By Ed N. at 2016-12-08
I got to visit Aloha Cafe at their new location today. Wow! The menu has really grown. The new location is very nice. I got the large dinner with poke and a bunch of spam musubis for the road.
The food is amazing and filling. It is SO nice to be able to get something other than the standard Southern fare in Richmond. Also, Aloha Cafe has forever changed my opinion of Spam. Spam, chicken, pork, rice, smoked salmon poke, slaw, and macaroni salad on a huge plate. Absolutely fantastic!
By Bryan D. at 2016-10-19
The food is extremely flavorable and the service and friendliness of the staff is unmatched.
They have the best bread pudding I've ever tasted.
Go! You'll get an Aloha hug. Dont be shy!
By Stacy R. at 2016-10-18
I had Aloha Cafe food for the first time last year at the Richmond Folk Festival and fell in love. But they were on Southside. This year I saw their booth and literally jumped up and down and clapped like a little girl. AND they are north of the river now. I ate Aloha twice, despite other offerings. So fresh !
Their food is so tasty, so authentic, so interesting. Did I mention yummy??
But what makes me love them even more? My experience tonight. I took my friend there for dinner. It was slow night so Dawn came out and asked if she and Donny could sit with us and share a new option they were trying. Of course we said yes. Had fun chatting and eating and comparing notes.
And left with an aloha hug and cheek kiss from Dawn.
People, truly, you MUST check them out. We need to make them a destination spot in RVA.
By Ipek S. at 2016-07-15
This was our first time at this place, and definitely won't be last!
This tiny cute friendly place absolutely deserves a solid five stars! My husband and I went there for lunch on a Friday and everything was just great.
I ordered loco moco (it is a specialty that only is served on Fridays) which is sticky rice, burgers, egg and gravy on top. This is what Hawaiians eat for breakfast and it was very tasty, I highly recommend it.
My husband tried a chicken entree with 3 different sides and herbal rice, it was really good. We finished with banana bread that was so soft and warm.
The two owners are very nice and friendly people which makes the experience even better.
Don't forget to get some lilikoi juice!
By Timmy T. at 2016-08-15
This restaurant is in my top three favorite restaurants in Richmond!!
I hate it when restaurants pretend to be something they're not and Aloha Cafe doesn't do that one bit, in fact they are 100% Hawaiian in their atmosphere and especially their food!!
We got the following: tuna poke, mac salad, chicken and spam masubi, aloha lemonade and bread pupping ALL for under $24! The tuna poke is fresh and delicious but not as big a portion as I would have liked but from their price point, you can't expect it to be a big bowl. I don't like pasta dishes for the most part, especially cold ones BUT the macaroni salad here is OUTSTANDING. It's life changing and I can eat a tub of that and die peacefully. Both masubis were also really tasty and the flavor was excellent. Although I am not an expert in Hawaiian food, I consider the food here to be fairly authentic.
I don't think I saw anything over $9! Everything here is affordable and I highly encourage getting a little bit of everything to sample their menu.
Don runs the front of house ops and is super nice and friendly. His partner, Dawn, runs the kitchen and pumps out these amazing plates of food. The restaurant itself is fairly small, seats maybe around 25-30 MAX. We got lucky and came before the dinner rush did.
Amazing food, great prices and friendly employees is the key to the success of a great restaurant.
By Carol F. at 2016-08-30
I finally got to come try this place after having it bookmarked all year! What made this an enjoyable experience was that the owner and entire staff were so super sweet and nice that it made the restaurant feel so homey. When you walk in, you're greeted by shouts of "Aloha!" Throughout our dinner, the server, the owner, and the chef in the back all came out at some point to check on us to make sure we're good.
I tried a bunch of different menu options here. Our group started with the spam musubi - that was a hit! Perfectly marinated rice with spam wrapped in seaweed, served with a side of some sweet sauce.
Macaroni salad - also a hit! Hint of sweetness, I loved it and kept wanting more.
Tuna poke, smoked salmon poke were all pretty tasty, and I could come back for that.
