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“Awesome and authentic Thai food in Big Island”
Review of Lotus Cafe - CLOSED

Lotus Cafe
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $12 - $24
Cuisines: Indian, Indonesian, Thai
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Large groups
Dining options: Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Cross street: Kamanu Street
Description: Our cafe has closed but we still offer the same delicious and healthy food from our Lotus Cafe Fresh Express Food Truck. Our goal at Lotus is to serve the highest quality and best tasting Asian food you have ever eaten. Using our 35 years of experience working with natural and organic foods, we have created unique recipes and sourced special ingredients, many that we grow on our farm, to bring you the flavors of Northern Thailand, Burma, India and Indonesia, all cooked without the slew of artificial ingredients commonly used in all other Asian restaurants. Our cooking techniques maximize the flavor and nutritional / medicinal benefits of the fresh herbs and spices we use. Nothing is fried in oil; mostly we braise or ingredients in the sauces we create. We use fresh herbs & spices to prepare all our sauces from scratch; bottled & canned sauces are NEVER used. Being Hawaii's only Pan-Asian natural foods food truck, with a great menu of dishes not offered anywhere else in Hawaii, and serving fresh delicious food, we have built a huge following of clients just by word of mouth. Come for a meal or just a snack of our delicious gelato, made fresh with local fruit (9 flavors)and coconut milk. It's dairy free and delicious. Come find out why people are raving about Lotus Cafe! Lotus is the only Gluten free & GMO free eatery in all of Hawaii. We use unprocessed and mostly organic ingredients. We can easily accommodate any food allergies or preferences you may have, as we cook the food when you order it, not earlier in the day. You can also find us on Saturdays a t the Keauhou Farmers Market and Sundays at the South Kona Green Market. Also Wednesdays at the Waimea Midweek Farmers Market.
Edison, New Jersey
1 review
“Awesome and authentic Thai food in Big Island”
Reviewed January 15, 2013

We were in Kona the weekend after thanksgiving. Being vegetarian and Indian, we were looking for some good spicy food after bring tired of pizza and tacos. The lotus cafe is located very near Costco and our family of 4 was famished after a long day and a wonderful night of Manta Ray snorkeling. This family owned restaurant is a cute place. While we ordered our food, the Owners regaled us with their stories and their travels. Te food arrived and it was simply the best Thai food we had ever eaten, the dishes were authentic and the spice level was just perfect. Loved the company and food ! Definite must go!

  • Visited November 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Vijaya R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
howiehawaii, Manager at Lotus Cafe, responded to this review, January 17, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to tell others about lotus. We look forward to serving you again someday soon.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

175 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Kailua, Hawaii
1 review
“I am not sure what the good reviewers are talking about??”
Reviewed January 1, 2013

The idea of local organic Asian cuisine is much better then this restaurants food. I love Thai food! I love it in Thailand. I love it at home! I did not love it at this restaurant. It tasted like it came from a box - a very bag box! The noodles were gooey and overpowering. I'm unsure why the cook would be so bad - maybe they cant use authentic ingredients because they cant find them organically grown? Whatever it is, my advice is to give this place a miss. There are a number of really decent Thai restaurants in Kona which will leave you more satisfied. Good luck with dinner!

  • Visited December 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Steven B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
howiehawaii, Owner at Lotus Cafe, responded to this review, January 3, 2013
I don't know what you ordered or what you expected, so its impossible for me to comment properly on your review. However, I will try to explain a few things that may explain your disappointment.

First, we don't have any problem ever getting the fresh, high quality, mostly organic ingredients we need to prepare the dishes on our menu as you suggested. We grow the majority of the fresh ingredients we use and they are delivered to the cafe daily.

Last, your experience in Thailand and eating in Thai restaurants elsewhere means little when it comes to reviewing our cafe. The vast majority of places a tourist would eat in Thailand serve a style of food that is very far from the healthy and popular traditional Thai cuisine my wife learned from her family and cooks at Lotus. We are not trying to duplicate that food that you ate elsewhere. We cook in a very different style. hat's why what we serve at Lotus didn't satisfy you.

Sadly, Thai cuisine, as served in most of Thailand and around the world, has become mostly a medley of deep fried concoctions, cooked with lots of oil, packaged curry pastes, a few chilis and lots of soy sauce. In this style of cooking, the ingredients are sauted or fried in the oil. If you are used to this fried style of cooking, our style of braising our ingredients in the sauces the chef creates will surprise you. Braising ingredients in fresh curry pastes produces a cuisine that tastes nothing like the fried one style of Thai food you have been eating elsewhere. Most likely, the Thai food you have been eating elsewhere not only isn't made with fresh sauces, but it's also not very healthy for you. It's the Thai version of the fast food you find at McDonalds.The rapid decline in the health of the Thai population recently since the introduction of fast food cuisine mirrors what happened in the USA a generation ago when fast food became popular.

I don't know of another Thai restaurant that cooks the way we do. It's too much work for the chef, the ingredients cost too much, and few if any of the chefs and cooks are trying to prepare healthy cuisine. The staff (and most of their clients) don't read labels and have little regard for their own or their diner's health. Their abuse of salt, chilis and oil produces food that many people, like yourself, both recognize and love, but is nothing like Thai food as it was cooked in the villages before the packaged spice mixes became popular.

I totally agree with you that you can get the deep fried style of Thai food at many other places in Kona and all over Thailand. We are very happy to be serving something else.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
carlsbad, ca
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Awesome Organic Asian Cuisine!”
Reviewed December 13, 2012

Such amazing flavors! Everything we ordered was superb. Loved that everything was fresh and organic and GMO free! The only downside if any was their location. Difficult to find and in an industrial area right near Costco but it's totally worth it! I would go again in a heartbeat!

Visited December 2012
Thank nancyr123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Princeton, Illinois, United States
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
18 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Weird location - great food”
Reviewed December 11, 2012

Lotus Cafe is located just northeast of Costco in a commercial building as part of a furniture store. The decor is nothing spectacular - but once you find the restaurant, go in, sit down, and get ready for good service and great Thai food. The food was well prepared and ample portions.

Visited November 2012
Thank Norm F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bristol, Virginia
Level 4 Contributor
39 reviews
23 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Fell in Love...”
Reviewed December 3, 2012

With the Ginger Vanilla gelato! This was the only place I visited twice while I was in Kona for 2 weeks and it was the gelato that brought me back. Don't think you'll find this cafe accidently unless you are local. It's near Costco and Home Depot. Get out your GPS and if you love ginger, try their gelato.

  • Visited November 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank jsd1399
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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