Italian-style cuisine lights up the night
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Infusing his eclectic menu with innovative island flare, executive chef Rodhel Ibay keeps things classy yet cutting-edge at Fresco Italian Restaurant. Located within Hilton Hawaiian Village’s Rainbow Bazaar, Fresco is a favorite spot for locals and visitors alike to come and enjoy a mid-day or evening meal.
Two vegetarian-friendly picks in particular will inspire palates. Guests can start their meal with an aromatic and mouthwatering Bruschetta ($11.95), which is best described by the masterful chef himself: “Our Bruschetta consists of diced local tomatoes with garlic, EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), fresh basil chiffonade, roasted local mushrooms marinated with white balsamic vinegar (and it’s) topped with shaved Parmigiano cheese,” Ibay says.
He points out that what makes this dish shine is the fried avocado crusted with macadamia nuts and panko and topped with garlic aioli and gorgonzola cheese. All of these goodies are served on a bed of grilled homemade garlic herb focaccia.
Penne Verdure Ai Arrabiatta ($19.95) keeps things classic and local, featuring penne pasta prepared al dente with Hawaii-grown chili peppers, and mouth-watering zesty Pomodoro sauce. The dish is infused with a mix of seasonal vegetables, from Kahuku grape tomatoes, Ho Farm currants and Kamuela tomatoes, to squash, asparagus and spinach.
“Both dishes are popular,” says Ibay, explaining that when creating his menu, the chef makes it a point to always keep the support of Hawaii’s local community in mind. “We have sourced out a lot of farmers to get their products, so that we may incorporate them into our menu items.”
Also of great benefit to the local community, residents win big when availing themselves of the eatery’s generous 15 percent kamaaina discount on its popular a la carte menu. Patrons also will appreciate Fresco’s other specials and events, including its daily happy hour (hosted from 5 to 7 p.m.), complimentary validated parking (up to four hours) and, of course, a coveted front row seat for Hilton Hawaiian Village’s weekly fireworks extravaganza.
Offering great food in a beautiful setting, Fresco Italian Restaurant has everything you need to make your next meal — vegetarian or otherwise —sparkle.
Fresco Italian Restaurant
Hilton Hawaiian Village, Rainbow Bazaar
2005 Kalia Road, Waikiki
Open daily, lunch: 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; dinner: 5-9:30 p.m.; happy hour: 5-7 p.m.