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“Great food, awful service ”
Review of Ohelo Cafe

Ohelo Cafe
Ranked #4 of 13 Restaurants in Volcano
Certificate of Excellence
Restaurant details
Reviewed April 4, 2018 via mobile

The Cornish Hen was the best dish I had in a week of good food in Hawaii. Unfortunately the service came close to having me walking out and refusing to pay. If the management reads this review, they really need to recruit a good front of house manager so the whole customer experience matches the excellent food that comes out of the kitchen.

Date of visit: April 2018
2  Thank Pittsburgh_cyclist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed April 4, 2018 via mobile

One of the best lunches we have had on the Big Island. This is a small place but with great food and very friendly service. Our hamburger was delicious and the fries some of the best I’ve had in ages.
If you need a lunch while visiting the park, do take the time to go this restaurant. It is well worth the visit.

Date of visit: April 2018
Thank KSB_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed April 4, 2018

We arrived at the time of our booking and there were people swarming around on the tiny verandah outside - was there a line? Were people waiting for tables? We saw a desk and went past the milling folk. Eventually someone came and we said we had a booking. Wait 5 minutes, he said. Some other people turned up, looking as bemused as us, and asked for a table. Nothing free he said. So the other people gathered on the little verandah were waiting for their tables. More people turned up, walked in, and were ushered out. The bar was inside; nowhere to wait inside.
Eventually we were taken to our table (against a bench, which was quite low, the chairs were a better height).
Our server arrived with the menus, took an order for cocktails (which were OK, nothing special) and discussed the menu. The duck starter - will it serve two? He told us that the table next to us had just shared the duck between 4 as a starter and there were 5 slices so it would probably be OK for two. Slightly confused by his response, we said OK, we'd do that. Then for the main, I ordered the baby back ribs, my husband ordered the hen but asked if he could have potato instead of rice? No problem.
So to the drinks. We discussed the wines with the server - by the glass, they had two whites and two reds. We talked with the server about them and then I said, OK, I'll have the house red. My husband asked for one of the whites. OK, said the server, 2 reds coming up. NO, one red, one white. Oh, OK and off he went. Next time he passed by, we asked for some water - every other table got it as they sat down.
We'd heard great things about this place, and it was not shaping up well.
Wine arrived. It was OK.
Then our server arrived and put down the duck in front of my husband, the hen in front of me. WHAT? We reminded him we'd ordered the duck as a starter for two, then the hen and the ribs. The cook must have got confused, he said, I'll get you two small plates and get them to keep the hen hot while they cook the ribs. NO, we do NOT want it keeping hot, you'll need to do it fresh.
He went away and we could see him talking to the cook. He then went and did a couple of other things then came back with small plates for our rapidly cooling duck (7 slices, so his "5 for 4" was nonsense). "The ribs will be up shortly and they are keeping the hen warm". NO. We both said again that keeping it warm was unacceptable, if they did that we would not pay for the meal. Yes, I meant they're doing a fresh one, he replied, the cook got confused. Maybe you should write down the orders? Yes, Ma'am, he replied and walked off. Hmm.
After we finished the duck - good flavour, a bit stringy, excellent salad - he came back with the ribs, and put them down in front of my husband, then he returned with the hen. If it had been kept warm, it had been served undercooked before because my husband declared it perfect. The ribs too were excellent - loads of meat, the mash was really good, as were the vegetables (though husband said the selection of vegetables on his plate was a bit weird but good). After the shambolic serving we were relieved that the food was spot on.
They gave us one glass of wine on the house as an apology for the chef's mistake, said the server; we have our doubts that it was the chef who got it wrong.
If the star system could be broken down, I'd have given 5 for the food and 2 for the service.

Date of visit: April 2018
    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
1  Thank Rona M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed April 1, 2018 via mobile

I’d like to be patient and give a thoughtful review before jumping right to my point, but I can’t. I had the best meal of my vacation at Ohelo. I had a seafood pasta that was served in a spicy red sauce. I can’t recall the name. But, it was literally amazing. There was clearly more than a little crushed red pepper, but it was appropriate. There was enough heat to let you know it was there, but it did not dominate or distract from the excellent flavors. The dish included various forms of local seafood and was a large portion.

The rest of my family had homemade wood fired pizzas. I tasted those, and they were good. All fresh ingredients. And they even made the kids’ pizzas with all mozzarella cheese. They were happy to accommodate any requests. The staff was friendly and knowledgeable.

Be sure to call for a RSVP. There was a line for a reason ...

Date of visit: April 2018
Thank T2105HFstevew
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 31, 2018

We were fortunate to get in for an early dinner without a reservation, but don't press your luck - call ahead! We shared the Woodfired Cauliflower (Macademia Nut Bechamel, Truffle Oil, Parmesan, Grilled Garlic Baguette), House Salad, and ‘Ohelo Baby Back Ribs. The beautifully-presented food had wonderful flavors. The Cafe has a friendly casual vibe.

Date of visit: March 2018
Thank MadTownAdventurer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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