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Review: Kona Cafe Breakfast at Disney’s Polynesian Resort

There are restaurants that are hidden gems at Walt Disney World, and there are others that are definitely becoming known as must-do eats. Kona Cafe at Disney’s Polynesian Resort falls firmly into the “must do” list these days. And when it comes to breakfast, this place is, like, the holy grail of Disney World! There are at least four things on the menu that you have to try. ;-)

If you plan to dine at Kona for lunch, be sure to check out our lunch review. But I knew I had to let you in on some great breakfast-y secrets this time…

Atmosphere

We’ve said it before: Kona looks kind of boring. It’s true, at first glance this place looks like any old hotel eatery offering high-priced, mediocre food. But that’s just Kona being a chameleon so that only the true Disney insiders (like you and me) know how good it is.

Kona Cafe

The atmosphere strives to be Hawaiian-y with Polynesian-esque wall hangings, lighting fixtures, and wrought-iron detail. And with the Poly’s atrium just outside the restaurant, it can feel like you’re dining in a lush, air-conditioned Polynesian garden. (Well…a loud air-conditioned Polynesian garden.)

Great Light Fixture

Bright colors and light wood surround you in the open space, and I like that you can peek in on what the Chefs are creating in the semi-open kitchen. When we’re here, they’re usually working on dessert!

Kona Cafe Dining Room

And speaking of bright colors, be sure to look down at the beautiful, tropical-inspired carpet! You just might find a Hidden Mickey if you look closely. :-)

Hidden Mickey in Carpet

Seating includes both booths and tables. As always, I love the round tables, which give you a little more elbow room.

Seating Area

But despite the semi-yawn of the atmosphere, Kona has some rockin’ menu choices for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so you can’t miss. We were anxious to tuck into some tried-and-true breakfast favorites though, so off we go!

Eats

We were hungry, and it all looked so good. The menu is small, but just about everything on it is a fan favorite. From the Big Kahuna to The Samoan (Kona’s Polynesian twist on Eggs Benedict), each dish here has a loyal following.

Kona Cafe Breakfast Menu - Entrees - Click to Enlarge

There are also some amazing beverages. Beyond the “traditional with a twist” breakfast cocktails (Wasabi Mary, anyone?), you can enjoy an authentic taste of the islands in your coffee cup with a French press of Kona coffee.

And if you really love it, you can take whole bean or ground Kona Blend or 100% Pure Kona coffee home with you to keep the island spirit alive. (Unfortunately, you won’t be able to brew a pot in your room since Disney has replaced in-room coffee makers with those single cup, pod-using jobbies.)

Kona Cafe Breakfast Menu - Beverages - Click to Enlarge

We began with a press of Kona coffee, because you must. Fresh and rich, this is some of the best coffee on property.

TIP: If you aren’t having breakfast at Kona, but would like to sample some of the select brew yourself, be sure to stop by Kona Island, a stand just outside Kona Cafe and steps away from the monorail. Here, you’ll enjoy coffee, tea, pastries, and fruit in the morning.

At night, the stand morphs into a sushi bar. Be forewarned, however: they stop selling coffee relatively early. Get there in the a.m. so you don’t miss out.

French Press of Kona Coffee

Another can’t miss experience at Kona Cafe is the Lilikoi Juice. A refreshing combination of passionfruit, orange, and guava juices, this is wonderfully sweet with just the right amount of tart kick.

People ADORE this stuff, which goes by the moniker Jungle Juice at Tusker House, where it’s complimentary. You can also find it sometimes alongside of Frunch at Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Boma — similar but not identical.

Lilikoi Juice

Our breakfast condiments were delivered to our table ahead of our meal, and we were all the more excited about what was coming! I’ll give you a hint: that strawberry compote only comes with Tonga Toast! But more about that in a bit.

Breakfast Condiments

We began with a the beloved Macadamia Pineapple Pancakes with a side of bacon. These are huge, and definitely big enough to share. Served with butter and Pineapple Sauce, these are uber yum.

By the way, if you don’t get something that comes with Kona’s signature Macadamia Nut Butter, just ask for some with toast. Or a biscuit. Or a spoon. It is that good.

Macadamia Pineapple Pancakes with Bacon

Next, we had some serious need for protein, and so we ordered the Steak and Eggs. Kona typically does a pretty good job with steak, so this was a tasty option. And the potatoes are delicious, too.

Steak and Eggs

Next, we sampled The Big Kahuna – and “sampled” is the key word here. If you aren’t sure what to get from the Kona menu, order this and share.

With a wide array of foods, including both pancakes (macadamia nut, of course!) and french toast, as well as those yummy potatoes, eggs, ham, bacon, AND sausage, you simply cannot go wrong here.

The Big Kahuna

And finally, the pièce de résistance: Tonga Toast! Yummo, sugary goodness.

