Bali Hai

$25 - $50

Located at the eastern tip of Shelter Island, with a boat dock stretching from the back door, it is no surprise water is the predominant theme at Bali Hai. Taking cues from Island cultures from Tahiti to Polynesia, the historic Tiki-themed restaurant invites diners to a sensual escape of island pleasures. The menu is filled with rich and exotic dishes including Lobster Wontons, Chicken of the Gods, and Kailua Pork Loin, and the bar offers—what else?—famously authentic Mai Tai’s. Sunday Champagne Brunch attracts such a large crowd that the dock out back is often packed while eager boaters dine inside.

Waterfront Paradise

The Bali Hai is one of San Diego's most historic restaurants, with a long-standing reputation for being an exclusive purveyor of Polynesian food and entertainment. Originally part of a Newport Beach chain known as 'The Hut' in 1953, it was acquired a few years later by its former Manager and fledgling restaurateur Tom Ham, who later gained fame as one of our city's most prominent entrepreneurs.

Renamed 'Bali Hai', soon after the release of the movie by the same name, the restaurant quickly soared to incredible popularity because of its unique Polynesian, Cantonese, and Mandarin-style cuisine. Also featured, was a highly celebrated Polynesian floorshow in the downstairs South Pacific Room, which eventually became a drawing card for many well-known members of Hollywood's motion picture community.

Over several decades, numerous things at the Bali Hai have improved with the times. As my guest and I walked upstairs on a recent trip to their dining room, however, we were struck by something that simply hasn't changed about this place …not one diner has anything less than a spectacular view. The structure's distinctively rotund design allows each table a panoramic vista of San Diego Bay and the city skyline beyond, which is a sight that is particularly impressive at night. The motif is intensely steeped in the culture of the south Pacific islands, and easily prompts some visitors to relive pleasant memories from past trips to Hawaii or Tahiti.

We were quickly seated by our adept and congenial server, Victor, who got us started with a couple of the Bali Hai's signature Mai Tai cocktails. These drinks were really something special, and were noticeably better than many similar renditions that I have had in Hawaii and Mexico. The Head Bartender has been here for over 30 years. In fact, they have even had instances where loyal patrons who have just flown in from the tropics, have come immediately back to the Bali Hai for a taste of 'the real thing'. These folks already know this is one lounge that remains scrupulously faithful to the original, potent recipe from Trader Vic's that was born in the middle of the last century.

The food that accompanied these libations was nothing less than stunning. Victor brought us a selection of tasty appetizers, along with a beautiful seared Ahi dish that rivaled anything I have been served at the best local sushi bars. The wonton skin nachos, with their pineapple guacamole salsa, offered a flavorful new twist to an old favorite, along with tangy, barbequed rib-lets that had a flavorful 'island touch'. Also served, were a few freshly made vegetable egg rolls, succulent crab cakes and one of my favorites, coconut crusted shrimp. These large prawns were crunchy, richly flavored and especially good when teamed up with the special dipping sauce that was provided.

Next came the house salad with a signature dressing laced with sesame oil. The lightly smoky flavor of the sesame along with the perfectly crisp mixture of exotic microgreens worked together to artfully cleanse the palate, as well as set the stage for the main course.

Our entrees were absolutely mouthwatering. My guest had the formidable fish sampler, which included ample portions of grilled salmon, Mahi-Mahi and seared Ahi fillet, alongside a pile of freshly steamed garden veggies and a serving of mashed, redskin potatoes. She valiantly ate every bite that she could, but still ended up having Victor box up leftovers from her generous feast for later consumption.

My Schezuan chicken was combined with vegetables, hot red chilis, fresh pineapple chunks and noodles, and then quickly stir-fried in a special sauce to create an authentic tasting dish, which would have been the pride of any Chinese chef in the province. In addition to their talented Executive Chef, Kim Martin, the Bali Hai also retains a certified Wok-Chef, which becomes readily apparent to those sampling any of the classic Asian dishes on the menu.

We stared out over the moonlit harbor while savoring a piece of dense, chocolate brownie topped with coffee ice cream and chocolate sauce, and a tropical variation on a classic, French dessert; mango crème brulee.

The Bali Hai is a great restaurant to visit for a special occasion, as well as for dinner. The surrounding, tropical flora and fauna along with its bayside location make it a perfect place for reunions, wedding receptions and parties.

Those who have never been here before should really give the new menu a try. Older patrons, who remember the Bali Hai of the 1950's and 60's, owe it to themselves to drop in again soon for an updated dining experience that will surprise and delight them. Of all the praises that could be offered as an endorsement, none are more appropriate than the Hawaiian designation for a first place contender, …and Bali Hai is, indeed, Noka Oi!

