Nearby points of interest
Nearby points of interest
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.
Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
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
$30 and under
AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, JCB, MasterCard, Visa
Lot plus over flow parking lot with cart service between over flow lot and restaurant.
Beer, Fireplace, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, View, Wheelchair Access, Wine
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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