Whether you are staying at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort or have just gone to the Disney parks, you’ve most likely come across Kona Cafe while planning your Walt Disney World vacation. If you haven’t been quite sure if this restaurant is worth an advanced dining reservation, then you’ve come to the right spot for this Kona Cafe Review.
Our Kona Cafe Review
To kick off our Kona Cafe review, we will start with the basics. Kona Cafe is considered American seafood cuisine with an Asian Polynesian flare. It’s casual dining, but it’s table service, so it’s 1 table service credit on the Disney Dining Plan or Deluxe Dining Plan. Breakfast is $14.99 and under, and lunch and dinner is anywhere between $15.00 to $34.99 per adult. Breakfast is 7:30am to 11:00am, lunch is served from 12:10pm to 2:55pm, and dinner is 5:00pm to 9:45pm.
Part of any Kona Cafe review should talk about the overall atmosphere and the fact that it’s very open. There are no walls separating you from the lobby, so it doesn’t feel closed in. The tables in Kona weren’t very close together, it was nice to have some space to breathe especially when enjoying a meal with family. It does feel like walking into a restaurant in Hawaii since it is in the Polynesian Village Resort which we do always love going to.
In terms of location, Kona is not only in the Polynesian Resort but it’s also one of the closest resorts to the Magic Kingdom which also provides a whole other aspect to being here in our opinion.
While we won’t cover everything on Kona Cafe’s menu for this review, we will cover all the things we had in our most recent visit there and also some other items that we have had before in the past.
Kona Cafe Review – Breakfast
This Kona Cafe review will be split up into breakfast and lunch/dinner, both are very popular, we will start with breakfast. Kona Cafe is very famous for their Tonga Toast, which is banana stuffed French toast rolled in cinnamon sugar served with a strawberry compote, and your choice of ham, spiced ham, bacon or sausage. Another item is the Loco Moco, which is very traditional to Hawaii and is a tower of rice, grilled hamburger patty, chorizo gravy, two eggs (any way you want it) topped with tomato salsa. We’ve tried both of these items on a return visit and neither disappointed!
The Tonga Toast is not overly-sweet and doesn’t really need the strawberry compote at all. The Loco Moco is filling and the combination of flavors, which is unique, blends together very well (that gravy is amazing!) They also serve Macadamia nut pancakes. They offer a Mimosa flight and a Bloody Mary flight; making this a well known spot for breakfast.
The meal starts with the included, and very amazing Kona rolls. These are honey rolls served with honey roasted macadamia nut butter. The rolls are fresh baked and soft and the butter has a nice pop of nutty flavor from the macadamia nuts. Even the kids loved them.
On their lunch menu appetizers include a Kona Cafe crab cake with pineapple relish and a bacon vinaigrette for $13.00. I personally do not tend to eat crab cakes outside of Maryland or Delaware, but I might head back to try it one day specifically for another review of Kona Cafe for that alone. We decided to order the pot stickers – pork and vegetable dumplings with a soy ginger cream sauce for $9.00, since we are all such big fans of the potstickers over at Ohana’.
Before we move on, I wanted to mention our wonderful waitress, Caroline – who is in our top 5 all time favorite waitstaff at Disney World. There were six of us at lunch – four adults and two children. We ordered the potstickers. She let us know that the order comes with only four potstickers, so if everyone wanted a whole potsticker, we might want to order two. I’m so glad she let us know that ahead of time so we weren’t surprised when we got our order. Plus, what an incredible up-sale! We still only got the one order, the kids were not eating them, but it was still nice of her to do that.
The pot stickers were really good – everyone loved them. While the Kona Cafe pot stickers themselves were much like ones you’d find anywhere, the soy ginger cream sauce really set them apart from pot stickers we’ve had elsewhere. Basically, the pot stickers at Kona Cafe themselves were much like at Ohana’ – but the sauce made them stand out, making them actually better in my opinion.
In addition we had the Island Tuna Poke, which was Ahi tuna with sesame soy dressing, avocado puree, togarashi rice and plantain chips for $14.00. We are always raving about the Poke at Nomad Lounge (check out our review here). This was a wonderfully flavorful dish. There’s a ton of tuna and the dressing added the perfect saltiness, while the avocado puree added a creaminess.
They also have sticky wings for $10, which we opted not to try since we were ready to move onto the sushi portion of this review!
