About 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.

78-6831 Ali'i Dr.
Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
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Dining Style:
Casual Dining

Cuisines:
Hawaii Regional Cuisine

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

Dress Code:
Casual Dress

Price Range:
$30 and under

Payment Options
AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, JCB, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(808) 333-3434

Website:
http://www.samchoy.com/

Parking Details:
Lot plus over flow parking lot with cart service between over flow lot and restaurant.

Executive Chef:
Sam Choy

Additional:
Beer, Fireplace, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, View, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Private Dining

If you have an intimate party or a large gathering, you will select your menu or defer to Chef Choy’s suggestions and life-long experience in preparing custom, creative and undeniably delicious food.

Sam Choy's Kai Lanai Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

3.9

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

3.8

service

3.9

ambience

4.2

value

3.6

Noise

Moderate

74% would recommend it to a friend

Scenic View (37)
Great for Outdoor Dining (32)
Casual (19)
See All
Local Ingredients (18)
Good for a Date (16)
Romantic (13)
Fun (12)
Good for Anniversaries (11)
Creative Cuisine (11)
Good for Groups (11)
Special Occasion (11)
Good for Birthdays (10)
Bar Seating (10)
Great for Lunch (10)
Quiet Conversation (9)
Worth the Drive (9)
Comfort Food (8)
Fit for Foodies (8)
Happy Hour (8)
Neighborhood Gem (8)
Handcrafted Cocktails (7)
People Watching (7)
Waterfront (7)
Authentic (6)
Healthy (6)
Hot Spot (5)
Business Meals (4)
Cozy (4)
Tasting Menu (4)
Good Vegetarian Options (4)
Great for Brunch (4)
Kid-friendly (3)
Organic (3)
Pre/post Theatre (3)
Tapas (3)
Afternoon Coffee (2)
Disabled Access (2)
Gluten Free Options (2)
Great Beer (2)
Quick Bite (2)
Seasonal (2)
Sunday Lunch (2)
Vegan (2)
Afternoon Tea (1)
Late-night Find (1)
Live Sports (1)
Notable Wine List (1)
Paleo Friendly (1)
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1026 reviews
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 (San Francisco)·Dined 4 days ago

Nice quiet spot with a fabulous view, at least at noon on a weekday.

Service was very attentive and we were made to feel as welcome as any local.

Food was excellent. Good portions for the price. We had the Moe Moe Saimin. So good!

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Seattle)·Dined 4 days ago

Wow, this place has gone downhill, and it didn’t start out great. We went in a Friday night, had a 7:45 reservation but got there a bit early and were seated right away. This was initially a plus, but in hindsight should have been a red flag since on previous trips there was always a wait.

Service was good, we enjoyed our server and he did A good job.

Not sure if there was a bread service, we had bread plates- but didn’t receive any bread so found it odd we had the plates.

The food was terrible and is the reason for my review. Worst was the rack of lamb served over linguine ($33!) . I requested the lamb prepared rare, but this would be best described as slightly browned on the outside and totally raw the rest of the way through (for reference I love blue rare steak, sushi, tartare dishes, etc...). The linguine that came with it was totally tasteless and came in a very soupy cream sauce that included an odd assortment of squash and celery mixed in. If I were to find a plus, there was a TON of it so I was able take it to go and with some additions can probably salvage it as a side dish for my family later on the trip. I have almost all the lamb left as well and hope once it sees a grill or a broiler again on our trip someone might enjoy it. Other less than stellar items were the Caesar salad, tasted like bagged grocery store salad & crispy chicken wings- less crispy than over coated in panko bread crumbs.

Ambiance started off Ok, but as we were mid dinner they began to totally shut down one half of the restaurant- tables were all cleared and all chairs up on the tables. This was directly next to our table and made us feel rushed since it seemed like the staff was ready to close up (again we sat at 7:30 on a Friday, so it wasn’t that late).

All and all cannot recommend, especially for the prices. Will not be back.

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food1
ambience2
service3
value1

 
 (Portland)·Dined 4 days ago

The only truly unfortunate thing is we requested a fire pit table and weren’t able to have one. Even though they weren’t fully booked.

