Noodles of Every Persuasion 

Oodles of Noodles is almost too good to be true. It's a noodle shop with great food, good service, lots of free parking and only minutes away from the heart of Kailua-Kona.

The menu is an incredible offering of noodles. My husband and I found the dishes creative, brimming with local ingredients and wonderfully prepared. Most have a Pacific Rim flair, but if you're interested in Mediterranean food, you won't be disappointed. 

Chef Amy Ferguson-Ota is just this side of being a culinary legend. She was the first woman to be named Executive Chef at any major luxury resort in the U.S., and also at the Ritz-Carlton group, when she took over the reins at the Ritz Mauna Lani. Cookbook afficionados will remember her as a featured chef in Julia Child's Cooking with Master Chefs. Ferguson-Ota has also been a James Beard award nominee.

The Menu

The appetizers include Summer Rolls, Ravioli and Peking Duck Nachos. Prices average $7.95. We split an order of Summer Rolls ($5.95) with a tasty spicy sauce made of chilis, peanuts, soy sauce and green onions. They were nicely prepared and the portion was generous enough for two.

Diners interested in eating soup have several Asian ones from which to choose. The portions are large enough to be a meal. The Pho Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup ($8.95) served at the next table looked and smelled great. The entire table raved about it. If you're more of a fish lover, try the Spicy Tamarind Saifun Noodle Fish Soup. You can order it with just the broth and local fish for $12.95, or get the "kicked up" version with fish, clams, shrimp and scallops for $18.95.

All of the salads have noodles too. They range from the Crisp Thai Chicken Rice Vermicelli Salad with a sweet-sour fish sauce ($9.95) to the Spicy Pacific Caesar served with crunchy noodle croutons ($9.95). There was also a pasta with pesto, roasted tomatoes and feta that looked yummy.

By now you've guessed that there are noodles on the entr
ée list too. But they aren't as front and center as they are elsewhere on the menu. You can feast on Spicy Pacific Lamb Chops and Crisp Noodle Hash Brown ($21.95), Seared Island Fish, Black Bean Butter, Julienne Vegetables and Crisp Noodle Cake ($18.95). If you're a noodle lover, don't worry -- there's plenty for you to come. I want to make sure that everyone understands there are traditional dishes with just a little noodle flash for people interested in a more conventional menu.

We ordered the Thai Green Curry Crisp Cake Noodle with Chicken and Eggplant ($13.95) and the Mongolian Chow Mein (your choice of mild, medium or spicy) with Chicken, Pork, Vegetables and Hoisin-Chili Sauce ($13.95). Both were outstanding, delicious and attractively presented on an intriguing variety of plates and bowls in various shapes, sizes and colors.

The spice and the heat were just what we asked for; however, the portions were too large to finish. For those who prefer something from the Mediterranean, there's a Lasagna dish that changes daily, Grilled Vegetable Pasta Primavera ($11.95), and Fettuccine with Grilled Chicken Ancho Cream, Sweet Peppers, Roasted Corn and Cilantro ($14.95), and the list goes on. There are two nightly specials: one Asian and one Mediterranean.

Many of the dishes are vegetarian, but for a modest price you can add grilled chicken, pork, fish, beef, shellfish, duck, tofu or tempeh. There's a kid-friendly menu ($2.50) so a night out won't be a drain on the budget.

Little things count

The bar menu had all of the tropical concoctions that people drink when they're in Hawaii for $6. The wine and beer list offers a nice variety that's appropriate for the menu. We each enjoyed a bottle of Orion beer from Okinawa ($6.50/21 ounces), but thought the wine was a bit on expensive side. (The Bonnie Doon Vin Gris was $28/bottle, $7/glass.)

Our server, Nikki, was excellent. The bus girl was a little trigger happy, but Nikki was always right behind her, keeping things in order. The atmosphere is casual Hawaiian, with outdoor seating available. Reservations didn't appear to be necessary even though it was high season, but they did do a brisk business. There's a carry-out and a catering business - Paradise Spice Co. & Catering in back - that also seems to have a loyal following.

Finally

If great food at attractive prices and excellent service aren't enough for you (although I can't imagine why you're not calling for reservations right now), the location is easy to find and has lots of free parking. Oodles of Noodles is located in the Crossroads Shopping Center (on Henry Street), just a few doors down from the Safeway and just a few blocks from the heart of Kailua-Kona's downtown waterfront.

You can reach Oodles of Noodles at 808-329-9222. They open at 10:30am Mon.-Sat.; 12 noon Sun.

Bon App
étit et Bon Voyage!