Restaurant Review: Moana Café

Moana Café is closed.


A little while back I went to a late night event at Moana Café in Paia. While according to the clock, dinner service was not yet over and so my friends and I expected to be treated as dinner guests. Yet, when we arrived we were not shown a table, we were not offered anything to drink, and we were actually removed from where we were sitting because they needed to change up the seating arrangement for the event. When someone, after more than 30 minutes, came around to ask us what we wanted to eat the service had changed, and all that was left were desserts. So, we went ahead and ordered desserts. I questioned our server deeply about the crème brûlée and was told that it was their “gluten free” dessert offering all of the time. So, I was horribly surprised when the plate came out with a cookie stuffed into the custard. I asked the server if the cookie was gluten free, and she said it wasn’t and proceeded to pull it out of the dish with her bare hands in front of all of us. I refused to eat the crème brûlée and told her so. She then took the same dish, with the cookie she had fondled, to another table and served it to a guest. We were all HORRIFIED! Another dish of my dessert order arrived, sans cookie, yet it was an awful gray color. I tasted it, and it was the worst crème brûlée I’ve eaten in my life. It was coffee flavored, grainy, and stone cold. I didn’t understand how it could be so terrible.

Thankfully as Devin was performing that night we weren’t charged for our food, and had we been charged I would have spoken out against it.

With the horrible service, the forced change in seating, and the disgusting dessert (twice over) I would have to give Moana Café a thumbs down. I know it was a special event night, but when it’s still dinner service hours and you don’t specifically state anywhere (through print or voice) that you won’t be offering regular dinner service then I expect to be treated as a normal dinner service hour guest. Then, to offer the crème brûlée as their regular “gluten free” dessert with a cookie in the custard is unacceptable.

It’s kind of sad that I’ve had to write this as before I went gluten free I found such pleasure in eating the crab cakes, and I know they have wonderful pastries as well, but now I just don’t see it as somewhere I’d attempt to get more than just a drink from the bar(if that).

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