Hide Review

Copyright © TableAgent.com


Reservations

  I have a Gift Certificate issued by SanDiegoRestaurants.com
Enter your 10 digit gift certificate number in 1111111111 format with no spaces and no special characters. Separate multiple gift certificates by using comma such 1111111111,2222222222. For a list of participating restaurants, please visit our Gift Certificate page.

 Photos


  Restaurant Info

  • 2230 Shelter Island Drive
    San Diego CA 92106
  • Address: 2230 Shelter Island Drive, San Diego CA 92106
  • Cross Street: Anchorage Ln.
  • Location: Point Loma & Ocean Beach | Shelter Island
  • Cuisine: Hawaiian | Pacific Rim |
  • Cost: $$ | Inexpensive | $25 - $50
  • Category: Fine Dining
  • Star Rating:
  • Reservations: Recommended
  • Dress Code: Casual Elegant
  • Meals Served: Lunch | Dinner |
  • Parking: Street |
  • Payment Options: VISA | Amex | Mastercard | Discover | Diners Club |
  • Corkage Fee: 10.00 | Per Bottle
  • Staff: Kim Martin | Chef de Cuisine
    Grant Baumann | General Manager
    Kim Martin | Executive Chef
  • Phone: (619) 222-1181

  Business Hours

Monday
Main Dining Room | Lunch 11:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Main Dining Room | Dinner 5 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Tuesday
Main Dining Room | Lunch 11:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Main Dining Room | Dinner 5 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Wednesday
Main Dining Room | Lunch 11:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Main Dining Room | Dinner 5 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Thursday
Main Dining Room | Lunch 11:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Main Dining Room | Dinner 5 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Friday
Main Dining Room | Lunch 11:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Main Dining Room | Dinner 5 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Saturday
Main Dining Room | Dinner 4:30 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Sunday
Main Dining Room | Brunch 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Main Dining Room | Dinner 4 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Features

Occasion

 


  F.A.Q. - Frequently Asked Questions


 Menus

Bali Hai Sunday Brunch

Brunch Menu

Bali Hai

Appetizers

Flaming Wok

Bali Hai Classics

Kona Cuisine


 User Reviews

Best till now  

We had our 2nd anniversary dinner in Bali Hai, which is close to our wedding location on Shelter Island. From service, to environment, from food to view, from the service speed to value, it is excellent! We would love to return later. I picked the place as a surprise to my husband, and now he says he would like to try fining dinner like this every month!

Night out with family  

I have been to this restaurnts many times and have allways enjoyed the service and food. I highly recomend the place and the view is wonderful

Excellent Service  

My boyfriend took me to Bali Hai on Valentine's Day and he made reservations a month ahead for 8pm. We were seated right around 8pm at the window seat which was requested. The waitress was wonderful and the scenery is beautiful. The food wasn't that great but looking at other plates I think it was just out selection. Otherwise, they had great service and the friendliest staff I've had in a very long time.

Simply Amazing  

The whole experience was amazing so ill just let you know the important details. In my reservation i asked for a window seat and they made sure me and my girlfriend had one. The food and drinks come out on time. Also the service was great, i believe our waitress was named Katie she did a wonderful job. The only negative mark was the bussers were a little bit too fast taking the plates off the table. It was wonderful. The coconut shrimp were amazing, the bananna cheesecake was to die for, and the ahi cakes were a great start to the meal for my girlfriends 20th b-day. Thanks Bali Hai :D

One of my favorites  

The Bali Hai is one of the best in my opinion. The view is incredible! The service is great and the food is delicious. This place won't disapoint any occasion.

Wonderful  

I was in Bali Hai restaurant the last Sunday afternoon to celebrate my 8th marriage anniversary, and everything was perfect. The environment, the beautiful wiew, the food, the prices, everything. They offer a healthy menu and delitious. Definitely I will back.

Wonderful food and Great view  

Though I didn't know it was a causal dining type dining place, we still had a great time. The food is wonderful and the view is just awesome. I highly recommend the Macademia Nut Crusted Salmon.

Beautiful!  

I had such a wonderful time having sunday brunch at this restaurant! the food was delicious, and the view was amazing, we spent around 3 hours eating and enjoying the food/atmosphere. I can't wait to come again.

The Best views of the bay!  

Nice place to take someone you care about to watch the sunset. Make sure you get a seat about 30-45 min before sunset. Don't be shy ask for a window seat or wait for one.

