Sam Choy's Kai Lanai

3.9
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1412 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 1412 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
3.9based on recent ratings
3.8
food
4.1
service
4.4
ambience
3.6
value
Noise · Quiet
76% of people would recommend it to a friend
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CL
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall2food3service4ambience5

Great place to watch the sunset. But the food did not meet our expectations, especially for the price. Had 5 minutes to eat salad before the main course arrived and they weren't super busy. Don't waste your money and find a different spot to watch the sunset.

OT
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall2food1service2ambience3

Keep trying Sam Choy’s and continue to be disappointed. Unremarkable food, cold mashed potatoes that were like glue. Pricey for what you get.

CC
Seattle
2 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall3food3service3ambience3

We go here every January while on holiday. Today’s experience was very lackluster. Slow service, average fish special...disappointing. The views remain amazing, but in the future we will just go for drinks, if at all.

CW
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall2food2service3ambience4

I had a special fish trio and my wife had Mahi mahi. We were highly disappointed. None of the fish had any flavor. The vegetables were basically raw and also didn’t have any flavor. We also had a calamari appetizer- it too had no flavor.

CP
Anchorage
1 review
Dined on January 16, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had a very attentive waitress. Meals were delicious. Very large group function that looked like they were having a good time but that didn’t impact our dinner or experience at Sam Choy.

CM
Anchorage
1 review
Dined on January 16, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Superb service by Becca! Food was excellent! Cost is the only factor keeping us from going every night!

OT
Hawaii
3 reviews
Dined on January 16, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Nice evening! We were dining outside when it started to rain. The staff was quick to move our table just under cover and took great care of us!

F
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on January 11, 2020
Overall3food3service3ambience3

A beautiful view as the restaurant is open on all four sides. Our service from our waiter wasn’t something to write home about. He did the minimum that was needed, but not more then that. It seemed his other tables received more attention from him than ours.
The Fish Trio Entree was excellent, but the Ahi Tuna Special Entree for the night wasn’t a hearty portion as stated by the waiter. It was pricey considering the portion given. The Clams and Portuguese Sausage Appetizer was delicious. It needed some bread, possibly sourdough or some type of crusty bread to be able to soak up the yummy broth. Dessert wasn’t ordered as the options weren’t very exciting.
The speciality tropical drinks ordered was a good portion size and delicious. I can’t remember their names, but remembered it was good and accompanied the Entrees ordered above.

An experience due to the name, but not a place I’d return again for the price.

U
New York Area
63 reviews
Dined on January 10, 2020
Overall5food4service5ambience3

We had a wonderful experience thanks to our server Becca! We have been here before but this time her energetic and fun personality made the difference. We so appreciate when someone clearly enjoys their job and it shows through. Appreciate the great experience! We’ll be back 😃

M
Sacramento
11 reviews
Dined on January 6, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Happy Hour before 5:00pm
Best place for sunsets 🌅

TS
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on January 5, 2020
Overall2food2service3ambience3

The duck was incredibly overcooked, the drinks were mediocre, and the waitress was great until we realized it had been about 30 minutes since we'd finished eating and still hadn't seen her again. It's an overpriced, tourist-catering spot that doesn't deserve the chef's name any more.

OT
1 review
Dined on January 4, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great view.

KR
Hawaii
4 reviews
Dined on January 4, 2020
Overall3food2service4ambience4

Sam Choy's has nothing to do with the chef Sam Choy, and their food reflects this- unispired. Execution was just ok (my caesar salad was made with rusty lettuce). We only got aps- i recommend this route. The sunset veiw can't be beat and the fire pit table is super cool.

M
Sacramento
11 reviews
Dined on January 3, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Best spot for catching the sunset In Keahou!

HD
Edmonton
19 reviews
Dined on January 3, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Second time at Sam’s and just like the first tine it was a great meal with a beautiful Hawaiian sunset.

OT
Hawaii
1 review
Dined on January 2, 2020
Overall3food3service4ambience4

Fish trio was bland.

b
Vancouver
1 review
Dined on January 1, 2020
Overall3food3service4ambience5

View is gorgeous, drinks were great, food was okay, calamari apps was overcooked and dessert was awful

OT
Portland
1 review
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Service is always the best at Sam Choys! Our meal was great as usual and the sunset was magnificent.

