One of my favorite off the radar restaurants in Walt Disney World is the Kona Cafe. This eatery is one of the most overlooked restaurants at Walt Disney World. While its neighbor, O’hana, always proves to
have a huge wait even for those who have made their Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs) months in advance. But, many times guests an easily snag an ADR only a few days in advance or even (gasp!) walk up to the podium and be seated relatively quickly. I’m not sure why Kona does not see more traffic. Perhaps it is because there are no characters visiting tables and it is not in a park. But, one of the features of the Kona I love is the ease of getting there. With its location in the Polynesian resort the Kona Cafe is just a short monorail or ferry ride away from the Magic Kingdom an other area resorts. I find taking a break from the Magic Kingdom to head over the the Polynesian for a quiet meal is a great way to recharge my park batteries.
Breakfast is great at the Kona Cafe. If you have a sweet tooth try the Tonga Toast. This dish has its own cult following among Disney fans as one of those must have meals while on vacation at WDW. If you think this is your average French toast, you are woefully mistaken; it consists of a huge piece of sourdough bread stuffed with bananas, fried, and then rolled in a cinnamon sugar mixture. I love Tonga Toast, but my tummy can’t always it. I ate breakfast at Kona Cafe three times on my last trip and only mustered up the appetite for this fan favorite once. If this doesn’t sound like your cup of tea other selections like the Somoan (a poached egg served over smoked pork hash and Hollandaise sauce) or the Big Kahuna (a sampling of breakfast foods) will be more up your alley. The restaurant also offers standard breakfast options for those with a less adventurous palate.
While the food is fantastic in the morning hours at the Kona Cafe the real star of the show may be the real Kona coffee
served here. As many folks who travel to Walt Disney World on a regular basis can tell you the coffee throughout property is often awful. However, at the Kona Cafe the standard brewed coffee provided is a Kona blend which truly made me happy on those chilly December mornings on my last trip. Guests can also opt to order a French press pot of pure Kona coffee for about $7.50 if they are coffee connoisseurs. Between the stellar java options and the yummy food I can’t recommend the Kona Cafe for breakfast enough!
Lunch is also very tasty at this hidden gem restaurant. I most recently dined here in December when we walked up with at least 10 people. We only had to wait a short time before being seated and treated to lovely service by a very sweet cast member. We were all starving so appetizers were ordered including the sticky wings which I sampled. This platter is meant for two people, but if people in your party only want to have a few chicken wings you could certainly split it among a few people. These scrumptious morsels could also just be ordered as your meal (they are that good).
For my entree I opted for the Asian noodle bowl which consists of a spiced broth, an assortment of fresh veggies, and bits of strip steak served with rice noodles. On a chilly day when my stomach was a little off from days of vacation eating and drinking, it was the perfect choice. Not only was this dish really yummy, but it felt light yet filling. I would certainly order it again. Other folks at my table also enjoyed the fish tacos, the island chicken sandwich, and others. I look forward to heading to here for a leisurely afternoon meal again.
I am yet to try dinner at the Kona Cafe, but I have heard great things and I can’t wait to give
it a shot myself. Appetizers at dinner time include those fantastic sticky wings, potstickers, and shrimp and coconut curry soup (among other yummy sounding options). Sounds good right? I’ve heard good things about the strip steak entree and several of the other options like pomegranate barbecue pork chops and tuna oscar also sound tempting. The island themed fare continues with desserts like pineapple upside down cake and a Kilauea torte. There is even a prix fixe menu available in the evenings offering guests a choice of selected appetizers, entrees, and desserts. If you can’t get an ADR for O’hana’s dinner service, but still have a hankering for an island accented meal (perhaps a drink with an umbrella in it?) give Kona a try as a great alternative.
As you can tell I really enjoy the Kona Cafe; I highly recommend this restaurant any time of day. Another great tidbit about Kona, guests can check out an area just outside the main dining area which serves coffee (the Kona blend) and pastries in the morning and is converted into a sushi bar later in the day. I’ve heard guests rave about the high quality meals they’ve had at the sushi bar, but I am yet to try it myself since sushi isn’t really my thing.
What about you? Do you love the Kona Cafe as much as I do? Or maybe you’ve had a lousy experience there? Either way I’d love to hear all about it!
Next week I’ll keep up the Polynesian theme and discuss my recent stay there!