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“Worth The Wait”
Review of Kalama's - CLOSED

Cuisines: Hawaiian
Restaurant details
Captain Cook, Hawaii, United States
Level 5 Contributor
92 reviews
58 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“Worth The Wait”
Reviewed April 4, 2012

Let me start by saying if you're in a hurry, this may not be the place for you.

We started going to Kalama's when they were up on the highway. Now that they've relocated to Napo'opo'o, we just don't get down there very often. Kalani and Dana make it a point to know who their regular customers are and greet them by name...something you don't see much anymore.

The food at Kalama's is made fresh, so it takes time. Sometimes, a lot of time. That said, Kalama's serves up the best hamburger I've ever had, anywhere, ever. Our favorite is the bacon, mushroom, cheeseburger. Nope...it's not going to win health awards, but it is yummy. Fresh potato roll buns and local beef. Kalama's uses local products whenever possible...a plus in our book.

We've also had the kimchee burger...takes extra time to cook but approaches burger nirvana. I've had their fresh fish nori wraps - a little expensive for my lunchtime budget, but they're very good and the fish is as fresh as it gets.

On the downside, there are no bathrooms, so go before you go.

Kalama's is a hidden gem....well worth the trip and the wait!

  • Visited July 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Nancy Z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

33 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Salinas, California
Level 6 Contributor
145 reviews
86 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 129 helpful votes
“The Best Shave Ice on the Islands--and good grinds!”
Reviewed January 5, 2012

The shave ice was the best I've ever had and tasted great with the coconut cream. We ate here three times during our stay . The Hamburgers were really good-- Lau Lau burger--different but good. Lots of choices on the menu. The potato salad is very creamy with little noodles in it; yum! The shave ice was so good I almost ordered it for dinner instead of the Lau Lau burger. Kalamas was not always open during our stay and sometimes closes early. If you drive down to Kealakekua Bay it's a must stop for the shave ice. Very friendly.

  • Visited September 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Kathy D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Where the locals eat...”
Reviewed June 16, 2011

My husband and I stopped by this place on a whim yesterday, since it is located very close to the bed and breakfast where we stayed on Napo'opo'o Rd. We had driven by a few times before, and there always seemed to be people waiting outside for food...always a good sign when looking for signs of good eats. While not expecting much, we were extremely pleasantly surprised the quality of the food and the "local"-ness of the atmosphere.

If you're looking specifically for this place, it'll probably be pretty easy to miss. Aside from a sign for shaved ice, there is technically a sign advertising burgers & other food as well; however, I never saw the sign until it would have been too late to turn into it's small parking lot. If you're heading towards the beach, it'll be on your right with a small road just past it where you can turn in from; if you're heading back towards the main road (Mamalahoa Hwy), it'll be on your left. It's a nondescript little building with seating for maybe a dozen people on a porch next to the window where you order & pick up your food.

Don't expect fast service - they even have a sign out front that says they won't be offended if you decide to go somewhere for quicker food service, and when we were there, my husband had more than enough time to drive back to our BnB, find my camera, and drive back before our food came. Don't expect to be seated and waited upon either - you order at the window; wait around; maybe browse the crafts in their small, adjacent store; grab your grub; and either eat it with other tourists & locals on the porch or bring it with you to your next destination.

While certainly popular with tourists (given its location on the way to the kayak-launching area of Kealakekua Bay), it seemed to be popular with locals as well. The owners knew several of the other guests and spoke with them as though they were old friends. (Then again, that seems to be the atmosphere at most of the establishments we've visited in the Captain Cook / South Kona area.)

As for the food itself, we thoroughly enjoyed our local-meets-gourmet burgers. Options include the MBC burger (mushrooms, bacon, & cheeses), the laulau burger (which basically replaces the beef patty with a laulau), a kimchee burger, and various Hawaiian-style plate lunches. We had the MBC and LauLau burgers, both of which were generously sized, juicy, and flavorful - definitely a good, casual meal despite Kalamas' divey appearance and lack of competition in the immediate proximity. Most options were in the $7-10 range; shaved ices were less but varied depending whether you wanted ice cream or other add-ons.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank 113011b
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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