Sam Choy's Kai Lanai
Sam Choy's Kai Lanai

Sam Choy's Kai Lanai

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://www.samchoy.com/
  • Phone: (808) 333-3434
  • Hours of Operation:
    Serving Daily - Lunch and Dinner, Breakfast on Saturday and Sunday

    Monday - Thursday 11:00 am - 9:00 pm
    Friday 11:00 am - 9:30 pm
    Saturday 7:00 am - 9:30 pm
    Sunday 7:00 am - 9:00 pm

    HAPPY HOUR - Daily 3:00 - 5:00 pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Diners Club,Discover,JCB,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Hawaii Regional Cuisine
  • Executive Chef: Sam Choy
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Beer, Fireplace, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, View, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Getting there

  • Parking: Private Lot
  • Parking Details: Lot plus over flow parking lot with cart service between over flow lot and restaurant.
A word from Sam Choy's Kai Lanai
You'll experience the wonderful hospitality of the Hawaiian culture, the sensational aromas of fresh, island cooking and the innovative recipes created by Hawaii’s culinary ambassador, Sam Choy.

At Sam Choy's Kai Lanai, a stunning 230-degree view of the Pacific stretches out in a beautiful blue oasis before you. “The Short Bait” bar is a fun place to meet friends for pupus or sit by the fire pits and watch spectacular sunsets. The superb service and warm Aloha welcome will make this your top dining choice at breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerGreat for Lunch
  • Diners' Choice WinnerNeigborhood Gem
  • Diners' Choice WinnerRomantic
Sam Choy's Kai Lanai reviews from OpenTable diners
50 reviews since July 31, 2014
Overall Rating4.3
  • Food4.2
    Service4.4
  • Ambiance4.5
    Noise LevelModerate
93% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
scenic view (44)great for outdoor dining (38)romantic (23)special occasion (23)neighborhood gem (19)fit for foodies (18)great for lunch (15)good for groups (15)great for brunch (12)vibrant bar scene (7)notable wine list (5)kid-friendly (5)hot spot (5)late-night find (4)Show More
  • Reunion with friends
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 11/21/2014
    A small group (5) gather together and had an exceptional evening of laughs, good fun, great food and service and hospitality!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Loved the 3-6 pm Happy Hour!
    Cali3VIP
    Dined on 11/17/2014
    Heard that this has one of the best sunset views from a local so gave it a try. Absolutely beautiful! Food was nothing fancy but good... Got there 5 minutes before 6 and we were allowed to order 5 different appetizers for only $5@! Worth a visit!
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • The View is Undescribable
    meatsweatVIP
    Dined on 11/16/2014
    We first noted a very generous, albeit somewhat pricy, wine list. Something there for everyone. Our apps were the poke and kona style wings. As tasty as the poky was, the wings were better. Amongst our entrees were a filet, which was sizeable and very good; a 10 oz strip grilled Hawaiian style, which was also very good, and the three fish diner, which included the local catch. The fist was outstanding. Each of the steaks came with garlic mashed potatoes with corn interspersed, an interesting concept that worked. Will admit a bit disappointed in the dessert, the kona cake was rather blah. All in all, recommend a visit, but bring your wallet and sunglasses. You will not experience a sunset while dining like this one.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, notable wine list, romantic, scenic view, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Truly mediocre
    OpenTable Diner Since 2000VIP
    Dined on 11/13/2014
    Bland food, weak drinks, view of shopping center. Not worth it!
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • D Michael
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 11/8/2014
    Food and service was very good view is of the ocean sunset is stunning. Sam came to our table and chatted with us a very hands on owner.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, romantic, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Comfortable
    Honokowai
    Dined on 10/29/2014
    Sam Choy's has a good food selection at a scenic location. I'm always happy he hires local people who bring their genuine Aloha to their job.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Tasty Sunsets
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 9/23/2014
    This has been and continues to be a great dinner location. You can count on the menu, and the fresh ingredients ( kitchen garden in back). The view and sunsets combine to make Sam's a never miss on the Big Island.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great sunset dinner
    FoodieonKona
    Dined on 9/14/2014
    The restaurant was recommended by a friend and I am grateful for the tip. The location provides a high, commanding view of the coastline and ocean. The beautiful sunset was an added bonus. The 'three fish' special was really good as well as their salads. On the spendy side, but it was a targeted nice dinner with an expectation the cost would exceed $100. The service could use some improvement. Plenty of parking.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Diner
    punawele
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    Ordered the duck.....it must have died of old age....tough....had to send it back. The pasta with mussels was good for the reorder.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Casual, but top notch find!
    Allan
    Dined on 9/7/2014
    Excellent, service and House cocktails with a view to die for!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, scenic view, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Don't waste your time or money
    dcbr
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    Disappointed celebrate sister & moms bday. V Seated & ordered. Drinks,. salad and soup served within less than a minute our meal served. Entrée sat while we finished salad & soup. Mom spilled her water and waiter confused He mopped up a small amount than walked away while we swam in spilled water. Just talking for myself meal was nothing to write home about. Had fish trio swordfish overcooked. Veggies good. For price paid totally disappointed. They did not do Sam Chop proud Sept 6th.
    Special Features:
    scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great View
    CoffeeTime
    Dined on 9/5/2014
    Food is good. Their Maitais are strong. The sunset view is outstanding. The manager does a good job of keeping customers happy.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • romantic dinner
