GF in Disney World: Kona Cafe at the Polynesian Resort

For our first sit-down meal, I suggested Kona Cafe at the Polynesian Resort near our hotel because of the great gluten free reviews I'd read online. After we rolled out of there, bellies stuffed, I can confidentially say that it definitely lived up to its reputation

First of all, the atmosphere is amazing. Compared to the chaos commonly found in Disney World restaurants, Kona Cafe feels relaxed and had minimal noise, despite the lunch hour rush. Despite its great reputation, we managed to book a reservation for 12:15 only a few hours ahead of time. 

Thanks to Sarah for this photo!
Mom and I didn't walk in with meals in mind, preferring to hear the options first. We noted a gluten allergy on our reservation and reminded the waiter, who brought over the chef after ten minutes at our table. John was extremely personable and helpful, listing the plethora of the alterations that could be made to the menu. Even gluten free sushi is available. He pushed hard on the gluten free pan Asian noodles, and Mom and I decided to split a chicken stir fry with rice noodles and the grilled ahi tuna sandwich with tomato, slaw and a side of sweet potato fries

In one word, the pan Asian chicken noodle bowl was lip-smacking. The rice noodles were cooked perfectly, soft without being soggy, and I absolutely loved the teriyaki sauce they coated the dish in. It was sweet and evenly distributed throughout the entire bowl. The chicken (which could be replaced by tofu or shrimp) also tasted great, juicy without being greasy. My favorite part, though, was the vegetables. Unlike the stir fry at Captain Cook's, veggies like snow peas, onions, broccoli,  bell peppers, asparagus and mushrooms were peppered (I adore puns, sorry!) through the dish. I ate until I couldn't eat any more, and only finished about half of the bowl

Delicious beyond belief!

Our second gluten free dish was the grilled ahi tuna, tomato and slaw sandwich with sweet potato fries. Because we aren't sushi people, we ordered the tuna cooked to a medium, and it was perfect! Lightly seasoned, it tasted fresh and non-fishy in the best kind of way. The slaw and tomato added a textural crunch that tied the sandwich together. The gluten free bun, however, fell flat. Like many of the Disney restaurants now, Kona uses GNI rolls and this one tasted dry and lacked real flavor. When we ate it with just the bottom bun, though, the huge slab of mouth-watering tuna disguised the bun. As for the fries, who can ever say no to sweet potato fries cooked in a separate fryer? Not us - they didn't last long at all. 

Finally, though, came the finale of our lunch: the Kilauea torte, a chocolate volcano with an "explosion of liquid chocolate" inside, that Mom and I split. It is one of the two gluten free desserts offered (the other being a banana-chocolate creme brûlée) and gluten free cake sounded like a dream. And it was! It looked delectable, a chocolate volcano accompanied by raspberries, whipped cream, and a sweet yellow sauce. They even signed "Kona" on the plate in chocolate sauce! It tasted even better than it looked! It boasted the perfect balance of chocolate (savory but not overly sweet) and the melted chocolate in the middle tasted heavenly with the sauce, raspberries and cream. Mom and I didn't lick the plate, but we did scrape it with our forks! Our one complaint was that the cake could have been heated up, blasting the melted chocolate flavor to true volcanic levels

Can you say, "YUM?"
Overall, I would give Kona Cafe a definite 10/10 (but even while gorging ourselves on these treats, we still talked about Sunshine Season's mouth-watering salmon). Mom and I liked the Pan Asian Noodles so much that we ordered it again to split for our last Disney dinner and Kona's was even accommodating enough to cook it to-go

Who knew to-go could taste so delicious?
So, if you want a relaxing atmosphere, caring chef and delicious gluten free options beyond the traditional salad, Kona's the place! 

Do you like stir fry's? What kind of gluten free bread do you prefer? Comment below!


  1. I'm so glad to read this review! We stayed at the Polynesian several years ago, before I was gluten free. I thought the food was wonderful and it's great to hear they have a great gluten free menu as we are thinking of going again this year! Thanks for sharing!


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