Beloved jewel by the bay  

Bali Hai has woven itself into the fabric of Point Loma life. Everyone who lives here has memories of special occasions celebrated at Bali Hai. The owners (same family since opening in the 1950s) are very civic minded and very hands-on involved in the restaurant. The view is second to none and the ambiance is great, with a strong "tiki" influence everywhere, and lovely gardens by the bay to stroll in after dinner. The mai tais are legendary, best in the city or possibly the world, but very strong - don't order a second one if you are driving! The food is a mix of Cantonese and American standards and the service is good. But come for the view and the mai tais!

GOOD OLD RELIABLE  

TYPICALLY GOOD SERVICE, GOOD FOOD, GREAT MAI TAI. NICE PLACE TO STOP, RELAX AND CHOW DOWN AFTER SAILING. OF COURSE, THE VIEW ISN'T ALL THAT BAD EITHER.

Always Great Place to visit  

Each time I fly into San Diego, I go to the Bali Hai. Great place for view of bay and city. Very relaxing while enjoying the wonder lunch buffet. At night very special with the lights. I recommend the Macademian Nut Mahi Mahi.

Why haven't we eaten here before??  

Having lived in San Diego all our lives, you would have thought we would have stumbled onto Bali Hai before now. Unfortunuately it took until tonight, our 31st wedding anniversary, to discover the excellent food, service, and incredible view that this restaurant has to offer. I knocked off one point only because it was a little too loud for our liking, but in their defense, there were a lot of large parties there tonight. Otherwise everything was OUTSTANDING, including the service. Our waitress Nicky, while never making us feel rushed, was always just a step away from taking care of our every need. The food....EXCELLENT! I especially loved the fire-roasted tomato soup which started things off. Yum! The marinated pork loin wrapped with smoked pepper bacon was to die for! My husband thoroughly enjoyed his tempura shrimp which were extremely large. All in all a most pleasurable dining experience, and we WILL go back.

Can't beat the view!  

No matter where you sit in this restaurant the view is unbeatable. And the food is not bad either. Reasonable prices, pretty good food and fantastic view, can't ask for much more.

Great view and not too expensive  

Great food, beautiful view, great service!

Nice without being stuffy  

When we first arrived we were informed the hostess that we were celebrating our 9-yr anniversary and that we wanted a window seat and she happily filled our request. Kathleen, our server, was very pleasant and attentive without being a bother. She noted that we were celebrating our anniversary, happily took our picture, and offered to buy us a dessert. The food and drinks were very good overall. The onion soup was a bit disappointing but not bad. The grilled mahi mahi on pesto could have used a little more spice on the fish but still was tasty. My drink, the Missionary's Downfall was very good buy my wife's Cup of Gold was a bit watered down. The desserts, Kona Coffe Tower and Mango Creme Bruelle, were very tasty. I reccommend Bali Hai restaurant to those that are looking to go somewhere that serves good food, has good service, wonderful bay views, and isn't too formal. We will be going there again.

Excellent Mai Tai  

The Mai Tai's are the best in San Diego! And they are very cheap, only $5.95 and you taste the alcohol! The crab cakes are devine! Beautiful view by the window especially during sunset or even at night. Nice for a couple. Alot of seniors there...need to mix it up!

Great Polynesian Food and Beautiful Setting  

My wife and I experienced this lovely San Diego mainstay last night for the first time. We were at once impressed by the quick seating time, given the amount of people that were dining there. Our seat was located by a central window, and the view was nothing short of awe-inspiring. As with the site reviewer, we also started with Bali Hai's famous Mai Tais, which if you've never had one, one is quite plenty (though very tasty)! For appetizers, we had the Poke served nearly raw with wasabi, ginger, and a asian green salad with sesame dressing. Very tasty, though the wasabi was a bit tame for my taste. We also had the Lobster Wontons, and they were everything we had hoped for and more. Fortunately, every entree comes with a bowl of their delicious clam chowder, which was served with bread after the appetizers. For the main course, my wife enjoyed the Coconut Encrusted Shrimp, which she raved about for hours after the meal. I tried the Huli Huli Mahi Mahi, and though the taste was less pronounced that I expected, the character of the fish was in the underlying flavors that aren't readily recognized. All things considered, our meal was quite enjoyable. The food was delivered in a well-timed manner, and the views were wonderful. Despite the almost overwhelmingly noisy crowd, we still found Bali Hai to be an enjoyable atmosphere and a worthy dining experience.

Not the best.  

