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Kona, Hawaii
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Kamana Kitchen (Kailua-Kona) * * * *   Posted by on Monday, 8 October 2018, at 2:02 p.m.

Having moved to Kona from the SF Bay Area where we were living right next to every kind of Indian food imaginable, we had high hopes for Kamana Kitchen, the sole Indian restaurant in Kona, and on the entire West side of the Big Island for that matter.

We're happy to report that we were not at all disappointed. Nestled in the back of the first floor of the Waterfront row building (the one that houses Daylight Mind and Mi's), past the souvenir stand and near the water, it serves solid North Indian cuisine with a smile.

The atmosphere is fairly casual at the outside tables, and a little more formal inside. The decor is a bit dusty and dated, but they have white tablecloths, nice silverware, and the food comes out in traditional copper serving pots. The service is attentive, although it can be a little slow if they get busy.

They do get the most important thing right, which is the food. The menu is fairly extensive, with quite a few vegetarian, chicken, lamb, and seafood dishes. Rice is included with all the dishes. We have some favorites, e.g. Sweet Potato Masala ($14.95), Yellow Daal Fry ($12.95), Lamb Kadhai ($17.95), Chicken Madrashi ($14.95), but you can't go wrong with almost anything on the menu. Veg Thali ($19.95) is another excellent option, and can easily make several meals. Last but not least, they make excellent fresh naan (bread) which makes most dishes doubly enjoyable. To our taste, the seafood section is the weakest on the menu, which is understandable, since seafood is not an Indian staple, outside of a few places like Goa.

There are 4 spiciness options: mild, medium, spicy, and very spicy. The mild versions do occasionally come out closer to medium, and the very spicy version definitely lives up to its name, if you're into that sort of thing. The drink menu is standard - lassis, soft drinks, beer and wine.

We have a few minor gripes - the prices are on the high end (check out the lunch specials for a more affordable option), there is no bathroom on premises, an occasional dish ends up being a miss (malai kofta that tasted like it came out of a can, an underwhelming gulab jamun). But overall, we're very happy they are here, and gladly order food from them every two weeks.

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