This was another atypical experience as I actually got the meal from Yelp as the prize from the Capture Soho photo thing. However, they are all SOOOOO nice there that I can't imagine being treated in a different way.
Ed and his team has created a truly remarkable experience featuring burgers, sandwiches and one of my favourite junk foods- yam fries (or in England, sweet potato fries). Everything we ate were spot on and absolutely delicious (Ahi sandwich, burgers, philly cheese steak and LOADS of fries). What's more important was that everyone there were friendly,super hot and all so flexible and attentive- something which should come naturally to a restaurant but somehow falls flat on so many occasions.
The only gripe I have is that the cocktails are a tad sweet- but then that's just my personal preference, and I must say the sangria was super easy to drink.
Lovely booths downstairs, but if you don't want to die of embarrassment and have a return visit, I'll reliably inform you that people can hear your conversations outside the booths thanks to the acoustics- don't be a dumb dumb like me and talk about internet dating and sex all night.
Not bad, guys, not bad at all.
The breakdown: solid burgers, very cramped seating, somewhat unfocused server (I wanted pineapple *and* bacon, but at least I didn't get charged for both). Great sweet potato fries. The avocado on the gf's burger was perfectly ripe, and the grilled pineapple was fresh, not tinned (as things should be, of course). Meat was seasoned just right.
Bumped up the ladder from a three because the beef is grass-fed and the burgers were cooked to medium perfection; also, they offer a 'burger salad', perfect for when I don't feel like awkwardly explaining that I'd like my burger served on greens rather than a roll.
Price reflects the quality of the product you get, and you will be wobbling out of here after one of the half-pounders, because dayum.
After returning from an amazing two weeks in Hawaii I was hankering for a reminder of my time in one of the most beautiful places on earth. I settled for this little place just off of Carnaby Street. In all honesty, I thought it might not measure up to the tastes I experienced whilst in Honolulu, but I was pleasantly surprised. It was as authentic as it gets in smoky London town.
Just good, satisfying food, everything was fresh and delicious how I remember it was in Hawaii. Was such a good place to chill and catch up with a friend, only downside is how small and popular the place is, had to leave our table sooner than I'd like, but I'm definitely going to return back.
Pokey burger place popular for the right reasons
Carnaby has numerous good burger joints within a stone's throw of each other, some up market and some not so upmarket. I walked past here and was intrigued by the obvious Hawaii theme, it was about 1200 and there were people inside and out.
Came back a wee bit later and I decided this place would suit me, a warm welcome and I was seated at the back of the restaurant. It is snug to say the least, so don't come here if you don't want people to hear what you are talking about - and be prepared to pass the ketchup over!
I had a cheese burger and a diet coke, sweet potato fries also. They do burgers in 1/3 & 1/2 lb portions, I went for a third, and it was plenty. They grill a whole onion slice and put it on top, fresh lettuce and tomato, mayo and obv some cheese. The bun was really soft, which is key to good burger in my opinion, a little sweet, delightful.
Sweet potato is my favourite potato, if we could hang out, we would regularly, and these fries were the bomb! Lightly salted, the menu says chunky but they are really just not quite as skinny as the regular chips.
Service was fast, though my waiter wasn't as friendly as the other guys, the grill chef was happy that I thanked him on the way out.... He deserved it!
I've been to the Kua Aina on the north shore in Oahu and I was blown away to walk by this London location! We of course had to check the authenticity, so I got the same meal I used to get in Hawaii - the mahi mahi with cheese on a bun, add pineapple and avocado. It was just like I remembered - yummy grilled pineapple, perfectly ripe avocado, and great fish. We ordered the sweet potato fries which lasted about 2 seconds.
Our toddler loved the pancakes.
Affordable, delicious, great location, and they smiled and chatted with us and made us feel welcome - not typical for all restaurants when they see a 2 yr old rolling up. We will def be back!
Decor is great and the sweet potato fries are the bomb! The burger however was pretty...muh. Had the Bacon and Avo and the avo was both rock hard and black and horrible! Props to the waiter for taking it off the bill immediately. Also took a while to let the staff know about the Yelp offer as they said management had not let them know about this so they had to call them to confirm.
