Cafe Concerto

I’ve been meaning to post about this place since my first visit in 2005 and can’t put it off no longer!


Really, I think this is the only “real” italian restaurant in Hilo.  Chef Lando Landi, a native Italian, puts so much love and passion into his food that it creates a wonderfully warm family style atmosphere in his little restaurant.  Cafe Pescatore has nothing on this place. 

The food here is so fresh, homestyle, affordable and unpretentious.  Perfect for a fun romantic date or even a get-together with friends over wine (BYOB!).  There is even a great wine store next door (Grapes) if you need to get a bottle (closes at 6pm).

Fresh Caprese Salad


Super juicy tomatoes with fresh mozzarella and fresh salad. Good stuff.

Penne with Pesto.



Best pesto I’ve ever tasted. Fresh, bright, rich and full of flavor.  Pasta was cooked perfectly al-dente.  I highly recommend trying any of their dishes with the wonderful pesto!

4-cheese Ravioli w/spinach.


This practically melts in your mouth and is soooo delicious.  I could eat 2 (or 4) plates of this!  Nothing beats freshly made ravioli — you gotta try it.

Cappellini w/meatballs


Refreshingly light and bright sauce with freshly made meatballs. I love how they keep their pastas fresh, light and flavorful.

Pasta with clam sauce  (Pasta al vongole)


Very nice  with a kick of spiciness.  I appreciate that the chef was not afraid to make this spicy!  

I can’t forget to mention the bread!  The chef actually brought out fresh loafs and cutted them up for the guests.  The bread was so wonderfully yummy straight out of the oven.  We couldn’t have enough!



Creme Brule


Soooooo so good!  Highly recommended!



Light, refreshing and swimming in rum :) — not too rich like many other Tiramisu’s.

The chef also serves a free homemade “digestive”, sorta like a limoncello, but with his own flavors.  He makes different flavors all the time.  Tonight it was fresh ginger.  Don’t turn down the opportunity to try it! It’s a perfect ending to the meal. :)



If you haven’t yet tried this place, you are missing out.  Definitely one of Hilo’s gems.  A meal for two is well under $40 yet tastes like a $100 meal.

Cafe Concerto
808 Kilauea Ave., Hilo, HI 96720
Phone: (808) 934-0312 (call to check their hours/days open)

35 Responses to “Cafe Concerto”

  1. Friday Big Island Blog Roundup | Big Island Buzz Says:

    [...] Big Island Grinds Reviews Cafe Concerto in Hilo [Big Island Grinds] [...]

  2. Anonymous Says:

    I’m sorry but I’ve eaten here a handful of times and I’m constantly disappointed. The pasta has never been al’s always mushy. And in the tradition of italian cuisine and culture the portions are small and the flavor is bland. It should be robust!

    However, it is great to be next to Grapes and the homemade lemoncello is very tasty and it’s the only eatery with a nice outdoor dining area.

  3. James Says:

    Anonymous, thanks for your thoughts.

    To me, real Italian food is all about light, fresh flavors, and smaller portions than the more Americanized places. The pasta to me has always been cooked well here and flavor spot on (not overpowering or too salty). And have you tried their ravioli? You can tell it’s made fresh in the kitchen. What did you order?

  4. Diane Rubio Says:

    Brother will you take me here next time I visit? hehe …. sounds SO perfect! oh my gooshness. I need a vacation.

  5. Coconut Willy Says:

    Sounds Ono! Time to go visit the folks.

  6. Gwendolyn Mathers Says:

    This is definately one of the best places in town.
    Wine tasting at grapes, grab a bottle and head over to Lando’s.
    I’ve never been disappointed.

  7. John Says:

    It looks so delicious
    I’ll definitely to come back to your blog again.

  8. Brandon Says:

    I took an Italian cooking class with Lando back in 2001 (If you’re reading this, Lando, you might remember me as the youngest student in that class, and perhaps the only non-teacher). Though I haven’t yet eaten at Cafe Concerto, I can say he knows his stuff.

  9. Frank Says:

    Thanks for sending the photos of delicious food. Italian food is the number one on my food list. I wonder if they serve pasta in extra large plate. I would be a happy camper if they do. I think we have to pay this wonderfull people a visit.

  10. parv Says:

    Spaghetti was very unimpressive; ravioli or manicotti (don’t remember which one was it) was better. In both cases, I had to arrange for second dinner. I am willing to pay extra for larger portions, but certainly not the price for a second order.

  11. Jack Says:

    If you agreed or disagree with the post here, be sure to post at and tell us more about it!

  12. Rich Says:

    I took my girlfriend out on a date on her birthday to this restaurant.
    As soon as I walked in the place I could not smell any aromas coming from
    the kitchen. I have eaten at many Italian restaurants across the globe and
    by far this was the worst experience I have ever had.
    If this guy is an Italian cook , then I am Albert Einstein .
    Two pieces of garlic bread 2 inches long and a centimeter wide, they are supposed to have garlic on them ??????
    This place screwed up spaghetti and meatballs which by the way Ragu can
    do better ! How’s that Lando !? You suck , your restaurant sucks !
    You gave me three meatballs … well thank you very much , they were the size of my kittens balls and they were burnt which added to my disgust . They were dry and tasteless and I cant believe your still in business !!!
    I heard through the coconut wireless that this place has been in business for a long time ??? People without tastebuds ! Wish I could have gotten my money back but did not want to spoil my date . She had a ravioli pesto which was mediocre! Take your $5 corking fee and invest in recipes !!

