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“Tasty food in a laid back space”
Review of Hapa J's

Hapa J's
Ranked #11 of 223 Restaurants in San Clemente
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Hawaiian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Groups, Romantic, Business meetings, Local cuisine, Special Occasion Dining, Bar Scene, Child-friendly
Dining options: After-hours, Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Reservations, Takeout
Reviewed 14 September 2017

Gotta try the unique food options here and make sure not to miss the pulled pork. This place has an island feel to it and the portion sizes are big. Pleasant music and good service round out the positive experience. It was recommended to me and I will recommend it to you.

    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Julie P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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7 - 11 of 192 reviews

Reviewed 8 September 2017 via mobile

I always feel a little mean leaving three stars especially when the people were nice and the food was more than edible. Service was reasonable attentive and the food was served really fast, which really served our purposes well! We were driving to LAX and needed a quick and close lunch stop, we placed our order on their website and food was ready shortly after our arrival. So again filled the need, filled the belly.

But for reals... so far from authentic Hawaiian, so far... (SMH).

I should have known it was a tourist spot, and probably more for drinking than eating, based on the location. Any suspicions were confirmed the second he put the plate in front of me and said "short ribs?" My heart sunk as I looked on three slices of boneless steak covered in sauce. I considered for a moment that maybe the waiter had delivered the wrong order and he must have mistakenly given me someone's Teri-steak, except that it was accompanied by a pile of kimchee as detailed on the menu. There is no way any Hawaiian ever would call this Kalbi. Kalbi does not have sauce. It's marinated. It's delicious. This was meat with teriyaki sauce. Grrr. Just call it what it is. It's not a problem paying 15 bucks for Teri steak if that is what you want, but is a major disappointment when you like Kalbi as much as I do.

The hubs ordered a loco moco (smh). The burger was well-well done and dry as a bone. In Hawaii, if you order this you get a massive pile of rice, eggs, patty just SMOTHERED in gravy. He referred to this one has having a light glaze. Probably would have been manageable had the burger not been so dry.

Friend ordered the poke, was smothered in spicy mayo. But she said was good and filling enough despite being small.

All of these things actually make sense if this place is going for, as another reviewer mentioned, "Hawaiian fusion." And they certainly make sense if you want a Hawaiian themed restaurant that is tourist friendly, where you can get away with charging $4 for an iced tea. Had I caught wind of that ahead of time I probably would have skipped it just because I do so love the real deal. Will definitely not go back.

1  Thank Chrissy G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 September 2017

The restaurant stayed open for us. We arrived a bit later in the evening. The staff was very accomendating. The food portions were very generous,but to me was very bland. They should concentrate more on quality than quantity.

    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank RDShark
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 September 2017 via mobile

During one of our "lunch dates", my wife and I had lunch at Hapa J's, and it was fantastic! My wife and I love trying new places, and we have a particular fondness for Hawaii and Hawaiian cuisine. So we were very pleasantly surprised to find a very clean, spacious, and nicely decorated restaurant that can accommodate small parties as well as very large ones. We sat in a nice booth and we also saw a father and his young son enjoying their lunch. There was also a party of 12 that was easily accommodated.

The servers were very courteous and friendly and introduced themselves. Since it was our first time, they explained the menu (which has a lot of choices) and made some recommendations. We ordered the TuTu's pork plate and Uncle Roberto's short rib torta sandwich. Both were absolutely delicious. It was a very generous portion of short ribs which were tender and tasty, and in particular, the garlic aioli was a great addition to the sandwich. The pork on the TuTu's plate was also very tender and flavorful.

While this was a little lunch date while my parents watched the kids, we plan to bring the kids and my parents back to Hapa J's. There's something for everyone, and I know the whole family will enjoy it. I also plan to bring some friends for happy hour since there's a nice bar area.

Thank anthonyshong
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 August 2017 via mobile

You have to try the "man fries" and the Kahului pork quesadillas amazing each time I have been there. The macadamia mac and cheese was also very tasty.

They have a full bar and relaxed service.
The food is very interesting and most things there are really good.... there were some things that were not good such as the chili and the macaroni salad and the mixed plate was a little dry and not really as inspired as the other food...

Try some of the signature cocktails mai ties yummy!

Thank FoodandWineReviews
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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