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“New Spanish Mexican fusion restaurant in Hilo.”
Review of Casa de Luna - CLOSED

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Casa de Luna
Cuisines: Mexican, Spanish
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Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Reservations
Description: Casa de Luna is closed...Pineapples Island fresh Cuisine at the same great location..New Management...New Menu...Amazing Food !
Reviewed July 22, 2012 via mobile

Great atmosphere, drinks and service. Food is always tasty but lacks consistency still. Definitly a must try when your in Hilo, it's the only open air bar in town.

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2  Thank Hungry F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviews (37)
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21 - 25 of 37 reviews

Reviewed July 4, 2012

Today a friend and I met at one of Hilo's newest eateries and had a wonderful time! The place was clean, the staff was welcoming and efficient, and our lunches were great! My friend suggested having a Margarita so we both tried the Cadillac Margarita, I think it was, which was great. It is their regular margarita, with a .50cent upgrade that has a float of Grand Marnier on the top. Fabulous! I am not a regular drinker, and haven't had a drink during daylight hours for years, so enjoyed my blended treat ever so much!
We were served a plate of chips and salsa as we pondered our lunch decisions, and ordered a side of guacamole which was freshly made. In fact, our efficient waiter told us they were mashing the avocados as we spoke, and when it arrived, we could tell he had been truthful. The avocados came from the Farmer's Market, which is just a half a block down Mamo Street, from the restaurant.
My friend and I each ordered the Taco Salads and we were pleasantly surprised with the quality and ingredients! What a wonderful salad and to find it in Hilo was surprising! I had a small side of Blue Cheese dressing with mine, and it turned out that they were testing the recipe and asked and cared about my opinion.
To top it all off, we tried a slice each of Key Lime pie and Margarita Cheesecake. Both were fabulous, but I was most delighted with the Key Lime pie! Wow!
I understand the restaurant has been open about 3 months and it sure seems like they are on the right path. Neither one of us had any complaint about anything and look forward to another visit to Casa De Luna in the future. The staff couldn't have been nicer, and I felt that if I had a complaint, that they would have cared and dealt with it fairly.
The open air room was fun too, and it was enjoyable sitting in one of Hilo's landmark buildings and looking out at the nearby passersby and sights. I learned that the owners are local people and in fact were present at the time we were there and stopped by our table to make sure all was well. My friend and I were there from 1 to 5pm having a most wonderful afternoon that surely will be one of the most memorable lunches we have ever had together. Muchas Gracias Casa De Luna!

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1  Thank malulaniwalsh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 26, 2012

Terrible food. Ok service. Maybe it was an off night, but the food quality was terrible. Old avocado was used for the guacamole. Lots of tendons in the meat. The Spanish rice was dry and seemed like it'd been sitting out all day and made from a cheap box meal. Terrible beans. We really were looking forward to the food when the waitress told us in response to our question that they did indeed have green chile sauce (specific question: "Do you have green chile sauce?"), but when the entree was brought out it had a tomatillo sauce on it which, while green, is not green chile sauce for the green chile cheese enchiladas she verified I had ordered. This probably could be easily misunderstood if someone doesn't understand the difference, but we were disappointed. And our server was really, really rushed. The open air atmosphere is somewhat nice (just noisy), but we won't go back. Taco Bell has better food than this restaurant.

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2  Thank peacefultravelers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 15, 2012

A new Mexican Restaurant has opened in Hilo, and finally, we have some great Mexican food here. Orginally, I moved here from California, and was used to good Mexican food, and know the difference... I have been there twice, the past week, having just gotten home from Europe, and had the tacos, the burrito and several other things, and also, a margarita to die for!! Welcome to Hilo, to this great Restaurant!!! Aloha, Evonne and Paul

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1  Thank EvonneHilo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 14, 2012

Aloha everyone!  This months write up is Casa De Luna on the corner of Keawe & Mamo St.  The restaurant has a great open air dining area & a great ambiance.  During the day light hours it's inviting & at night a very sexy appeal.  They also have a beautiful bar area set up.

The restaurant is a Spanish Mexican fusion Tapas & entrées.  Tapas are Spanish appetizers which in Spain, several different Tapas to share with others over cocktails.