Tonga Toast with Bacon

Two thick slices of lovely sourdough bread are sandwiched together with bananas, and are then egg-dipped and deep-fried to a golden brown before they are rolled in cinnamon sugar.

Tonga Toast Close Up

And while the outside is super crisp from the frying and sugar combo, the inside is pillowy soft and not at all soggy.

Tonga Toast - Inside

Dipped in a little of that fresh strawberry compote, this breakfast definitely rocks. Now, we can’t really vouch for its ability to keep you going all day long in the parks…that sugar crash is bound to come!

Tonga Toast - Inside Close Up

TIP: If the Tonga Toast sounds incredible, but you’d like to save a little money or eat lunch or dinner at Kona Cafe instead of breakfast, here’s a DFB top tip! You can get the tonga toast at Captain Cook’s, the Polynesian’s counter service restaurant downstairs. It will save you a little money, and you’ll enjoy the same deliciousness, but without the noisy lobby atmosphere!

Overall

Plain and simple, Kona Cafe is fantastic…and consistent (something those of you who read DFB know I don’t say often). It is one of the rare spots that I can recommend without hesitation for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Always delicious, it deserves a top spot on your Disney dining roster.

Yes, it can be busy, so I recommend dining reservations, but a walk-up is still possible.

What’s your favorite breakfast item at Kona Cafe? Leave a comment below and share the love!

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24 Comments

  1. DaGuru says:

    Tonga Toast is a HUGE guilty pleasure of mine… We love to get it at Capt. Cooks, so I can get the toast and so my wife can get a Dole-Whip! I agree with getting it at Capt. Cooks, it is a few dollars cheaper there…

  2. Alan says:

    If you are a big breakfast fan the trip over to Polynesia, even if you need to take a long bus trip and transfer, is well worth it. And of course if you have a car or even better, staying there, you are very lucky. Just walking into that hotel in the morning is a treat. I still miss the Tangaroa Terrace closed more than 15 yrs. ago. I believe it is where banana stuffed Tonga toast originated.

  3. Wendy says:

    This has been one of our favorite dining spots since we became Disney “regulars” about 4 years ago. While we’ve enjoyed breakfast and lunch, we LOVE dinner! A must-eat every trip!!

  4. DisneyDustin says:

    Love the Poly, and love Kona Cafe! Have to agree with the notes about Capt Cooks…. if Tonga Toast is what you’re after, Capt Cooks is a cheaper and faster way to ‘get your fix’. Also, MAJOR PLUS to the availability of Dole Whip at Capt. Cooks, and serve yourself, essentially ‘all you can eat’ Dole Whip at that!

    If you’re not staying at the Poly already, I highly recommend, if with young kids, to adjust your touring plan to take a couple hour break in the middle of the day and boat or monorail over to the Poly for lunch at Kona or Capt. Cooks. The whole family gets a nice break and respite from the park day, and you get great food and ambiance.

  5. Kat says:

    My goal in life is to try that Tonga Toast. It looks absolutely amazing! I’ve never been about to make it to Kona Cafe for breakfast, but after seeing these pictures I may have to make a bigger effort next time I’m in WDW.

  6. DisneyDustin says:

    Kat,

    Watch this video and make some at home!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKp0gk_gMHY

    This is next on my list on ‘bringing the Poly home’… I just bought a couple bags of Dole WHip mix and have been having Dole Whip from my home ice cream maker the last several days straight. I may be getting fatter, but boy am I happy!

  7. Val says:

    I know that I will be in the minority but I am a big fan of the fruit plate. Served in a pineapple shell it is a great treat to share with everyone at the table…but please don’t ask me to share the yummy banana bread that is served with it. Would be even better with the macadamia nut butter!

  8. Dana says:

    We’ll be eating here for the first time in October, but for lunch instead of breakfast. We’re going to hop on the monorail from the Magic Kingdom to have a nice quiet lunch. I hope the lunch is as good as the breakfast!

  9. Andrea says:

    This was, hands down, my favorite breakfast at Disney – and we had a sit down breakfast every morning. My husband (who doesn’t usually like sweet breakfast foods) got the Tonga Toast and LOVED it. I loved the strawberry compote with the bananas – yum!

  10. Our first ADR for October is for Kona breakfast and I cannot wait to finally eat there!! I have no idea how I’m going to pick just one item from that delightful breakfast menu!!

  11. Marc says:

    Tonga Toast at Captain Cook’s is great, but… it is better at Kona, because of the Strawberry Compote. I tried to make a substitute at Captain Cook’s with strawberry jam and some syrup. That was ok, but not the same.

    The other hidden gem is the Samoan, one of the best Eggs Benedict dishes you will ever have. Smoked Pulled Pork Hash? Yes please! I had a cast member tell me she would pay for my breakfast if I stood on my chair and yelled at the top of my lungs that the Samoan was the best breakfast ever. I didn’t take her up on it, but she was right!