However, the "miss" here was the sides of namasu (pickled veggies). Maybe I'm just not used to it, but I felt like it was just drenched in vinegar - way too acidic. They were out of the loma tomato side, so they substituted it with another namasu poke. Maybe it was the combination of both namasus that made it too much, but I couldn't eat any of it after a couple bites. I think it needed some kind of added depth of flavor, so you can pick at it throughout the meal and not get sick of the flavor (like kimchi for me at korean restaurants).
So I would say an average of 3 stars for the food, but customer service would be about a 6 :)
So 4 stars overall.
By Laura L. at 2016-07-29
ALOHA -- what a gem!
My bf and I stopped in here for a quick bite before catching a movie and we were both super impressed! Upon entering we were warmly greeted and seated. We were presented with the paper menus where you check off what you want, either a lunch plate/bowl, various kinds of musubis, entrees, sides, drinks, and desserts. A lot of variety!
We went with the aloha bowl with the tuna poke, mac salad, and white rice with a side serving of the namasu poke. We also went for the shoyu chicken musubi and spam musubi. And then we got an aloha lemonade. And then we got the haupia bread pudding. And then we both wouldn't shut up about how good all the food was. Seriously! The mac salad was easily the greatest mac salad I've had and I usually don't like it. The poke was light, fresh, and so beautifully seasoned. The musubis were a giant hunk of rice with a generous portion of chicken and spam.. hard to mess that up tho. The lemonade!? So refreshing and not too sweet! The bread pudding came out piping hot with a warm coconut kind of glaze on it. Deeeeelicious.
I cannot wait to come back!
By Lindsäy C. at 2016-10-27
Amazing!! Delicious and fresh, full of flavor. I got the spam musubi and the aloha bowl with smoked salmon. The staff was super friendly and even let us sample some new flavors they were trying! I highly recommend going here you won't be disappointed!!
By Marissa B. at 2016-02-15
Oh man, am I happy that I found this place. Seeing their food featured on Greenbrier Cafe's Twitter page, and seeing they're only four blocks away from work, I knew I had to give this place a try. A couple of my coworkers are from Hawaii, they always talked about how delicious and unique the food was. I visited Hawaii back when I was a teenager, but I don't remember much of the food except for the pork and poi that was served at a luau. My family and I never ventured out to try authentic Hawaiian food, and I knew that Spam Musubi was one of those random things on my list of Hawaiian food to try. Being half Filipino and raised on Spam, this was one of those random delicacies that most folks wouldn't bat an eye to, but it tickled my culinary fancy.
We walked here today on a cold icy day; quite the parallel, walking in cold Richmond to a warm, cozy Hawaiian food paradise. The restaurant is tucked away in Jackson Ward, in a cute repurposed space. The interior is small but homey. I ordered the small lunch plate of Kalua Pork, with a side of Macaroni Salad, Namasu, and Salmon Poke. I also ordered a Spam Musubi. Everything was super flavorful, amazing, and according to my coworkers, super authentic and just like Hawaii! I was incredibly pleased. The shoyu sauce that goes on top of the rice was very savory with lots of delicious ginger. I could put that sauce on everything.
The chef and the people who work here are also beyond friendly, they're super appreciative and nice, giving you a hug and saying "Aloha" like you're family. I always love local Richmond restaurants where the employees come out and talk to you, and enjoy your company. I'm very glad we have a nice place like this here in Richmond that offers fantastic service and authentic Hawaiian food. The chef lived in Hawaii for 22 years and cooks up a storm, so you know you're getting the real deal. My coworkers and I have found our new favorite lunch spot!!!
By Lauri W. at 2016-06-28
I have worked with Dawn and Don for two years now when they graciously agree to participate in our annual Yelper Party. However, yesterday was the first time that I actually got to go in and eat at their restaurant. They are both wonderful, amazing people and I could sit there and talk to them all day!