  13. Rich Says:

    This restaurant lies in it’s advertisements !

  14. marco Says:

    HORRIBLE ! BLAND ! Lando’s red sauce and meatballs need a lot of work ! I agree with Rich , I had a negative experience at this place ! I’m sure that a lot of people out there have bland taste buds , well…. this is the place for you!
    I did not smell any aromas coming out of the kitchen either and the garlic bread was the size of a twix and had no garlic on it ! Very disappointed in this place ! Lando …. Make a meatball ! Not like the kind you would find in spaghetti OH’s ! Bigger , Better , and with a little flavor at least !!!!
    Garlic , A bigger meatball , RED SAUCE (add flavor)

    BIGGER MENU ! Veal…. Chicken Parm perhaps ?????
    Lando … take a trip to New Orleans to a place called Vincents…learn something about FLAVOR !!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. Nanawale Says:

    There is no love in Lando’s cooking , This is a sad excuse for an Italian restaurant . The Big Island suffers for real Italian cooking

  16. Brandon Says:

    I retract all positive statements about this place

  17. Gwen Says:

    Looks can be deceiving ! These pix are not telling the truth , they were on a good day and this place in inconsistent ! THUMBS DOWN !!!!!!!!

  18. Local Says:

    Photos of delicious food LOOK good , your food should taste good , but it doesn’t . Bland and too expensive for such poor quality , you should be ashamed to call your place Italian

  19. Wire Says:

    If can try something else , if can’t then don’t try this place !

  20. BK Says:

    Personally, I have been to Cafe Concerto many times and it was always consistently awesome. I have relatives in Italy and ate at many places throughout Italy including Sicily, Florence, Rome, and Naples….home of the best Italian cuisine. Lando is a very distinguished chef and I feel sorry for all the idiots who posted on here who obviously don’t know Italian Food. First off, his bread is not garlic bread, it’s a homemade salted bread that is not supposed to be garlic bread and is just there for taste….So Rich and Marco, you guys are probably fat ass obese people that probably should be eating super loco mocos at Kens instead of fine dining cuisine. You guys are idiots and stick to your Ragu sauce b/c u guys are obviously not chefs. Anyone that truly loves and appreciates good food will love Cafe Concerto and for the price of fresh, homemade food, you really can’t go wrong.

  21. Kay Says:

    This is by far my favorite Italian restaurant. Everything I’ve eaten here (and yes, I’ve been here a lot of times) has been amazing. I love everything about the place, the food, the atmosphere, the service. Total awesomeness. If you like italian, come here. oh, and don’t listen to ^ Those Guys ^

  22. Teri Anh Says:

    Worst Food, “Italian” or otherwise that I remember eating! I ordered the Four Cheese Ravioli, which turned out to be unraveled wonton-like overworked dough in with luke warm cream dribbled on top–no cheese that I could taste. The portion was also small. Surely, the “chef” can go online and look up a recipe for a sauce rather than just use unflavored cream. We ate there because of the good reviews. It was very disappointing.

  23. Mike Says:

    Most superb Italian food. Hands down, it is the best in Hilo. Every dish I’ve tried has a light but complex flavor with many layers to enjoy. Creamy sauce brings a delicate balance of savory and sweet that will leave you pondering it’s seasoning. (I feel the nay-sayers are simply brainwashed by americanized “Italian” food) You will leave feeling satisfied but not overfull. Prices are reasonable, service is great, atmosphere is warm & personable. Truly a gem for our small town.

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  26. Disappointed Says:

    I went to eat there because of the positive reviews I read on other blogs, wish I found this one first. I ate the 4 cheese ravioli. The cream sauce was the consistency of milk, kinda tasted like milk as it had no flavor. I couldn’t even describe the food as lukewarm; it was more like the temperature of food left out all day. I’m not sure where the cheese was besides the grated parmesan cheese that tasted like flour that was messily scattered on my plate. Or maybe it was flour that I tasted as the ravioli didn’t seem to be cooked. The ravioli had no flavor at all and I wouldn’t describe it as ravioli. It mostly consisted of a big piece of undercooked pasta with some spinach in it. As for the bread, it was hard and cold. I couldn’t even use it to soak up any of the “milk” on my plate. The service wasn’t that great. I was never offered a refill on my drink though I drank it all before I even ordered my food. This isn’t someplace I would recommend to anyone or even think about giving it a second chance.

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  28. Giving it a try Says:

    I havent eaten here before, but I’m excited because I’m going for my birthday. Everyone I know who has eaten in Italy said the food is authentic Italian! So I have a feeling that most of the negative comments are due to taste buds brainwashed to American style Italian food. We’ll see!

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  35. Norman Stahl Says:

    We lived in Hilo 13-years and after a few tries elsewhere, Cafe Concerto was the * only * Italian restaurant that we would dine at. The pasta is made fresh daily and cooked to a perfect al dente. Small, cozy and a tad expensive for Hilo, but we’ll worth it! Ono!

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