Say ‘Bon Appetit!’ to fresh Italian fare

Chew On This Digest

May 25, 2014

Story By: Michelle Lee | Photos by: Nathalie Walker

With a name that says it all, Fresco Italian Restaurant’s concept is easy to grasp with one quick glance of the menu.

“We try to be as fresh as can be, using locally sourced ingredients and produce whenever possible,” says executive chef Rodhel Ibay. “While our execution is still very traditional Italian, we do so by using the best of what Hawaii has to offer.”

With more than 20 years’ culinary experience, Ibay sees a natural correlation between Italian cooking and the Islands we call home. “The ingredients here lend themselves very well to Italian cuisine because everything is so fresh,” he explains. “Rather than overwhelm the dish with numerous complicated components, we allow the individual ingredients to speak for themselves, so that less is actually more.”

After enjoying some complimentary Focaccia and Ciabatta bread, (baked fresh daily) Ibay invites all to try Insalata Caprese ($12.95), a mix of grape, cherry and currant tomatoes along with macadamia nuts, Mozzarella cheese and Hawaiian black salt.

As a main entrée, Linguine all’Aragosta e Granchio ($36.95) is a popular choice, combining classic linguini with generous portions of Maine lobster and crabmeat in a homemade Pomodoro sauce.

Osso Buco Milanese ($42.95) is another revered dish that celebrates local flair with traditional Italian cooking. “We take the veal and slow braise it with Marsala wine, a demiglace and Kunia tomatoes,” says Ibay. “Instead of using risotto, we make an orzotto using the stalk of mushrooms to create a lighter texture, which goes well with the rich sauce.”

Located within Hilton Hawaiian Village, Fresco offers customers a hassle-free dining experience with free, four-hour validated parking. With a view that overlooks Waikiki lagoon, the restaurant also features three private dining rooms that can accommodate a variety of party sizes.

Fresco Italian Restaurant

Hilton Hawaiian Village
2005 Kalia Road, Honolulu
Daily, 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (lunch); 5-9:30 p.m. (dinner); 5-7 p.m. and 9-10:30 p.m. (happy hour)

Honolulu, HI 96815

Ilima Awards
Hawaii's Best