The amount of love that they pour into this restaurant daily is very apparent. The decor is nice and homey and everyone is greeted with a warm "Aloha" as they come and go. I was there from around 2pm-3pm and there was a constant flow of pick up and delivery orders coming in. I was so happy to see that they're getting great business because they deserve it. For someone who is not familiar with Hawaiian food at all, I absolutely love it! After tasting the shrimp poke at Yelp Drops It Like It's Yacht this past Saturday, I knew that I had to get in there ASAP to get a full portion. I love their ordering system. They bring you a sheet with all of their offerings and you check next to what you want to order. Dawn helped me order and I ended up with an Aloha Bowl with brown rice and quinoa, shrimp poke, and the mixed green salad. It packed a huge punch! The flavors in that bowl were incredible. It was a little bit sweet with a hint of saltiness, and spices added a really nice kick. To drink, I had pineapple Aloe water straight from Hawaii and it was that refreshing touch that I needed to wash it all down.
As soon as I left, I was already planning what I was going to order next time. I just love supporting local business owners like these guys. Can't recommend their food enough!
By Kristen H. at 2016-10-09
This review is for the Aloha Cafe festival food tent. I had tried Aloha Cafe before at a Yelp event, so I was really excited about the chance to try it again, since the brick and mortar location was being renovated the last time I was in that area.
They had a good variety of options for a festival tent--cha siu pork, beef, spam musubi, shrimp poke, ahi poke, and a sticky wing bowl. Icouldn't resist getting the same thing I tried before, the shrimp poke bowl, because I hadn't been able to get that delectable hot and sweet, tangy and zesty flavor out of my head. I was in luck because it was just as delicious as I remembered, a solid choice indeed.
I was in luck, too, because my mom an husband wanted to order from Aloha Cafe too, and we all decided to get different dishes so we could try them all. The pork was the same delicious porky goodness you'd expect from cha siu, but a little sweeter and very little, if any, of the licorce-y anise flavor you get from Chinese and S.E. Asian cha siu. My mom said the bee was very good too, but since I am not really a beef person, I declined a sample since I knew I'd like the shrimp and pork better.
Well, I cant talk about Aloha Cafe without talking about the way the plates are sold. Each plate comes with Hawaiian macaroni salad and shoyu rice. Let me tell you, that rice was the bomb! For real, the bomb. The sauce was sweet and kind of vinegary without being the cloying level of sweetness of, say, Chinese American food, ick! It so freakin' good and just the right amount of drool-worthy sauce. Now, that macaroni salad! First off, I never liked macaroni salad anyway, but now I am gluten intolerant, so I already knew I'd be giving that away. After my mom, quite the awesome cook, said how good it was, I had to at least try the residual sauce in my bowl. I am SO glad I did, because it was the bomb for sure. It was creamy and bursting with flavor and the pasta had the perfect bite to it. I don't even know what in Earth was in that dressing, but, man, was it good! Talk about flavor inspiration!
I must say, I really loved Aloha Cafe. It's nice to have another real go-to festival food option besides Boka. What was really cool was that if you were afraid to take the risk on them, a bit of an underdog still, they were happy to provide samples so that you could buy with confidence. Now that is confidence in your product and true business smarts. My qualm, however, comes with respect to the portion. While the $8 price tag was quite appealing, the portion was more like a small sampler than a true meal. For the price, I really felt the portions should be bigger. Macaroni and rice are pretty cheap. More meat, please! Based on the restaurant plate photos, this is a festival-specific issue. It was a bummer, but I definitely can't wait to try the restaurant. I really think this place will thrive in due time. They have a seriously great product!
By Han V. at 2016-03-06
Definitely try their Spam musambi. I thought I wouldn't like it at all but now I'm a believer! It may just look like a gigantic hunk of Spam, which it is, but it's marinated in a way to actually "enhance" the "meat". It wasn't too salty and the combination of it with the rice and seaweed was really tasty. I would come back just for that!
My boyfriend and I shared a large plate and chose the shoyu chicken wings and pork as our meats. The chicken wings were super tender, slightly sweet, and nicely seasoned. The pork was also pretty tasty, but the chicken was really the star of the plate. We also tried the salmon poke which I didn't really enjoy and it just didn't suit my taste. I'm also not a fan of the heavily mayo'd macaroni salad, but my boyfriend enjoyed it.