    Choosing between that and the Tonga Toast is always very, very difficult. But the Kona French Press is always a good choice.

    I love this place. Each meal is special in its own way, and the Sushi Bar at night is equally excellent. When we come to WDW, we end up coming to the Poly numerous times just for visits to Kona and Captain Cook’s. I wish staying at the Poly was more affordable, although the times we have stayed there, it’s been worth every penny!

  12. AJ says:

    DaGuru — Yep, it’s a great tip! Dole Whips for breakfast sound good to me!

    Alan – That must have been the old recipe, too, which many folks prefer!

    Wendy — Yes! Dinner at Kona is great!

    DisneyDustin — Great tip to take a break from the park mid-day and head to Captain Cook’s!

    Kat — Do it!!! :-) Or at least go to Captain Cook’s and grab some on the way to the park!

    Val — I’ve heard GREAT things about that fruit plate! :-)

    Dana — The lunch is great! I’ve got a review here: http://www.disneyfoodblog.com/2011/02/13/review-kona-cafe/

    Andrea — Yay!! I’m so glad you enjoyed it. :-)

    daydreaming — I don’t know, either. That’s why you need to gather some friends and get it all for sharing!

    Marc — Awesome review, and I love that you tried to make strawberry compote downstairs! Ambition!!

  13. JoAnn says:

    I had the Tonga Toast for breakfast one morning last November – loved it! I would like to try lunch and dinner there on future trips.

  14. Jayne says:

    That looks so good. All of it. Tonga toast is on my list for our next trip, though.

  15. Galloping Gourmand says:

    I convinced my friends to wake up at 7am so we could go to breakfast and still make park opening (IoA park opening. What can I say? Potter fans.). It was totally worth it. The Tonga Toast was unexpectedly huge. I wasn’t hungry until about 1pm. Completely unprepared how sweet it was. You could sell a smaller version of it as a desert.

    Please, Kona. Sell a smaller version as a desert!

  16. We’ve only eaten here at dinner, but it was magnificent. I can definitely vouch for the Macadamia Nut Butter, but can’t confirm whether I used my finger to get the last little bit out of the ramekin. It’s unreal delicious.

    You have convinced me, however, to make Kona (or Captain Cook’s) a breakfast must-do for October. You kinda have a habit of doing that, by the way. That Tonga Toast has, for years, been something that I wanted to try, but just haven’t made the time due to our desire to get to the parks quickly. We will definitely forego the “Good Morning” song to enjoy some breakfast here.

    Great review (and good tips too)!

  17. Melissa says:

    We are going for the first time next week to Kona for breakfast, can not wait to try the Tonga Toast! My husband will probably get the pancakes! Thanks AJ for all your helpful advice, this next trip we are going to sample so many things that we were not aware even existed!

  18. Brooke says:

    I don’t know if it still is, but years ago, the same banana stuffed french toast was on the room service menu at the Contemporary, but without the strawberry compote. Anyone know if it’s still there? SO GOOD!

  19. Jim says:

    My very first meal at Disney was at Kona’s predecessor, the Coral Isle Cafe, and I have too have enjoyed other visits to Kona. As an early morning breakfast place, or for a late dinner after a day at the parks, Kona is hard to beat.

  20. Beth McDonough says:

    Hi
    I have heard from someone who just returned from a weeks stay at the Polynesian Resort that authentic Kona coffee is no longer available at the Kona Cafe. Is this true? Has it been replaced with an instant? Also, they reported that the Spirit of Aloha Dinner menu has changed. It was reported that they were served slice boneless pork loin with a brown gravy. Obviously, they were extremely disappointed; especially since the menu was not updated with the recent changes. When did this change happen and is it permanent?
    I hope you will advise on both of these items of inquiry as my dining plans will change if this information is accurate.
    Thanks in advance.

  21. AJ says:

    Hi Beth! We haven’t heard this about the coffee, but will look into it. :-) The Luau menu changed temporarily during the holiday season, which we reported on our Disney Food News Pin Board. We’re not sure how much longer this menu will be in effect.

  22. Karen Regan says:

    I adore Tonga Toast and Press Pot Coffee! Our reser’s are set for breakfast at Kona Cafe and off to the Magic Kingdom for the day. Cannot wait!

  23. Denise says:

    Dying for the tonga toast. Staying at the Polynesian in a few weeks and that will be my breakfast choice a few times. Lol when did they change the coffee pots in room to single serve and what kind if you happen to know?

  24. Jesseca says:

    Quick Question?!? The Tonga Toast, what’s with the difference in price between Kona Cafe and Captain Cook’s? Is the serving size the same? Thanks.

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