A platter of free tortilla chips & a rather bland, very tomatoey salsa comes first.  It could use salt & more cilantro & maybe onions.  We started with four appetizers.  The sautéed mushrooms in a white wine garlic cilantro sauce & slices of baguettes.  The sauce should have been reduced more.  The wine over powered the dish.  The garlic flavor was faint & cilantro was undetectable.  Bread was fine.  It also lacked the basic flavor of salt. 

We also tried the  sautéed shrimp in a spicy butter sauce & sliced baguettes.  The shrimp was cooked well (21-25ct size) but, the sauce had an unusual taste.  Light taste of butter with a slightly sour taste.  It could have been from the pepper in the sauce.  Not sure if it was a jalapeño or a bell pepper, but it had a sour twang taste at the end.  It also lacked salt.

The fried calamari had a light crisp batter & it came with a  spicy house sauce (mayo & chili spices).  Though the calamari was soft & tender, but it lacked some type of seasoning, salt.  That's what the dipping sauce is for, but it should compliment it not overpower it.

Lastly, I tried the carpaccio of sirloin beef which had scattered manchego cheese olives onions & capers with balsamic vinegar & olive & other oil reductions drizzled over it.  It was not bad.  This dish would have been more visually appealing if it used sliced tomatoes & a little chopped cilantro on it to give color & freshness.  Not sure if they forgot the cheese or it's color was very dark like the entire dish.

We tried one entree which was the tacos.  I selected the fish tacos which used Ahi & had it with one soft & one crunchy taco.  The refried beans & guacamole was ok.  The Spanish rice was dry & just colored with no taste unless you happen to have a caper in there.  The fish for the taco filling was sufficient, but again it lacked taste, whether it be salt or some kind of taco seasoning.  The soft taco was oily.  They apparently drop it in the fryer to warm & soften it rather than using a flour tortilla.  The crispy taco fell apart probably because they did not let the fish drain after cooking.

We ordered a plain blended margarita from the bar rather than there supped up version which is $9.50 as compares to $6.  Sorry to say it was lacking body.  The alcohol to other ingredient to ice ratio is off.

The dessert of a chocolate raspberry torte was the best thing we had!  

On a scale of 1 to 5 I'll give the food a rating of 2.5.  If they used salt or seasonings it would have been a 3.  If they incorporated other colorful, fresher ingredients & garnishes to make it look more vibrant I would rate it a 4.  If they improved on the sauce & taste profiles I would rate it a 5.  But unfortunately many or all dishes had a basic element missing which was salt.  Sea salt, kosher salt, garlic salt, seasoned salt or just plain table salt would be a tremendous improvement.

The server received a 3.5 out of 5.  She was a little nervous but very sweet, charismatic & very knowledgable of the menu items.  There was a issue with an entree & it was handled in a very professional manner by the server & manager.  The downfall of the server was the amount of attention given to the customer.

My overall assessment is, the location & atmosphere has much potential.  It is a pricy dining experience & the quality & the quantity of the dishes do not work well on an average Joe's budget.  It lacks a WOW factor.  For an unsuspecting & inexperienced tourist it would be a fine dining experience.  Though for Big Island locals, they are going to measure Casa De Luna up against Reubens, Luqins, & Lucy's.  That is what they are accustomed too as far as taste, portion & price.  High end eateries do not fare well in Hilo town unless you have built a name for yourself with quality, consistency & service like Cafe Pesto, Hilo Bay Cafe, Restaurant Miwas, Nihon & Seaside Restaurant.  Your food has to be inline with how you describe, present & price your items if not customers will be disappointed because it did not meet expectations.  Hilo is a unique place.  A new establishment will draw many in to try in the first few months.  If it's a negative experience they may give you two tries.  I have read & heard many reviews & at least 80% were bad.  That means for every 100 customers, 80 may never return & those 80 are the locals & 20 are tourist.

I truly hope the owners can turn it up.  It's a simple fix. Just be open minded & not in denial & listen to your customers.  Or at least watch Robert Ervine & learn something.  Hilo needs new dining experiences.

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3  Thank Caryhawaii
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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