Where to Eat & Drink In Hong Kong
Hong Kong has a seemingly endless supply of fine-dining restaurants, specialist cocktail bars and traditional tea shops
FOR A FANCY DINNER
Mott 32 is the place to go to impress. Whether that’s a Sunday lunch with visiting family, a business meeting, or date night. The food is elevated modern Chinese, with a selection of Cantonese, Szechuan and Beijing-style dishes, made from ethically sourced organic and sustainable produce. Highlights are the apple-wood roasted Peking duck and barbecue Iberico pork (which must be pre-ordered), and the delightful dim sum. The signature cocktails are some of the best around and celebrate Chinese ingredients such as osmanthus honey, jasmine tea, ginger, matcha powder, Szechuan pepper, shiso and five spice. The design details of this underground restaurant nod to its location in the basement of the Standard Chartered Bank Building, and is a mix of New York industrial style and Chinese imperial elements.
Standard Chartered Bank Building, 4-4A Des Voeux Rd, Central
FOR AN ITALIAN LONG LUNCH
Propped up at a street-side counter with the windows open to the view and the sun on your face, the lunchtime rush is a joy at Pici. People queue to get a table at this charming pasta bar, and for the lucky ones seated as the crowds gather, it’s no secret why. The service here is top-notch, and restaurant manager Jack Lavaette is more than happy to take over the ordering for you — sending out Italian small plates of soft burrata cheese with tomatoes, olive oil and rocket; a trio of meatballs; and a plate of vitello tonnato. Next comes perfectly al dente orecchiette with Italian sausage; carbonara ravioli with a runny yoke encapsulated in each piece; and tagliolini with truffles. Enjoy warm, generous flavours served by warm, generous staff, and with a negroni or an Aperol spritz in hand, it doesn’t get much better than this.
GF, 16 St Francis Yard, Wan Chai; 24-26 Aberdeen St, Soho
FOR AN NYC-STYLE SNACK
An American-style diner in the heart of Wan Chai, Morty’s is the place to go for a Reuben sandwich, a milkshake and a side of basketball. The locals consider it their version of a sports bar, with four large screens playing the day’s biggest games. The friendly staff offer a warm welcome and efficient table service. Open for lunch and dinner (the Central location serves breakfast from 8.30am-10.30am). Expect New York deli favourites such as bagels with lox, grilled cheese and french fries. There’s also a decent craft beer list and feel-good drinks like cherry coke and root beer.
Shop 8-10 Wing Fung St, Wan Chai
FOR QUALITY DIM SUM
Being awarded a Michelin star five years in a row from 2010 to 2014 has made it a must-visit on any Hong Kong food tour, but Din Tai Fung has been serving quality dumplings since way back. The restaurant originates in Taiwan, at first a cooking oil store and then reborn as a steamed dumpling and noodle restaurant in 1972. It’s now a successful worldwide chain with branches in the US, Japan, Australia and Dubai. Don’t let that Michelin star fool you though — these are original cheap eats, served in a pristine environment and with quality service. At the Yee Wo branch, the spicy dumplings come swimming in chilli oil, the steamed pork buns have no sweet, artificial colouring and the cucumber salad is crisp and deliciously vinegary. Din Tai Fung doesn’t take bookings, so arrive early to beat the lunch crowds.
Shop G3-G11, G/F, 68 Yee Wo St, Causeway Bay
FOR CHIC PARTY VIBES
Hexa is home to authentic Cantonese dishes in an elegant setting, and with its sweeping harbour views, it’s also the place to go for a chic dinner party. The large dining room is perfect for accommodating groups, so plan your next birthday dinner here. There's also an outdoor area ideal for snapping selfies with the Hong Kong skyline as a backdrop — which Viva shamelessly did. Try the black cod fillet in five spices, smoked duck, stir-fried cabbage and silky braised bean curd. Pro tip: Hexa’s location in gigantic shopping complex Harbour City makes it difficult to find, so give yourself plenty of time to locate this waterside gem.
Hexa, Shop OTE 101, Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, 3-27 Canton Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui
FOR DINNER WITH A VIEW
Another restaurant on the Tsim Sha Tsui side with beautiful views is Hutong, but this venue comes with the benefit of being located on the rooftop, offering a stunning vantage point of the glittering skyline. Hutong means alley and the restaurant aims to mirror the ancient courtyards and alleyways of Old China, with carved stone archways, antique metal-studded doors, silk curtains and wooden screens between tables. Try the lamb ribs, the crispy soft shell crab with Sichuan pepper or the spotted grouper in chilli broth. Order a Hutong bellini made with honey-soaked grapefruit and drink in the atmosphere.
28F, One Peking Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
FOR A BREEZY, BEACHSIDE BITE
Repulse Bay is an unexpected slice of white-sand beach just 20 minutes from the city. It’s also the location of Tin Hau Temple, one of the oldest temples in Hong Kong and believed to be the goddess of the sea. Facing the beach is The Pulse, a dining and shopping precinct that houses a concentrated number of great eateries, including laid-back Limewood. The menu is influenced by South East Asian, Hawaiian, South American and Caribbean recipes with barbecued seafood and meats, and creative, refreshing cocktails, the ideal beachside food.
