Friday, October 5, 2012

Foodie Friday: Kona Cafe Review

What do you think of when I say "Kona Cafe"? I can hear it now, say it with me, that scrumptious cinnamon and banana-stuffed 8th wonder of the modern world: TONGA TOAST! Well, I was fortunate enough to have my birthday dinner this summer at this wonderful restaurant located in the Polynesian Hotel's Great Ceremonial House (built to resemble a royal Tahitian assembly lodge and one of the two original hotels built for the opening of the Magic Kingdom). In other words, no Tonga Toast. BUT, I willingly gave that up in anticipation of a fabulous dinner to follow, and I was not disappointed! Here's a tip for all you Hidden Mickey fans: as you enter the Great Ceremonial House (AKA Lobby) where the restaurant is located, just look down!

This restaurant is located to the right on the second floor near the back of the building. Next door is Kona Island which is a coffee bar in the morning that transforms into an exotic sushi bar in the evening! TIP: You can ask for this sushi menu while dining at Kona Cafe for those in your party that might enjoy the sushi offerings! This restaurant is very open to the hotel lobby and it shares a "waiting area" with the Ohana restaurant, so it can be a bit noisy depending on the time of day and activity levels in the area.

The menu emphasizes a Pan-Asian taste and flair, but most people will find something to love. There is even a "Chef Selection" Prix Fixe 3 course menu available with choice of 1 each of the most popular appetizer, entree and dessert choices for 29.99 (no substitutions).

Our dinner started with the most amazing bread service. The bread loaf is closest to the yummy Hawaiian bread you can get at the grocery store, but fresh baked and perfectly textured. But the star of this is the Macadamia Butter. Seriously, ask for extra, it's that good! Our appetizer choice was Sticky Wings For Two: Glazed Chicken Wings with tangy Mustard Drizzle and Toasted Sesame Seeds for 12.99. When they say "For Two" they aren't kidding! The platter came piled high with these delicious and appropriately named chicken wings that had just a hint of the Pan-Asian flavors. For entrees I chose Shrimp and Scallops which is Panko-breaded Shrimp and perfectly pan-seared Scallops with Sticky Rice, Chopped Vegetable Salad, and Coconut-Lime Leaf Dressing for 20.99. The dish came together with flavors and textures that were "just right" for me. My dinner partner chose the Pan-Asian Noodles which is Yakisoba Noodles, Wok-seared with Vegetables and a choice of Chicken or Tofu in a Ginger-Garlic Sauce for17.99 or with Shrimp for 18.99. This entree has enough "heat" to satisfy those looking for something on the spicy side. Personally it was a but spicy for my taste, but my dinner companion said it was just the right amount of heat for his palate. For dessert we chose the Chocolate Fondue with Tropical Fruit and House-made Cookies for 6.99. The House-made cookies were fabulous!  Kona Cafe offers authentic Kona coffee for those looking for a coffee fix, and for those wanting an adult beverage they have the famous Lapu Lapu made with Myers’s Original Dark Rum and Tropical Fruit Juices served in a fresh Pineapple topped with Bacardi 151 Rum for 13.25.

Oh, I mentioned it was my birthday, right? Well, I had decided not to mention that when making my reservation, but... I was wearing my "It's My Birthday" button from the Parks. Guess what showed up at the table with our Chocolate Fondue!

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 A special Lilo and Stitch Birthday wish!

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Close up of the decorated plate.

Another advantage of this restaurant and its' location for dinner is the ability to go down to the beach and watch the Electric Water Pageant on the Seven Seas Lagoon and the fireworks from the Magic Kingdom if you time your reservations appropriately. It was a fabulous evening filled with great food and Disney Magic at every turn!

Dress Suggestion: Resort Casual (Especially for dinner, but since this restaurant/resort is located on the Monorail line, you will see the whole range from Theme Park t-shirt and shorts to Dressy Casual.)
Price Level: Approx. $15 to $35.99 for dinner    Kids $8.59

This location participates in the Tables in Wonderland program.
This location currently takes 1 table-service credit on the Disney Dining Plan

I hope you add this restaurant to your dining plan the on your next trip!

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