The Only Kona Cafe Review You Need to Read
Visions of bountiful plates stacked high with sweet Hawaiian rolls had been dancing in my head since that morning. I pictured myself sitting in the restaurant, watching the monorail between sips of my Lapu Lapu waiting on a Kona Salad that I’d been craving for three days. Check out our Kona Cafe Review!
My prior experiences at Kona Café had always been sprinkled with these staples, and although I like to change my entrée up depending on my mood, the classics that made Kona Café famous are what I had been anticipating all vacation long!
*Record scratch* not so fast! My first clue that something was amiss came from the menu hanging on the wall outside. The different layout didn’t throw me, but the limited listing of entrees certainly did.
My second clue came when I noticed that three of my favorites, including my beloved Kona Salad, were nowhere to be found. It just so happened that I was visiting on the third day Kona Café was operating under a fairly new menu…and I was skeptical.
I love salad. Yes, I like to pack as many veggies into a meal as I can, but nutrition benefits aside, I genuinely enjoy starting off my meal with a leafy, crunchy salad. The Kona salad was always a huge reason why I return to the restaurant time after time, and I was not a happy camper when not only was my favorite appetizer gone, but there was not ONE salad on the appetizer menu.
As part of the new menu though, a very different vegetable side caught my attention. Grilled broccolini is one of the new items on the menu, and although no charred grill marks were present on the vegetables, the slightly sweet sesame-infused oil served as a perfectly light flavor contrast to the crisp broccolini!
Since my go-to burger was axed from the menu too, I had some re-evaluating to do. I opted for a Kona classic that I knew would not do me wrong- the sashimi sampler. The chef’s five choices of seafood were presented in a neat row, and each of the five fishes were chilled but not freezing cold (as all sushi fish should be), and were clearly high-quality cuts of relatively fat free sushi-grade fish!
If you start with good fish, the sushi will never disappoint. Frankly, it was good, but I’ve had better (both at Kona, and elsewhere), and at better better price points too.
One member of my party was excited to try the salmon- but she was thinking of the old salmon that was perfectly grilled and served atop a squared bed of sticky rice. The salmon entrée on the new menu stated its accompaniments to be a green salad…and when she was presented her bland, very empty-looking plate, it became clear that the new menu needed re-wording.
The salmon was good, but extremely oily and very, very rich. The portion of the fish was large, but, to quote the woman who ordered the dish “it wouldn’t have killed them to throw some potatoes on the plate”. Case in point, the salmon was good, but for the price, its plating and lack of accompaniments were disappointing. If you look closely, you can even see the oil pooled on the right side of the plate.
My initial disappointment was echoed by the third member of my party when it was established that our favorite burger was, in fact, gone. Instead of straying from the plan entirely, he ordered the new Kobe beef burger that came stacked with crispy cheddar cheese, candied bacon, and house-made sauce sandwiched between a sweet Hawaiian pineapple bun.
The thick, hand-formed Kobe beef patty was the star of the evening (aside from the sweet rolls served ahead of the meal obviously). The broiled cheddar cheese crisped up beautifully, and paired with sweetly coated, smoky tasting bacon, the burger was definitely the best entrée we had at Kona Café.
I’m not sure if it was the limited menu choices or the fact that the burger sounded so darn good, but there was not a table within eyesight that was without a plate with the giant burger on the table!
The menu is very limited. I was disappointed by the lack of salad, but the broccolini was delicious. I wanted my favorite burger, though the sashimi was an ok substitute. The salmon entrée was very tasty, but overly oily and lacking in variation on the plate. The burger…well, that burger was the best I’ve had on Disney Property in quite some time!
The high-quality Kobe beef was only enhanced by the chosen toppings, and if you visit Kona Café, make sure it’s for this burger! Although it very well may be the only appealing choice on the new menu, it alone is worth the visit! If you’ve been to Kona Café in the past, let me know how your experience stacked up with mine! Are you excited to try the new menu? Did you like this Kona Cafe review? Leave me a comment below and let me know!
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