Sam Choy's Kai Lanai

4.0
1265 reviews
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$30 and under
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Hawaii Regional Cuisine
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.

What 1265 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.0based on recent ratings
4.0
food
4.1
service
4.4
ambience
3.7
value
Noise · Moderate
78% of people would recommend it to a friend
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DD
Hawaii
18 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Really first-rate service from Derrick. He knew everything on the menu, had the orders in his head and was at the table at the right time. The duck is terrific, tasty and a hefty portion as well. The mashed potatoes come off as really salty. I know that is what people want but lo-salt menus are healthy. You get all the salt you need in milk, bread, butter etc without adding it.
Not to be missed are the quiet Sunday breakfasts with super prices.

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SL
Portland
1 review
Dined on March 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Anniversary dinner:delicious food, great service + a lovely evening!

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B
London
2 reviews
Dined on March 17, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 2ambience 5

This was our second time here and we recommended it to our friends who joined us. We had a reservation and were promptly seated by a post. After asking why our reservation was not good enough for the empty tables by the outside wall overlooking the ocean, we were moved appropriately.
The waitress took our order; however, we found out much later that the order was not rung into the computer. She brought out complementary salads and explained the error and the meals would be out in a bit.
When the meals came, my wife's short ribs were not there and a steak had been mistakenly rung in. Needless to say we were tired of waiting so my wife ate some of the steak and the potatoes and vegetables.
Overall one thing after another and it really distracted from a nicely planned evening out. The restaurant did not charge for the mistaken short rib meal and did provide free desserts for the amount of time we waited.
The manager never came over to apologize for the numerous errors and left the waitress to handle the mix ups. Not very professional as far as I'm concerned. Too bad because our first visit here last year was wonderful.
Take your chances I guess; however, we will not be returning anytime soon.

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TF
San Diego
17 reviews
Dined on March 13, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 2

great location - nice staff - good fish- terrible side dishes- like cafeteria style potatoes and vegetables- too bad - because it would take so little to make this a really nice dining place

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S
Ottawa
4 reviews
Dined on March 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great atmosphere and we lucked in for a wonderful sunset--though the people standing in front of us taking pictures was temporarily annoying! Food was a bit pricey but well prepared. Service was great.

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CM
1 review
Dined on March 9, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

Unbeatable scenery. Excellant mac crusted fish. Strong hurricanes.

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F
Montana
12 reviews
Dined on March 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Relaxing and delicious. Beautiful view of sunset.

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DK
1 review
Dined on March 7, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Beautiful view makes it a lovely place for dinner, although the prices are a bit high.

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SB
1 review
Dined on March 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Our waitress brought out salad just seconds before main entrees delivered. Poor timing on her part. Lack of attention to bar and other drink refills was lacking. One man in group refused his seafood entree until finished with his salad. General Mgr saved the night by getting a fresh fish entree when he was ready and presented group with a few compensated desserts. I would go there again when visiting Kona, HI as sunset was wonderful. Food was fresh and beautifully presented with good flavor especially the seafood trio, braised beef short ribs melted in your mouth. Asian pork noodle entreee could use a bit more flavor/seasoning.

I would suggest adding some lighter and varied appetizers and salads for persons who want to enjoy drinks and desserts too.

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MM
Hawaii
1 review
Dined on March 5, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 1ambience 5

Restaurant had 20 people. We waited 45 minutes for our meal. Our server spent 30 mins visiting with another table and I suspect she forgot to turn in our order. She offered free dessert but we just wanted to leave. Food was good once we got it. What happens it takes 45 mins to make a salad. Our first visit had terrible food

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OT
Los Angeles
2 reviews
Dined on March 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent fresh fish. We asked for it to be prepared differently-- just grilled. Yum yum yummmmm

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EL
1 review
Dined on March 3, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Nate our server was FABULOUS..... The table we were given was okay - we had to move as we suddenly got bombarded by small children walking along the lava wall and running by us to go to the telescope on the side. Staff asked them to stop ...... however I believe the parents should of done more. Once we moved we enjoyed our experience more.

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DO
1 review
Dined on March 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Sam Choys is a relaxing high end restaurant. I purposefully made a reservation so our meal would be able to enjoy the sunset. It did not disappoint. Our waitress was attentive to our needs without being over attentive. I would recommend this to others, especially if looking for a Pacific Ocean seafood experience.

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OT
San Francisco
13 reviews
Dined on March 2, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Very nice place, food above average for sure. The View and interior of restaurant is fantastic. Fancy dinner or just happy hour at the bar. Good place to go

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F
Montana
12 reviews
Dined on March 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We are visiting Kona. When we come we always go to Sams at least twice. Beautiful view. Glad that you can reserve a outside table on open table. Perfect place to watch sunset. Food is always good too.

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DJ
Seattle
3 reviews
Dined on March 1, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

Good food, good service, great view, and a good value.

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L
Las Vegas
1 review
Dined on March 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We have eaten at Sam Choy's for several years. The service and food are always exceptional.
Great view affords a Great Evening. Thanks to all at Sam Choy's

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LP
1 review
Dined on February 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Best place where I ate on my vacation! Dessert menu could use a little improvement though.

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DJ
Toronto
3 reviews
Dined on February 27, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 2ambience 4

One of the worst meals we have ever had. The menus looked so promising, but both dishes we ordered were so bland it was laughable. My crab cakes were cold and flavorless, my wife's fish was overcooked and we had to get that taken off the menu. I was too polite to ask for both items to be removed from the bill. Also, after being obviously unhappy with the quality of the food, no manager came to the table to talk with us.

On top of this the prices they are charging are outrageous!

I want Sam Choy to personally apologize for the meal and send me a check refunding the rest of the $56 of my bill. Has he actually tasted the food here?

