After a long day of supporting small local businesses and speaking with business owners, I felt the need to go to Kailua and...support yet another small local business.
We initially were going to drive to Kapolei and visit a few small businesses on the west side of the island, but the creeping and crawling of 6 o'clock traffic just made it impossible for us to even fathom traveling further than a few miles. Instead, we took the H-3 on ramp and hopped our way over to the windward side.
We had our choice of Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, Hawaiian but we finally agreed to visit "CACTUS," a modern Latin cuisine with Aloha, located at 767 Kailua Road Kailua, Hi 96734. The last time we stopped to dine at CACTUS prolly was 3 weeks after they opened, so this was going to be a welcome back dining experience.
When we came in, we were warmly greeted and sat immediately. We ordered our drinks and (of course) the Queso Fundido (Three cheeses baked with roasted chilés, onions, tomato, with salsa borracha and just-made chips) with their Housemade Turkey Chorizo.
The queso was tasty and everything tasted so fresh.
A friend is VEGAN and we asked the waitress about a few options. She explained to us that everything is made fresh and that they like to source local ingredients whenever it's possible.
She explained that creating vegan options wouldn't be a problem, but she also told us her recommendation as to what she would order (see below)! In my opinion, her great customer service added to the general satisfaction of the restaurant environment.
Smoked Mushroom Enchiladas - Three cheeses, charred sweet corn, blackened tomato,
roasted tomatillo salsa
VEGAN Smoked Mushroom Enchiladas - Grilled Vegetables, charred sweet corn, blackened tomato, roasted tomatillo salsa
Chicken "Chilena" - Potato-crusted chicken, quinoa-black bean risotto,
local vegetable slaw, chipotle crema
Cuban Braised Short Ribs - Grass fed beef, sour orange marinade, onions, carrots,
crispy fingerling potatoes and, onion frites
Empanada - Apples and Whiskey Guava
The overall experience was immaculate! The dining room was clean and cool, perfect to relax in after a long, hard day. They have a wine list and cocktails for everyone to enjoy. The bar area was nicely designed for those looking for a nice casual atmosphere with tapas to satisfy a mild hunger. Even an outdoor seating area is available for those looking for some fresh air!
This little restaurant in Kailua has charm and personality. I'm so happy traffic was backed up and we diverted ourselves. I always say that things happen for a reason...and it goes to show that we were meant to return to delight our taste buds and thrill our spirits!
Customer service can make or break your overall experience. Whether you're shopping in store or dining at a restaurant, when you have someone who is truly enhancing your experience be sure to let them know and take care of them properly! We were so lucky to stop in and will definitely be back! Great job CACTUS!