Sunday, August 17, 2014

Kona Cafe Lunch - Disney's Polynesian Village Resort

Yesterday, I finally had a chance to have lunch at Kona Cafe at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort.  

We have eaten there several times for breakfast and dinner, but I was looking forward to trying some of the items that are only on their lunch menu.  

I was able to get an advance dining reservation a couple of hours before I met my friend Jennifer, a fellow celiac, for lunch.  

Chef Josh went over the gluten free options on the lunch menu with us.  For appetizers, we could order a sauteed version of the fried shrimp, the grilled beef satay, the Maui onion and white bean soup, or the Kona salad.  

I chose to order the grilled beef satay, which was absolutely amazing.  I will never go to Kona again without ordering this appetizer.  Sadly, it is not on the dinner menu, so it looks like I will have to go to lunch at Kona Cafe more often.  I am pretty sure Chef Josh made me a special gluten free version of the sauce that is usually served with the grilled beef satay.  It was so good, sweet with a nice spicy kick, that I used it on the sticky rice that was served with my entree.  

For entrees, we could choose from either of the Polynesian plate lunches, the Pan Asian noodles, grilled steak salad, or any of the sandwiches, which would be served on gluten free bread.  I am pretty sure Chef Josh said the sustainable fish was a possibility as well.  I chose the Polynesian plate lunch with pan-fried chicken.  Not being a fan of coconut, I skipped the coconut sauce and ordered two sides of mango sauce.  This dish is usually served with pasta salad, but Chef Josh swapped that out for Asian pear slaw.  My chicken was tender and flavorful, but I would have liked my mango sauce to have a little bit of a spicy kick.  Next time, I  might order the Polynesian plate lunch with grilled teriyaki steak & pineapple salsa, with a side of sweet potato fries instead of the Asian pear slaw.  

Jennifer ordered one of my favorite dishes at Kona, the Pan Asian Noodles, which are also available at dinner.  I have heard this dish can be ordered with sticky rice instead of noodles.  I think it would be great either way.  I love the sweet gluten free teriyaki sauce it is served with.  

We skipped the amazing gluten free desserts Kona has because we were off to a meetup at Port Orleans French Quarter being held by my friend Sarah from Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free at WDW.  

Kona Cafe makes an absolutely amazing chocolate lava cake, and a delicious banana-chocolate creme brulee, but we had gluten free beignets to eat at Port Orleans.  I did take home an OMG...It's Gluten Free Fudge Brownie and Chocolate Chip Cookie.  My kids love both of these treats, especially the brownie.  

I look forward to dining at Kona Cafe for lunch again soon.  Next time, I won't be skipping their wonderful gluten free desserts.

October 4, 2014 Update

For a limited time in September and October, Disney is testing allergy-friendly menus at the ABC Commissary, Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater, and The Hollywood Brown Derby at Hollywood Studios, Kona Cafe and Captain Cook's at the Polynesian Village Resort, the Flying Fish Cafe at Disney's BoardWalk, and the World Premiere Food Court at the All-Star Movies Resort.

Our server asked if I wanted to talk to a chef today, but I decided to just order from the gluten free menu.  I couldn't pass up the grilled beef satay with Bulgogi sauce that I loved so much the last time I had lunch at Kona.  My daughters really enjoyed it too.   

For an entree, I ordered the grilled teriyaki steak with grilled pineapple salsa, sticky rice, and sweet potato fries.  This dish is usually served with Asian pear slaw, but since I didn't really enjoy it the last time I had lunch at Kona, I asked it I could have sweet potato fries instead.  The steak was amazing with the teriyaki sauce and grilled pineapple salsa.  It was tender, cooked to temp, and so flavorful.  I also loved my sticky rice with the sauce, and my side of fries.  This will definitely be my go-to lunch entree from now on at Kona.  

My daughters shared an order of the gluten free Pan-Asian noodles with chicken, which were just as good as the last time we had them at Kona for dinner.  

For dessert, we ordered the Kilauea torte chocolate cake with a molten center, and the banana and chocolate creme brulee.  The creme brulee is one of the best I have ever had at a restaurant.  Sadly, I only got one bite today, because my daughters asked to split this dessert, and opted out of the chocolate cake.  I enjoyed my chocolate cake, but it lacked a molten center, which was a little bit disappointing, because it was so amazing the last time I had it at Kona for dinner.    

January 22, 2015 Update

Over Christmas break, I had lunch at Kona Cafe with my husband and daughters.  We ordered our usual favorites - grilled beef satay, grilled teriyaki steak, Pan-Asian noodles, and the banana and chocolate creme brulee.  My husband and I also shared a bowl of the sweet potato and chorizo soup.  We enjoyed the taste of the soup, but the texture reminded us of baby food, so I am not sure we would order it again. 

The gluten free lunch menu at Kona Cafe lists the following options:

  • Sweet potato and chorizo soup
  • Kona salad - mixed greens, blue cheese, fresh fruit, and almonds, with a citrus vinaigrette
  • Grilled beef satay - skewers of marinated grilled beef served with Bulgogi sauce
  • Charcuterie and cheese - a selection of cured meats, olives, aged goat cheese, and fruit compote
  • Sustainable fish with swiss chard, forbidden rice, and cucumber relish
  • Pan-Asian noodles - rice noodles wok-seared with vegetables and your choice of chicken, tofu, or shrimp
  • Grilled steak salad - mixed greens tossed with Asian vinaigrette and vegetables
  • Grilled teriyaki steak with grilled pineapple salsa, served with sticky rice and Asian pear slaw
  • Seared ahi tuna sandwich, served with pickled vegetable slaw and sweet potato fries
  • Kilauea torte chocolate cake with a molten center
  • Banana and chocolate creme brulee
  • Jasmine tea-infused cheesecake (no sugar)
Kid's Meals - for guests ages 9 and under

  • Garden salad
  • Fruit salad
  • Carrots & celery sticks
  • Mixed greens with fruit & almonds
Mickey Check Meals - served with choice of small lowfat milk or small Dasani water, and fruit salad for dessert
  • Grilled chicken breast served with steamed vegetables and a mixed green salad with fruit & almonds
  • Grilled shrimp skewers served over vegetable rice pilaf
  • Grilled fish of the day served over vegetable rice pilaf
Choice of 1 Beverage, 1 Entree, and 1 Dessert
  • Beverages - small lowfat milk, small Dasani water, or small Minute Maid apple juice (soft drinks may be substituted upon request)
  • Entrees - cheeseburger or hot dog with a gluten free bun
  • Desserts - fruit salad, ice cream sundae, or yogurt parfait 
You can view Kona Cafe's menus, and make advance dining reservations on Disney's website here.

What are your favorite gluten free lunch dishes at Kona Cafe?  


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