Back to the Classics for this Annual CelebrationCover Story
September 22, 2019
Story By: Kyle Galdeira | Photos by: ANTHONY CONSILLIO
As Fresco Italian Restaurant celebrates its seventh anniversary, diners are invited to enjoy new menu additions and reintroduced favorites that showcase the popular dining destination’s diverse menu, which incorporates fresh, local flavors with traditional Italian cuisine.
Executive chef Rodhel Ibay adds a local touch to the menu by including Hawaii-grown and produced ingredients whenever possible — a practice that enhances taste and adds vibrant color to each plated masterpiece. Like its award-winning wine selection featuring vintages from around the world, Fresco Italian Restaurant has improved with age.
Perched atop Hilton Hawaiian Village’s Rainbow Bazaar, Fresco features an airy, open dining space complete with views of the resort’s lagoon and vibrant outdoor landscaping. Cool breezes pass through the restaurant, which also includes a full bar and relaxing lounge area.
“We’re celebrating our seventh anniversary, and the team is excited to launch our new a la carte dinner menu — I’ve incorporated a lot of local ingredients,” says Ibay of the menu that will be rolled out Monday. “I want our guests to taste the combination of Hawaii and Italy — we’re not a classic Italian restaurant, because although we use Italian execution and preparation techniques, diners experience Hawaii through the bold flavors, textures and ingredients.”
Diners will be pleased to see the return of favorites such as Aqua Pazza ($32.95), an entree that includes the day’s fresh catch from the auction block along with clams, mussels, sundried tomatoes, local vegetables and seaweed, sea asparagus, olive oil, capers, leeks and a white wine sauce. Loyal customers will also appreciate the return of Costoletta d’Agnello ($37.95) as lamb chops are prepared beautifully in a special marinade that includes hoisin sauce along with a cilantro-and-macadamia-nut pesto coupled with sauteed island vegetables and mashed potatoes.
Rotoli Crispi di Granchi Croccanti e Verdure ($15.95) is a new appetizer on the Fresco menu as the crispy crab spring rolls include grilled island vegetables, “bagna cauda,” a buttery roasted garlic “hot bath,” along with spinach artichoke fondue cheese dip.
Insalata Fichi di Fragola ($13.95) is a new salad on the menu featuring strawberries, fig compote, local goat cheese, baby frisee greens, sliced prosciutto and aged balsamic that make for a “very refreshing” combination of flavors.
Spaghetti Alla Carbonara Granchio ($24.95) is a revamped entree selection now available at Fresco that offers a hearty flavor profile without being heavy. It is crafted with spaghetti, dehydrated island fresh egg yolk that provides a subtle saltiness, guanciale, crab meat, tomato confit, black pepper and Parmigiano Reggiano.
“We try to offer more healthy menu options and occasionally rotate our menu items with seasonal organic fruits and vegetables that are locally sourced because chef Rodhel works closely with local farms,” says owner Brian Hee. “We are also flexible with guests who have food allergies and special dietary requirements. I believe in accommodating and understanding the guests’ needs and delivering quality food and service that diners appreciate.”
Fresco also offers its popular happy hour daily from 3 to 6 p.m. In addition to the comfortable seating in Fresco’s spacious dining room, there are three semi-private dining areas that are perfect for business outings, weddings or family get-togethers such as graduation parties. Diners are treated to complimentary validated parking (four hours), and on Friday nights, be sure to take in the resort’s weekly fire-works display.
Check out Fresco’s Sunset Menu
Local diners can look forward to Fresco’s Sunset Menu ($24.95), a hearty three-course meal available daily from 3 to 6 p.m. that offers nearly as much value as it does flvor. ˛ e dining experience begins with a fresh wedge salad that includes sweet basil, Gorgonzola, a savory vinaigrette as well as tomatoes, charred radicchio and pancetta. Next up, guests enjoy a rigatoni pasta entree composed of sweet-and-spicy sausage in a light sauce with locally grown mushrooms. ˛ e meal is then capped with a chef’s special dessert.