta is my favorite but no good recomendations from me. We never had an alocholic drink and the coffee was not hot. Thumbs down for me.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Place To Dine
    Happy
    Dined on 7/17/2014
    The service here was outstanding! The food was great! I would return over and over again.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, special occasion, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Aloha is not here w/the great food.
    NoAlohaHere99VIP
    Dined on 7/14/2014
    Service persons were impersonal, seemed bothered to serve us, and less than warm and welcoming. Menu options are outstanding, but attentiveness by servers and their attitude to welcome our one time visit to this place as a family of four was very disappointing. Our five days on the Big Island, and this was one place our family chose as a special night out. We felt more like a bother than guests. Where is the Aloha attitude?
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Tres Agreable
    LocalBeauty41
    Dined on 7/8/2014
    Awesome food and service. If you dine out for decor you may find it wanting: not "fancy and chi-chi", but clean and artfully tasteful. But whose kidding, I came to eat delicious food, not admire les bibelot.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great food and great service!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010VIP
    Dined on 7/7/2014
    We are repeat customers at Cafe Pesto Hilo Bay. We love the fact that the food is always consistent.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great service!!!
    hunnygirl
    Dined on 6/21/2014
    My dinner left a little to be desired. But my husband loved his! Our hostess took us in early, which was very nice of her. Our waitress was awesome...very attentive, non-threatening & friendly! Lots of tourists in the restaurant for dinner time because this place is one of the few nice sit-down restaurants in the Hilo area. Overall, I'll definitely return, just order something else.
    Special Features:
    romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Awesome place!
    mizlee
    Dined on 6/20/2014
    My friends & I enjoyed our night out. Relaxing place, good food & drinks. We definitely will be coming back & hopefully with more friends! 😊
    Special Features:
    good for groups, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Very Satisfied Diner
    chowhound
    Dined on 6/15/2014
    My wife enjoyed the King Surf & Turf. She said the food was delicious. Our guest and I enjoyed the pizza and volcano mist salad. What makes your pizza so special is in addition to the choices of toppings we can also add anchovies as a topping. In my opinion, that makes the pizza delicious.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Cafe Pesto
    HomesAndChocolate
    Dined on 6/13/2014
    The convenience of Open Table and the great service & food at Cafe Pesto made our spontaneous "Date night" enjoyable! Great food and drink recommendations were enjoyed during our visit. Our waiter always provides extra-ordinary service and despite the busy restaurant, all groups had a great time and it was obvious that the other waiters/waitresses were having a good night. Bus table assist was quick at removing completed/empty plates and refills of water or their signature teas. Waitresses were personal and made the time for all tables as this restaurant is frequented by locals and tourists alike. Always a great experience and an obvious choice for casual dining or sharing your special occasion!!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • orps
    Dined on 6/12/2014
    As always.Excellent food, service and music. Love that I can do online reservations!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, late-night find, scenic view, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Michelle
    cvscooby
    Dined on 6/11/2014
    Just love to have lunch here! Food was great service also great.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Electronic hell
    Hungrygirl
    Dined on 6/8/2014
    I guess they offer wifi now...we went for a quiet romantic Sunday dinner. The ambient live jazz was great but drowned out by unruly children whose parents idea of teaching manners was to stick them in front of a noisy elctronic game. We had 2 people with using laptops on their table, several on cellphones and many texting...felt like I was stuck in a Starbucks. We'll be choosing somewhere else for quiet romantic dinners.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Reliably good
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 6/6/2014
    Hilo doesn't have many reliably decent restaurants. Cafe Pesto is one that is. We eat here 2-3 times a month.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Nostalgic and Fun
    LuvOfTeaVIP
    Dined on 6/6/2014
    I like this place for lunch and they have a great menu that supports local farmers. Many of the ingredients are organic and the style of food is Local Hawaii Regional cuisine with an Italian flair. The wine list and beverage selection including loose leaf teas are superb! Try their local beet salad or their "Miolii" sandwich with is like a toasted pesto bruchetta with cheese, fresh vegetables, and roasted veggies. Make your reservations on your Open Table App. even for 1 person, they get busy during lunch.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, great for lunch, scenic view, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • great food
    linfromvan
    Dined on 5/19/2014
    We found this place via the web. I made an online reservation for a Monday night and was very glad we did. It is obviously a local favorite. The southwestern soup was delicious and the sashimi tuna pizza was amazing. I would recommend cafe pesto to everyone. You won't be disappointed
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 29 ratings-only reviews submitted since May 19, 2014
    • Overall Rating4
    • Food4.3
    • Ambiance3.5
    • Service4.1
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • The following 327 reviews are from the Cafe Pesto - Hilo Bay reviews archive.
