For some reason, I thought Cactus in Kailua was a Mexican restaurant, so I was a little bummed when I sat down to find that burritos and tortas weren’t on the menu. Instead, I discovered dishes that sounded just as ethnically flavorful – from smoked jidori chicken to island taro croquetas.
So exactly what kind of food does Cactus serve? The restaurant describes itself as “a celebration of the cuisines of the new Americas with Aloha,” bringing flavors and culinary techniques from Central and South America as well as Cuba, Puerto Rico and Mexico. Definitely a first-of-its-kind fusion restaurant for Oahu’s dining scene.
My friends and I decided to order pupu style and share amongst ourselves. We got the Cactus Guacamole, feijoada, Big Island Boar Picadillo Empanadas and risotto. I liked that each dish had something in it that I’ve never tried before. For instance, the guac included a dipping sauce made of beer and chocolate, while the feijoada (a Brazillian dish of black beans, chorizo and arroz blanco) had been entirely new to me. I’d say I’m pretty well-versed when it comes to ethnic foods, but these dishes had been a pleasant surprise to my taste palette.
not as pleasant, the bill! We ended up with a $100 bill by the end of dinner, but upon closer inspection, I realized it was because each appetizer costed at least $10 to $20. Probably the only aspect of Cactus that I disliked, so just be warned that it is pretty pricey but overall very good food and customer service.
• 767 Kailua Rd., Kailua, HI 96734 • 808-261-1000 • www.cactusbistro.com