Best Places to Wine and Dine in Hong Kong

Best Places to Wine and Dine in Hong Kong

One of the best ways to consume a culture is to literally digest its contents. Hong Kong is a gastronomic heaven only matched by its diverse atmospheres. With over 14,000 eateries from traditional dim sums, 1950s cha chaan teng diners, traditional tea houses, speak-easy style finds, sharing mezze platters, pasta plates and hawker stalls, to a fine diners’ paradise with more than 61 Michelin-starred restaurants and Chinese banquets at elegant tycoon restaurants to chose from, you’ll never be disappointed or go hungry.

The blending of two cultures is evident in the daily meals, which average five a day. Here eating shifts from pure consumption to deeper investigations into where food comes from and the cultural and geographic factors that influence it.

Days begin with traditional Yum Cha, with afternoon tea enjoyed at 3pm in salute to the city’s colonial past and Chinese Sui Yeh, eaten anytime from 9pm. In between, the many hawker stalls that line Hong Kong’s streets cater for smaller meals and Sui Yeh, while the main evening course can be at a world-famous chef Michelin-starred venue providing the ultimate food lovers’ paradise, thanks to fine ingredients, vintage wines and outstanding cooking techniques.

Excellent dining can be found just about anywhere in the city, and you can literally eat and drink your way around Hong Kong. In these following foodie neighbourhoods, the business of cooking and eating takes precedence.

Hong Kong Island

The most notable is Jumbo Kingdom, the world’s largest floating restaurant and an international tourist attraction since 1976. Overlooking locals living on traditional junks in the Aberdeen typhoon shelter, this famous seafood-dining enclave caters for 2,300 diners throughout a variety of rooms from a tea garden to a high-end gourmet restaurant and sea theme park.

Hong Kong’s famous Jumbo floating restaurant.  Image: © Nannette Holliday

The small fishing village of Stanley isn’t just famous for its namesake market, but you can rejuvenate from all that shopping at a string of alfresco seaside cafes and restaurants. The scene is laid-back, the food is international and the views of the South China Sea relaxing. Gaining a reputation as a gourmet hot spot is the iconic 160-year-old restored three-storey colonial Murray House. Moved from Central in 1982 and re-assembled at Stanley in 2000, it now houses a delectable array of restaurants, some with fantastic views.

Discover a fusion of ancient Chinese architecture, Western colonial buildings, Asian and international cuisine, luxury boutiques and quirky antique shops at Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai. Formerly home to Hong Kong’s first electric power plant, The East is gaining popularity for its upmarket European restaurants, Asian specialty dining and stylish eateries.

It’s also home to Hong Kong’s only revolving restaurant where diners can feast their eyes on the panoramic views while enjoying a massive mouthwatering buffet. Another unique spot is Under the Bridge Spicy Crab, and it’s located under a bridge. There’s actually three in the same place with the same name and all equally as good at serving up delicious crab loaded with spicy peppers.

Chilli crab is always popular with travellers.   Image: © Nannette Holliday

Soho East is another vibrant wining and dining hub on the east side of Hong Kong Island. With trendy lounges, themed waterfront pubs, chic cafes and restaurants the relaxed waterfront atmosphere caters to every taste.

The modest street restaurant, the Dai Pai Dong, is a rarity these days after the government moved most of them to indoor cooking centres, but the vendors on Stanley Street, Central, have survived. The greasy spoon favourite is perfect for early morning or late night snacks.

Around Central to the Mid-Levels you can relax and enjoy sightseeing of a different kind at over 90 bars and restaurants in Lan Kwai Fong. From stylish wine bars, the new speakeasy scene and a collective of cafes and restaurants hosting a variety of carnivals and celebrations, the ideal viewing spot is on a street side table or bar stool, or on an upper level overlooking the street antics below.

You may have to ask around to find these hidden gem speakeasies — Foxglove and Frank’s Library inspired by the travels of Frank Minza, they’re old-world luxury with live music. Another charming salon is The Wise King with a golden interior, exotic cocktails, substantial bites, Spanish cheeses, charcuterie to scarpetta, and plenty of delectable eats fit for a king.

SoHo Central’s historical and narrow streets are the chicest. After checking out the art galleries, antique shops and fashion boutiques relax over a long lunch and vino. At sundown, the multicultural upmarket wine bars, exotic restaurants and swanky nightlife ensure SoHo sparkles.

Kowloon

Kowloon is the home of Hong Kong’s immigrants. This once industrial district is now a gourmet delight where you’ll find a fantastic choice of ethnic foods for minimal outlay. The unpretentious neighbourhood is home to mostly family-run restaurants and overcrowded canteens. It’s where you’ll see the locals eating, offering the best, most authentic Cantonese restaurants, steaming bowls of Pho, dim sum, barbeques and curries.

Cantonese steamed chicken is a Hong Kong staple.  Image: © Nannette Holliday

While most won’t have starched tablecloths and white-gloved waiters, the food is good and cheap. The world’s most affordable Michelin-starred restaurants can be found on this side of the harbour too.

Located on the rooftop of Ocean Terminal’s new five-storey extension you’ll not only find a breathtaking observatory deck with 270-degree views of Victoria Harbour, the Hong Kong Island skyline and Kowloon, but over 70 food and beverage outlets. Over 20 of these enjoy incredible views along with global cuisine.

