Kona Kai Sushi
3579 Waialae Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96816Neighborhood:
SushiPrice: $50 and over
Kona Kai Sushi
- Dining Style: Casual Dining
- Phone: (808) 594-7687
- Hours of Operation:
Dinner: M-Sa 5:30pm-10:30pm
- Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
- Cuisine: Sushi, Japanese, Tapas / Small Plates
- Executive Chef: James Matsukawa
- Dress Code: Casual Dress
- Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
- Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Counter Seating, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Wine
A word from Kona Kai Sushi
Here at Kona Kai Sushi we strive to give you, our guest, the best sushi experience we can provide. We offer a diverse verity of seafood from around the world as well as an impressive Japanese beer and sake selectionContinued
Foodspotting photosSee all photos
Awards voted by OpenTable diners
- Diners' Choice WinnerFit for Foodies
Kona Kai Sushi - Best Restaurants in Honolulu ›
Kona Kai Sushi reviews from OpenTable diners
20 reviews since July 25, 2014
- Ambiance3.6Noise LevelModerate
fit for foodies (15)neighborhood gem (12)special occasion (7)romantic (4)hot spot (3)notable wine list (2)good for groups (2)great for outdoor dining (1)kid-friendly (1)Show More
- Modern Sushi - Beware CorkageKaukauphileDined on 10/25/2014Had the omakase for four and if you are versed in traditional sushi you will notice a modern take here. My party thoroughly enjoyed the twists and turns throughout the evening. Sushi as a flexible medium of not only a wide variety of rich and lean fish, but with touches of citrus rind, special sauces brushed on, lightly singed with a torched, toasted sesame seeds, or a cached shiso leaf; unexpected but delightful. To round out the meal there were intermittent, tapas-like small plates, crab stuffed calamari, a baked So. African slipper lobster tail, sashimi/ceviche (with acidic ponzu) and a trio of oyster on the half shell. Downside - Got the impression that owners want to penalize wine drinkers with punitive corkage.Special Features:
- OpenTable Diner Since 2010Dined on 8/30/2014Fabulous find. A true gem if you like sushi. You rarely find fish this good. It is a foodie dining experience. Totally worth it !Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Great sushi experienceTHamVIPDined on 8/29/2014Service is much improved and the sushi was excellent. The kinmedai and shima aji are highly recommended.Special Features:
- disappointedOpenTable Diner Since 2012Dined on 8/29/2014The fish quality was not to my expectations. Ordered the omakase. Hoping for better selections. Also mentioned what I really like. Didn't get to eat my personal selection until the end of my omakase. Tried to ordered things from the menu but they were not a lot of things.
- HinarinVIPDined on 8/12/2014Oh my.... this is the best Sushi restaurant in my life in Hawaii. Nice hermony of rice and vineger and all toppings are fresh and well designed. I don't feel I want to bring Japanese friends in Japan to Sushi restaurant in Hawaii, but I surely want to take them to Kona Kai. One thing... I wanted to glass of Chardonnery but they did not..unfortunately.Special Features:
- Killer mealJohannvonmastiffDined on 7/30/2014One of the best sushi meals of my life. The Kobe beef nigiri is fantastic and not to be missed.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- The following 49 reviews are from the Kona Kai Sushi reviews archive.
- OpenTable Diner Since 2011Dined on 7/13/2014The sushi was delicious. I really love that they know how to make correct sushi rice and they don't use so much of it in their rolls. I also loved their creative appetizers.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Great but not originalDDC808Dined on 7/1/2014The dishes were delicious. However, the omakase seemed to be much like another sushi hot spot. That is until the Oyster trio! I'd say this dish sets Kona Kai apart from others. I would highly recommend it.Special Features:
- Exceptional experienceOpenTable Diner Since 2010Dined on 6/19/2014Delicious. Kona Kai has really evolved. When it first opened, the sushi was good, but the business approach and organization was lacking. Now, the sushi is the highest quality, on par with the best, freshest sushi available, and the experience is calm and refined. I have eaten sushi in the finest restaurants in Japan, and the US. Others may be different, but not better. The chef has refined a blend of traditional and modern. His omakase menu will not disappoint. I keep going back, partially because I can't believe it can keep getting better, but it does. Bravo.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Fantastic omakaseLizinlifeDined on 6/3/2014My husband and I came here at our concierge's recommendation. We're from DC, where our omakase options are limited (but we frequently visit my family in SF and have sushi there). Never have I had sushi as fresh as Kona Kai. The omakase experience was wonderful. Our servers would explain each dish and advise on how to eat it, and were very friendly. And the food - holy moly, that was the freshest, most amazing sushi I've ever had. The toro melted in our mouths. The Wagyu beef sushi was decadent. Our scallops were flown in from Hokkaido that morning, but didn't show any sign of weariness. They also had some Japanese beers that we hadn't had before, so it was fun trying those. Tl;dr: If you're a sushi fan, definitely hit up Kona Kai.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Never disappoints!SynwpnDined on 6/2/2014I've been patronizing Kona Kai Sushi prior to their moving to the current location and they have only gotten better! More table space and food is just as delicious and fresh if not better!Special Features:
