Eating by enclave: Hong Kong's restaurant hot spots
29 December 2016
Many locations have come and gone as “flavour of the month” on the Hong Kong dining scene. Today, no single area dominates the landscape. Here are six spots with the restaurants that foodies love to flock to.
As the saying goes, if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. The area around Soho has long been a stalwart with the late-night crowd, with streets like Elgin and Staunton lined with bars and restaurants, some long-term residents and many blink-and-you’ll-miss-it “latest things”. It’s here that you’ll find Ho Lee Fook. This trendy spot is fairly new to the scene, but notable for consistently delivering great food in its first year in business. The vibe is buzzing and loud, but very cool. The food is Chinese with a twist, with generous servings and super fresh ingredients. It’s a great place to visit if you have friends visiting from out of town, who might like a more Westernised version of local food.
Also in the area: Bindaas, Chôm Chôm, Olive, Linguini Fini, Maison Libanaise, BÊP, Little Bao, Fresca, Steak Frites
Maybe the most obvious dining scene for many of the city’s workers and visitors, Central offers lots of options – mainly in high-rises and down hidden streets. While it may seem like the most expensive spot, it’s actually home to some reasonably priced fine-dining restaurants and bars. We love Zuma for so many reasons, but brunch is top of the list. With Japanese on the menu and a great atmosphere, it rates pretty highly with locals and visitors alike.
Also in the area: Otto e Mezzo Bombana, Arcane, ON Dining & Kitchen, Envoy, Duddells, Mak Mak, Twenty Six by Liberty, Carbone, Alchemy
Sheung Wan has emerged as a frontrunner in the food stakes in recent years, as higher rents in Central push restaurant owners westwards. It’s a little further afield but well worth the effort – if you can navigate the side streets and stairs off Queen’s Road, you’ll find some hidden gems. Our pick in the neighbourhood, Upper Modern Bistro, is a cool and classy eatery tucked away on Upper Station Street. From the crusty homemade bread and out-of-this-world cheese platters to the refined service, it’s all very good. If you love French food, or just good food in general, Chef Philippe Orrico and his delightful menu will hit the spot.
Also in the area: Bibo, Chachawan, Yardbird, Aberdeen Street Social, Blue Butcher, Cocotte, Isono, NOM, Figaro, Potato Head, La Cantoche
Once you get past the seedier side of this magnet for travellers, Wan Chai has a lot to offer the hungry and thirsty. From the street level cafés and casual dining along Ship Street, to the dining-on-high in towering office blocks along Hennessy Road, you’ll find cuisine from all over the world, and for every budget here. Do your homework and plan ahead, because some of the best spots are local secrets. One of our favourites, Le Bistro Winebeast, is run by husband-and-wife team Cristina and Johann, and their chef-meets-sommelier union means a perfect marriage of food and wine for lucky diners here. It’s simple, rustic French food with a menu that changes every six weeks, keeping it fresh and seasonal. Superb flavours, excellent service, and wines to match every dish, this is one you’ll want to go back to again and again (we do!).
G/F & 1/F, Tai Yip Building, 141 Thomson Road, Wan Chai
Also in the area: Chino, K-Town Bar & Grill, Butcher & Baker, Bistro Du Vin, Missy Ho’s Also in the area: Fishsteria, The Pawn, Pirata, 22 Ships, El Mercado, Le Pain Quotidien, Ham & Sherry, The Optimist, Quest by Que
After a renovation at Stanley Plaza, the area has really taken off, with some seriously good options for the weekends, casual family dining and alfresco eats. The same applies at Repulse Bay, thanks to the vibe at The Pulse. For a seriously good burger, try Beef & Liberty. With a great selection of burgers, really good fries, sides and desserts (there’s even something for the vegetarians), you won’t leave hungry. You’ll also find them in Wan Chai and Central, but the Stanley venue is great, with the option of sitting outside and watching the kids play in the square while you tuck in.
G/F, Stanley Plaza, The Piazza, 23 Carmel Road, Stanley
Also in the area: Classified, Limewood, Tri, The Ocean, Shoku, Cabana, Stan Cafe
Once considered a bit of a backwater, K-Town is really shaking things up, with restaurants and cafes opening all over the place. With the MTR going all the way to the area now, there’s no excuse to avoid heading over there to seek out some of the city’s trendiest spots. We love Catch on Catchick, for simple, fresh food in a setting that’s bright and open, with a lightly alfresco feel thanks to the sliding doors that open out onto the street. Brunch is awesome, but as you might’ve guessed from the name, they also have great seafood options.
Also in the area: Chino, K-Town Bar & Grill, Butcher & Baker, Bistro Du Vin, Missy Ho’s
Tsim Sha Tsui
Another popular spot with tourists, but don’t let that put you off. The TST area is a major drawcard for some of the biggest and best in the world (think Alain Ducasse, Gordon Ramsay, Nobu Matsuhisa and the like), and you will find something to please even the fussiest palate along the harbour. Aqua offers impressive views, impeccable service and the best of East-meets-West cuisine with its Japanese and Italian kitchens. We head there for date night, or when we’re trying to impress out-of-town guests.
Also in the area: La Locanda, Spasso, London House, Hutong, The Parlour, Maison Eight, FINDS, La Taverna
There are some pockets around the city that are shaking things up in their own ways. Here’s what you’ll find in:
Lan Kwai Fong: While technically a part of Central, LKF has grown into a spot that is just as likely to draw discerning foodies as late-night revellers. We love: Brickhouse, Lily & Bloom, Bread Street Kitchen, CÉ LA VI, Porterhouse by Laris, Jinjuu, Braza Churrascaria.
Quarry Bay: This side of town is not generally thought of when planning a night out, but there are some great options if you want to head left of centre. Don’t miss: Mr and Mrs Fox, Plat Du Jour, The News Room, FEAST, Grand Cuisine Shanghai Kitchen.
As far as hotel dining goes, Hong Kong has an unusually high number of Michelin-starred restaurants inside hotels – taking fine dining to a whole new level – as well as some of the city’s favourites. We recommend tying it into a staycation, but you’ll still have a great time if you only stay for dinner. Here are our picks:
The Four Seasons – Caprice, Lung King Heen
Island Shangri-La – Restaurant Petrus
The Peninsula – Felix, Chesa, Spring Moon
Landmark Mandarin Oriental – Amber
Mandarin Oriental – The Mandarin Bar & Grill, Pierre
The Upper House – Café Gray Deluxe
Hotel ICON – Above & Beyond, The Market
InterContinental – Spoon by Alain Ducasse, NOBU, Yan Toh Heen
The Ritz-Carlton – Tin Lung Heen
JW Marriott – Flint Bar & Grill
For more restaurant reviews and news, check out our Wine & Dine stories.
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