Avoid this restaurant at all costs.

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RM
San Diego
4 reviews
Dined on February 24, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 5

The food was very good and more than enough to fill a hungry person. It took a while before we had a server show up but not terribly long. Although we had a reservation, the table they gave us was not even cleaned up or reset for our party. We ordered an appetizer with drinks before dinner. The drinks came promptly followed by the appetizer within 5 minutes after that. We barely took our first bite of the appetizer and our food was brought out. Made the appetizer unappealing.

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CS
1 review
Dined on February 24, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 4

Menu so reduced not happy about that. Food still nice and priced well but menu disappointing.

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OT
Hawaii
2 reviews
Dined on February 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was outstanding. Beautiful panoramic view of the ocean. Half of us had fish and half the mac crushed chicken-prepared to perfection. Never had a bad experience here. Highly recommended. Utilized Open Table app for reservations and had a great table in the middle of the dining room in spite of 6:30 pm reservations and a full house. No waiting-walked in and immediately seated.

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BL
Palm Springs
3 reviews
Dined on February 22, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Sam Choy’s has an unbelievable view, great atmosphere, super service with a smile and pleasant attitude, good food. We enjoyed our evening and dinner meal very much and we would definitely return. Prices range from $20 to $40 for a dinner entree.

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CL
Hawaii
2 reviews
Dined on February 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

My favorite Kona restaurant! Love the Trio of Fish, always something different to try.

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OT
Denver
3 reviews
Dined on February 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

The macadamia nut encrusted catch was amazing!

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MV
Los Angeles
6 reviews
Dined on February 20, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 4ambience 4

If you come from far and food is at a premium this is for you. For us this overpriced unimaginative menu didn’t work. The poke was tasteless, another fish was not fully cooked, the crab cakes could have been leftovers and the mai tai was warm. Save your precious dollars and dine elsewhere.

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SF
Manitoba
4 reviews
Dined on February 20, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

The Fish was amazing as described by the people in my party! Need more vegan and vegetarian options as there were none on the dinner menu. However when I asked they told me I could have tofu instead of meat to the noodle dish. It was good but could have used with a bit more flavour or spice. Outstanding service and ambiance. I highly recommend.

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PA
San Francisco
20 reviews
Dined on February 20, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 2ambience 3

View is outstanding...however...the food is just OK. My sea bass was old and not well seasoned. Rice was dry and tasted as if it had been sitting there all day. Husband had the duck and it was overcooked. Poke appetizer was good. Waitress did not know how to properly open a bottle of wine nor did she know to have us taste it to make sure it was ok....so if you are a beer drinker I guess you will be OK. Go for the view just before sunset, have a beer, then eat somewhere else.

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f
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on February 18, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Food cold and not delivered to all 6 of us at same time

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KT
1 review
Dined on February 18, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 3

We made a reservation for about a half hour before sunset (but there was none as it was totally overcast), arrived 5-7 minutes ahead of time & were seated immediately. It was a cool damp night for the Kona coast (after a rainy day) and our table for 2 was just under the roof overhang near the west "edge" of the restaurant, which has just two walls (east & south) and two totally open areas to the west & north to feature the "million dollar" view. We were comfortable enough, and away from the noisy bar areas & kitchen, and we were not crowded. The food & drink were excellent. Service was good and friendly. Price includes the view. We would go back again, maybe for lunch next time to enjoy the view longer.

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CN
Calgary
1 review
Dined on February 18, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

Very good dinner, spectacular view! A bit pricey..otherwise, a solid 4/5.

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OT
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on February 18, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

It was fine

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N
Philadelphia
12 reviews
Dined on February 17, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

The menu is odd. No vegetarian options. No basic fare. Even the one steak option had a coffee coating. I thought the side dishes limited also. The service was rushed. Alrhough attentive to get drinks and food on the table, there was no follow up as to our satisfaction with the meals. Come for lunch or a drink to watch the sunset. Pass on dinner until they change their menu.

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CE
New England
19 reviews
Dined on February 17, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 3

My husband and I had dinner here for sunset. Great view! Our server was very friendly and on top of things. I had the short rib which was delicious. My husbands fresh catch of the day (Hawaiian Sea Bass) was way over cooked. He is not one to send things back so ate it anyway. I don’t understand how the kitchen could serve a dish that was so obviously over cooked, especially in Hawaii at Sam Choys who is known for fish. I would go back for the short ribs but if you want good fish, this may not be the place for you.

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L
Vancouver
6 reviews
Dined on February 17, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 5

Been here four times over our six weeks stay in Kona. On this occasion the service wasn’t great but the food was excellent. The waitress seemed a bit overwhelmed.

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SG
Hawaii
1 review
Dined on February 16, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

The outside dinning experience was amazing because we could see at least two pods of whales blowing and breaching without binoculars and the sunset was beautiful. The food was very good, but my steak was a bit over cooked. I ordered a medium well, but it arrived medium to well done. Still delicious. The service was great! Very attentive and responsive without hovering.

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TA
Hawaii
1 review
Dined on February 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food, drinks, and service. A very nice place to be at sunset (and beyond). Much, much better than the resorts.

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P
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on February 15, 2019
Overall 3food 1service 4ambience 4

Great view of the bay especially at sunset but lackluster food was not worth the price and, with 5 people ordering 5 different entrees, you'd think that maybe one or two would be good if not stellar. Maybe a drink at sunset would have been a better choice.

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P
Phoenix
2 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was fantastic, service was quick once we got to order, & the view stupendous.

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S
St. Louis
15 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We went to Sam Choy’s for my birthday lunch and Valentines Day. It is high on our list of favorite restaurants and has never disappointed.

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