I had been planning my Kona-side “staycation” for several weeks, and when I go anywhere, even the other side of the Island, I plan ALL of my eats and drinks. I don’t usually spend a lot of time along the Ali’i Drive stretch in Kailua-Kona, but I’m always happy with what I find when I do. And Papa Kona Restaurant and Bar was such a find.
As I was planning my lunch (days in advance, of course), I scrolled through their menu trying to decide what I wanted to try. After I realized I would like to try everything, which was neither in my financial or health budget, I decided that no matter what specials they may have the day I dined, I would have to try the Avocado Fries. I even told my mom about them, and we discussed at length how they might make them and how they might taste.
That view! That was my first thought upon entering the new Ali’i Drive location. I mused that if the food were even close to the spectacular view, I’d be in for a treat. And I was. From the warm greeting as I entered, to the friendly “see you next time” as I left, it was a lovely lunch experience. And did I mention that view?
I was seated out along the railing with a beautiful view of the water and the most perfectly placed palm tree. I ordered a glass of lilikoi lemonade and the avocado fries to start. The “fries” were even more delicious that I could have imagined. They were ripe but still slightly firm, so the panko crumbs stuck perfectly to them, and that sambal aioli? Oh my. I had to stop myself from eating the entire plate because I had fish tacos coming.
When I see fish tacos on a menu, it is hard for me to choose something else (unless the fish is battered and fried, in which case I usually have an incredibly involved conversation with my server about texture, sogginess, greasiness, etc., for which I’m sure I get black marks in the kitchen). The fish tacos at Papa Kona on the day that I lunched were grilled Mahi Mahi (my second favorite fish- ono has my heart). They come with a generous side salad and a lovely dressing that I kept dipping my tacos into – to the amusement of my server. The pineapple salsa in the tacos was a beautiful balance of sweet, tangy, spicy, and crunchy. There was so much salad that I had to add it to my to-go box with the two remaining avocado fries. I will definitely return to Papa Kona when I am on the Kona side again.
In case I have not mentioned it, you really should try the avocado fries. And enjoy that view.
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