If you’re in the mood for something familiar yet exotic, look no farther than Disney’s Polynesian Resort. I know, you’re probably thinking we, the DVC Duo, is going to recommend Disney’s Spirit of Aloha or Ohana, but you should know us better by now! You know we love those unexpected gems, and Kona Cafe is just that. Now, you’ve probably seen the Kona Cafe before, as it’s just on the other side of the bar from Ohana. Chances are, you’ve walked right by, but today’s Foodie Friday review is coming straight to you from the Island of Aloha (in spirit anyways!)
My favorite meal of the day. It’s one that the DVC Duo tries to do a sit down for at least once on our Disney Vacation (mostly because we are just so busy in the mornings!). It’s usually a toss up between Boma and Kona Cafe. One of the stars here is the 100% Kona French Press (for 2, or 1 depending on how you roll). This is always the first debate of the day – who gets to press the pot?! (I usually win!). For food, Nate usually goes for the Tonga Toast – arguably their signature dish. Two thick, fluffy, sticky-sweet pieces of French toast stuffed with caramelized banana- vanilla yumminess all dusted in lip-coating powdered sugar. Wake up, pancreas, we’re gonna need some more insulin! For those who are banana adverse, there is also the macadamia nut pancakes – buttermilk clouds dripping with sweet-crunchy macadamia nut butter and a bright and tangy pineapple compote. Put a fork in me, I’m done! For those of you who are sweet enough, the Seven Seas Samoan is a pulled-pork hash eggs benedict that calls my name every time.
DISCLAIMER: as I review the menu, it appears as though this dish has received an overhaul! There’s now some greenery added, I cannot speak to the flavors of this new combination! Also, they have added a Loco Moco plate – traditional Hawaiian breakfast of a hamburger patty over rice with an egg on top (it is tasty – sticks to your ribs – may not want to go directly on Space Mountain just afterwards). It also looks like they’ve added some new drink options – lilikoi mimosa and Bloody Mary flight anyone? Aloha!
To the DVC Duo, this is the real hidden gem. Often not very crowded for dinner, the Kona Cafe delivers with thoughtfully prepared South Pacific fusion cuisine. Get those taste buds ready for a treat! For appetizers, we have tried the Island Tuna Poke, Pot Stickers, and Kona Salad. Honestly, the poke was bright, fresh, and not over seasoned, though I’m not sure I’d pay the $14 for such a small portion again. For me, the Kona Salad with it’s house-made vinaigrette and peanut brittle surprise is just what I need after a week at Disney – fresh, crisp, bright, tangy veggies!
On to the mains! This is a tough one, the Kona Coffee-rubbed filet is excellent. The coffee enhances the deep grilled flavor (and at $35 is a Disney bargain). Nate seems to be partial to the Togarashi-cured salmon which is richly umami flavored, very clean presentation with a bed of rice and steamed vegetables. I have been slurping up the Dashi with the Catch of the Day. It has everything I love – broth, noodles, yummy toppers, and it comes with several different sauce mix-ins so you can customize for your palette! Winning! There is also sushi which is again very fresh, just a bit overpriced in my opinion. If you have room for dessert, there are several new options, I can speak to the liquid chocolate goodness of the Kilauea Torte (aka chocolate lava cake). The Kona Mocha Cremeux is also highly recommended by the DVC Duo!
As you can see, Disney’s Polynesian Resort is hiding a culinary secret, but now that you’re in the know, give it a try on your next Disney Vacation! Keep an eye out for your favorite bloggers, you’ll want to look for the table with 2 Kona French Presses!