- did not dissapointDDC808Dined on 5/13/2014i had heard about this place and was skeptical at first as it was compared to Sasabune - however, i was pleasantly surprised! The staff was so friendly and wonderful. The sushi was excellent! I'll be back!Special Features:
- Good sushiGavinDined on 3/27/2014Kona Kai does good sushi. It offers similar specialty sushi as a certain un-named sushi restaurant in town, but for half the price. The staff is knowledgeable when it comes to fish on the menu and offer good suggestions. I would definitely recommend it to my friends.Special Features:
- nothing to worry aboutSSYAVIPDined on 3/20/2014This was only our second time dining here & I had to add a 5year old to our reservation. I never received a call back to confirm it & the reviews I read on Yelp made me nervous about showing up with an extra person, but everything was fine when we arrived. Lots of room for the 3 of us & wonderful service!!! Those Yelp reviewers must've all came on a bad bad day. Our orders were taken quickly & we received our food in a timely manner. I'm not complaining about receiving a couple extra nigiri on a couplr of our orders. YUM! Love the Three Wisemen which is a surprise since I normally dislike uni, but the quality is so good, it's fab! My little cousin was very happy with her food & that's the best part.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- phenomenal!!!gNa01Dined on 3/19/2014Absolutely phenomenal experience… the chef’s passion for his craft and the product delivered was beyond expectations. His blend of the traditional accompanied by his unique creative interpretation made this a truly memorable experience. Absolutely recommended for even the most discerning dinners. The servers were attentive and friendly and the hostess personally caring for our parking was a nice touch.Special Features:
- grate serviseyukiyukiDined on 2/9/2014food is amazing, i don't know his name but the server always gives us grate service. i will visit there again.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Amazing sushiKarenVIPDined on 2/1/2014Amazing sushi with wonderful, hospitable service, imagine that? You can get both! Sushi was innovative and everything we ordered was delicious, salad overdressed but can easily overlook that when everything else so wonderful. Very nice sake selection and waiter knowledgeable enough to make great recommendations. Can't wait to go back for omakase next time.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Excellent!THamVIPDined on 1/25/2014We eat at Kona Kai about every other month and the food never disappoints. Great lobster tail and sushi.Special Features:
- The best sushi I've ever hadmmmmDined on 1/16/2014The best sushi I've ever had anywhere. Also, and by far, the most expensive sushi I've ever had. The bill was $250 for dinner for 2. Meager accomodations but outstanding food.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Sayonara SasabuneMKG96816Dined on 1/15/2014Excellent sushi/omakase. Don't expect great atmosphere but, you're there for the food.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Great SushiahiboyDined on 1/11/2014Loved everything, my g/f thought the ahi chips had a little too much mayo on them. Everything else was awesome, especially the nigiri. Really liked the Chef's choice nigiri special- 5 pieces for $14. Hope they keep that around.I would recommend this to a friend.
- Great Sushi and SashimishujiVIPDined on 12/29/2013I love the sushi and sashimi here. The seafood is always fresh and I love venturing from the usual fishes: Ahi (Maguro), Salmon (Shake), and Yellow Tail (Hamachi) and I think their other fishes are the best: Tai, Hirame, Shako, Ma Aji, and anything you wouldn't dare order elsewhere because you're scared of what it will taste. If you're unsure, try the Ke'e special if they're offering or just do omakase.Special Features:
- Kona Kai: good sushilv2eatDined on 12/29/2013The service was great and the food was good. Nice flavors used to enhance the sushi (like yuzu), but fish slices are not that big. Went with ala carte menu and not omakase. Would go again to order specific sushi, but this would not be first choice for sushi.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Awesome sushi, everything else mehmawrtianVIPDined on 12/22/2013No doubt some of the best sushi I've had in Honolulu. Chef is the only one who greets you when you enter. Again the sushi is wonderful. And we arrived at 6 PM the open sign was not on nor were any of the lights to the rear entrance it was dark and unwelcoming. The unwelcome feeling continued as you entered with servers working hard not to make eye contact with you. Even when we revealed we had reservations the waitress seemed annoyed to have to seat us. Ambience is not good, it's too dark, cramped and the chairs are uncomfortable. We sat at the bar and chef had to continually call someone to remove our plates so he could service each course. Wait staff seems disorganized, it took forever to get our bill. But the sushi is awesome.Special Features:
- not as good as beforeguymuttDined on 12/18/2013You need to have a lot of time to spend at this restaurant. We were one of only three tables yet our order took over 30 minutes for the first dish to arrive. This restaurant was really good at one time, however, portions have become smaller and prices have remained the same. There are much better restaurants around for the price paid. Will not returnSpecial Features:
- Great time!KitkatDined on 12/10/2013Good food and wonderful experience! Will definitely be back!Special Features:
- Expect a waitOpenTable Diner Since 2013Dined on 11/9/2013Had a reservation at 5:30pm and restaurant opened late at 5:47pm. Surprised they didn't open their doors on time considering we saw employees in the restaurant. Very unprofessional. Sat at bar and noticed lack of communication between cooks and servers with the food coming out. Caught several mistakes on which table had what food. Food by the way took a while.