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 8/26/2014
    although we did not get a table with the best view what we wished we had a great wvening withh good food.
    Special Features:
    scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Sams
    Josse
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    Amazing Lamb & Duck! Also Fish Trio! To die for ! Really great customer service ! Little pricey but worth it!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • LoriSeaman
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    Have been here several times and intend to keep coming back and keep recommending it to others. Love it! And the best part is, it's consistently good.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, scenic view, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • We came Back
    PnRTraveling
    Dined on 8/21/2014
    This was our second time at Sam Choy's and it was as great as we remembered it! We made our reservations just before sunset and requested a view table, which we received. We ordered the spare-ribs as an appetizer, it was delicious and would recommend as a starter. We both had the house salad with the oriental ranch dressing, what a different twist, with very fresh vegetables. The Trio of Fresh Fish was next for both of us. They were prepared different ways and were all wonderful. Bread pudding was good definitely the weakest of what we had. Our only complaint was that our main course came out before we were finished with our salads.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • kailuagrl
    kailuagrl
    Dined on 8/17/2014
    Sam's exceeds our expectations every time we visit. Food is exceptional, service is great and you can't beat the view. We will be back soon.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Ready for another visit
    michaelhartzell
    Dined on 8/17/2014
    Our next trip will have us visiting Sam Choy's on the first night vs the last. The Duck, the fresh catch of the day, the sunset view -- all spectacular. David made us his own special margarita (and still deciding on a name) This will be a visit on the first night on our next trip. Excellent.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, late-night find, scenic view, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Outstanding!!!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    The service was off the chart! Food was amazing. Overall experience was wonderful. Very romantic and perfect for couples.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 31 ratings-only reviews submitted since July 31, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.5
    • Food4.3
    • Ambiance4.5
    • Service4.5
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 512 reviews are from the Sam Choy's Kai Lanai reviews archive.
  • Best view for dining on the island
    foodieVIP
    Dined on 7/30/2014
    Gorgeous views that our probably the best possible in the Kona area. Food as always was wonderful with new features to the menu daily. Sam's was always our favorite on Oahu, but that branch has since closed, so now we come to Kona for our dose of Sam Choy.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, scenic view, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Dining on the of the world!
    Rayneman
    Dined on 7/24/2014
    What a great view while sipping on a Mai Tai and having some Poke and other Pupus. The service was excellent as the staff were friendly and attentive. The dinner was wonderful with the fresh seafood and mouth watering rib eye and NY strip steaks! We will definitely come back to dine and watch another sunset at Sam Choy's!
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, scenic view, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Sensational sunset view
    SMH1
    Dined on 7/23/2014
    The food was fresh, healthy, and beautifully presented...each platter had a fresh orchid on it...a very nice touch. The service was top notch. We are only in Kona for 2 weeks, and we plan to eat here at least twice more. The stunning view of the sunset from the open-air restaurant and terrific food from local sources make for a very "Hawaiian" experience.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Da Kine Find!!!
    PunaGirl
    Dined on 7/20/2014
    Celebrating my birthday this year was a big deal, as I haven't done so in years, and Sam Choy's was the "perfect" venue to do so! From the moment my date and I walked through the door, we were greeted with smiles and quickly escorted to our lovely table overlooking a sunset washed Kona shoreline below. Our celebratory margaritas were made to perfection and we lulled over the delicious menu choices, probably a bit too long, but what the heck...it was so much fun! We decided to go with an array of pupus instead of main course dishes because we wanted to sample more of Sam's culinary delights and we weren't disappointed, only wish there were more choices available! A complimentary chocolate decadence dessert topped off a perfect meal!!!
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • One of our favorite spots
    hawaiigal
    Dined on 7/18/2014
    Our granddaughter was visiting from Nashville and she said that Sam Choy's was one of the restaurants she wanted to go to. We go there for most special occasions.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, scenic view, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Good food, kitchen timing off
    MJRobins
    Dined on 7/16/2014
    This was the second time we went to Sam's. The first time was very disappointing because the service was so bad. This time our server was wonderful and the food very good. There's few places nicer to see the Sunset in Kona than from an outside table at Sam's. (To get an outside table, I'd definitely recommend reservations.) My one complaint was the timing of the dishes from the kitchen. There were long lags between the courses, especially between the entree and dessert. Also to be improved would be the hostess - it's always nice when there's someone there to thank you for dining with them.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent food!
    Firsttimersamazed4sure
    Dined on 7/15/2014
    First timers at Sam Choys. We heard thru media that it was good. We had no idea his status as a chef was this highly regarded. We did not know he had a t.v show and several cook books. We do know that we could not stop raving about the quality and flavors of the meal. My hubbie had the fish trio and I had the steak with shiitake mushroom sauce. We even brought some home and ate it the next day and the flavours were still there! It was clearly the best meal we've had in a very long time. Thank you for the great food! Desert was excellent too!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Kai Lanai
