Eat here if:
- You love Hawaii
- You enjoy delicious food
- You are a person
Stay in your room if:
- You are a hater
- You care more about ambiance than food
- You are handcuffed to a chair in your room
The Kona Cafe was my biggest pleasant surprise of any Disney restaurant. Ever.
“Shocking, Shaina likes something from Hawaii” you might say. While that’s true, I generally don’t like things that imitate Hawaii. This, however, was perfect.
There are over 20 hotels at Walt Disney World, but the Polynesian Resort is one of the original three. It’s on the seven seas lagoon overlooking the Magic Kingdom so you can watch the fireworks from your room and take the monorail right at the hotel.
The hotel, as its name might give away, is themed to be Polynesian. Disney did a perfect job at making the hotel looks like it was built in Hawaii in the 1970’s. Perhaps that is what they were going for since it was, in fact, built in Florida in the 1970’s.
Despite the old-school look, the hotel is beautiful…until you get to the Kona Cafe. This restaurant kind of looks like it’s in an airport. Between flights you’d go there for a beer, and you’d order a salad if you were starving, and the carpet looks clean, but you’d wish they’d vacuum it again – just in case.
So, when Charlie brought me there for a surprise dinner one night, I wasn’t expecting a whole lot.
Then the food came and the mind blowing happened.
The bread alone is worth a visit. Super soft sweet bread covered in macadamia nut honey butter is basically dessert as an appetizer. The loaf is big enough that you might not need to ask for seconds…even though we did.
The pumpkin chorizo soup was creamy and warm. Our sassy Asian waitress made fun of Charlie for ordering a delicious banana martini. Then she made fun of him for spilling crumbs on the floor. Then she just made fun of him for smiling.
The main course – sustainable fish – was the reason I will crave the Kona Cafe forever. I had salmon and Charlie had swordfish covered in a tapenade over garlic greens and forbidden rice. All soaked in a coconut broth.
The entire dish reminded me of what I used to eat at Indigo (for those of you who miss the Honolulu restaurant that closed recently). Perfectly cooked and portioned.
My Sangria was just so-so. Stick to wine or a specialty drink. Charlie wore his best “aloha attire” and the food finally outdid the weird ambiance.
For dessert, we had….