I finally had the opportunity to eat breakfast at Kona Cafe (and try Tonga Toast!) In case you didn’t know, Kona Cafe is one of our favorite restaurants at Walt Disney World. We even named one of our cats Kona after it.
But as much as we love Kona Cafe it is kind of tricky to review because the menu here changes so often. Seriously, so often. I could write an entire post about my favorite entrees over the years that are no longer on the menu. (I’m looking at you lava roll). We’ll be updating this review to later include lunch and dinner, but for now let’s stick to the most important meal of the day:
Kona Cafe is conveniently located right on the second floor of the Great Ceremonial House at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. This location truly is convenient because of its proximity to the monorail, which makes it a great place to stop for a quick lunch in the middle of the day while visiting the Magic Kingdom, or to grab a table service breakfast before heading out to the park. When the resort (or the restaurant) is busy, it can be sort of loud with all of the hustle and bustle that comes with being on the second floor of the Great Ceremonial House, but it’s never been a noticeable problem to me.
As for eats, you definitely can’t go wrong with Kona Coffee. Like most of the coffee served at Disney’s restaurants, the Hawaiian Kona Blend served at Kona Cafe is made by Joffrey’s. The best thing about Joffrey’s coffee (besides the incredible donuts they sell at the parks) is that you can order it online and have it shipped home. Love the Kona blend? You can get it here!
If coffee isn’t your thing, the menu also includes the usual breakfast staples like tea and fresh-squeezed orange juice, along with some more interesting options like Bloody Marys and Mimosa Flights. For a nice non-alcoholic alternative however there are also a couple of smoothies options to choose from as well as Liliko’i Juice which is a blend of orange, passion fruit, and guava juices.
For breakfast entrees, the noticeable standout is the Tonga Toast, banana-stuffed French Toast rolled in cinnamon sugar and served with a strawberry compote and your choice of ham, spiced ham, bacon, or sausage. Despite the popularity of Tonga Toast, I’ve actually been reluctant to try it for quite some time. I’m really not a fan of food that is overly sweet, and while I love cinnamon and sugar sometimes the syrupy fruit flavors in a dish like this can be overpowering for my tastes. To be safe given my preferences about fruity flavors, I kept the strawberry compote well on the side rather than drizzling it over the toast.
To my surprise, I ended up loving the Tonga Toast. It definitely seems more like a dessert than a breakfast, and if I were still local to Disney and eating at Kona Cafe as much as I used to when I lived there it isn’t something I’d order all the time just because it feels like a dessert. It’s quite heavy for the first thing in the morning, and something I would be able to split.
As for the sauce, I really did enjoy the strawberry compote more than I expected to, but it still isn’t something I would have poured all over the Tonga Toast and I did enjoy the regular maple syrup more. I don’t really think this is a point against the sauce though, rather it’s just my personal preference towards maple syrup over a sweet sauce like that. I know plenty of other guests who love pouring the entire side of strawberry compote over the Tonga Toast, so if you’re also on the fence about it I wouldn’t skip it, just keep it on the side and give it a try.
The other menu items make up a nice mix of island-inspired fare with typical American breakfasts. With fruit plates, pancakes (plain or with macadamia nut butter and pineapple sauce), and standard egg combination plates balance out the menu with the more specialized items like the Loco Moco, which is comprised of a tower of rice, grilled hamburger patty, house-made chorizo gravy, two eggs-any style, and topped with tomato salsa or the Seven Seas Samoan with poached eggs, citrus Hollandaise sauce on pulled pork and turkey hash with mustard greens and tomatoes tossed in a citrus vinaigrette.
All in all, Kona Cafe is a solid choice for breakfast on the monorail loop, and it’s somewhere we would easily visit more than once per trip if we stay at the Polynesian Resort. The only real note I would make with regards to a Kona Cafe breakfast is to point out that Tonga Toast is also available downstairs at the resort’s quick service location. It’s about $5 cheaper down there (though it doesn’t come with bacon or sausage, but the toast itself is so filling that it really isn’t necessary). As you’d imagine the ambiance and everything else about dining at a table service vs. a quick service location will be nicer at Kona Cafe, but if trying Tonga Toast is all you’re concerned with and you’re on a budget or time constraints, Captain Cook’s may be the way to go.
We give Kona Cafe a 90%. It really is one of our favorite Disney restaurants, and we’ve really only taken off points for the way that menu items get changed up too frequently. Having specials or a seasonal rotation is nice, but Kona Cafe has really become notorious for adding and removing items at an alarming rate. (I didn’t mention any of these items in this review because who knows when they’ll be back?) For me, the changing menu has been more of an issue for lunch and dinner than for breakfast, but there are definitely gripes out there about how all of their menus change at least a couple of times per year. I don’t see the classics like the macadamia nut pancakes or the Tonga Toast going anywhere, but as for the other options, I wouldn’t become too attached just in case.