    KonaLinda
    Dined on 7/13/2014
    This is one of my favorite places in Kona! It is always such a delightful experience to come here. I enjoy bring family and friends that are visiting from the mainland. They enjoy it as well. I appreciate Sam and his crew immensely as he adds so much to Kona and this beautiful island of Hawaii.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, scenic view, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great value and great food
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 7/10/2014
    Very nice sunset view. Excellent food. Really good prices.
    Special Features:
    scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Too many bugs
    Hawaiian
    Dined on 7/6/2014
    This place is great, except for all the bugs. My husband had to return a drink because bugs were swimming in it. Other than that, the food, service, and ambiance were good.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, romantic, late-night find, scenic view, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • ddavis
    Dined on 7/5/2014
    The view and food were very good went back a second time before we went back to phoenix
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, scenic view, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Needs tweaking
    Fooddiva
    Dined on 7/5/2014
    Chose this for our last night. Our waiter was less than attentive and then he disappeared! He was sent home but never told us and we had to ask for help. Turns out they forgot to have us cared for...once they realized it the management apologized and offered us a free dessert/coffee. That being said...the main coarse 3 Fish and my fish in Ti leaves were both quite tasty.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great service
    Micandrea
    Dined on 6/28/2014
    Our waiter was excellent, sorry I don't remember his name. His description of each on tray was mouth watering and we enjoyed how he used his hands in his expressions.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • A Better Sam Choy's
    soimarriedahapahaole
    Dined on 6/23/2014
    After visiting the Honolulu location, where the food was good but the ambiance and location less impressive, the Keahou location just south of Kona on the Big Island was a great step up. Same great food, and the lanai's ocean view was spectacular. Sunsets are amazing there, since the view is westward. I indicated "fit for foodies," because you might learn local ways to prepare fish (furikake-encrusted spear fish in my last entree), as well as local names for the different species. Many tourist families make it more casual than you might be seeking for a quiet, romantic dinner. Great evening, overall.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Thee BEST on th Big Island
    SunniDae
    Dined on 6/19/2014
    GREAT for *Special* times, or any time. Loved my Calamari. Sam Choys knows how to fix it and a great serving. Had a garden/house salad with their own salad dressing. I also had a virgin MaiTai. Surprised by the flavor. TRY IT! My husband had a fish trio diner. Plenty for one person. Then out came a tiny little cake and a tiny serving of ice cream. PERFECT for us! They sang Happy Birthday to me and wished us a HAPPY 11th Anniversary. Just the best place to eat. We'll be going back again before we leave. Thank you Sam Choys for a beautiful evening meal under the stars. To Aurthur, our waiter, you took care of us well! Thank you!
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, scenic view, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Aloha from Tucson
    TeamLeaVIP
    Dined on 6/18/2014
    Have been to the original Sam Choys when it was up by Costco in Kona, and we visit almost every year and go to his new location, which we went when it was the Wendy's with the killer view then sat vacant for years...so glad it's Sam's!! Salad dressing rocks!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, late-night find, scenic view, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great Views
    Lovehawaii
    Dined on 6/17/2014
    I took both of my sons to Sam's and we had a wonderful dinner! The wait staff was very accommodating and reseated us to one of the outside tables so we could experience the view. (We had reservations for 7:30 and I told them we'd wait for an outside table but they moved us right away) My boys (21 and 11years) loved their food. Duck and pork dishes. I am a vegan so the food experience was more fir their benefit. I had the pasta dish with veggies. It wasn't anything remarkable but I wasn't expecting a fabulous vegan dish. :) Our waiter was very friendly and knowledgeable about the menu.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • john & Diane
    Washingtonites
    Dined on 6/15/2014
    My husband and I went to Sam Choys for dinner and got a great table with no one in front of us. Very nice waitress and the food was good. A bit expensive.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, scenic view, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Awesome View
    SteveMc
    Dined on 6/12/2014
    The food was excelent and the view is one of the best on the island. I recomend getting there in time to watch the sunset. The waiter was friendly and accomodated some picky personalities!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, scenic view, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Sam Chou
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 6/10/2014
    Fabulous. Location and food to match. Reasonable prices,big portions, beautiful presentation
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, scenic view, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good food and view
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 6/8/2014
    Great view of the sun setting over keahou bay. Food was very tasty. However service was lacking. Our order was taken promptly and food arrived quickly, even had a visit from the executive chef. However once we had finished our meal we were left waiting for over 40 minutes for our plates to be cleared and dessert or more drinks to be offered. When we finally ordered our dessert we were told a couple had been waiting over an hour for our table, even though we had only been around 1.5 hours and had been left unattended for 40 minutes!! Not sure why we were hurried along as there were other tables free, and we had made a booking. Overall the food and view were lovely so worth a trip, just make sure you have an extended booking.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.