Dining From ‘Keoni’s Point of View’October 24, 2018, 10:00 AM HST (Updated October 23, 2018, 1:49 PM)
The opening of Keoni’s Point of View restaurant at Honokōhau Harbor is cause for celebration for many Kona residents. Keoni Llanes and his wife, Kalina, have breathed life back into the former location of the Bite Me fish market, restaurant and fisherman’s hang-out, and made it their own.
“My late uncle, Randy Llanes, and I used to fish on the charter boats together and every time we would pass Bite Me Fish Market, he would say to me, ‘Hey, one day man, we’re gonna open a restaurant,“ said Llanes. “He mentioned it at least three or four times a week, so I knew we needed to open that restaurant.”
Llanes’ Uncle Randy was killed in a freak fishing accident in 2015 when he was impaled by the bill of a swordfish. Llanes wanted to honor his uncle by fulfilling their dream of opening a restaurant together.
“We always wanted to open a restaurant together, so I opened this one in his memory,” Llanes said. “Plus, it was a dream my wife and I always had as well. So here we are. We have a lot of things on the menu that relate to my uncle and my grandfather. We have a lot of family recipes and some of our favorite foods. I want to bring back the original local style foods, but at the same time infuse different styles and ethnic flavors.”
Llanes learned how to cook from his father, who moved to Fiji in 2002 to open a restaurant.
Llanes joined him in Fiji for two years to fish and help him get the business going. He fell in love with cooking and returned to Hawai‘i ready to open his own restaurant.
“When I came back, I started infusing Indian style with Hawaiian and Filipino dishes,” Llanes stated. “Now we’re starting to add in slowly Chinese dishes and stuff where we mix it all together on one plate.”
Being from a local family, Llanes is determined to bring back foods that are now difficult to find on the island. He feels the recipes have significantly changed and evolved over time and his goal is to bring back the original dishes.
Llanes explained how he makes his fish and chips using an original family recipe.
“A lot of people nowadays just use egg, flour, panko and beer and that’s it,”Llanes. “Or they just use beer and flour, and then it’s battered in it and rolled in panko. But our recipe is old school. We still use buttermilk and we separate the yolks from the whites of the eggs. It keeps the batter fluffier and creamier.”
Some of the tasty, stand-out items on the menu are the Ono Ceviche and the Poke Salad with avocado. Sashimi lovers will love the seared blackened ahi served with Aktion sauce—a sweet chili sauce sauce, and the fresh fish tacos are as good as it gets. Of course, there’s the soon to be famous fish and chips that are not to be missed.
The interior and exterior renovations bring a fresh new look to the old fish market, which is already becoming a new Kona favorite. Be sure to check out the fresh fish and enjoy the harbor from Keoni’s Point of View.
“Good thing Uncle Randy taught me how to cook,” Llanes said. “If not, Keoni’s Point of View would not have become a reality.”
For more information, go online.