R
Washington DC
10 reviews
Dined on December 30, 2019
Overall1food2service1ambience3

The food and service were lacking. I definitely would not recommend this place.

j
Portland
1 review
Dined on December 30, 2019
Overall1food1service1ambience2

This restaurant was very disappointing. First it is very loud even though it's outdoors. The food was served Luke warm at best and was not appetizing. Our server was slow, somewhat rude and not helpful with the menu. I left my dinner uneaten, my companion somehow choked his down. Don't go there.

s
Las Vegas
5 reviews
Dined on December 30, 2019
Overall3food3service4ambience5

The location is great. The views spectacular. MaiTai's were delicious. The service was very good. I had the 3 fish dinner and all the fish was over cooked. Guess I should have sent it back. Rather expensive for what I received. Love to go for Happy hour and Pupu's but not so much for full on dinner..

TT
Orange County
14 reviews
Dined on December 30, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience5

Beautiful location and view. Amazing Pina Colada’s. We had a fire pit table and that made for a fun meal with a beautiful view of the sunset. Trio fresh catch meal was good but part of the fish was dry, but it had a delicious sauce. Pork noodle meal was average. Definitely go here for a pina colada!!

AL
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on December 28, 2019
Overall3food3service5ambience4

Our waitress was kind and attentive. We arrived at 8 for our 8pm reservation. We were seated within 5-10 min of arriving. We ordered immediately. When the food arrived the waitress alerted us that we needed to order our dessert because the kitchen was closing. The waitress delivered our dessert which contained ice cream while we were in the middle of eating our dinner. Unfortunately we chose this place for a birthday celebration. I wish the restaurant would have booked us at 7-7:30 so we would not have been so rushed. The food was mixed some good and some fair. The overall cost was expensive for the food quality and experience. Go early or do not choose this place.

OT
Salt Lake City
2 reviews
Dined on December 28, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great fish! Watched the sunset- beautiful!

KJ
San Francisco
19 reviews
Dined on December 27, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Sam Choy's is a nice place for lunch or dinner in Keauhou. The view is great. I had the short rib and it was very good. My husband had the trio of fish, as usual, and loved it!
The service is good. We went between Christmas and New Year's so it was busy but we were still waiting on in a timely manner and our food came out quickly. If you are going for dinner, I would get a reservation. Lunch is a nice time to go. It's not usually as busy and the lunch menu has a nice selection.

G
San Diego
64 reviews
Dined on December 27, 2019
Overall4food4service3ambience5

The views are incredible. The food is really well done; far better than Huggo’s and other restaurants that people Tend to be attracted to, and at half the price. The thing that struck me was that most of the patrons there the night we were there were locals.

C
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on December 27, 2019
Overall2food1service1ambience3

Totally caters to tourism. The food quality has gone way down and yet prices remains very high. The service staff is very inexperienced and it shows. I wish Sam Choy could have seen what’s become of his name. Sad.

a
Philadelphia
31 reviews
Dined on December 26, 2019
Overall1food1service1ambience5

What an absolute disappointment from the start of what should have been a great experience based on the past but clearly life ha changed here over 5!years. A pleasant waitress greeted us after about 5 minutes and then down hill from there. Wait wait wait after waiting for our order of pupu which arrived incorrectly
I ordered the Kauai clams with pepper and a broth which was flavorless and filled with soft flavorless noodles
The clams were at least fresh thank gD but flavorless
The entrees arrived late and were incorrectly listed as grilled fish which my daughter started eating
Sadly she reviewed macadamia crusted fish and is ALLERGIC
Thankful I am a physician and she was given Benadryl
The service deteriorated rapidly and frankly I just learned atbthe heritage of Sam Choy is deax
This restaurant is not even owned by Sam Choy and his excellence at Hawaiian fusion is more a result of a nuclear meltdown now at this restaurant
Despite the offering of a free dessert, we left as rapidly as we could despite the lack of any gastronomic excellence which was my memory 5 years ago from a giant of Hawaiian fusion
The heritage I remembered was absent and is a sad day form my last day in Hawai’i
This restaurant should change its name since the name of Sam Choy is being amazingly ridiculed and enbarassed
For me eating a Costco hot dog to have anything to eat is sadly the end of this evening

OT
Hawaii
1 review
Dined on December 25, 2019
Overall4food3service5ambience4

We had a lovely Christmas dinner here. The view was beautiful looking out over the water. The staff was friendly and attentive, and all spirits were high!

