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  • Cactus

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Cactus Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.cactusbistro.com/
  • Email: reservations@cactusbistro.com
  • Phone: (808) 261-1000
  • Hours of Operation:

    Lunch: Daily 11:00am-3:30pm
    Happy Hour: Daily 3:30pm-5:30pm
    Dinner: Daily 5:00pm-9:30pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX, Discover, JCB, MasterCard, Visa
  • Cuisine: Latin American
  • Executive Chef: John Memering
  • Dress Code: Smart Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Chef's Table, Counter Seating, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Hamakua Drive
  • Public Transit: Bus 57
  • Parking: Private Lot
  • Parking Details: Reserved stalls are available after 6pm for CACTUS guest parking.
A word from Cactus
Cactus is "a celebration of the cuisines of the new Americas with Aloha," transporting the flavors, culinary traditions and techniques from Central and South America as well as Cuba, Puerto Rico and Mexico.

Offering the cuisines of the sun, land and sea, Cactus menu selections focuses on:

* Local produce from the islands
* Shinsato Farms pork from Kahalu"u
* Kulana and Kuahiwi beef, veal, wild boar from the Big Island
* Sustainably caught or farmed seafood from the island chain

Drop-in or reserve a table in our casual, lively environment with warm, engaging, professional service.

Upcoming Events:

*On Thursday, February 27th, we have joined forces with Oahu Fresh for our next Farmer's Dinner.
*We are now offering Breakfast on Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 2pm.

Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerFit for Foodies
  • Diners' Choice WinnerNeighborhood Gem
Diner Reviews
  • "The reason I gave it 4 stars is because the waitress sold us 3 taco plates and had to come back to say there were only 2 left. No big deal but it is a very popular dish on the menu. They should have been prepared. Also, last time I was there, the fryer was broken so no French fries or croquettes OR fish tacos. You can't help it if your fryer isn't working but I REALLY wanted those croquettes. However, I had made a reservation for 10 and showed up with only 6 and they didn't bat an eye. The service was great from our waitress and we loved the meal. Every one of us loved the meal. I highly recommend this restaurant and try to eat here often."
    Dined on 4/9/2014
  • "A very tasty menu with a latin/mexican flavor. Good service and food overall."
    Dined on 3/3/2014
  • "This was our second trip to Cactus, and once again it didn't disappoint. Great food, great drinks, and great service. The only reason I didn't give all 5 stars was because even with a sweatshirt, I was freezing. But besides the temp, absolutely one of our favorite restaurants on the island."
    Dined on 3/22/2014
  • "Read some reviews and studied the menu prior to our visit. The menu sounded really interesting and good but I wasn't too impressed with the tastes. Guess I was anticipating too much. But the wine and the prickly pear margaritas were very good. The entire staff was very nice."
    Dined on 2/28/2014
  • "Every President's Day, my high school friends and I meet for lunch. This is the first time we chose a new place (versus our regular place). It was a really nice change and everyone enjoyed it. The food was interesting, in a really good way. The service was great. I think they have the best chips. But the one thing you have to try is the fried bread! So good!! No one was disappointed and everyone liked what they ordered."
    Dined on 2/17/2014
  • "From the moment we sat down, we had a perfect experience with our lunch on a rainy day. The wine by the glass was a nice pour and reasonably priced. The croquettes appetizer was amazing, and our entrees were crazy delicious! Our server was knowledgeable and fun. The menu and flavors are inspired dishes taken from all over the Carribean, Central and South America, and are creative and unique. Our only suggestion is that they add a tag line to their name. Cactus implies Mexican or Southwest cuisine, and while we were delighted with the menu and the food, others would be disappointed not to get Tacos and Enchiladas. I suggest a tag line to the name, like:" Latin American/Carribean Fusion" - dont miss this treat for your tastebuds!"
    Dined on 2/7/2014
  • "We enjoyed taking a good friend to Cactus for her first visit. I love the on-line reservation option. The food, as usual, is exotic and excellent. Of course, from a Cactus point of view, we thoroughly enjoy your service staff. They know the menu and are excited about explaining and recommending,its not put on but very real. A Delightful Experience."
    Dined on 1/31/2014
  • "Great pupus and everything we tasted was freshly prepared and ono"
    Dined on 1/26/2014
  • "Cactus has quite a unique menu, especially for Hawai'i. I enjoy the various Latin American influences on the food, wine and cocktails. I hope that the restaurant can grow (as their space at the bar and for dining are a bit small, especially for weekend crowds), WITHOUT losing its more intimate, family restaurant feel. I look forward to going back again."
    Dined on 1/20/2014
  • "Overpriced, bland food. Hostess/server kept giving me judgemental looks every time I requested something."
    Dined on 1/17/2014
  • "So glad Cactus finally took the Open Table plunge the last few months ... menu continues to impress us, and definitely enjoy their meat and fish dishes the most! Drink creations are also great!"
    Dined on 1/4/2014
  • "It was my first time here. I'd only past the restaurant in driving home from Whole Foods. We started with the special seafood ceviche which was amazing. Added chips and salsa with guacamole. It was good but I would have been happier with a little less salt on the chips and although the guacamole was very good, the sauces that came with the chips would have been enough as they were delicious. We had the special seared ahi on saffron rice entree, absolutely cooked to perfection. For dessert, the flan was just right. I will definitely return. My only complaint was a couple, load and obnoxious, at the table next to ours which made it very difficult to enjoy my dining companion."
    Dined on 1/1/2014
  • "We've eaten at cactus several times in the last 6 months and the food is getting progressively worse ."
    Dined on 1/4/2014
  • "Worst food ever. Strange flavors and hopeless combination of flavors. Big party 'tax' but not mentioned at reservation nor arrival."
    Dined on 1/2/2014
  • "Overall, the experience was very good, but the person serving you makes the difference--it can make or break the experience. In our case, it broke it:( The female server was very "plastic" and not very helpful. She didn't really try to explain what the various dishes were. Explanations were very general. When I brought to her attention that a Cactus shaped cookie in our dessert was burnt, she quickly replied, "No, it's the green spray on it. It's not burnt!" I looked at her and said "It tastes burnt. It is not the green spray." She gave me a look and so did i. She walked away and then came back with an insincere smile, "Oh, is this one better?" Will not go back. She probably realized that her attitude might affect her tip..."
    Dined on 12/31/2013
  • "Been meaning to stop into this place fir more than a year. Why did I wait so long? Food was South American unique, service perfect, and cocktails beyond compare. Don't put of a visit to this neighborhood watering hole!"
    Dined on 12/23/2013
  • "The atmosphere was café like and didn't seem to match the ridiculously good quality of the food. I actually like that. The food was perfectly seasoned and they have a great selection for carnivores. Really a very enjoyable and low key dining experience."
    Dined on 12/15/2013
  • "Chef Memering has brought South of the Border adaptations to Hawaii. He has incorporated local farm-to-table ingredients into Latin and South American dishes. An example is the "Ahogada" sandwich that is tender and moist-braised shredded local pork "drowned" in a black bean sauce then sandwiched between a ciabatta -like roll then presented in a spicy thick broth/sauce. The flavors melded well, the bread roll sopped up the sauce but still remained whole enough to pick up the sandwich without using fork & knife. Service(host to wait help) was friendly, personable, patient and efficient. The restaurant, itself, was light, open and airy which seemed to beacon a welcoming, casual and comforting vibe."
    Dined on 12/13/2013
  • "Unusual menu, Latin/Hawaiian fusion. The dishes we had worked well; the combos won't appeal to anyone expecting standard US Mexican food. Good preparation and spicing, plenty of thought put into the dishes we had. Good drinks, very friendly staff."
