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“great crab cakes”

Cafe Pesto - Kawaihae
Ranked #8 of 12 Restaurants in Kawaihae
Price range: US$30 - US$35
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Restaurant details
Good for: Child-friendly
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, After-hours, Breakfast, 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.
Reviewed 23 August 2015

So you're on vacation but you don't want to eat every single meal at the resort. This is your little escape. Great food, good service, use Open Table for reservations. Use Google Maps to find the place, as the yelp map looks like it's off.

LOCATION: Kawaihae Harbor, facing the harbor, a few doors down from Kohala Divers and Siren Sportfishing.

FOOD: Crab cake salad with miso dressing. Do it.
DRINK: Full bar. Don't forget to check it out when you walk in.
KIDDIE MENU: We like family friendly eateries. The kids liked the actual menu - you got extra points if you ordered vegetables, and you could get your dessert if you got enough points.

Great little place to sneak in a casual meal if you're in this area.

Thank 808Momx2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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331 - 335 of 1,016 reviews

Reviewed 21 August 2015

I am sure it is great to eat in, but we use Cafe Pesto for take out dinners on the beach. Its a quick drive from Mauna Kea Beach, Hapuna, or even Mauni Lani. We spread out a couple of towels, bring our own drinks, and watch the sunset.

A low cost alternative to the resort restaurants and great for the kids - they get to stay on the beach during the best time of day.

Pizza is all good, soft chewy crust, but usually not undercooked. Lots of toppings and special pies. You can't go wrong.

    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Adamsafe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 August 2015

Cafe Pesto has long been a favorite of ours but during this visit I had their Blue Caesar salad. Wow! I love Caesar salads and this was the best one I've ever had. They offer it without the Gorgonzola I assume because some may not like strong cheeses but I found the balance so perfect that I'd recommend you try it as is. We also have pasta. I had the red sauce with meatballs - excellent, fresh, obviously made to order. The meatballs were excellent. Servers were warm and friendly.

Thank Bill G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 August 2015

Cafe Pesto was easily our best "find" while on the Big Island. We have eaten at the five-star places on the other side (KPC, Four Seasons's ULU, and Merriman's being our favorites), so really we were not expecting anything more than edible food in Hilo. When my wife stumbled on some good reviews for Cafe Pesto, we decided to try it, despite it very plain "strip mall" appearance. Best decision we made!

First off, this is not a five star place. It is noisy, crowded, and has the ambiance of a cafeteria. But, the food is just excellent.

The crabcakes are a must. Easily, by far, the best crabcakes I have ever had. Anywhere.

I had the grilled Kulana beef, and it was grilled perfectly and very tasty. The beef was nicely marbled and cooked just enough to caramelize the surface fats... The sauce (a balsamic reduction) added the just the right amount of flavor to an excellent cut of meat. And, Cafe Pesto was one of only two restaurants on the Big Island where I found get locally sourced beef (strange, because the Big Island is known for its exceptionally tasty cattle; in Chicago, some Big Island sourced steaks fetch as much per lbs as Japanese Kobe beef - so why don't other restaurants in Kona feature the excellent local beef?!).

The pizza (appetizer), salads and soups were all very good to excellent as well.

Service was top notch, despite being very crowded.

Cafe Pesto easily beats almost every other restaurant we have tried on the Big Island, with the only exceptions being the absolute best: ULU, Merriman's and KPC.

But, wihle Cafe Pesto is not at the level of ULU, Merriman's or KPC; it really only lacks the ambiance, culinary finesse and variety of those places. And, Cafe pesto is 1/3 the price (maybe even less) versus those places.

If you want excellent food in a casual atmosphere, at middle of the road prices, you should not pass up Cafe Pesto.
The next time we visit the Big Island, Cafe Pesto will be on our "must do" list.

Thank DivePhotographerJeff
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 August 2015 via mobile

Cafe Pesto is a charming cafe located behind a very nondescript shopping center. Offerings include delicious hand- tossed pizzas, sandwiches, salads and pastas. There is a full bar. Service was excellent and the atmosphere was a nice surprise. 9" pizza is $13.95. Would definitely return.

Thank Michelelabelle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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