The owners were super sweet and have so much passion. They greeted everyone with a huge smile and made sure that all their guests knew how much they were appreciated.
By Sarah C. at 2016-10-18
I have FINALLY decided to satisfy my curiosity about this place, and was not disappointed. I had the small lunch plate which included chicken thighs, brown rice with red quinoa, mac salad, lomi lomi tomato's, and the namasu poke'. Every thing I had was filled with flavor and fresh. I didn't want to get full, it was so good! For dessert I had the Hapuia bread pudding. It was coconutty and heavenly! And to top it off, the staff was super helpful and so sweet. I'd go back just to see them! Please, PLEASE do yourself a favor and check this little place out. You will be happy you did!
By Alexa T. at 2016-10-14
Ordered delivery from here because I was craving poke. The poke was tasty, I didn't have any problems with it but my dinner partner's stomach didn't seem very happy afterwards. Mac salad was one of my favorite parts of my meal - definitely hit the spot. Also tried the spam musubi and Kalua chicken - both were average. I wish the menu had some hawaiian BBQ!
I think it's a pretty good option if you're craving poke (Richmond doesn't have many options). It seems like they have very good customer service so I'm looking forward to trying this place again as dine-in. Price is solid for the food serving.
By Taylor B. at 2016-09-06
I came in for lunch and was quickly greeted with a kind "aloha!" I ordered the Aloha Bowl with white rice, ahi tuna poke and namasu (raw veggies in vinegar). This was the perfect portion for me to have at lunch. The dish had large pieces of raw tuna that were deliciously seasoned. Next time I plan on ordering the mac salad too. Highly recommend.
By Dan G. at 2016-08-19
Pros: Never have I had such a diversity of flavors and spice in mostly vegetarian dishes. Really flavorful and worth a second helping. Definitely a skilled chef. Fun hole in the wall adventure to another part of our world
Con: the serving size was a bit smaller than expected for the price. Not the place for an intimate meal
By Jadie S. at 2016-08-01
The tuna poke and crab poke ARE AMAZING. THE BEST ON THE EAST COAST. The chunks of tuna and the tasty spicy medley of flavors just burst in your mouth. The crab poke is so smooth and is REAL crab meat. Nothing is salty. The boneless shoyu chicken is great with a side of rice and the lomi lomi.
Their service is fast, friendly, and person. You are treated like a close friend and family at this restaurant. The hibi tea is also really really good and refreshing. They deliver via Zoomers third party delivery service and they are on a lot of the food delivery websites. I can not praise them enough for their wonderful tasty food and beautiful service. XOXO ALOHA NUI LOA!
By Wen D. at 2016-06-28
I first tasted the wonderfulness that is authentic Hawaiian food via Aloha Cafe this past weekend. Today, I decided to have it delivered for lunch. They did not disappoint. The shrimp poke is on point and the mixture of flavors is like a tastebud explosion! As much as I want to keep this place a secret, I can't. Richmond, give them a try, you won't be disappointed.
Oh, and thanks for the super quick delivery!!!
By Lillian T. at 2016-06-29
I came by a few months ago. Really delicious foods and great service. Parking was a challenge, but street parking was plentiful and there was a lot around the corner.
Please remember that they started out as a coffee cafe and evolved into Aloha Cafe and Catering. Owners work hard to offer healthier meals and do a lot for the community.
No, it's not Vegas, Utah, Seattle, or Cali with more options for Hawaiian food, but please give it a try.
By A A. at 2016-07-19
This place has been on my 'to try' list for a few months. Today I wasn't really feeling my lunch so I decided to order takeout from Aloha. Boy was this the right decision. Delivery was fast and my food wasn't supper cold. I ordered the Large plate with boneless and traditional chicken, macaroni salad, house salad w/ mango dressing (delicious) and namasu. Omg!!!! Everything was so tasty that I wish i go back for seconds. Now that is just greedy of me , haha. Well I will say this: you have to try this place if you haven't already.