With the Yelp check-in offer for free fries I'd definitely recommend a visit. Without the free fries, I'd say there were better burgers on the Londonscape. Will be back to try a sandwich sometime.
The Philly Cheesesteak was NOT a Philly Cheesesteak. It was just a rather pedestrian slab of steak and a bit of cheese between two pieces of bread.
As a girl who grew up just outside of Philadelphia, I was sorely, sorely disappointed.
The burgers my companions ate looked pretty excellent in comparison.
Have walked past Kua Aina countless times over the last two years, only today did I finally decide to give it a shot. It looks like they've recently had a facelift (at least on the outside). Inside the lack of music was more than noticeable, the hum of the kitchens extractor fan and clatter of pans was all I could hear, a bit disappointing.
Music aside the decor is quirky, nice rush ceiling, traditional wooden fans along with Hawaiian posters on the walls add to the exotic feel of the place. Apparently this is the first branch in Europe, there are four in Hawaii and over twenty in Japan. As I was so busy at lunch time I ordered a cheeseburger to go and waited for about 15 minutes while it was prepared. The burger was good but nothing extraordinary...I wasn't crazy about the almost raw onion in mine, so ended up picking this out..
I went there recently with a group of friends. We were greeted by an awesome waiter, I can't remember his name but he was very friendly and welcoming. Service was a bit slow to start with but that was fine by me, it was a Friday night and I was catching up with some friends.
The food was of good quality, I had the beef and haloumi burger with sweet potato fries and for a drink we shared a pitcher of Sangria.
The atmosphere is certainly a winner at this establishment, the service is excellent as is the quality of the food the only draw back would be the portion sizes, slightly too small for my liking.
This is a great 'first date' type of venue. I'll definitely be going back.
Recommended: good meal - good price - good location for Carnaby Street walkers. Very friendly staff. Good burgers and fries. Cold soft drinks come in the can.
Great burger but I did not enjoy the sweet potato fries so I would stick with good old regular ones. Also the seating is a bit cramped on the ground floor with elbows nearly touching at the back between tables. Loved the whole theme and colourful layout of the place. Kind of the opposite to grungy we so cool meat liquor.
This used to be my favourite burger joint in Namba, Osaka...so I was chuffed to see it come to London, but didn't really expect it to be as good. It's more like a cheap, happy fast food stall than a restaurant...but that is the kind of atmosphere I like with burgers. Yay!
The burger itself was juicy, a little pink in the middle and gorgeous. I looved the huge onion, juicy tomato and perfectly squishy avocado that came with it, but I couldn't quite get my mouth around everything!! This burger requires some epic mouth exercise to work your way into the first bite!
...and then I tried the sweet potato fries. I really, really like sweet potato fries! These ones were crunchy on the outside, squishy in the middle and just perfect! Omnomnom they take the whole kua 'aina experience to burger heaven.
Took a group of about 6 college students. They were super accommodating, got our orders perfect and the food was pretty good. Well priced and good food! Totally recommend it!
I read the review about this place. My colleague walked past this place on a Thurs night and was put off by the fact that it as it was empty. So I was doubting whether I should go but thought I'd give it a try.
We went on a Sunday afternoon... The place was busy so I was happy about it. We waited for about 5 mins for a table for 4.
Food: Good size portion. It cannot go wrong with Burgers & Chips but I couldn't taste the "Lava Grilled" as they said. The choc chip and chocolate sauce fluffy pancake was dry and sauceless. Have they ran out of ingredients?
Ambience: Busy, buzzing, lack of space and very cold. It looks like the chef was too hot so they decided to turn on the cooler/air con and all of us had to put our coats on. They have placed the comfort of their staff rather than their customers.
Service: Awful & chaotic. I wouldn't think a chef would be taking your orders or bringing you the drinks. It was very disorganise and no one seems to know which table they are waiting or on a more serious note, what their job is for the day.
I'm quite embarrass that I took my friend who was visiting London to Kua'Aina. He was pleased with the burger & chips but that was about it.
Another one of those burger joint that opened due to the boom of "burgers" cuisine in London (even though they have branches in Hawaii & Japan). They must have just bought the name rather than the quality of the food with them.
