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“Best meal in 9 years on Big Island!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Holuakoa Cafe

Holuakoa Cafe
76-5901 Mamalahoa Hwy, Holualoa, Island of Hawaii, HI 96725-9717
(808) 322-2233
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Ranked #1 of 3 Restaurants in Holualoa
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Restaurant details
Good for: Romance, Doing business, Local cuisine, Special occasions, Entertaining clients
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Reservations, Late Night, Dessert
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, United States
1 review
“Best meal in 9 years on Big Island!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 13, 2013

We have lived in Kona for 9 years. We have always heard how good this place was, but never tried it. We moved to Holualoa and thought we would give it a try. We went for breakfast and WOW! The place is much bigger than it looks from the outside and beautiful setting. The service was great, but the food was simply the best we have had in 9 years here. And we eat out ALL the time. The filet Mignon, (steak and eggs) was incredible, and the French toast was nothing less. Since we live close, this will become a regular experience for us..I usually don't write reviews, but this one deserved one..A must go....

  • Visited July 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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303 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    196
    75
    16
    11
    5
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
Rancho Santa Margarita, California
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
“Mystified by the bad reviews”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 11, 2013

Unlike a few other reviewers, we came away from our experience here absolutely transformed. I'm in the restaurant business and, as a result, very intolerant of poor service, food, etc. This was quite the opposite. Everything from our waiter to the pulled pork sandwich was superb. The short drive up from the beach to the misty - even rainy - zen atmosphere of this open-air restaurant was a glorious moment for us. Granted, the cafe was nearly empty, so I can't speak for peak hours, but what we experienced was spot on in every regard. Didn't hear any frogs, but even if I had, it would not have made a difference. For a wedding anniversary memory, it was very, very special.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
West Hollywood, California
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“One of the best meals ever”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2013

My wife and I ate here around Thanksgiving 2012 and came back multiple times on the same trip because the food, staff and setting were so good. Great coffee next door at the cafe also.

  • Visited November 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, United States
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“lack of service 2 1/2 hours for appetizers”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 4, 2013

I understand the concept of :slow food" but when you wait and hour and half for small plates "appetizers" that is just ridiculous. I have been coming to this restaurant for every special occasion that my wife and I celebrate. Tonight was no different 7/2/2013, celebrating our 8th year wedding anniversary. We got sat around 6pm with reservations ordered our food and wine everything was doing great. Got our first order of appetizers "warm brie and brushetta" 15 minutes later. good timing...right?? 20 more minutes pass and then 45 minutes, now its been and hour and 15 minutes..still waiting on the rest of our "small plates""apps" and order of ceasar salad, fresh guacamole salad, sirloin app, and caprese salad. All cold items and one hot item.. and hour and half. Finally after my patience had worn out, talked to the server who has not been to our table since our only food got dropped off nor did she apologized for the long wait. said she'll check on it. I mentioned another pair who sat down 45 minutes after us who already had there salad and eating she replies" thats the only thing they are ordering off the menu" REALLY??? all we ordered was appetizers not to mention cold items. 10minutes later all our food came out at once. Again no apologies or sincereness in her service. I would have been happier and more relax and considerate about the service if she only stopped by the table to check on us, let us know our food is taking awhile or even offered us another glass of wine for the long wait. What started out as a romantic dinner for our anniversary became a disaster. Being a conceirge in the hotel industry, it wouldn't feel right to be recommending such a restaurant to the locals or visitors. very unhappy experience.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Provender in paradise”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 20, 2013

(Review of restaurant attached to cafe).

While Holuakoa Restaurant offers a lovely atmosphere, the food quality is uneven and the service staff defensive, making for an unacceptable dining experience given the price point.

The restaurant is located in a beautiful stretch of hillside with rustic touches and a stunning garden. Unfortunately, first appearances are overshadowed by the rest of the restaurant experience.

As for dishes, the quality range is unsatisfactory. The biggest disappointment was the quail, which was hopelessly overcooked and tough, to the point that it resisted even the blade of the table knife. The menu described the quail as stuffed with fresh cuts of bacon, but upon careful palatal and visual inspection, none were evident. Both the execution and menu description were faulty.

Which brings us to service. When I brought these deficiencies to the attention of the server, she grew defensive, claiming that the quail was prepared this way intentionally. At the same time, she acknowledged that many other customers had complained about the quail, and confided that another chef who visited the restaurant said that quail must be prepared in a pressure cooker rather than with the method employed here. One privately wonders at what point the manager will appreciate customer feedback, if ever. The server finished her soliloquy by incriminating us, the customers, for not choosing the rib-eye(!), which she recommended when we ordered. At this point our disappointment in the food preparation gave way to embarrassment for the staff’s ill training.

Recommendations: there are less expensive restaurants in the precincts of Kona town with much tastier food and friendlier service, even if they don’t have this restaurant’s atmosphere. If you do choose to go here, order the rib-eye, since more difficult concepts give the kitchen trouble. Finally, soak yourself in mosquito repellent before you leave home–the service staff don’t provide advanced notice that the voracious insects will also make of you their next meal.

  • Visited June 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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