Sunday | April 26, 2015
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Cafe Ono gets high TripAdvisor rating

The art of vegetarian dining still reigns supreme in Volcano. For the second year in a row, Café Ono at Volcano Garden Arts has earned TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence, with an average review rating of 4½ plates out of five. Out of 365 reviews of the restaurant on TripAdvisor, 192 gave it a perfect 5-plate rating.

The restaurant, which specializes in vegetarian and vegan food made with fresh, locally-grown organic produce, has earned high marks even from non-vegetarians. “I’m a proud carnivore, and would usually shy away from an all-vegetarian menu,” wrote one reviewer. “But the soup, sandwich, and salad I had were absolutely excellent. The sandwich was made with a great fresh bread, hummus and artichokes.”

For the fourth year in a row, the restaurant also retains its Number One rating for Volcano restaurants reviewed at the site. But some of the reviewers also rated it their best dining experience on the whole island.

“We call it a ‘Destination for the Senses,’” said owner Ira Ono. “My mission is to provide delicious homemade food at a reasonable price.”

The restaurant and gallery are located on the grounds of the historic Hopper Estate at the lower end of Old Volcano Highway in Volcano Village. It serves lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and coffee, tea and desserts from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“Even though we stayed at the posh Fairmont on the Big Island, our best meal was in this beautiful setting in Volcano village,” wrote one visitor. “We are fans of vegan and organic freshness and the food at Cafe Ono’s was fabulous. From soup to dessert, even the amazing salad dressings, everything was quite flavorful. Portions were more than adequate. The owner was a delight…. Would return to the Big Island just for a meal at Ono’s.”

“The food was excellent — simple and fresh …,” wrote another. “It was the best meal we’d had in days and I thought it wasn’t very expensive for the quality. All in all, it was a great lunch!”

Among the reviewers’ favorites were the Four Cheese Spinach Crustless Quiche Combo ($14), the Artichoke/Hummus Sandwich with Soup and Garden Salad ($12.50), the Organic Vegan Carrot Cake ($4.50), the Organic Coconut Macaroons drizzled with dark chocolate ($7 for two enormous cookies), and the Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream with Brownie Crumbles ($4.50). The restaurant’s fresh gourmet coffee also drew frequent praise.

But beyond that, many reviewers praised what one called “the total experience”: the friendly staff; the setting, in a 1908 building with a gallery full of local and international art on one side and the big picture windows looking out on the extensive garden grounds on the other (Guests can also dine outside in the garden itself.); friendly and personable artist/owner/host Ono; and even Ernest the amicable and sometimes rambunctious goat, who has his own “house” on the garden grounds. Ernest even has his own fan page on Facebook.

The restaurant and gallery are located on the grounds of the historic Hopper Estate at the lower end of Old Volcano Highway in Volcano Village. It serves lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and coffee, tea and desserts from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

 

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