Bring me back Byron Burger or Honest Burger anytime,
The chicken and grilled pineapple sandwich with extra avocado was a fabulous brunch treat. The pancake with sugar lemon was also warm and fluffy. The service could be improved slightly and a better selection of drinks is necessary.
Love, Love, love the burger here. Best I have found in london and the only place I have found those delicious sweet potato fries. Yup definitely fries and not wedges! Was disappointed that they had run out of Fire Rock Pale Ale but then delighted that they found a dusty can of some pineapple wheat beer at the back of the fridge for me to try.
Downstairs was a bit dull and messy with tables that hadn't been cleared etc. but since the attention of the two members of staff was solely on creating this tasty food I can forgive a lot.
Delicious! I had the teriyaki chicken and pineapple sandwich. Other half had the pineapple burger. I had serious food envy when his burger came out. I stole a bite and wham! Next time I'm forgetting the sandwich and getting a burger! The burger was flame grilled and cooked to perfection. The bun was soft and didn't fall apart. And the pineapple was fresh and juicy.
The chicken sandwich was yummy as well. There was a lot of chicken in there, however I couldn't really taste the teriyaki. They should add a little sauce or something on top of the marinade.
Would defo stop by again.
I went to Kua 'Aina on a whim. Was looking for a place to eat, passed by, and thought it looked interesting.
First impressions: very tiny - which is not necessarily a bad thing. Cozy can be nice, but when there isn't a free table and you need to wait for one, there is no space to stand or sit and wait without completely hovering over someone's table or being in the way of staff and customers trying to get by.
Next impressions: Outside of the food, the Hawaiian ties were subtle - in fact, so subtle, I would have never known. A few pics on the wall of "Hawaii" and a random pic of Tom Selleck from Mangum P.I. (filmed in Hawaii) was about it. I would have expected the music to be a soothing throwback to steel guitars or Hawaiian folk; instead, it was a typical pop station. Not very fitting of a Hawaiian-themed place.
Menu: With one exception, I was pleasantly surprised. Nice selection of different food, and was extremely happy to see Mahi Mahi. One of my favorite fish, very hard to find in England, and they had, what ended being a very tasty sandwich. Very happy with the taste (I say taste because I have one issue which I'll address in a bit). My partner had a teriyaki chicken salad; also very tasty. The one thing that wasn't great, were the "Hawaiian" salsa and chips. I quote Hawaiian because it was some of the blandest salsa I've ever had in my life, and all they did was pour a few corn chips on a plate and dump some diced tomatoes mixed with a few things on top and charged me £4.00 for it. Very dissatisfied with that.
Price for Portion: It wasn't too bad, considering it was London; however, given the portion size, it was (in my opinion) quite overpriced. My sandwich, although very nice, was just a sandwich with nothing but half a carrot on the side, and cost me almost £9.00. My partner's salad, again, although good, was just over £8.00 and it was quite small. Our "large" fries that we shared would barely constitue as a medium size (set me back £3.50) and, well, I've already covered the chips and (for lack of a better word) salsa.
Service: Here's one area I am very touchy about, having successfully trained servers in several restaurants. The girl that served us, seemed a bit inexperienced, but made up for it with her tremendous attitude. She always smiled and couldn't have been nicer. The drinks and food were delivered in a timely manner and she was nearby when we wanted our bill.
Overall, liked the food (chips sucked), stoaked they had Mahi Mahi, service was nice, but cramped and very overpriced. Would have been happier if the sandwich was around £5-6 and the salad was around £6-7, and would keep coming back if they were those prices - otherwise, it's unlikely I would eat here often or even on a semi-regular basis.
Mahalo Kua 'Aina for some nice food, but Mahalo a'ohe, I won't be coming back unless you drop your prices.
Hawaii's best burgers can be found in Hawaii---well that's expected, Japan---sure that's a bit odd, but certainly plausible, but also on Carnaby Street? Really? Does anyone in London even know what Mahalo means?
Well, if you've been aching for some aloha love, give Kua 'Aina a go. Here you can find delicious big (1/3 pound) or bigger (1/2 pound) burgers and sandwiches like teriyaki chicken and mahi mahi. My go to stable though is the 1/2 pounder with grilled pineapple on a multi-seed bun along with a side of sweet potato wedges, though the teriyaki chicken also with grilled pineapple comes a close second. Prices are reasonable, and there is waiter service, though you order at the counter. There is also a dangerous frequent burger card which will get you coming back and back for a taste of the tropics.
No idea how to pronounce this place but I can tell you how it tastes - delicious. I had the 1/3 burger (£5.95), Crispy fries (£1.95) and an amazing Fire Rock Pale Ale. It tasted fresh n' juicy and left me more than satisfied.
The decor is really cool, felt like I was in Hawaii. If only they could get some grass skirted girls to bring you the burgers.
The menu has an incredible range of sandwiches and burgers, I struggled to chose between Mahi Mahi and pastrami but then just opted for the classic and on that I give them a sold five stars.
We have been reluctant to try burgers in this country, and the ones we tried were all disappointing. Finally our quest for decent burger in London is over! Their 1/2 pound Ortega burger was perfectly seasoned and char-grilled, and came with a big slice of tomato, fresh lettuce and grilled sweet onion & chilli , sandwiched between soft sesame bun. It's the most authentic Hawaiian burger I've tasted outside Hawaii. The only minor flaw was that it was so juicy, the bottom got soggy; maybe the grilled chilli was the cause. Other than that, it was just superb!
Sweet Potato Wedges was simply excellent, and so was Crunch Fries. They were crunchy outside, soft inside, and were full of flavours. They have nice seasonings - personally we like them a bit less salty.
My partner ordered Char-grilled Sirloin Steak Sandwich. A big mistake! The meat was very tough and lacked flavour. I think we should stick with their burger from now on.
The waitress was from Hawaii and we had a lovely chat. The service was efficient and very friendly and polite - just like you get in Hawaii. The place was busy at lunch time and we had American business people at the next table, tucking in in their burgers and Teriyaki Chicken Salad. They use Kikkoman soya sauce, so I might be tempted to try in future.
I could easily give them five stars for their burger, fries and services, but the sandwiches let us down. Therefore my score should read 4.5.
Don't go anywhere else for your burger.
I tried to get my Yelp check-in free fries here, but it was a bit of a faff as the manager on duty said that he didn't know about it and had to phone someone else. Was ok in the end tho... Decor is super cool, though we just got take-out. Not loads of veggie options yet, but we got one each of the only choices. Flavour was great but was overloaded with halloumi (not a problem per se, but others might be sad to leave/throw it out)... The potato fries were a bit dry for my taste (I live squidgy chips!) but the sweet potato fries are AMAZING! I can totally see all the love that others have for this place x
Hawaiian boigers - who'd-a thunk it? Well, the guys behind bringing Kua'Aina over here to London, obviously.
The sandwich/burger chain previously only had outlets in Hawaii and one or two in Tokyo, meaning that us Londoners are the next lucky ones to get in on the love.
The burgers and fries here - both, plural, not one-or-the-other - are amazing. Charred, slightly pink in the middle, and, if you're that way inclined, slathered with perfectly-ripe avo and juicy griddled bacon (the beasts come in 1/3 or 1/2lb patties). The fries are skinny, crispy, potatoe-y, seasoned beauties. Really, I'm not much of a chips kinda guy, but these were the perfect foil for the big, fat burger in front of me. Both bits of my meal were possibly the best I've had in the capital.
The interiors are interesting and fun - the open front and ground floor are not particularly heavily-themed, but walk downstairs and you'll discover a basement Tiki bar/lounge vibe with two six seater booths downstairs, surf paraphenalia everywhere, and pictures on the walls (including one of Barack Obama serving up a sandwich at one of Kua'Ainas Hawaiian branches!).
The only reason this place doesn't quite hit the five-star mark is that their drinks selection could be as inspired as the food - the restaurants in other countries serve bubble teas and other beverages, whereas as far as I could see there were the standard bottled beers/Coca Cola options prevalent elsewhere. Still, I'm being picky here, and if there was a 4.5 star option here I'd check it.
For barely breaking a tenner, you'd be genuinely hard-pushed to find better quality food and vibe in the West End.
My friends have been eating here for months. One's a veggie and the other a meat-eater. I finally joined them for lunch and I'm sure I'll be back again.
The waitress was very friendly and recommended the bacon & avo. I ordered the Ortega Chili burger instead to get a taste of Hawaiian flava. Perfectly char-grilled and seasoned, but unfortunately not spicy as the name suggest. I'm not sure what makes this burger Hawaiian though? I was going to rate it an average 3-stars, but you MUST have the sweet potatoe wedges (not really a wedge, but more like long strips). The crunchy 'tater fries were also the perfect shoe-string chips.
As a bonus, your till receipt entiltes you to a free drink after 6pm with your next meal order.
I've had possibly the best halloumi sandwich EVUH here. It was simply divine and so moist and tasty that I had to check not once but twice that they hadn't given me chicken instead. As far as veggie sandwiches go, it was pretty damn good.
i came here in a group. i had only read reviews online and had never seen it in person so i thought we might need to book, which we did via open table. it's more of a take away joint so i don't think you really need to do that, and turn around is super quick so you shouldn't have to wait long for a table even if it is busy.
the staff in here all seemed nice, friendly and enthusiastic!
i think the prices are fair for a restaurant, but perhaps a little steep as a predominantly take away joint.
i ordered the mahi sandwich with chillies. it was really good, the ingredients were all fresh and flavourful (although i wish the chillies actually had heat to them!). other orders round the table - rosemary chicken and halloumi sandwich, peppered pastrami and grilled peppers sandwich and an ortega chilli burger. everyone was happy with their sandwiches! we also ordered between us some fries and sweet potato fries. the sweet potatoes were SO GOOD! yummy :) they were super salty so if that's not your thing, bear that in mind. our fries were such a disappointment as they were completely cold. i'm not a complainer so we ate them. if they had been hot i think they would have tasted great! i don't think there's any excuse for giving people fries as cold as that, which is why my review is 3 stars rather than a 4!
A little gem in this area. Not a tourist trap.
Had a teriyaki chicken sandwhich with sweet potato fries. Very tasty and good value for money. Nice atmosphere downstairs. Small and cosy.
I will return soon for the burger I think. The staff were very friendly and attentive. The first person we asked for the bill soon forgot, but it was not a big deal. It was a little chilly downstairs on cold December evening.
Best burger in London! I've been to the original Kua Aina in Hawaii and this one is just as good. The staff is also tremendously friendly. Love it.
Kua'Aina is a Hawaiian-inspired burger joint just off the iconic Carnaby Street, serving hungry Londoners tasty burgers at reasonable prices.
On a nice spring or summer day, the outdoor tables are the place to be, whereas for the colder months, an indoor area is available, although it's incredibly small. However, what it lacks in size it makes up for in charm and quality, and the burgers are pretty good. Not outstanding by any means, but they're better than your average GBK (although these days, what isn't?)
Worth a look when you're in the area.
Best burger in London. No comparison.
Came here today with a friend. Had a classic burger and fries. It was only a 'small' on the menu but it was huge. Excellent burger. Good chargrilled taste and ever so slightly pink in the middle. perfect! will be going back
I stumbled upon this place by chance when heading to meet a friend at his office near Carnaby St and I suggested we go for something to eat there as I really fancied a burger.
Although I had no real frills with my dinner, the burger was perfect, the meat was juicy and had so much flavour.
My friend went a little more "out there" and had one of the grilled sandwiches. I think it was called Ahi Steak (I know it was Yellow Fin if this helps anyone), but regardless, it was also sensational.
An added bonus was that I was able to wash all this down with a cold beer (Asahi on tap!!!) which simply topped everything off.
We didn't have dessert, but I did see the fruit salad coming out for someone else and just wished we had more time.
I don't spend as much time in London as I have before but believe me, I will be back to this place to start working my way through the menu. One of the lovely staff who served us also mentioned that they had not been open for very long so well done to all involved.
I don't know how I missed this place before. I had the grilled chicken teriyaki sandwich and fries. The sandwich was amazing and the fries were alright. Overall a great meal!
the first in the uk and many more to come
This user has arrived from Qype, the newest addition to the Yelp family. The Yelp & Qype engineering team is hard at work integrating the two sites, so stay tuned! Thanks for your patience.