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  • Cafe Pesto - Kawaihae Harbor

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Cafe Pesto - Kawaihae Harbor

Cafe Pesto - Kawaihae Harbor Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://cafepesto.com
  • Email: Kawaihae@CafePesto.com
  • Phone: (808) 882-1071
  • Hours of Operation: Lunch: Daily: 11:00am - 4:30pm; Dinner: Nightly: 4:30pm - 9:00pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, JCB, MasterCard, Visa
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean, Fusion / Eclectic
  • Executive Chef: Moses Tavares
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Cafe, Full Bar, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Akoni Pule Hwy
  • Parking: Public Lot
A word from Cafe Pesto - Kawaihae Harbor
"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.Continued

Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerNeighborhood Gem
Diner Reviews
  • "My husband and I both had pasta dishes. I would have rated the food very good except we found the marinara sauce a bit sweet for our tastes. My husband had his pasta with their pork and beef meatballs and I had mine with chicken apple sausage. Both meats were delicious and the pasta was well cooked. Saw other patrons with pizza and it looked as if they were enjoying that as well. We also had a wonderful, friendly server who gave us information for a terrific hike the next day. For a local, not fancy restaurant I would say this was an excellent find."
    Dined on 4/10/2014
  • "Cafe Pesto served one of the best fish dishes I have had in quite some time. It was their Monchong special and it was just perfectly cooked, with great sauce, and simple side dishes. So often one can only get Mahi or Ahi so this was terrific and tasty."
    Dined on 4/8/2014
  • "Been coming to pesto every vacation for last 5 years. Continues to delivery excellent food and progressive ambiance. Appreciate the adult area off the new bar! Keep up the good work!"
    Dined on 4/5/2014
  • "This is 4-5th visit over the last five years - always a fine dinner experience. This was not considered memorable. Had 7:15 reservation for 3 - and seated by 7:55 - with plenty of so sorries. It appeared a party of four arriving after we did got seated before us. Server was cordial but not very attentive. Ordered Shrimp Pizza - but got Chicken Pizza. Don't recall server asking about meal until after we were finished. When we said it was Chicken and not Shrimp server said - oh my second choice. Not the response we were expecting."
    Dined on 3/27/2014
  • "Spring Break with college-age daughter and her friend. After dining at Cafe Pesto in Hilo, the girls selected Cafe Pesto-Kawaihae Harbor for another dinner. Specialty pizzas were delicious, server was cheerful, and restaurant was located in a cute shopping area. Recommended!"
    Dined on 3/20/2014
  • "Eh. That is my impression of this location. Was in Hilo last year and had a much better dining experience, from service to food. Nothing was particularly bad here, but not so good either. Could take it or leave it. We were here at lunch. Maybe dinner would be better."
    Dined on 3/16/2014
  • "Everything we ordered was very good, from salads to pizza to dessert."
    Dined on 3/11/2014
  • "I highly recommend the calamari and caprese salad. These simple dishes were far from ordinary. My wife and I both chose the fish of the day. Her's was a lighter preparation with local vegetables including purple sweet potato slices., while mine was a mildly spicy Asian preparation over Japanese noodles. The menu is extensive and when we return I plan to get the Pizza, which you can customize. It looked outstanding. Our server was very busy, but did a nice job. While it wasn't inexpensive, it was much more reasonable than most places we've been to in Hawaii."
    Dined on 3/10/2014
  • "Service was personal and superb. Food selection good. Food quality and taste topnotch. Acoss the street from a small bayside industrial facility but still watched a beautiful sunset. No traffic. Surprised to find this caliber of place in a quiet location."
    Dined on 2/19/2014
  • "We eat here 3 or 4 times every time that we visit Hawaii . One can get gourmet pizza or upscale fish and other dishes. Dress is nice casual. Highly recommended."