    Dined on 12/7/2013
  • "LOVE this place! Everything has been fantastic, and the most interesting menu on the windward side. The only hard thing is trying to decide WHAT to order--I want it all! Great food, great service, LARGE portions, and very reasonable prices--love it!"
    Dined on 11/30/2013
  • "This was our 5th experience and as always it was great. Our favorite is always the bread and we look forward to the specials. It was a great experience, there were a few celeberties in the house and added to the excitement. We live in Pearl City and the trek over H-3 is well worth the drive."
    Dined on 11/22/2013
  • "Very impressed with the level of service we received during our meal the other night. Always knew the Chef was on top of his game. Will certainly return and recommend to our friends. Well done and good luck... Aloha, Thomasclan"
    Dined on 11/15/2013
  • "We decided to give Cactus a try & we were so happy with our food. The mixto special was tasty although the boar chop was tough. I really loved my short rib dish & the cilantro risotto we shared. The banana coyota was a great dessert. I can't wait to come back & try the guacamole. Everyone else was having it & I feel we really missed the boat on that. I want to try the duck carnitas next time too!"
    Dined on 11/16/2013
  • "We started with the $11.00 for a 1/2 c. of guacamole (it was good tasting), 1.5 TBSP of 3 salsas and a bit greasy tortilla chips will not have them again. Tacos good tasty and nice portions of beef. Rice with Plantain was served cold and therefore was lacking. My friend had the Mahi tacos and she was happy with the too. Arroz Verde was plain and served cold. Lime/Cilantro sorbet excellent. The Horchata Flan did not taste like Horchata but it was good for a flan dish."
    Dined on 11/11/2013
  • "Between the food and the service, we had one of the best experiences ever. Our friends had never been to Cactus and loved it enough that they plan on returning."
    Dined on 11/8/2013
  • "We (party of three) ended up trying almost the entire special menu!! One of us - who normally orders the braised short ribs and happily boxes the leftovers and eats the remainder as tacos - suggested a new favorite had been discovered in the puerco. The tamale app disappeared with only minor skirmishes over portions; the recently-conceived cocktails left us believing years of careful experimentation and judicious tasting had occurred! The ahi was perfect with a delightfully tangy veg slaw - there may have been a starch. I really only remember the ahi! To me, a churro is a churro - slightly under-done, these were pretty basic. Until they were dipped in the far too tiny dish of Madre chocolate. We used fingers to clean the far too tiny dish."
    Dined on 10/31/2013
  • "I've tried Cactus twice. I wanted to like it, but sadly I don't. Cactus tries to do a conglomeration of various latin cuisines. Most of the food is only so-so with a few "I'm really sorry to waste food, but that is so nasty I can't get myself to eat it". Considering how much you're paying for your meal, you could go to a lot of other places that have better tasting food that cost just as much if not less. The services is good and the ambiance is nice, but the taste of the food and its cost makes this place a no go for me."
    Dined on 11/1/2013
  • "The menu is interesting and the food is great, and the cocktails are wonderful."
    Dined on 10/31/2013
  • "Interesting menu with a wide variety of South of the border or even South American type food. Vibrant flavors!"
    Dined on 10/30/2013
  • "One of my favorite spots in Kailua, great food, plates are always well presented and the taste is always great."
    Dined on 10/27/2013
  • "Outstanding dinner. Great food. Chef has done something special here."
    Dined on 10/26/2013
  • "After a day at the beach we ran home to change and head out to Cactus. The server was friendly and vibrant with a good knowledge of the menu. We started with simple house-made tortilla chips, guacamole and 3 salsas. Although a little bland, the guacamole was fresh and tasty. The salsas were good as well. Our entrees were hot and attractively plated. They were prepared using many local ingredients. All 5 of us enjoyed our meals thoroughly."
    Dined on 10/19/2013
  • "There wasn't one single thing on the menu that I have had in that combination before. Presentation was lovely, food was delicious. It was just a little too noisy to have a great conversation. Regardless, because of the unusual choices on the menu, we will be back o try more items off that menu."
    Dined on 10/10/2013
  • "The lunch menu is very interesting, I wanted to try everything! But the food did not live up to the descriptions. The boar empanadas were dry and tough. The Boat Day Fish Tacos would have been great but the grilled fish was way overcooked. My client sent back the Special - fish tacos: bad smell and taste. Our server cheerfully replaced it. Another diner had the chicken tacos which were good- but being from Mexico, he expected beef because of the word "vaca" (=cow) in the name of the dish! The tacos use the tiniest tortillas, more like a pupu size - but tasty. The chips and salsas were delicious. And the service was excellent. I will give them anther try maybe for dinner to see if things are better. The place has loads of potential."
    Dined on 10/11/2013
  • "Love the different style of sauces, dinners and pupus. Never disappoints."
    Dined on 10/10/2013
  • "Cactus is one of those wonderful little restaurants that really delivers. As new transplants to the area from the Sonoma Wine Country, we have been somewhat disappointed in the local restaurants. Cactus changed all that. The food is fresh, interesting, and delish. The drinks are inspired. We have only had lunch here but we will be coming back again and again. The staff is delightful and we enjoy all the servers especially Branda. We love what you are doing, Guys!"
    Dined on 8/22/2013
  • "We made our reservation for 5:30 to arrive in time for happy hour as advertised on the restaurant website. After we were seated we were told that we could not order from the happy hour menu because we had been seated in the wrong section. Very disappointing. Why should I pay a higher price for a drink than someone sitting a few feet away? The waiter explained that items on the happy hour menu were not available to customers sitting inside to the left of the door. Not a happy experience."
    Dined on 8/11/2013
  • "This place consistently serves interesting combinations of mostly locally sourced ingredients. The dayboat fish in a banana leaf is ALWAYS delicious. The chef whips together salsa sides out of unusual ingredients, such as Mountain Apple and jalapeno... in season, of course... or fresh mango, or lychee... The restaurant is small but very loud. It's nicely decorated with gecko light-fixtures, and soft color tones. Tropical chic. But... kind of loud. Nevertheless, we are grateful a restaurant that serves this quality of food is in our neighborhood. We'll definitely be back."
    Dined on 7/30/2013