Very expensive ($90+ for adults pre liquor) but totally worth it. The night we went the buffet included prime rib, crab, clams, mahi, sides (rice, corn, etc) but most of all the lobster. This one group of Chinese tourists had a table stacked with 30 of them (they were eating nothing else). It won't be the best lobster you ever had, but it's good, and there's lot's of it. Everyone was so enamored by the lobster at the one we attended, that lines for the lobster were pretty long, and they eventually ran out. But the lobster wasn't the best thing on the menu-- the crab was fantastic as well. Given that some of the seafood is probably flown in from the mainland, was surprised by its freshness. The men in our group probably got their full $90 value after multiple lobsters. The kids thankfully ate free as guests at the Mauna Kea, because other than the desert tray, there wasn't that much that appealed (though my littlest did seem to enjoy his first taste of lobster and the make your own sunday bar). Deserts were plentiful as were appetizers (chilled shrimp etc.) To keep in perspective, it still is a buffet, but what a buffet it is.
The setting is beautiful of Mauna Kea beach. If you aren't staying at the hotel, this is the perfect excuse to visit. Sunset on the beach is beautiful. Tables are set up for families (4-7 people), groups (large tables) and in the front facing the sunset, for couples. White linens completed the setting (for hotel guests and those with advanced reservations....others had to eat on the wooden hau tree tables). Bathrooms were the only downside-- limited and after a day of beach use, not the cleanest.
They had a guitar player/singer singing some Hawaiian music, but the lady in the copper tree lounge was honestly better. Still, it was nice to have some entertainment while eating. If you don't like seafood, nonseafood items are limited (just prime rib as a main dish but the prime rib was great too).
So would not recommend for small children that don't like seafood or others (unless they are on a kids eat free promotion if the hotel is offering). Great for seafood lovers, great for couples. Be prepared to pay, however. Our most expensive meal on the island but totally totally worth it and would do it again in a heart beat.
If you own or manage Mauna Kea Beach Hotel Clambake, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.