103/104 The Pulse, 28 Beach Rd, Repulse Bay
FOR YAKITORI AND PINTS
Yardbird is on most locals’ and travellers’ lists of top restaurants in Hong Kong, famed for its yakitori dishes served in cool surroundings in the heart of Sheun Wan. All parts of the bird are savoured here, from the neck to the tail and the rib to the thyroid, grilled over white Japanese charcoal called Binchotan until charred and crispy. Wash it down with a Japanese whisky, shochu or beer. And vegans be warned: there’s not much to tempt you here. 154-158 Wing Lok St, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
FOR A DECENT COFFEE
There is lots of great coffee to be had in Hong Kong and while you’ll find a flat white on most cafe menus, many roasteries offer a ‘pick of the day’ — a single origin, long-pull coffee — or a long list of speciality brews that are served black to preserve the subtleties of the bean. Try it cold-brewed at Elephant Grounds, a micro roastery with five cafes across the city, or head to Common Room & Co in Sham Shui Po where you can get a specially brewed cup in an art-gallery-meets-bookstore space. Fineprint in Central is an Australian-owned cafe that also has booze and bagels on the menu and Coffee by Zion in Sai Ying Pun is a guaranteed good cup.
FOR A ROOFTOP DRINK
For anyone who suffers from vertigo but still wants to enjoy the pleasures of a rooftop drink, may we present Duddell’s. Its outdoor terrace is on the third floor, still high enough to drink in the surrounding skyscrapers, but low enough to avoid spinning out. You might prefer to sit inside though, as both the sexy lounge bar and downstairs gallery-style dining area are filled with art and an eclectic collection of furniture designed by London-based Ilse Crawford. And the food? It’s Michelin-starred, darling.
Level 3, Shanghai Tang Mansion, 1 Duddell St, Central
FOR A SWEET TREAT
Sometimes it’s the simple things we crave and Urban Bakery is the place to go for a great croissant. We can’t help that the location inside high-end fashion destination Landmark Mall makes shopping and eating a package deal. Urban Bakery is the originator of salted egg yolk custard-filled croissants, which oozes out when cut in half and makes for a highly Instagrammable snack. Also try the artful cakes, like this multi-berry sponge (pictured).
Shop 322, 3/F, Landmark Atrium, Central
FOR A GREAT COCKTAIL
Stockton is a hard-to-find cocktail bar located down an unassuming alleyway with nothing but a single lightbulb to guide you. Its wood-panelled walls, art, antiques and furniture hark back to London’s hidden gentlemen’s clubs, when the good times flowed and the house rules were loose (a sample: “Rakish behaviour with other person’s consorts must take place in dark corners.”) Stockton’s Minds Undone cocktail collection pays homage to iconic writers such as William Faulkner, who took his drinking as seriously as his writing. His drink, The Cake Eater, is a mix of single malt whisky, caraway, cucumber, lemon sherbet and mace.
32 Wyndham St, Central
FOR MARKET-GARDEN DINING
Sohofama is a little oasis in the city, complete with a sun-filled outdoor patio and an organic mini farm. The restaurant is a collab between lifestyle brand G.O.D and organic eatery Locofama. Entry to Sohofama is by way of a G.O.D store and the menu is made up of farm-to-table dishes, with a healthy focus on meat-free options. Come for a light lunch of dim sum, paired with a fresh coconut — perfect after overindulging the night before, which is so easy to do in a city like Hong Kong.
G/F Block A, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen St
FOR HONG KONG-STYLE REFRESHMENTS
Stop into any of Hong Kong’s traditional cafes called Cha Chaan Teng’s (tea restaurants) for a milk tea (nai ha), which is strong black tea soaked for several hours and mixed with powdered milk for a rich, delicious brew. These tea houses still have some British influences on the menu, such as toast and club sandwiches, but an absolute highlight is a pineapple bun (bor lo bao), a soft sweet bun with a sugary topping that looks vaguely like a pineapple. It’s served with or without a huge slab of butter in the middle, which locals call pineapple oil and which we call a must. If it’s cooling down you require, try an iced lemon tea.
Find them city-wide
FOR A SPECIALTY GIN BAR
Ping Pong 129 Gintoneria is in the basement of what used to be an old table tennis hall in Sai Ying Pun. The sports hall’s faded pink facade signalling “Ping Pong City” in Cantonese is still intact, but the strip of neon above the door hints at the fun below street level. Downstairs you’ll find a bustling industrial-style space with relaxed seating, art-filled walls and a lively crowd. The focal point is the bar, which is framed by a huge neon sign — something that is so intrinsically Hong Kong — that bathes the room in a warm pink glow. At Ping Pong, the drinks list is a celebration of gin, with a long list of gin-based cocktails infused with seasonal herbs and fruit, served alongside Spanish tapas. Owner Hugh Zimmerman ensures there’s a selection of great contemporary local art on the walls, and offers the location for installations, regular exhibitions and live music.
129 Second St, Sai Ying Pun