    Dined on 2/24/2014
  • "Cafe Pesto at Kawaihae has been there for years...consistently fresh, flavorable food with very good service. As usual, this time of year the place was packed, which increased the noise level considerably. In spite of the industrial harbor view, Cafe Pesto creates a pleasant and not outrageously expensive lunch and dinner menu as an alternative for nearby resort guests, as well as locals. It's nice to be able to depend on this restaurant for tasty, time tested cuisine, as well as a few innovative surprises on occasion."
    Dined on 2/23/2014
  • "Calamari appetizer was wonderful, as was the Santa Fe Chicken. The apple crisp and coconut tart were both great. Service was prompt and attentive. The Mai tais. Are among the best on the Kohala Coast.. This so our favorite restaurant, and it did not disappoint."
    Dined on 2/20/2014
  • "Every time we visit the big island, we make sure to have dinner here. Excellent food and nice drink list!"
    Dined on 2/18/2014
  • "Our reservation for 2 was at 7:15 on 2/16/2014. We were seated promptly & on time. So glad we had reservations as many people were in line. Our server was prompt, polite & knowledgeable. My husband had the pepperoni pizza which he said was excellent. I had the catch of the day salad, Ahi, which too was excellent. Melt in your mouth excellent! This is a restaurant we keep coming back to when we come to the Big Island &we will eat here at least 2 more times during our 2 week stay. This place is Good!"
    Dined on 2/16/2014
  • "Love this place when we come to the Big Island & typically get great food. This night however, the waitress was not on her game & brought the wrong wine ordered & forgot lettuce topping on our pizza (another server caught it & reminded her). We specifically asked for a table w/o a bench seat as they have no padded backs - however that's what we were given. If there is one pet peeve about this restaurant it is those extremely uncomfortable bench seats. As to food, Caesar salad was its usual gorgeous self - perhaps a bit small for a large. Unfortunately the pizza (BLT) was terrible. Way over-cooked and pretty tasteless."
    Dined on 2/9/2014
  • "Been here many times over at least 15 years. Busy casual restaurant with good dinner salads and pizzas. Not a laid back romantic spot or a place to go for ambience. Fresh and honest food. Always busy and they now take reservations."
    Dined on 2/7/2014
  • "We have tried just about everything on the menu now and are never disappointed. It is on my list of Best of the Big Island! A real favorite do each visit year after year."
    Dined on 2/1/2014
  • "Excellent place to get a great meal for half the cost of the resort restaurants nearby!"
    Dined on 1/30/2014
  • "We have eaten at both Cafe Pesto restaurants on the Big Island, and the quality of the food and service has always been excellent. Always busy, so reservations are recommended."
    Dined on 1/27/2014
  • "Every year we are on the Big Island and frequent Cafe Pesto several times. Our favorites are frozen Mango Magaritas, coconut calamari, blue Caesar salad, wok fired seafood pasta, pizza ...really the whole menu. The service is always excellent. We will return several times before leaving the island."
    Dined on 1/23/2014
  • "Best pizza in the world. Calamari is unreal too. How do they do it???"
    Dined on 1/23/2014
  • "Don't let the sign food piazza put you off. The food is good to great. The callimari is excellent . Love the coconut tart.....went two times during the week.....get there before 4:00 to get the lunch time prices....."
    Dined on 1/22/2014
  • "The restaurant serves Italian food with supposedly a Hawaiian twist. We had the grilled fish- fish was fresh. The accompaniments were bland and uninspiring. The ribs were moist. The glaze was too sweet. The oriental pesto pizza was too cheesy. Decent food. If you are looking for local favors, look elsewhere."
    Dined on 1/22/2014
  • "We went there on a Wednesday evening and had a very good meal in a casual cozy atmosphere. Fresh ingredients, nice preparations. Very good value for the Big Island. Nice wine list including interesting wines by the glass."
    Dined on 1/8/2014
  • "Usually Cafe Pesto in Kawaihae is very good but this particular night much was just off. Service, especially by our nonexistent waitress, was exceedingly slow. Crabcakes were just so-so with very little sauce. Tomato soup was so strong I needed to add cream. The usual wait staff, which is always attentive, was not there that night. Ah well."
    Dined on 1/3/2014
  • "We tried both the pesto bread and salad with creamy pesto dressing. So yummy! And coconut tart was amazing!"
    Dined on 1/2/2014
  • "The only thing close to Italian is the world "pesto", nothing else. We had pasta, scallops and shrimps. Taste was a big confusion with cream and I really don't know what else. Not worthy!!!!"
    Dined on 1/2/2014
  • "Great food and service. Good value for the reasonable prices. Wait staff and hostess very nice and responsive. We'd recommend."
    Dined on 12/31/2013
  • "We have dined here often over the years for a variety of reasons. On this occasion (as is always the case with the year end visitor influx) it was a mob scene at the host/hostess stand and staff were visibly overwhelmed. Some additional training would go a long, long way for them and for diners. The restaurant was exceedingly loud...we were shouting just to have a conversation at our table. But as always, food was delicious. We were so sad however that we'd requested and received to-go box for our leftovers but forgot it on the table. One would think a server would follow us out to offer it to us but we didn't realize we'd left it until we reached home. Cafe Pesto remains a fav but I think we'll avoid it during "seasonal" times."
    Dined on 12/29/2013
  • "What was Cafe Pesto is no longer. Today it caters to crowds of visitors and has expanded to meet the demand, however, the charm that Cafe Pesto once offered is no longer. Great place to take the family and more reasonably priced than many of the Big Island establishments."
    Dined on 12/30/2013
  • "We enjoyed a lovely dinner. Our server was very good and friendly. The seafood risotto was a good sized portion and full of flavor. The kid's pasta with pua sausage was very tasty. The classic pepperoni pizza is a good size with plenty of toppings. The dessert is one of our favorites. If you like coconut, the coconut tart is a must. We return here annually when visiting the island of Hawaii. Our only complaint would be the restaurant is VERY loud so don't go here expecting to hear a conversation. However the loudness definitely makes it kid friendly."
    Dined on 12/29/2013
  • "The service was slow. Two of us were served the wrong dishes. The calamari were in fact some kind of processed octopus. The pizza was stale and had obviously been cooked earlier and heated up. The seafood stew contained 2 small scallops and 2 prawns, the rest was filler. It is hideously expensive. There is really nothing positive I can say about this restaurant. We will not be going back."
    Dined on 12/27/2013
  • "Very tasty, consistent, locally grown/organic food at very rare (for the Big Island) reasonable prices. Excellent service!"
    Dined on 12/23/2013
  • "Service was great. Menu offering well rounded. Food was delivered Hot! And was very good. Would go again and already have."
    Dined on 12/18/2013
  • "This was our first time to the restaurant after several fine meals at the sister facility in Hilo, which we had thoroughly enjoyed. Everything was great and we will definitely visit again, the next time we are in the neighborhood and will recommend it to friends."
    Dined on 12/11/2013
  • "In an area populated by exensive hotels and even more expensive restaurants Cafe Pesto stands out for providing top-notch food at resonable prices. The coconut calamari are exceptional, fresh catch (usally ahi and ono, occasionally mahi-mahi) is perfectly done and pasta is great. Service is excellent and friendly. They do a good job of managing families with children. Highly recommended."
    Dined on 12/7/2013
  • "We had the Alfredo - sauce was separated and very oily. I also ordered the apple crisp and had to send it back since it was cold and soggy. Our wait staff was nice bu couldn't remember our order of a salad and two entrees and had to come back and ask. I heard her do the same thing to the couple at the table next to us. All together, it was okay but not great."
    Dined on 11/30/2013
  • "If you've never tried kahlua pork or turkey on your pizza try it here"
    Dined on 11/25/2013
  • "We love this place and always have a great experience here. Good food!"
    Dined on 11/21/2013
  • "The food is outstanding! We have eaten here four times and everything is wonderful and reasonably priced. Pastas and pizza are fabulous and the coconut tart is perfect. My husband is a dessert lover and said the tart was the best dessert he's ever had. After several nights of expensive hotel food cafe pesto is always a treat."
    Dined on 11/20/2013