For a great meal in Kawaihae, on the Big Island, Cafe Pesto is a great choice. The atmosphere is very nice with lots of beautiful paintings. The menus has many options including appetizers, pastas, fish, and salads. We decided to start off with the Shrimp Half Moon Nachos. It came with six crispy Asian style chips with a shrimp on each, and a pile of salsa, and cilantro sour cream in the middle. The crispy chips with the shrimp, cilantro cream, and slightly spicy salsa created a wonderful combination of different flavors and textures. The also brought bread to the table and it was served with pesto butter. It was delicious.
I am a big fan of shrimp and a fan of pasta, so the Shrimp Scampi looked very appealing. The small portion was the perfect size for this dish. (Many dishes here offer a smaller or larger portion). The sauce was buttery and had just the right amount of garlic. It went very well with the several large pieces of shrimp and the penne pasta. I tasted my mom’s Mahimahi fish special. I was in love with the fish, which sat on a little bed of jasmine rice and fresh veggies. It was cooked perfectly and seemed to melt in my mouth. I would love to taste it again soon! Of course my brother had to get his favorite, the cheese pizza. He loved the pizza and its light, crispy crust. My dad also got a pizza, the Chili Grilled Shrimp Pizza. It had a piece of shrimp on each piece over cilantro crème fraîche, shiitake mushrooms and green onions. He also asked for a side of garlic mashed potatoes (one of his favorite things) and they had a wonderful rosemary flavor with whole pieces of roasted garlic.
For dessert I had the Ganâche which was a chocolate torte with a raspberry purée. The torte was like a sliced like a cake and the raspberry purée was drizzled on top and on the plate. The size was not too large, but the flavor was rich and very delicious. The slightly tart raspberry went perfectly with the sweet and silky chocolate. My brother had the Cookies and Cream Cheesecake which had a macadamia nut crust and white and milk chocolate shavings on top. My mom tasted it and said it was “among the best cheesecakes I’ve had”. My dad got a Hot Keanakolu Apple Crisp. He thought it was excellent and said it was “large so you may want to share, but it was very yummy.”
I would recommend getting a reservation. Over all the restaurant was wonderful and the food was fantastic! This is a must go to place for dinner on the Big Island.