Café Pesto

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What? This place is one of the most popular restaurants in Hilo and I never even covered it yet! I have a backlog of photos of various places so I better start posting more.

Cafe Pesto has always had good food and has a great location in the Historic S. Hata building near the Farmer’s Market in Downtown Hilo. I love how it’s casual yet still fancy… good for a nice dinner date, party or a quick lunch. Ambiance is warm, open, and comfortable. Sounds fill the room with kitchen noises and neighboring conversations.

My three favorite things here are (and they do them very well): Beer, Pizza, and Salad. Yes, I’m a simple guy.

Kona Coffee Beer

There’s a nice variety of beers on tap from local breweries and this is a Pipeline Porter from Kona Brewing Company which has 100% Kona Coffee in it. You really can taste the sweet coffee flavor. I loved it! Very smooth, dark and frothy.


Chicken Lolla Rosa ($10.95) – Grilled free-range chicken tossed with organic baby greens, local sweet onions, vine-ripened organic tomatoes, dressed with a cilantro-caesar dressing. Wonderful combination of flavors. The chicken was flavorful and perfectly grilled. The cilantro-caesar dressing was the highlight of this dish and had a really refreshing dominant cilantro kick.

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Ahhh, the pizzas… the first one is the basic Pizza Margherite with just cheese (12″ for $10.95) and it is a great to have with a salad. The second one is the Pizza Luau, which has kalua pork, local sweet onions and pineapples (9″ for $10.95). Both are excellent. The crust is what makes the pizzas here so good; very bubbly, crusty and chewy. One of my favorite pizzas in Hilo.

Reid from Ono Kine Grindz also went here recently. Service has generally been good the past times I’ve been here, but unfortunately he had a different experience. :(

Café Pesto
S Hata Building
308 Kamehameha Avenue
Hilo, Hawaii
Telephone: 808.969.6640

24 Responses to “Café Pesto”

  1. jodi Says:

    luau pizza? It sounds good, but I dunno about the pineapple part. Sort of like a “hawaiian” pizza, with canadian bacon and pineapple?

  2. Reid Says:


    I liked the luau pizza as well, but on the night I went, the service was horrible. Next time, I think I’m going to do take-out.

  3. penny Says:

    Nice place to go to when you need a break from Cafe 100, Kandi’s, Hilo Lunch Shop, Jimmy’s, and Blane’s…

  4. kelly Says:

    i remembah when da place first when open….was one nice change.

  5. Monkey Wrangler Says:

    Hey there James! I’ve been checking out your site for a bit and I really dig it! We have some similar tastes I think….then I saw this post and EVERYTHING you got sounded really, really, like eerie really familiar. I think my wife and I had the same stuff when we were there in mid March 2003. Is this possible? Even the beer sounded right…..

  6. hulagirl247 Says:

    you have to try the hilo sunrise – very refreshing during lunch when the humidity is up there. they actually do an ono turkey plate during the holidays! their fresh catch dishes are usually tasty – and the fact they will cook the fish whateva way you like makes it ono-licious!

  7. Kaleonani Says:

    Cafe pesto is rather slow, but then again we went during lunch on a SUNDAY so that might be my answer! hahaha i did enjoy the food! i like their focossia bread with the goat cheese spread! yum! and i dont like goat cheese! but that was ONO!

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