I decided to try Hawaiian food for the first time (being from the east coast and all), and thought Bali Hai would be a good place to go since it was close and had pretty decent reviews. When the appetizer came I was pleased. We got the sampler that comes with nachos, 2 coconut shrimp, 1 crab cake, 2 vegi egg rolls, and bbq spareribs. It was filling and everything tasted great. Next came the meal included is a soup and salad. The soup is served with sourdough bread, they have a different one every night. I can't remember the one we had, but it was pretty good. The salad was next and it had an almost mayo flavored salad dressing, but honestly I was too full to have more than a few bites. It was alright nothing special. Next came the main dishes. I had the island sampler with ahi, mahi mahi, and salmon. I found the fish somewhat bland. In some bites you can almost taste too much white wine in the salmon. The mashed potatoes where great and the vegetables were ok. The sauce that goes with the dish was pretty good also, it kind of reminds me of macaroni and cheese. 8-) Aside from that a few bites into it and I was full. My husband had the chicken and shrimp dish. He said it was alright. The view was nice the service was fast and friendly, although I would have gotten a better tasting meal at Fridays with more drinks! I won't go to Bali Hai again for dinner. I would probably stop for an appetizer or drink. It was an overall okay experience. It is not a place I would recommend if you are looking for an excellent meal. Drinks, appetizers, and a good atmosphere is what you can find here.

Needs Help  

The view and location are excellent. The food is fair. The restaurant was extreemly uncomfortable, way too hot. By the time the food arrived I was hot and sweaty. The place was way too noisy. My Salmon Wellington was OK, the Missus Huli Huli something was literally tasteless, Outback Steak House's Coconut Shrimp puts Bali Hai's Coconut Shrimp to shame. Beware...you pay 4 star prices for 2 star food. Also, they need a new Bartender, the drinks were not acceptable.

Noisy place and Tasteless food!!  

My wife and I went to this restaurant for our 20th wedding anniversary. We had a nice window seat and a beautiful view - then the rest was downhill from there! The place was so noisy from people talking that my wife and I could'nt hear each other talk at a table for two! We dressed nice, and people next to us and across from us were in shorts and t-shirt, and very loud! The whole restaurant was loud/noisy!! The waiter took forever to take our order (30 min. waitng). The food was expensive, which would have been fine if it tasted good!! It was tasteless - not good! We will not be going to this place again!!! Very disappointed.

very dissapointing  

my finacee and i went here two times...only because we were looking for a place to hold our wedding reception. the first time, the service was amazing, the ambiance was great and the food was great as well...this was for lunch. the second time however, we went for dinner and i was very dissapointed. our appetizer was allright, but when the eentres came, the meat was overcooked and i felt like i was eating rubber. and the scallops were undercooked so it tasted like i was eating sand...i was very dissapointed. i was really looking forward to having this place for the reception, but that's no longer the case.

Service needs work  

Bali Hai has its good points and bad points. The parking was great the night that I went and the location is beautiful. They have a fabulous view that I couldn't take my eyes off of. I had reservations and I arrived 20 minutes early. I checked in and they said they would seat me at my reservation time. Well that time came and went. There were people walking in without reservations that were being seated before me. Finally I had to get up and yell at somebody and wasn't seated until 30 minutes after my reservation time. After I was seated, the service improved. The appetizer was the best I had ever eaten and the pace of the meal was perfect. I never felt rushed and didn't have to wait for the next item. As soon as I finished one item, the next was promptly placed next to me for me to enjoy at my leisure. As I said before, the appetizer was by far the best part of the entire meal. The salad and soup was good, the dressing they used on the salad was very tasty. As for the main course, I noticed that my dish was only OK. I ordered a pepper steak and it had a good sauce, but the meat was a little below average. My date had ordered the chicken and offered me a taste. I was glad I ordered the steak. The chicken didn't have a bad flavor, it had NO flavor. I don't know how they did it, but they managed to extract all flavor from that chicken. I seriously tasted nothing. Overall, the food is decent, but not great, the view is spectacular, the service at the table was great, but the thing that ruined it for me was the maitre d'. They were always too busy to deal with you and didn't seem to care about reservations. This is why I never plan on returning to this restaurant.

Disgusting! But a beautiful view.  

I was very disappointed with the food. The place is nice with a beautiful view, and that must be the only reason this place stays in business. Everything we ordered was disgusting! The owner of Bali Hai should fire his chef and get a new menu. When I go out to such a fine looking restaurant I expect the food to be good, or at least so-so. The service was fine, and I didn't want to make a big fuss. But I will never go back. My sister told me that she had made reservations there for her boyfriend's birthday, but I told her to cancel them and find a better restaurant.