Kona Cafe has an open air Sushi Kitchen which is next up for our review. Included on this menu is a Nigiri sampler, which is a Chef’s choice of five pieces of seafood for $17.00. They have a Sashimi sampler with your choice of six pieces of seafood for $18.00. There’s a seasonal Sushi appetizer for $17.00; a California roll for $15.00; a Dragon roll for $18.00; and a Hamachi tuna cilantro roll for $17.00. Considering we can usually get a California roll at our local sushi restaurant for $8.00, these are some high priced rolls. If you’re sitting in the right area you can see them rolling the sushi, and you’re eating at the Polynesian inside of Kona Cafe, so you certainly have to add that into the value.
We opted for the large sushi sampler to split between the four adults. This included three pieces of Nigiri, four pieces of Sashimi, four California rolls, and tuna Poke for $25.00. You want my review? It was delicious. Everyone was able to try a little bit of everything and every single piece was flavorful and incredibly fresh – there was tuna, yellowtail and salmon. For $25.00 – this was a steal! Especially when a California roll costs $15.00, and this platter fed four people. The small platter was $21.00 and you get a few less pieces, but is still a great value.
What’s cool is that Kona Cafe also offered a kid “Sushi”, which we didn’t realize until we saw a roll with a hidden Mickey. They had a peanut butter and jelly “Sushi” roll, and a chicken nugget roll. It looked very interesting and we thought it was pretty cool that that offered something that wasn’t traditionally an item a kid would order.
Included on the entree portion of our Kona Cafe review we start with Asian stir fry, which includes Yaki Soba noodles, wok seared with vegetables, roasted peanuts, and your choice of chicken or Tofu and soy citrus sauce for $19.00. There is a Togarashi cured salmon in a plum wine glaze, sesame rice cake, baby Bok Choy and mushrooms for $25.00. In addition they have a ginger soy chicken with roasted marbled potatoes, wilted sesame greens, pickled carrots and red wine sauce for $21.00. Again, this is not the whole menu, just the highlights or items that were recommended to us.
We decided on the pork belly noodle bowl served with seared pork belly, rice noodles, Bok Choy, a soft boiled egg with beef bone broth for $21.00. It was a big portion – a giant bowl of ramen noodles. The broth alone was ok, but when you got a spoonful of everything – it was incredible! The flavors all combining together were absolutely amazing. Each item individually separate was fine, but not a ton of flavor. The pork belly was very tender. But when the combination of flavors came together perfectly, it just blew my mind.
I’ve never had a soft boiled soy egg prior to our meal at Kona Cafe – I didn’t even know they existed, let alone what they were. It is a whole egg that’s cut in half; the yolk was slightly cooked – not runny but not like a hard boiled egg either. The outside of the egg is a dark brownish-grey because the egg is actually soft boiled in soy sauce, so there is this amazing, rich, salty flavor that is like nothing I have had before. As we were taking bites of the pork belly and noodles and added in little bits of the egg – it gave such powerful bursts of flavor and salt.
The only hole in our Kona Cafe review may be that we did opt out of dessert since we were pretty full by that point. They apparently used to have a famous Kona Cafe banana cream creme brûlée, but they no longer had it on the menu. They do have a passion fruit and coconut mousse dome with pineapple and seasonal sorbet for $8.00. A coconut pearl tapioca, which includes fresh tropical fruit and passion fruit Boba balls for $9.00.
The kids menu was not completely standard and there was an item on there called the Dashi Noodle Bowl, which was a ramen noodle bowl with fish and vegetables. We asked our wonderful Kona waitress Caroline if the girls could just get the noodles with broth because our kids like very, very plain foods. She explained to us that the broth had a fishy taste to it and she said she would just bring them plain buttered noodles instead, which was perfect. Caroline was just so great – she had answers to questions we hadn’t even had time to ask yet. The service she gave us was just outstanding.
The dinner menu for Kona Cafe is similar to the lunch menu with a few exceptions. There’s a Kona Cafe coffee rub filet with Japanese sweet potatoes, seasonal vegetables and an ECO glaze for $35.00. That’s the most expensive dish on the menu. A fresh herb pork chop with roasted chilies, rainbow carrots, and a macadamia nut gremolata in herb sauce for $25.00. They also have a five spice Ahi tuna with coconut, tri-colored Asian vegetables with a sweet carrot ginger sauce and that is priced at market value. Kona Cafe really has so many wonderful offerings.
Kona Cafe Review Final Thoughts
So, to sum up our Kona Cafe review, would we recommend this place? If you cannot tell from this review, one hundred percent yes. We will definitely go there again in the future. As far as Kona Cafe goes, there weren’t many items that I didn’t want to try, I want to try them all. So go check out the Kona Cafe at the Polynesian Resort – you won’t regret it.
If you enjoyed our Kona Cafe review, then you should check out some other reviews we have, like our ‘Ohana Dinner Review and many others!