*This gluten free dining review took place in December 2019. It includes information about dairy free options too.
Breakfast at Kona Cafe
Kona Cafe, located in Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, is a table service restaurant that serves classic American fare with a Polynesian twist. Brandon and I both really enjoy Kona Cafe for breakfast and dinner. Recently, I stopped by the restaurant to try out the new gluten free and dairy free Tonga Toast sliders, which I had heard about as a new offering from my friend Alexis at Alexis’s Gluten Free Adventures.
Kona Cafe is located on the second floor of the Polynesian Village Resort lobby area. With an open concept, it is essentially a lobby restaurant in the truest sense.
I do love taking a look at the lobby’s decor when we dine at Kona Cafe. The refurb they did a few years ago to the resort incorporated some phenomenal new touches. I especially love the decorative lights in the main lobby area.
As you can see, the restaurant is fairly open. And, you’ll have good views of the monorail and other lobby area activity. I wouldn’t say the decor is very fancy, but it does have a subdued Polynesian twist. I personally think the restaurant could use a refurb itself, as some of the decor is pretty dated and looks like the restaurant hasn’t been updated since the late 1990s. Despite the dated decor, the restaurant is charming overall.
Of course, the real reason I visit Kona Cafe is the food. On this occasion, I stopped by myself on a weekend to see if the restaurant could accommodate the Tonga Toast sliders. In addition to speaking with a chef (which I always highly recommend), the restaurant does carry an allergy-friendly breakfast menu.
The allergy-friendly menu is a bit more limited than the actual offerings available. In speaking with a chef, I have been able to get the macadamia nut pancakes gluten free and the Polynesian Egg Platter gluten free and dairy free served with an Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC donut too. On this occasion though, I had my heart set on gluten free Tonga Toast Sliders. I was very excited to learn that yes, this is currently an option at the restaurant.
To go with my Tonga Toast sliders, the server brought me both 100% pure maple syrup and house-made Strawberry Compote. The compote has always been gluten free, but they now have made it dairy free and vegan too.
Our friends at Vegan Disney World reported on this a while back, and it was great to check it out in person. I have heard (though I didn’t confirm with the chef on this visit) that the compote now has coconut milk in it. If you’re interested in this compote, I would recommend double-checking with a chef. I will say that I personally found the strawberry compote very sweet, so a little bit goes a long way in my opinion!
When the gluten free and dairy free Tonga Toast Sliders arrived at my table, I will admit that I wasn’t that impressed by the look of them. They looked a little “burnt,” and I was worried that they wouldn’t be that tasty. But, once I took a bit, I was hooked. The sliders are made using Deanna’s Gluten Free (and dairy free) rolls and are stuffed with banana, deep fried in a dedicated fryer, and smothered in cinnamon-sugar. Wow!
I have never had the original Tonga Toast, but I was pretty impressed by this dish. It wasn’t very pretty looking, but the taste was great. I preferred my sliders topped with maple syrup, but I know the strawberry compote is the classic way to enjoy this Kona Cafe favorite. I would most definitely get this dish again, and I really hope they keep it on the menu. Interestingly enough, there’s seems to be some inconsistency with how it’s made. While I got the sliders, I’ve actually seen several photos of a stacked version made with gluten free bread slices instead of the rolls. So, your mileage may vary on which version you get.
Kona Cafe is always a fantastic place to get breakfast or dinner. And, with the addition of the gluten free and dairy free Tonga Toast sliders, there’s even more of a reason to get there during breakfast hours. Whether it’s this new breakfast treat, the GF macadamia nut pancakes, egg platter or one of their other special diets options, you’ll be pleased with whatever breakfast option you get at Kona Cafe. I can’t wait to go back again soon to try the Tonga Toast sliders again soon!
Have you been to Kona Cafe for breakfast? What did you enjoy when you dined there?