Lava Java Morning

 In Food, USA

Friendly and funky, Island Lava Java satisfied our hungry and got us moving in the morning

I forgot how hungry I get when I’m pregnant. I’m not just talking about a growing hunger that crawls in and takes up residence. I mean a hunger that strikes like a tiger and has to be satisfied immediately or very bad things will happen (fainting, crying, yelling, stomach upheaval. You get the picture.)

After we took a stroll through the Kailua-Kona Farmers Market, Baby Walkingon let me know with a vengeance that it was time to eat again or else. We had passed Island Lava Java earlier in the day. It had some nice tables outside for diners to look out at the water (and a giant cruise ship) while scarfing down an island hearty breakfast.

Crayons for kids made the wait a bit more bearable for parents

The restaurant was already hopping by the time we arrive at 10am and this was on a weekday. Tables were packed outside, but there were a few empty tables in the cool interior. Dek was sweating up a storm as his winter body adjusted to the summer temps on the Big Island. We happily took an inside table.

Although the restaurant looks like a bistro on the outside, it’s actually fun and island funky on the inside. You can dine in or take out. The menu was not huge, but it was worthy of attention. Mike got the Luau Omelet, his first taste of roast pig on his quest for all things pig throughout our trip. I was tempted by the Banana Macadamia Nut waffles, but stuck with the basic eggs, applewood bacon and waffles. I’m still not convinced that was the best choice, but with my stomach still settling after a long flight and very little sleep, I thought I would play it safe.

Chai, waffles, eggs, applewood bacon and cinnamon buns tempted our palattes

There was a Keiki Menu for Dek. On this first visit he just ate off our plates. He still has not convinced me that he needs his own order most of the time. He just doesn’t commit enough to food yet. It saves us money, so I’m not complaining.

The food that day was good, but my chai latte was amazing. The perfect blend of sweet and spicy. I later found out that they did a Sunday brunch. This is where they pulled out the big guns. The menu took a dramatic shift towards my heart’s desire- French toast. Not just any French toast, but a Guava Bread Pudding French Toast. Needless to say we headed back down to  give it a try.

Banana Macadamia Nut pancakes are a must during any visit to the islands

We were not disappointed. Mike grabbed the Banana Macadamia Nut pancakes with coconut syrup and portuguese sausage on the side. I didn’t even need a menu to know that I would be having; another chai latte and my French toast. Our waitress smiled and said it was the best thing on the menu and by far her favorite.

Let’s just say that this French toast was perfection. When you start adding ingredients into French toast beyond the usual bread, eggs and milk, you walk a fine line between just right and way too sweet. The bread had just enough sweetness in it that you didn’t even need syrup. The flavors were rich but not overwhelmning. You didn’t feel like you had a bowl of sugar sitting in your stomach after three bites. The bread looked dense but was surprisingly light, yet filling. When our waitress came to check on us she took one look at my face and didn’t even bother to ask how it was. I was having an existential moment with my breakfast. Words could not describe it.

One of the very best french toast creations I have ever had and that's saying a lot

What made this French toast even better was that it made fantastic leftovers. This is not easy to do. The bread could get too soggy or the tastes could go off. After 30 seconds in the microwave Dek and I were happily munching away on my leftovers the next morning.

Mike’s plate was cleared, so I assume his pancakes were also good. The Portuguese sausage, which he had never had before, was slightly sweet and a little spicy. It didn’t blow his mind, but it wasn’t bad. Dek kept stealing it off his plate, so we know he liked it.

Dek's own kid platter for brunch was not as exciting as what mom and dad were eating, so mom scarfed down his eggs while he stole a piece of her french toast (I must really love him.)

Above all the service was fantastic. Our waitress was friendly, efficient and bent over backwards to help us. We got to see her three times during our stay in Kona. By our third visit, she stopped to chat a little more. She asked where we were from. I told her Seattle and she replied, “I knew it! The nicest people are always from up there.” We both laughed and agreed it was because we were so desperate for sun that we couldn’t help but smile and be happy whenever on the island.

When we had a major water spill (Mike’s fault, not Dek’s for once) another waitress rushed over with some newspaper to help us clean it up, even though they were all slammed with other customers. When I couldn’t figure out where the bathroom was, a waitress didn’t even bat an eye or give a “you dumb tourist” look at me and Dek. She just explained that yes, you have to walk through part of the kitchen to get there.

Grab yourself a seat and peruse the menu in the morning at Island Lava Java

To top it all off, when our soon-to-be-favorite waitress was grabbing our dirty dishes after our first visit, she complimented me on my dress. Now some people would say this was a last play for tips, but to me it sounded genuine. As my stomach expands, I will always take any compliment someone wants to give me. If this baby is going to demand I eat all the time, I might as well look and feel good doing it.


  • Guava Bread Pudding French Toast served with triple berry compote, vanilla bean anglaise and toasted macadamia nuts (only available at Sunday Brunch)
  • Luau Omelette – whole-egg omelette filled with slow roasted kalua pork, grilled pineapple, onion, cheddar and jack cheese. Served with rustic potatoes and apple-smoked bacon or Portuguese sausage.
  • Chai latte (hot or iced)

Superb views made the food all the more enjoyable as we settled into island time

Know Before You Go

  • Open daily 6:30am to 9:30pm
  • Located in downtown Kona on the water at 75-5799 Alii Dr., Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
  • Reservations are available, but not really necessary for breakfast or an early brunch
  • Register on the Island Lava Java web site before you leave on vacation and receive a $5 gift certificate and other savings
  • Even the locals we met love this place for breakfast, which is always a good sign
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Showing 11 comments
  • Renee

    Your post is making me hungry – love the photos, especially the two photos at the end.

  • Steve

    I’ve never left a post feeling so hungry. Everything you guys ordered sounds so good! Then throwing pictures in is just plain mean.
    My kids still try and eat all the food off my plate, and they’re teenagers. It’s gotta stop soon right?
    Oh…and nice dress!

  • hikinginparadise

    That’s looks yummy. But it Keiki not keike

  • TBM

    I could go for some waffles right now.

  • Mom

    I’m sitting at my computer in a dingy office. Now, I’m very hungry for all things Hawaiian and wantin’ some sunshine!

  • Sonja

    I have some dear memories of pregnancy meals too. Somehow the right food at the right time just makes an unforgettable pregnancy experience.

  • Lisa

    Your food pics always make my mouth water. This is no exception – I love french toast too!

  • Camels & Chocolate

    We’re docking on the Big Island on Thursday, but sadly there’s not enough time to go all the way to Kona and back. (If it were possible, I’d go back there just for that amazing looking French toast!) Do you have any delicious dining recs in Hilo??

    • Reply

      If you doc on a Wednesday or Saturday you must go tot he Hilo Farmers Market. Cheapest produce I’ve ever seen in the USA. 11 papayas for $3! Walk over to Two Ladies Kitchen for some homemade mochi if you are into mochi. We didn’t go out to eat as much in Hilo since we were a little south in Pahoa when we stayed on the east side of the island after Kona. Sushi is always a good choice though.

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