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
The hillside view of the ocean and coast is great, but the shopping mall below does sort of interfere with the tropical ambiance. The rack of lamb was taisty but hard to cut as it was served in a bowl on top of pasta. A plated dinner might have been easier. Drinks were good as was the special fish.
Knowing Sam Choy is a famous chef, my husband suggested that we go try this restaurant, which is close to our hotel. The restaurant was at a very nice location - on a hill overlooking the ocean. My husband ordered the ribeye for dinner, and I ordered the seafood lau lau. My husband liked his steak, but the sauce on the side was salty. My seafood lau lau looked beautiful, but the food turned out to be very salty. When we told the waiter, he offered to switch the dish and suggested macadamia nut crusted fish. The macadamia nut crusted fish dish turned out to be blend. The chef probably got scared by what happened with the first dish and didn't want to put any salt on the second dish. The waiter was nice enough to take the dish back and not charge us for it. The manager came by to find out what happened. She then comped us with chocolate cake with ice cream. I liked the cake, but not my husband - he said he doesn't like flourless chocolate cake.
As the other reviewer mentioned, there was a cat roaming around the restaurant, going under tables and by people's legs. It didn't look like it had an owner. I was getting nervous that it would go by my husband as he is allergic to cats.
Wonderful view, good food, service needs improvement. We went here with a group of 6 friends for dinner. The view at sunset was spectacular. The food was better than average. The service needs some attention. The waiter was more interested in himself and was way too "cutsie". To make mattes worse he was sloppy and couldn't have cared less. He spilled on EVERY glass while refilling the water and didn't even bother to apologize. To make matters worse, he dumped an ice-cream on one of us and did nothing to help clean it up.
We went there for Thanksgiving buffet. We paid $49 a person. The buffet was filthy with crumbs and soiled serving spoons. The roast beef was dry and there was no horse radish or au jous available. We had to request plates, stuffing, and mashed potatoes. We had to summon our waiter for more water. We also had to bus our own dirty plates. Overpriced and we felt like we were being served leftovers! Yuck!
Our server was absolutely wonderful. The food was very good, the vegetables were well prepared. I had the macadamia nut crusted chicken; which was cooked perfectly. My husband had the trio a fish, he stated it was slightly over cooked but still good. The pumpkin pie was very good, we spent some time trying to figure out the spices because it was not like any other pumpkin pie we have had.
We know we can always come here and have a good experience.
Our party of 4 reserved a table at 3 pm on Thanksgiving day. The hostess was rude and indifferent even though there were many tables available. The turkey was dry, the stuffing a gloopy mass, the mashed potatoes gluey, no cooked side vegetables (unless you count canned yams), the prime rib was literally one half a slab of fat and not tender even though medium rare. Worse, everything was highly salted, and the gravy was extremely salty, almost to the point of being inedible. The best thing about the buffet was the lemon meringue and key lime pie.
Really good food. Menu has something for everyone. Unique dishes that focus on quality first versus just being different. Just a good place to enjoy great food and dinner conversation. Decor is basic (cement floors) more than made up for by view, attentive staff, and food that's very well prepaired.
We just returned from dinner. We seldom give bad reviews. But this was such a bad experience that we feel compelled to tell people. Service was slow. After getting our drinks (and being greeted quickly) we waited quite awhile to give our order. We waited for quite awhile for our food. The people to our left and behind us, both were waited upon by different people, got there after us, and got their entrees much sooner than we did. We both had fish, so it wasn't the dish that caused the delay. When we received our food, the entrees and veggies were hot, but the potatoes were cold. My entree, the speciality of the house, a fish trio, was overcooked.
We complained about the potatoes, and they were promptly replaced with lukewarm potatoes!!
We didn't complain further, but ate what we had. The waiter, Paul, was very nice, and offered free dessert. He also gave us a discount because of the potatoes, which we appreciated. We both ordered ice cream. We almost laughed out loud when we realized that that both dishes were over 50% melted. What restaurant can't manage firm ice cream? It was quite obvious that it was partially melted. The best thing about the evening was the view, the music, and the drive home!
