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…
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.
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.)
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!
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.
Seating includes both booths and tables. As always, I love the round tables, which give you a little more elbow room.
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!
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
And finally, the pièce de résistance: Tonga Toast! Yummo, sugary goodness.
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.
And while the outside is super crisp from the frying and sugar combo, the inside is pillowy soft and not at all soggy.
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!
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!
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!