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food4
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Oklahoma City)·Dined 5 days ago

The noise was very loud, the food marginal, service good. We have been here before and the food, at least what we ordered, was much better. We would not recommend dining there to anyone and we will not return.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food2
ambience1
service4
value2

vip
 (Portland)·Dined 6 days ago

It was Valentines Day, they were short staff d and busy. Since it was reservations only, they knew in advance how busy theru were going to be. This restaurant has seriously slipped in quality since my last visit.

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food2
ambience4
service3
value2

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined 7 days ago

Service a bit slow, food delicious!

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food4
ambience4
service3
value3

 
 (Manitoba)·Dined on February 12, 2018

Such a wonderful evening out. Sam Choy’s provides everything you could want for a memorable experience. The food is outstanding, the ambience, view is world class and the service is outstanding. We will be back.

Tags: Special Occasion, Quiet Conversation, Authentic
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Hawaii)·Dined on February 12, 2018

Sam Choy's has a great view of Keauhou Bay and is a fun spot to take visitors. The dinner menu is a little pricey, I think, for the food. One person in my party ordered the shrimp Alfredo and it was a little dry. The menu is somewhat limited for dinner, and is confusing because the lunch menu is listed along with the dinner menu, but the items on the lunch menu aren't available for dinner. Still has a beautiful setting and a great bar.

Tags: Happy Hour, Scenic View, Special Occasion
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience4
service4
value2

 
 (Portland)·Dined on February 11, 2018

Absolutely awful. 530 reservation. We arrived on time and were seated immediately. We saw our waiter chatting with another table. After 20 minutes a different waiter asked if we had been helped. We ordered a bottle of wine and water was also delivered. 5 minutes past. The waiter who took our wine order told our waiter he had put in the order for wine. Our waiter went to the bar, got a small carafe and went to another table where he proceeded to chat for 15 minutes. We left. 40 minutes and we hadn’t even spoken to our waiter. It was only by chance we got even a glass of water. The food looked good, the location is ok. Nice view if you don’t look down at the shopping center roof top.

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food1
ambience2
service1
value1

vip
 (Hawaii)·Dined on February 11, 2018

Weekend brunch offers tons of food at very low prices. Add to that a great cooling breeze from the Pacific and a stunning view, and you will return.

Tags: Great for Brunch, Gluten Free Options, Healthy
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience5
service4
value4

vip
 (St. Louis)·Dined on February 10, 2018

Awesome view

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food3
ambience5
service4
value4

 
 (Dallas)·Dined on February 9, 2018

Limited menu. Food was okay but not really worth the trip.

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food2
ambience1
service5
value3

 
 (Las Vegas)·Dined on February 9, 2018

Sam Chois has been hit and miss lately. We gave it a shot and were not disappointed. Got the famous trio of fish wish was really good - Salmon was excellent. Also got the daily special. A pasta dish with prawns and MAHI_MAHI - also excellent.

Tags: Special Occasion, Hot Spot, People Watching, Local Ingredients, Good for Birthdays, Cozy, Seasonal, Tapas, Casual, Good for a Date
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service3
value3

 
 (Hawaii)·Dined on February 9, 2018

Thank you for an amazing evening with great food and friendly staff

Tags: Healthy, Romantic, Great for Outdoor Dining, Creative Cuisine, Casual, Fun, Happy Hour
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on February 8, 2018

Great poke and short ribs! View and ambience was spectacular

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Indiana)·Dined on February 7, 2018

The setting at Sam Choy’s is lovely, but the food was mediocre. I had the fish trio. The salmon was fishy, the marlin was overlooked and tasted burned and the spear fish has so much seasoning (blackened) I couldn’t even enjoy the fish. All in all - very disappointing.

Tags: Great for Outdoor Dining
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food2
ambience5
service4
value3

vip
 (Charleston)·Dined on February 7, 2018

Worth it just for the view! The food and service are both first rate in this open-air restaurant overlooking the Pacific on the west coast of Hawaii. Nice variety of cuisines on the menu.

Tags: Worth the Drive, Local Ingredients, Great for Outdoor Dining
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience5
service4
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on February 3, 2018

The staff was great, food excellent and a wonderful setting.