We went for our anniversary and it was a great night. We caught the end of happy hour and had fabulous cocktails and the calamari was excellent. Our dinner was good overall and we were given a complimentary dessert! We would certainly recommend Sam Choy’s with the great food and stunning view!
We have been to Sam Choys a few times over the years. The meals are typically generous with portions and the fresh fish is a treat. The only complaint this time was that the soup and salad before the main course should be served before the main entree and not all together with the main entree which is what happened this visit. Other than that our server Harvest was a pleasure. The views of the ocean and coast line are always fabulous!
I made reservations on Sunday 11/5 and requested special seating. The host on duty did not even realize or read the request. She just ignored me and gave us what was open. We ordered both the BBQ and short ribs they were both dry and burndt. I dine at your location every time I visit Kona ( at least 5x a yr) hopefully all will be better next time. If not, I will not recommend it or return. ☹️
We were a large group (2 tables of 8) and we sat a long time before the waitress started drink orders. Food ordering/arrival was relatively timely, but when it came time to split the bill, it was nearly 45 minutes between the time we let them know we wanted the bill and the time the last person had their card returned to them. Granted, splitting a bill takes time, but the delay seemed to occur when we gave them our cards. 30 minutes to run 8 or so cards? Seemed excessive.
We go here each time we come to the Big Island. This time it was a very different experience. Our reservation was at 6:45. Service was a bit slow. The restaurant was not full. After ordering, fish for our guests, chicken for me, we were told they were out of chicken, ribs, pork and mashed potatoes! Who runs out of all of these? My only choice was an overpriced pasta dish with veggies. I don’t eat fish. I spoke with the manager and all he gave me were excuses about why they ran out. Didn’t offer to comp my pasta even after I asked. He offered us free appetizers for the next visit. A little hard to use when we don’t live here! All and all we were very disappointed. I expected much more. Sadly, we will not be returning.
Kitchen ran out of 2 entrees.
Waiter forgot our salads.
Substitute entrees did not have sides from original order.
Not well organized from hostess, waiters, kitchen; good food but not worth the price.
The view is one of the best in Kona.
We were on vacation and ate at Sam Choys on Sat. Oct 7th. Jean was our server. The food and service were fantastic! My family so enjoyed it, that we ate there again on Tues. Oct 10th. Paul was our server the second time, once again amazing service and food. Since we had limited dinner nights while in Kona, it speaks volumes that we chose to eat at Sam Choys twice. Highly recommended! Ask for Jean or Paul
Mike K (Long Beach CA)
Dinners looked beautiful on the plate, but on the inside they were tough and undercooked. We had duck and lamb. Maybe they were cooked too quickly. It was difficult to know if we were supposed to order the 2 sides included with the main entry, because sometimes they were already on the plate and the description of the meal in the menu didn't tell us. I got charged extra for one side, and the other side (mashed potatoes) was not hot. I sent them back to be warmed, but they came back the same way. Gorgeous view and sunset, though.
There is a wonderful view but the place is disfunctional. They brought our meal lacking part of it. They finally came back to say they ran out then thought $3.00 off would somehow make up for it. Our drink order arrived as we where ending our meal, unreal. Leaving you could hear the kitchen arguing with the wait staff. Too many restaurants with a nice view to go through this. Also it is open air so it was a hot muggy dinner.
Wasn't too sure about Sam Choy's due to the smaller menu but everyone in the party was able to find something and each person enjoyed the meal! Also the drinks were very good!!! Ambience and atmosphere is perfect for Hawaii and mirrors the way of life here well :)
The location is pretty amazing. The sunset view is great. The food... well... it was just, uninspired. The seasonings were OK, not great. The cocktails were made with Bacardi and were really sweet. The fish was OK but not excellent. The duck was tender but it was supposed to be five spice orange duck and that should have been pretty obvious, but neither was. The wine selection was meh and very inconsistently priced (and 400% markups on the bottles?). The service started out great but then there was a long time that we did not get service, and spotted our server talking and flirting with another employee. I may be back but probably not.
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