If your next vacation takes you to Hawaii’s North Shore on Oahu, be sure to head over to the aptly named Paradise Found Cafe in Haleweia. They truly serve some of the best vegetarian food I’ve ever had.
Paradise Found Cafe is tucked in the back of the Celestial Grocery Health Food Store. The health food store had a wide variety of vegetarian and organic foods including local produce.
The cozy cafe is painted in bright colors. There are only a few seats but you have a front row seat into the tiny kitchen where the chef can chat with customers while food fires up in the pan. Paradise Found Cafe seems to be a magnet for locals. Folks coming in seemed to know each other and chatted about fishing, surfing, local events and travel adventures.
The menu consists of a wide-variety of breakfast items, sandwiches, wraps and plate lunches. They had falafel, tempeh satay, veggie burgers and vegetable sandwiches.
When our server brought our order to the table she said, “Who ordered the thai curry?” When I responded that I did she said, “You’re lucky. It’s really good.” She was right… I was lucky. Hunks of tofu and stir fried vegetables (which I saw cooked in the flash of a pan) were coated in a perfectly spiced coconut sauce. The curry is served with brown rice and a very fresh organic salad with a light lemony dressing.
The gyro was also very good. Chunks of seitan were marinated with a smoky sauce and served in a wrap with crisp vegetables. It was large and filling.
A few days later, we returned for more. We ordered the perfectly named Big Ass Burrito and the BBQ tempeh calzone. The chili in the burrito was made with red and black beans, a hint of cumin and cilantro. The burrito was served with a fresh green salsa. The BBQ tempeh calzone had huge hunks of avocado and fresh greens and, like all the other dishes, was huge and amazingly good.
Paradise Cafe is only open until 5:00 so make this your lunch or early dinner destination. (It’s only open until 4:00 on Sunday.) Also be forewarned, they do not accept credit cards. All food is cooked pretty much from scratch so expect a little bit of a wait, but when it comes to your table it will be piping hot and at it’s peak of flavor.
In short, if I could pick up any restaurant and drop it within walking distance of my place in the DC area, it would be Paradise Found Cafe.
Paradise Found Cafe
66-443 Kamehameha Hwy
Haleiwa, HI 96712