Kona Inn Restaurant

Kona Inn Restaurant – Enjoy Oceanside Dining in a Historic Inn While Visiting Old Kona Town
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

For seafood classics, tasty mai tais, and aloha always, scoot on over to the Kona Inn Restaurant for a meal. Located in a historic Kailua-Kona hotel, this popular eatery takes you on a journey into the past while letting you fill up on amazing food and drinks. Come by to see the iconic horseshoe-shaped bar, and then stick around for a meal with an oceanfront view.

- The HawaiianIslands.com Local Expert Team

For a chance to travel back into the past of Old Kona Town history while taking a memorable culinary journey, put a visit to Kona Inn Restaurant on your itinerary. As a staple of Old Kona Town, this popular eatery has proudly served the Kailua-Kona community great food, drinks, and fun since 1972.

The inn originally served as a hotel popular with fishermen, especially all the billfish tournament organizers and participants. Over time, the inn turned into a full-service restaurant, treating patrons to stunning oceanfront views in a tranquil setting.

Due to its exquisite location, eating on the open-air patio is the obvious choice, of course, but the interior space has a charm all its own. Tropical décor complete with wicker seating fills out the space, while giant marlin sculptures adorn the walls. The gigantic horseshoe-shaped bar definitely serves as the focal point, however, and is well worth sidling up to at least once.

Whether you want to dine indoors or grab a seat on the patio, you’ll undoubtedly need reservations. Otherwise, you’ll have to sit in the lobby in hopes of a table opening up soon. The captivating views often leave people at their tables well after finishing their meals, so an hour or more of waiting around is not unheard of.

Once you do end up at a table, you’ll be glad you stuck around. The servers bring lots of aloha to all they do, plus the food is endlessly delicious from the first to the very last bite. For the full dining experience, start with drinks and an appetizer of your choice. Then, grub on your selections while looking over the menu and admiring all the wonderful views.

Every last item comes to the table looking like pure perfection and smelling just as good. Once you get a bite of your selections, the bright, bold flavors will undoubtedly bowl you over, leaving you wanting more. Their food comes in huge portions though, so be careful not to order too much.

You cannot miss their:

Seared Rice Paper Ahi
The Seared Rice Paper Ahi always serves as a great way to whet your appetite. They prepare this dish by lightly searing sashimi-grade yellowfin tuna on all sides. Then, they slice the seared ahi and dust it all with rice paper. Wasabi dipping sauce comes alongside to elevate the flavors even more.

Tuna Stack
When you want to enjoy all the best ocean flavors to the fullest, go with the Tuna Stack, a true Kona Inn special. This dish begins with fresh ahi tuna lightly seared to perfection and sliced thin. Then, they put the tuna over a crisp crab cake sitting on steamed white rice. After that, the whole lot gets topped with spicy Asian sauce, red pepper aioli, and fried wontons.

Mahi Mahi Fish & Chips
For an upscale take on a definite classic, you cannot go wrong with the Mahi-Mahi Fish & Chips. To create this delightful dish, the chef dips fresh mahi-mahi in beer batter. The battered fish then goes for a swim in the deep fryer until lightly golden brown. Fries take a dip in the fryer, too, and then land on the plate next to the fish. Coleslaw and tartar sauce bring it all together at the end.

Do your best to save room in your belly for dessert. Or you’ll miss out big time on their decadent Kona Inn Mud Pie. This fan-favorite starts with a chocolate cookie crust topped with a huge scoop of coffee ice cream. Over that, they add a big dollop of whipped cream, and then generously drizzle on the hot fudge. Yum! Celebrating an anniversary, birthday, or other special occasions? Be sure to let them know and they’ll bring out their famous mud pie on the house.

Insider Tips:
-Want to split your order? Expect an extra charge.
-Swing by between 2 pm and 5 pm daily for happy hour drink specials.  
-Local musicians play live right outside their restaurant doors every other Sunday.