Bongo Ben’s Island Cafe

NOM4932_sm bongo_bens_sm

75 Alii Dr.
Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
808-329-9203

Notes: Chicken Katsu $11.95,
Fresh Catch $14.95.

Price: $$
Ambiance: Casual
Food: 2.5/5
Service: 2.5/5
Tummy Points: 2.5/5

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We had spent a whole day driving and hiking through Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. It was amazing to see the cooled lava formations and the ocean water crashing against the island. Sadly it was raining for most of the day so it didn’t feel great.

We had landed in Hilo on the East side of Big Island and drove southwardly to Kalaola because the Volcanoes National Park was along the way and hotels in Kalaola were better.

It was already dark and late when we got to Royal Kona Resort but still made the effort to walk down the street to find a few local eateries still open. We decided to give Bongo Ben’s Island Cafe because it had the most people sitting around eating and chatting. It might not be the best indication of the good restaurant but it usually works.

I ordered the fresh catch which was grilled Ono fish with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli. Ono fish is also known as wahoo in other parts of the world. Ono was probably overcooked as it was chewy and the mango salsa did little to bring out any fish flavor. The texture was like chicken. The mashed potatoes still had the red potato skin, which I like. It was also buttered so it was fatty and tasty. The broccoli was just steamed and flavorless. It needed a lot of pepper to bring it back to life or dipped in the mashed potatoes.

NOM4931_sm002The breaded chicken, Chicken Katsu, had a really hard crunchy outside that easily separated from the white chicken meat inside. The chicken was overcooked but not overly dry. The broccoli and mashed potatoes taste the same as included with the Ono fish.

It was convenient, they had large outdoor LCD TVs showing a basketball game, and still open. Service was bar friendly and food was eatable. I’d probably skip over this restaurant and just go for Bubba Gump if I were in the area again.

 

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