Tags: Notable Wine List, Worth the Drive, Good for Birthdays, Creative Cuisine, Great for Outdoor Dining, Bar Seating
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Hawaii)·Dined on February 3, 2018

The view was amazing. The food was generous portions. I would say it was up scale local options with a definite Island Asian influence. Sunset was amazing, but we enjoyed it so much we came back for lunch.

Tags: Romantic, Creative Cuisine, Bar Seating, Scenic View, Casual, Happy Hour, Great for Lunch, Local Ingredients, Fit for Foodies, Great for Outdoor Dining, Comfort Food
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service4
value4

vip
 (Portland)·Dined on February 1, 2018

A great place to view the Hawaii sunset. Great meal and service. It is a place we always go to when in Kaulia-Kona

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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (Seattle)·Dined on February 1, 2018

Had lunch here before we went to a movie. Service was great. Food was fresh and tasted delicious. They do fish really well here. Love their salad dressing, so good.

Tags: Scenic View, Pre/post Theatre, Good for a Date, Good for Birthdays, Local Ingredients, Great for Lunch, Quiet Conversation, Casual, Great for Outdoor Dining, Special Occasion, Good for Anniversaries, Vegan, Fit for Foodies, Handcrafted Cocktails, Creative Cuisine, Good Vegetarian Options, Fun, Comfort Food, Disabled Access
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Palm Springs)·Dined on January 31, 2018

Great spot for Happy Hour & viewing sunset.

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food4
ambience4
service4
value3

 
 (Las Vegas)·Dined on January 30, 2018

Excellent food and many choices. Great place to watch the sunset.

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food5
ambience5
service4
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 29, 2018

I've been here a few times over the years fit pupus and cocktails on the patio, but this was the first time for dinner. The menu looks exciting with different twists on traditional Hawaiian meals. For example, I ordered the lau lau. It was beautifully presented in what I'll call an open-face style. The fish was perfectly cooked, but the overall dish lacked flavor. I'm not sure how that was possible with the little shrimp and veggies, but it was bland. My husband got the braised short rib and it was delicious. A friend got the mushroom pasta with a parmesan cream sauce. The sauce was more like a watery broth and the veggies overwhelmed the few mushrooms. Not at all what he expected from the description on the menu. Another friend got the fish prepared 3 ways. The coffee crusted was fabulous but the other 2 were just good. The poke pupu plate was good. Lots of tasty poke prepared 3 ways. Overall, the food was good but not as amazing as we all expected. We'll come back sometime and try again because the location is really convenient to our place and the view is great.

Tags: Great for Outdoor Dining, Scenic View, Casual
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food3
ambience4
service4
value3

 
 (Hawaii)·Dined on January 28, 2018

This place is awesome. We come here every year. Fantastic.

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food5
ambience5
service5

vip
 (San Diego)·Dined on January 28, 2018

We love Sam Choy’s and this one was no exception to his fabulous food, made us nostalgic for all the times we ate at his places in Oahu, some of which we understand are closed now. How sad! Anyway, the poki trio was fab, the saimen to die for, and the fish tacos ono. I also had a delicious lychee cocktail and my husband enjoyed 2 local drafts. Service was perfect and overall this was the best meal we had on our 35th wedding anniversary trip! Thank you, Sam Choy!

Tags: Great for Outdoor Dining, Tasting Menu, Neighborhood Gem, Great Beer, People Watching, Good for Anniversaries, Romantic, Cozy, Authentic, Special Occasion, Handcrafted Cocktails, Comfort Food, Fit for Foodies, Scenic View, Worth the Drive, Waterfront, Good for a Date
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

vip
 (Hawaii)·Dined on January 27, 2018

Food was sub par this time. Waitress ditched us for a large party so a few others had to switch out checking on us. It seems like it’s a 50/50 chance of good food/service each time we dine there.

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food2
ambience5
service2
value2

 
 (New England)·Dined on January 27, 2018

Fish was over cooked. Poke was good. Duck was undercooked. Great views, but overall we were disappointed with the experience

Tags: Great for Outdoor Dining
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food2
ambience4
service2
value2

 
 (Hawaii)·Dined on January 25, 2018

Great food and lovely ambience. The prices were a bit steep.