- Rude and not unaccommodatingOpenTable Diner Since 2013Dined on 11/6/2013They have three sushi chefs working and they were unwilling to revise a dish because of food allergies. We asked the waiter and he flat out said no. Never ever going back. Just junk!
- Horrible service, slow, nonWendyDined on 11/5/2013Horrible service, slow, non attentive and many items on their menu not avail. Thought maybe it was just us and a one off situation, however, in speaking with friends and other family members, they all complained about the service.
- Excellent OmakaseOotorofanDined on 10/8/2013Extensive nigiri sushi selection. Everything we had in our Omakase dinner (chef's choice) was high quality, superb fish and shellfish. Well worth spending more here and getting a really special sushi experience.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Everything was great exceptJackDined on 9/26/2013Everything was great except they opened 15 min late.Special Features:
- Amazing food, patience requiredlaidbackloveroffoodDined on 9/5/2013First off I have to say that I absolutely LOVE the food here, and have found it to be excellent over four visits. The only problem is getting that food to your table... I'm a patient diner and I appreciate quality, so I don't have a big problem when things take longer than they should, but it proved to be a problem for members of my group the past two times I've been there. It doesn't seem to be an issue if you are eating omakase but be prepared to be patient if you're ordering a la carte. That's the only issue that would prevent me from recommending this restaurant to others, and the reason that I would have to rate the service as 2-star, even though all servers were competent, pleasant and extremely apologetic over the delay.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Delicious nigiri. DefinitelysushiluvDined on 8/23/2013Delicious nigiri. Definitely worth a try. The prices are on the high end, but I enjoyed trying ankimo, shima aji, hirame, and other items not always available elsewhere. Winners: Kona Kai's version of chutoro, fresh oysters on the half shell. They have late-night specials and I might consider returning for their late-night omakase. It was very easy to reserve a table with Open Table. Thank you!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Sushi is Superb, but service lacksSteak45VIPDined on 8/13/2013We had the hamachi kama rolls and the hamachi collar, it was cooked perfectly and need I say was very delicious. Also always enjoy the spicy tuna rolls, saba was good, all of their nigiri sushi we had was yummy. Also ordered the rib-eye steak, it was surprisingly pretty good, it had some kind of sweet and sour sauce that added extra flavor to the steak. Only issue with Kona Kai, is that they take a long time for service, also they sort of seem very disorganized. The restaurant did a big nono by opening the doors late and making guess stand outside for an extra 8 minutes. However, the food is too good to not return again.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Not GoodOpenTable Diner Since 2010Dined on 8/3/2013Overpriced, very poor service, would not recommend.
- Delicious SushiJoyceBDined on 8/2/2013The sushi was great and my husband loved the variety and unique offerings of the nigiri. The appetizers were great. Not a good place for timid sushi eaters who like rolls though. I stuck with spicy salmon and spicy tuna with hamachi as there weren't many options like that. Service was good although their knowledge of beer was quite low. Only negative thing is I had written a request for something special since it was my husband's birthday and they didn't do anything, not even wish him a birthday or acknowledge the special occasion. Thankfully I had other things for him at home but I was a little disappointed that my note in the Open Table reservation was virtually ignored. Otherwise, he had wonderful sushi and was none the wiser.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Sushi is hereeatoutDined on 7/26/2013I was caught off guard by the menu prices.. Overall the sushi was very soft and tasty.. I think the appetizers were the best tasting items on the menu.. The staff was very nice and always making sure that we were well taken care of.Special Features:
- Best sushi ever!MarthaMelonsVIPDined on 7/3/2013We really enjoyed everything we ordered. The quality was top-notch and the fish was delicious. We over ordered because we wanted to try so many things. The ahi-poke chips were delicious. The Mauna Kea sashimi platter was loaded with amazing moi, hamachi, various types of ahi, and a few other fish that I can't remember the names of. Can't wait to go back again! Everything was excellent!Special Features:
- omakasericeboyVIPDined on 6/25/2013i LOVE this place and don't feel as intimidated eating here compared to sasabunae. we ordered the omakasae set and enjoyed everything that came out. expect to spend 300+ for 2 full and happy bellys.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Classic & modern take on sushiMikeDined on 6/22/2013Efficient and knowledgeable servers/wait staff, had a 5:30p reservation so seating was quick, and the food was awesome! Fish/seafood was fresh and prepared with respect and skill, and the tastes were very vibrant. Will definitely return.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.