We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“Poor service, decent food”

Sam Choy's Kai Lanai
Reserve with OpenTable
Sam Choy's Kai Lanai is not available for your requested time. Choose another time, or search restaurants with availability.
The time you selected has already passed.
Ranked #40 of 287 Restaurants in Kailua-Kona
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $30 - $30
Cuisines: American, Seafood, Asian, Polynesian, Hawaiian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Local cuisine, Large groups, Romantic, Bar scene, Kids, Scenic view, Families with children
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Drinks, Breakfast, Brunch, Late Night, Full Bar, Highchairs Available, Outdoor Seating, Parking Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Television, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Dining style: Casual Dining
Description: A former Wendy's restaurant completely redone.
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
10 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Poor service, decent food”
Reviewed January 24, 2014

We went to Sam Choy's twice this week. The first time was for happy hour and were pleasantly surprised by the good food and mixed drinks. While it is a little pricier than other places for happy hour it was worth the extra money. This encouraged us to try them for dinner, which was very disappointing. We ordered a cocktail and wine to start with a poke appetizer. We ordered our entree at the same time. The waiter brought the wrong wine to start. The cocktail was good and we waited for the correct wine. Less than 1 minute after we were served the poke appetizer our entrees were served. The waiter offered to take it back and leave it under the warming lights but that didn't sound very appetizing. After we finished our appetizer one table companion asked for another cocktail, while the rest of us went on with our wine. The waiter totally blanked and forgot to bring the cocktail. Our entrees were now cold and it turned out over cooked and dry to begin with.It's hard to screw up braised ribs and potatoes but they did.

  • Visited January 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Heather M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

1,715 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    709
    491
    278
    151
    86
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
97 reviews
90 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Reliable good experiences.”
Reviewed January 22, 2014

We are fortunate enough to have visited the island a few times in recent years. This place is relatively easy to find and to park by so it is kind of visitor friendly that way. More importantly, the views are tremendous and the food and drink are good. It does have a bit of a "chain feel" but that isn't all bad. They can put through quite a few people who are mostly satisfied.

  • Visited January 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank KevinJ379
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
various
Level Contributor
180 reviews
81 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
“Should have known better”
Reviewed January 20, 2014

This turned out to be a bit of a cliche with the hype of a celebrity chef. Nice location, acceptable food but a chain restaurant for cruise-ship tourists. Our fish dishes were not bad but not very tasty either. The drinks were good enough but the fruit added on top a bit stale. Better to go to most any of the many other local restaurants.

  • Visited January 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank RetiredDude
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
USA
Level Contributor
111 reviews
68 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Panoramic view”
Reviewed January 20, 2014

We have been to Sam Choy's in Kona, HI twice this month. The food is ok and the view and ambiance top shelf. The service is very good and there are several tables with excellent views of the ocean below. Located at the end of Alii Drive, you will need a car to get here, or there is a shuttle bus $2, one way from town, that stops at the shopping center, just below the restaurant.

A must stop for the sunset and happy hour.

  • Visited January 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Dave M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Victoria, Canada
Level Contributor
169 reviews
114 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 84 helpful votes
“Great lunch, great views and great service and great value”
Reviewed January 19, 2014

Our last day in Kona needed to be special so we decided to have lunch at Sam Choy's
We had been there for dinner on a previous visit two years ago but wanted to try for lunch.
My wife was slightly skeptical at first as we read the menu online and nothing appealed to her.
However as we found out later the online menu was just a sample.
When we arrived we were greeted promptly by our hostess who was friendly and welcoming.
As soon as we were seated another very friendly server greeted us and asked if we wanted a drink while we perused the menu. I ordered my customary blue wave with a smile. The menu offers a lot of variety for lunch, it has burgers, sandwiches and then a section on local favorites such as a bento box with SPAM, fish dishes and entrees like pork chops. I opted for a plate lunch that consisted of a hamburger steak, with mashed potatoes that came with a choice of sides. My wife had chicken salad that came with a choice of dressings and was severed in a humongous tortilla. We found the server to be most helpful as my wife is not a fan of several types of salad dressings so she was very patient in explaining to my wife was the options were and what they were like which was very helpful.. The came in a reasonable time and was very tasty to the point that we shared our lunch together. The portions were very large but we decided to share Mom's Bread Pudding which was exquisite. It was not like your normal bread pudding in that it came in a bowl, had a fair amount of egg custard and some sort of berry which we could not figure out.
We also had coffee with the desert and it was awesome.
Overall this is a great place to come as the views are spectacular and would be awesome day and night. The service is very attentive. Last of all for two entrees, one dessert and a beer the price was extremely reasonable - definitely value for money

  • Visited January 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Cicero12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Sam Choy's Kai Lanai also viewed

Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaii
Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaii
 
Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaii
Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaii
 
Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaii
 

Been to Sam Choy's Kai Lanai? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing