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Fresco’s Taste of Italia

By Kyle Galdeira Photos By Leah Friel
September 2, 2012

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Unique flavors and tastes spring forth at Fresco, a recently opened eatery in Waikiki that is quickly becoming known for its masterful incorporation of Italian dishes and local flavors.

Perched atop Hilton Hawaiian Village’s Rainbow Bazaar, Fresco features an airy, open dining space with views of the resort’s lagoon and vibrant outdoor landscaping. Diners will appreciate the contemporary decor as large windows allow cool breezes to pass through the restaurant, which seats up to 172 individuals.

Fresco’s menu features traditional Italian recipes infused with fresh, local ingredients. Award-winning chef Kentaro Torii inspired the menu, incorporating dishes from the northern, central and southern regions of Italy, and executive chef Rodhel Ibay added a fresh local touch by including Hawaii grown and produced ingredients.

“Their concept includes the use of locally grown vegetables and herbs from local farms, such as Nalo Farms,” says sales and marketing manager Eileen Furuya of the chefs’ inspiration. “We use fresh fruits, too, and our steaks are grass-fed on the Big Island. All of our menu items have local flavors included in them.”

Insalata Caprese ($12.95) provides a fresh start to a meal, as the salad includes varieties of Kamuela tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, macadamia pesto and Hawaiian black salt.

A succulent 8-ounce cut of Big Island beef tenderloin is featured in the Filetto di Manzo ($35.95), as the perfectly cooked meat is prepared in a Marsala wine sauce, topped with a Gorgonzola fondue and served with a kukui nut potato puree. For those seeking fresh seafood, Linguine all’Aragosta e Granchino ($38.95) has it all. The dish features a bed of fresh linguine covered with a tomato cream sauce and chock-full of Maine lobster and crab meat.

“That’s part of what makes us unique,” says Furuya of the intriguing mix of Italian styles and local flavors.

For dessert, Tiramisu Hawaiano ($9.95) offers a local take on the traditional Italian dish. Layers of macadamia mascarpone cream hold the airy treat together, while a light layer of fresh Kona coffee is sprinkled atop the decadent dish.

Viva Fresco ($10) is one of Fresco’s signature cocktails and features Effen Cucumber Vodka, Royal Combier Liquer D’Orange, lime juice, ginger ale and fresh cucumber slices. For wine connoisseurs, Fresco has a wine cellar stocked with more than 100 varieties of vino from around the world.

Fresco also offers a popular happy hour available from 5 to 7 and 9 to 11 p.m. daily. Cocktails on the special menu, including the Hawaii Three-0, are just $6 each, while specially priced beers ($4) and wines ($5 per glass, $24 for the bottle) also are available. Happy hour also includes delicious appetizers priced at $8 each, such as Baked Mac-Nut Phyllo Wrapped Brie that comes with

Basil Coulis, Balsamic vinegar and Raspberry Coulis to dip in, as well as tasty Foie Gras Truffles Fries.

In addition to the seating in Fresco’s spacious dining room, there are two additional semi-private dining areas that are perfect for business outings or family get-togethers. Diners also are treated to complimentary validated parking, and on Friday nights, Fresco offers views of the hotel’s weekly fireworks display.

Fresco

Hilton Hawaiian Village
Rainbow Bazaar, 2005 Kalia Road, Honolulu
941.8868
Open daily, lunch served from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and dinner available from 5 to 9:30 p.m.
FrescoHawaii.com