Pancho and Lefty’s Cantina & Restaurante

Visit Pancho and Lefty’s Cantina & Restaurante for the Best Happy Hour in Kona and Hearty, Tasty Mexican Food
The Bottom Line:

Fill up with budget-friendly Mexican food in a casual restaurant overlooking the ocean. Enjoy great drinks, such as margaritas and mai tais, or sample Mexican favorites, such as enchiladas and burritos. The food, drinks, and open-air dining will put you in the perfect vacation mood for the rest of your stay on the Big Island.

- The Local Expert Team

When in Kailua-Kona, don’t miss a trip to Pancho and Lefty’s Cantina & Restaurante for a great Happy Hour and filling Mexican food. It’s been a local Happy Hour gathering spot and Mexican meal destination since its opening in 1991. Its beach-casual atmosphere, open-air dining area, and a fantastic view of the Pacific from its second-story location make this the ideal spot for a late afternoon drink or sunset dinner.

Happy Hour is the biggest draw with drink specials and appetizers. But don’t limit yourself to the Happy Hour or its menu. The dinner menu also has a range of flavorful Mexican favorites, made with the freshest ingredients. Plus, don’t miss sampling the salsa and chips delivered to your table to eat while you wait for your order. Pancho and Lefty’s salsa is exceptionally flavorful and a great start to your meal that many visitors love.

Don’t miss the following great menu items when you go to Pancho and Lefty’s:

The only place in Hawaii to get Molcajete is at Pancho and Lefty’s. Molcajete sauce is a salsa created from roasted tomatoes and chiles for a smoky taste. The name for this salsa comes from the heavy mortar and pestle, also called a molcajete, the cook uses to crush the tomatoes, spices, and other ingredients together.

At Pancho and Lefty’s, they use a special spice blend to create their housemade molcajete salsa. Served in a mortar, the salsa has jack cheese, nopales, grilled green onions, and tomatoes stirred in. Lastly, they top the salsa with your choice of shrimp, steak, chicken, or all three. Sides of rice, beans, and tortillas round out this meal. When you try this dish, you’ll quickly realize why this is the restaurant’s signature dish that keeps people coming back.

Prime Rib
On Fridays, visit Pancho and Lefty’s for their Prime Rib. You’ll enjoy a prime rib with salad and a twice-baked potato. It’s a way locals and visitors close out their week with a hearty, tasty meal that is just as good as the other Mexican dishes at the restaurant. Visitors note that while odd to have a prime rib at a Mexican restaurant, their experiences with this meal were stellar. With descriptions of the meat as tender, tasty, perfectly cooked, and filling, many people wanted to come back for this dinner special.

Besos Calientes (Hot Kisses)
Start your meal with Besos Calientes, which translates to hot kisses. These appetizers are whole, bacon-wrapped jalapenos, stuffed with jack cheese and shrimp and deep-fried. A side of ranch for dipping gives you the option to cool off the heat with the creaminess of the dressing.

Visitors mention that these crispy treats are extra spicy and delicious. Some visitors have even given the Besos Calientes a chef’s kiss of approval for their taste. As an appetizer, you cannot top these little poppers that come with their punch of flavor.

Margaritas pair well with any Mexican entree. At Pancho and Lefty’s, they take their drinks seriously. Visitors report that their margaritas had good strength and were some of the best parts of their meal. You have the option of a variety of margaritas from the bar. The Ultimate Margarita gives you the choice of your favorite premium tequila with lime juice, sweet & sour, and Grand Marnier. You can also add a flavor to this drink for a little extra.

If you don’t want the Ultimate, you still can create your own margarita with fruit options that include guava, mango, strawberry, and passion fruit. The Chamoy Margarita is for adventurous palates. This mango margarita packs a kick with the addition of chamoy, a fruity, spicy hot sauce.

Whether you want a margarita, nachos, or just a tasty meal in a laid-back restaurant, check out Pancho and Lefty’s Cantina and Restaurante when you’re in Kona.

Insider Tips:
-Follow Pancho and Lefty’s on Facebook or Instagram to find out about upcoming events and special deals at the restaurant.
-Watch out for crowds at this restaurant when a cruise ship is in port. The location makes it a prime dining spot for hungry cruise passengers disembarking.
-Parking is challenging. Instead of looking for a spot right by the restaurant, look for a lot a couple of blocks over.