Hapa J's

2016 S. El Camino Real
San Clemente, CA 92672
Critics' Pick
Best Of
Hapa J's +

Kevin Lara


  • Sun, Sat 11am-10:30pm, Mon, Wed-Fri 11am-9:30pm, Tue 4:30pm-9:30pm
  • $$
  • Kid Friendly, Patio/Sidewalk Dining, Takeout, Wheelchair accessible
  • Dinner, Lunch
  • Full bar
  • Parking Lot Available
  • Reservations Accepted
Absent is Roy Yamaguchi's corporate polish and Don the Beachcomber's tiki kitsch--this is a Hawaiian restaurant in the real world. Hapa J's wooden structure could conceivably exist near a sandy beach on the island state, the wall paint a soothing green, the sunlight flooding in from openings in the ceiling. There's a surf shop just next door and the ocean's a few blocks away. Bruddah Iz's creamy voice floats through the air as his ukelele's pluckety-plucks tickles your soul. The waitresses have flowers tucked behind their ears, and the food seems as though the dishes have been extracted from your fondest vacation memories. Dinnertime brings the most people in for kalbi ribs, steak moco, shrimp-truck shrimp, burgers with a slice of pineapple, or the most popular dish, nachos erupting with Kalua pig heaped on in volcano-like mountains.

Related Stories (3)

  • On the Line: Justin Shea of Hapa J's, Part Two
    Wednesday, March 28, 2012 at 11 a.m. by Anne Marie Panoringan

    The self-proclaimed owner/busboy of Hapa J's in San Clemente, Justin Shea has some stories to tell. From his brother wardrobe to his high-school game days, Justin's hobbies vary more than the menu. If you didn't catch a glimpse of h...

  • On the Line: Justin Shea of Hapa J's, Part One
    Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 12:30 p.m. by Anne Marie Panoringan

    Meeting Justin Shea at a busy coffeehouse one morning, I thought for a split second he would kick my ass if our interview weren't to his liking. But he reminded me of a friend I knew, a sort of gentle giant. Of course, there begins ...

  • Hapa J's Puts You In an Aloha State of Mind
    Thursday, March 3, 2011 at 4:30 a.m. by Edwin Goei

    In an idyllic, sparsely inhabited town named Hawi on Hawaii's Big Island, there's a breezy restaurant in a converted plantation house. I can't remember the name, but it doesn't matter, as it's practically the only eating place for m...

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