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“Great view, with great food” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Sam Choy's Kai Lanai

Sam Choy's Kai Lanai
78-6831 Alii Drive, Suite 1000, Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaii, HI 96740
808-333-3434
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Ranked #48 of 234 Restaurants in Kailua-Kona
Price range: $30 - $30
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Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Reservations, Delivery, Late Night
Dining style: Casual Dining
Description: A former Wendy's restaurant completely redone.
Vancouver, Canada
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Great view, with great food”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 11, 2013

Should call ahead of a reservation around sunset, we didn't and arrived 20mins before sundown. They were really nice and were about to accommodate us. Great food, mediocre wait staff (other than hostess) and wonderful view.

Visited February 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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697 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“converted Wendy's found (much) better use!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 11, 2013

Gorgeous location with floor-to-celing open walls overlooking ocean far below. Good value happy hour, nice drink selection, attentive wait staff

Visited February 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hawaii
Top Contributor
61 reviews 61 reviews
34 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
“Sam Choy's Kai Lanai”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 10, 2013

In real estate, the three most important things are location, location , location. But for a restauranteur like Sam Choy, the three things should be flavor, service satisfaction, and value.
Strike one, strike two, and strike three.
THE FOOD WAS SO-SO. The poke was brown and discolored, and room temperature, therefore it was not made to order, nor was it as fresh as it should be.
The entrees were okay, but nothing special.

THE KITCHEN WAS SLOW, and to her credit, the waitress Malia kept checking on our order, and apologizing for the delay.

Prices are higher than they should be. Sam cannot rest on his laurels. This restaurant food is not even as good as his old Kaloko coffee shop. Such a shame.

Ironically, the "location" is the only grading process we know----an A plus view beyond awesome at sunset. We can ask .

  • Visited December 2012
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hellertown, PA
Top Contributor
61 reviews 61 reviews
38 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
“Incredible View and Great Food”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 8, 2013

Ate at a lot of restaurants on the island, but this was my favorite place. The view is absolutely amazing, especially at sunset. The atmosphere is great with wide open areas and outdoor seating. I had Poke (pronounced Pokey) which is raw ahi. The best I had anywhere on the island. Then I had LauLau, which is fish steamed in a Ti Leaf. Outstanding. With the view and the excellent food I rate this place very highly.

  • Visited January 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Topeka, KS
Top Contributor
699 reviews 699 reviews
451 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 106 cities Reviews in 106 cities
331 helpful votes 331 helpful votes
“Come for the sunset, stay for the food”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 8, 2013 via mobile

This place is in a shipping center and, at first, we thought it was some sort of fast food place. But we read the reviews and realized that this was a nicer restauarnt.

We came at sunset and this place was packed. We were lucky in getting a parking spot. We put our name on the list and were told our table would take 40 minutes. We squeezed up to the bar and ordered drinks and a Brie wonton appetizer. Yum. Just a few minutes later, we were taken to our table.

This restauarnt is open air dining and is built on a hill with a great ocean view. The floor is just cement and there is a black lava rock wall with tiki torches surrounding the perimeter. The staff is well-trained, friendly yet non intrusive.

For our entree, we split the pork katsu which was served with dinner rolls and honey butter. We also ordered dessert. Our first choice, waffle fried ice cream, is no longer available and we were told they are removing it from the menu. So we went with the chocolate cake for my hubby and the coconut cream puffs for me. Would recommend this place, but would suggest having a reservation.

    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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