  • Great Ono Caesar salad
    FromAZ86
    Dined on 5/7/2014
    We had a delicious lunch here after shopping the market. All 3 of us enjoyed our food, but I really loved my SW Ono Caesar Salad. I also highly recommend the housemade lemonade made with lemongrass and lime leaves...refills are complementary.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Happy hour - not so much
    DanL
    Dined on 5/4/2014
    Went to enjoy Happy Hour but was surprised to learn that their "happy hour" was just on drinks... $2 off beer or $5 margaritas only. There were no food specials at all, so it was full price off their regular dinner menu at 4:30pm. Bummer! Not sure if this is they way they do HH in Hawaii, but was disappointed.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Mahalo
    IMUA
    Dined on 5/3/2014
    Thank you very much ! ! ! Your reception was very courteous, your service prompt and efficient, food was excellent.
    Special Features:
    Good for Groups, special occasion, Scenic View, Neighborhood Gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • pizza and soup
    islandwide
    Dined on 5/2/2014
    excellent gourmet pizzas and bisque soups. always using local fresh products!
    Special Features:
    Fit For Foodies, Good for Groups, Romantic, special occasion, Great for Lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Amazing, original, fresh food
    Denisue
    Dined on 4/30/2014
    We love Cafe Pesto! Everything appears to be scratch-made and super fresh. The salads are amazing. The fish melts in your mouth. The desserts are to die for. Add to that live Hawaiian music and we are eating in a modern Hawaiian paradise:)
    Special Features:
    Fit For Foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Dining Expericence
    G8Dinner
    Dined on 4/25/2014
    The wait staff was friendly and provided the amount of service that was quick but not imposing. The food was very good and worth the price.
    Special Features:
    Fit For Foodies, special occasion, Great for Lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • A Hidden Dining Gem
    CaraPhil
    Dined on 4/22/2014
    We renewed our vows, in Hilo at the Japanese Gardens for our 25th anniversary, then my husband booked dinner for Cafe Pesto. We thoroughly enjoyed it and they were very accommodating at taking us in a half hour earlier than we had booked it for. The dinner was fabulous, the waiter was extremely friendly and efficient. He wished us a Happy Anniversary and then the dessert was on the house. we chose an absolutely delicious Macadamia Apple Crumble with Ice Cream to share! We highly recommend Cafe Presto!!
    Special Features:
    Good for Groups, Romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great Food and Service!
    LynneVIP
    Dined on 4/20/2014
    We went there twice during our trip to Hilo. Both nights were excellent. Be sure and
    Special Features:
    Kid-Friendly, Fit For Foodies, Notable Wine List
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Never let's us down
    Ellie
    Dined on 4/6/2014
    Pestos is our go to place for visitors and friends when we want to give a good first impression of Hilo.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Upscale in Hilo
    CVS1234
    Dined on 3/26/2014
    About as close as you can get to an upscale plate to eat in Hilo. The food and service are good and the room is reminiscent of old Hawaii. Well worth the drive from the Kona side.
    Special Features:
    scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Pesto
    cvscooby
    Dined on 3/18/2014
    Very Nice Lunch. Service was on time from start to end. Food was great (it's really hard to get a 5 from me) just a really nice place in a small town.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, hot spot, great for lunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.