A
Hawaii
1 review
Dined on December 25, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Christmas dinner with friends

OT
Denver
1 review
Dined on December 24, 2019
Overall1food1service3ambience2

We went to Sam Choys to celebrate Christmas Eve. After eating at his restaurants for many years, we were very disappointed in the meal. Apparently Sam Choy has exited the Hawaiian islands for Japan and sold his franchise restaurants to a COLORADO company. Not sure if this is why the meal was so poor but these are some of the things that happened. We waited 50 minutes for appetizers. We waited an hour and a half for our main meal. When the meal came ...three out of the five dishes were cold. A noodle dish to include clams and sausage came without the noodles. My daughter’s seared Ahi tuna was replaced with Marlin without any explanation. Apparently the delay in the main course was they had run out of mashed potatoes for the restaurant and we’re replacing everything with rice...so the kitchen got backed up. Although the server was doing her best to keep us happy at the end of the meal she presented us a check and said would you like the manager to take something off your meal. Of course we would ! ... you shouldn’t have to ask that question after very poor service.

Sam Choy had built a very successful franchise out of serving very good locally inspired food and parlayed that into a successful group of restaurants. Last nights experience proves that he’s walked away from his name on these restaurants and somehow the new owners don’t see the same commitment. We all hope this is a one time affair but somehow I think not.

OT
Las Vegas
3 reviews
Dined on December 22, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Each time we’ve come here we’ve had a great experience. We really love the view of the ocean, the quality of the food, and the service. We seem to get the same server each time, Paul, who knows the menu well and has helped us pick the right meals each time. I have a hearing disorder so I don’t always enjoy live music, but the musician they had when we visited had such a calm, mellow voice and he put a Hawaiian twist on all of the songs, so I found it very enjoyable! (I have had to leave restaurants before with live music because it becomes painful).
I really enjoy this restaurant, and we’ll be back before the end of our trip.

A
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on December 22, 2019
Overall1food1service4ambience3

Horrible over-priced food. All our fish dishes were overcooked and had no flavor.

LG
Portland
3 reviews
Dined on December 15, 2019
Overall2food1service4ambience4

The setting was pleasant with very attentive service. But dinner menu was very unappealing. I didn’t find the menu posted and went by the high rating. Mistake.
The lunch menu looked ok and I’m sure the view is fabulous. I would not recommend coming here for dinner when you can’t see the view.

k
Portland
19 reviews
Dined on December 15, 2019
Overall3food3service2ambience5

Dinner with friends. We’ve been to this restaurant many times and typically eat in the bar and chat with bartender(s) but opted for a table this visit. The fresh catch was ahi. One of us ordered that and 2 of us chose the fish trio and ahi was supposed to be 1 of the 3. Nobody got ahi, the waiter made a wise remark about “the fun people are back in the kitchen” whatever that is supposed to mean. The fish we did have was very good. Service was slow and unprofessional and waiters shirt was dirty. The view is fabulous here and it’s a great place to see the sunset.

AR
Orlando
8 reviews
Dined on December 11, 2019
Overall1food2service1ambience3

Our experience was awful! Started out fine but it took 25 minutes during happy hour to get our appetizer and then 2 minutes later our entrees came out. Our server disappeared - later came by to say she’d been moved to a different section. It then took 30 minutes after we ordered to get dessert. Our server finally came around to say the first dessert had been burned so they remade our dessert- was not worth the wait. A manager never came to speak to us and our server acted like it was perfectly fine that she moved sections and ignored us. Bathrooms smelled and weren’t clean. An overall awful experience with poor service, terrible drinks, and overpriced food. The view is great for sunset though.

IK
1 review
Dined on December 6, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Perfect in every way. Impeccable food. Outstanding and knowledgeable service. Attention to detail accommodating my food allergies. We began and ended our trip at Sam Choy's. Mahalo!

T
Toronto
25 reviews
Dined on December 6, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Jean was awesome. The view was awesome. The food was fresh and tasty.

IA
Central Coast
10 reviews
Dined on December 3, 2019
Overall3food2service4ambience4

Tuesday's, 12/03/19 lunch server and bar tender over charged me for a glass of Coconut Martini - $12.50 (55% more than what I paid for from our Mon, 12/02/19 dinner).

Last Monday's, 12/02/19 Coconut Martini cost me only $8.00 and tastes a lot better.

It is really sad Sam Choy's staff (server and bar tender) take advantage and over charged of tourists of same drink. :-(

I would really appreciate if OpenTable could relay this message / review to the Sam Choy's owner please.

Thank you!

J
Miami
6 reviews
Dined on November 30, 2019
Overall2food2service3ambience5

We had been to Sam Choys many times before. It is a killer location, this time we went with the whole family and it was a disappointment. Everything from the server to the food. Only thing we loved is the location