Tags: Scenic View, Good for Anniversaries, Great for Outdoor Dining, Romantic
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Hawaii)·Dined on January 25, 2018

Great Rib Eye, no have drive north. great view. Local legend fisherman owner

Tags: Scenic View
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food5
ambience5
service4
value3

 
 (Calgary)·Dined on January 23, 2018

Excellent service from Brittany, and a reasonably priced offering of seafoods.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Scenic View, Casual
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food4
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Portland)·Dined on January 18, 2018

We ate at the restaurant twice while vacationing in Hawaii.
We liked the staff and how friendly they are. The fish dishes are excellent and prepared the way fish should be fixed. We especially loved the Calamari. I had the catch of the day and thought it was excellent. The fish was Hebi. My husband and son had the trio and also were very pleased.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Special Occasion, Happy Hour, Worth the Drive, Healthy
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Hawaii)·Dined on January 18, 2018

We make sure we eat here at least twice every January we are in Hawaii. It’s one of the best places to watch the sunset.
Robert, a native of Hawaii, was our waiter and went overboard to make sure we were happy.
Mahalo Nui Loa🤙

Tags: Seasonal, Creative Cuisine, Organic, Comfort Food
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on January 16, 2018

The setting has an incredibly huge view of the Pacific Ocean- and there are fire pits on the patio adding to the ambiance. The fabulous Hawaiian food was beautiful, with edible orchids garnishing our plates. The drinks were wonderful, the service very friendly and quick. So glad we went there!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Great for Outdoor Dining, Happy Hour, Good for a Date, Quiet Conversation, Romantic, Local Ingredients, Bar Seating, Authentic
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Phoenix)·Dined on January 11, 2018

Felt more like a sports bar than a seafood restaurant...concrete floors, cheap furniture and multiple TV screens. Cats wandered freely through the restaurant, begging scraps from diners. Food was average, as was service. Much better dining choices in Kona for the prices they charge.

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food2
ambience1
service3

 
 (Chicago)·Dined on January 11, 2018

Our visit to this place was the same day it was reported that the current management of Choy's Kai Lanai (Sam Choy has nothing to do with the place anymore) replaced a yellow "conditional approval" state health department (DOH) placard with a green "Passed" placard, which is illegal and as a result the management was fined $13,000.00! The yellow placard meant there were serious DOH health/safety violations in the place. We had heard about this just before leaving for the evening but went anyway. Our server, whom we trust implicitly, assured us that what we were to order was OK to eat, which it was.
The upshot of this is, if you think Sam Choy has anything to do with the place - Wrong, he sold out to a Colorado firm which apparently seems to think local health department rules don't apply or why would they have changed the placard?
Now, our dinner was just fine...the Calamari app is delicious. We had the striped marlin which is a pleasant mild white fish. Our other entree was the braised short ribs which were delicious.
You may bring your own wine choice for a $15 corking fee, about average.
The view from the outside tables offer a panoramic view of the Pacific, sunset time is popular, of course but you do have look beyond the solar-paneled roofs of the Keauhou Shopping Center which is immediately below the restaurant.
The state DOH has reinspected and issued a green "Passed" placard to the location.

Tags: Scenic View
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food4
ambience3
service5
value3

 
 (Toronto)·Dined on January 10, 2018

I would definitely recommend Sam Choy’s for the scenic view. It overlooks Keahou Bay and is beautiful, especially during sunset. The food was mediocre at best I had the short ribs and they were a bit tough but passable. I shared the bread pudding for dessert and it was very good. They use the sweet bread from punalu’u bakery. The service was decent except for the waiter sweating profusely which was a bit off putting. It is all about the views, which reminds you that you are in paradise.

Tags: Scenic View, Local Ingredients
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food3
ambience5
service3
value3

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on January 9, 2018

One of the best places for a cool drink and beautiful sunset

Tags: Great for Outdoor Dining
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Hawaii)·Dined on January 8, 2018

Stunning sunset view. Good food and drinks

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (Hawaii)·Dined on January 7, 2018

As always, Sam Choy's has great food, a fantastic view and easy parking. Great value for what you get. My wife always gets the Ahi Poke salad, which she loves. I get whatever fish stuff is fresh. I got the triple fish dish, Ahi, Mahi-Mahi & Ebi. It was perfectly prepared & tasted perfect.

Tags: Great for Outdoor Dining, Scenic View, Fun
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

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