Tucked away from the busy streets without polluted vehicle traffic, Observatory Court is a world-renowned entertainment hub in the heart of Tsim Sha Tsui. With over 40 international standard restaurants and bars catering to every culinary, entertainment and excitement imaginable it is around the corner from the Nathan Road shopping and hotel precinct. Enjoy mixing with the many locals and tourists on the cosy, informal alfresco Terrace.

While there are over 30 multi-cultural restaurants around Tsim Sha Tsui and Knutsford Terrace, be careful as many are now overpriced tourist traps serving up uninspiring western food. However, there is a lively club, bar and nightlife scene here.

Pork and prawn dim sum are other Hong Kong staples. Image: © Nannette Holliday

The best Indian and Pakistani eats are inside Chungking Mansions. Between the phone shops and currency exchanges, you’ll find kiosks with an array of delicious, cheap lunches and snacks. The Delhi Club is one of the area’s oldest restaurants and still a local favourite.

Dundas Street in Mong Kok has an array of tiny stalls serving a variety of classic Hong Kong street snacks and a range of flavours from across Asia.

Along the streets near the Kowloon Walled City Park, you’ll find more ethnic food choices, particularly Thai and Vietnamese, where these immigrants are catering to their respective communities.

It’s not just Chinese food that’s good in Hong Kong.  Image: Bill Kasman

If you want to see a master at work, view the art of fresh noodle making with bamboo at Kwan Kee before enjoying a fresh bowl of signature noodles paired with a variety of flavours.

Again, there’s something for everyone at Tsim Tsui East with most bars, restaurants and cafes offering alfresco dining with harbour views.

Lei Yue Mun was once a fishing and farming village but is now part of Kowloon with unique alfresco seafood cafes and restaurants where you can buy your fish at the market stall tank and take it to your choice of a nearby eatery who will cook it for you. It’s incredibly economical and fresh!

Afternoon tea

One of the few traditions left from its colonial period, there is nothing more quintessentially iconic in Hong Kong than experiencing the acclaimed classic afternoon tea. And while there are several tea spots around Hong Kong, such as Lobby Lounge at Kerry Hotel, Café Gray Deluxe at The Upper House, Lobby Lounge: Island Shangri-La, The Clipper Lounge at Mandarin Oriental or Dr Fern’s Gin Parlour, the Peninsula Hotel has steadfastly adhered to tradition and attention to detail since 1928.

The Peninsula Hotel’s afternoon tea is one of the best.

Served daily between 2pm and 6pm in The Lobby, this revered tradition is accompanied by a live string quartet with a selection of finger sandwiches, savoury pastries, homemade afternoon tea pastries, freshly-baked scones and Devonshire clotted cream on tiered silver platters.

To wash it all down choose one of the divine teas from the Peninsula Tea Collection or a glass of Deutz Peninsula Brut Champagne. Tradition never tasted so good!

Fine dining

To fully savour the source of comfort, nourishment and love on a dining table, venture to one of the 61 Michelin-star fine dining restaurants in Hong Kong. The quality, authenticity and tempting selection will leave you wanting more.

Dining with a view is plentiful in Hong Kong and on the 101st floor of Hong Kong’s tallest building, the ICC, the two Michelin-star RyuGin is amongst the best. It offers diners true modern Japanese food to match the striking views of West Kowloon’s harbour and Hong Kong’s skylines. The dishes feature exotic foods that are flown in fresh daily, as they’re not found in Hong Kong.

For some of Hong Kong’s best northern Chinese and Sichuan cuisine head to Hutong on One Peking Road. The stunning dining room is beautifully decorated, complete with scenic floor-to-ceiling views of Hong Kong. The food offers a variety of full-flavoured, spicy, and aromatic dishes, with a vast wine menu to match.

Try the Ao Yun tasting menu featuring seared foie gras served on runny Shanghainese coddled egg, wagyu beef cheek and sweet dumplings complemented by China’s first ‘Grand Cru’ from Moët Hennessy’s Shangri-La Winery.

There are many fine dining restaurants in Hong Kong.  Image: MIC Kitchen

If you want exclusivity, then head for MIC Kitchen, but make your reservation as soon as you plan your trip, as it only accepts 26 diners per night. However, the unforgettable culinary experience and its beautiful, bold plates, exquisite flavours, unique atmosphere, stunning panoramic night views of Hong Kong and service of the eight-course tasting menu uniquely marrying Western and Asian flavours with paired wines will captivate you.

Focussing on traditional dishes and seasonal gems, together with panoramic views of Victoria Harbour, have earned Man Wah a reputation as a firm favourite for classic Cantonese cuisine in Hong Kong. On the 25th floor of the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, the exceptional view of Hong Kong’s skyline and the beautiful setting, complement the outstanding food and wines.

Boasting first-class views of Victoria Harbour, while blending together the aesthetics of France and China for a unique ‘Chinoiserie’ dining experience, the two Michelin-starred Caprice at Four Seasons Hotel is another favourite. Run by Chef de Cuisine Guillaume Galliot, who sources ingredients from France, it houses Hong Kong’s most extensive selection of artisanal French cheeses and wines from Burgundy and Bordeaux.  

With its elegant setting and serene water features, One Harbour Road makes you feel like you’re dining in a 1930s-era Chinese mansion, until you look out the floor-to-ceiling windows, with views of Hong Kong’s world-famous Victoria Harbour and the modern IFC and ICC towers. Located at the five-star Grand Hyatt, it has a vast local following, serving traditional, home-style Cantonese cuisine, using the highest quality, seasonal ingredients.

Roast suckling pig is popular on special occasions.  Image: © Nannette Holliday

For Cantonese cuisine like braised imperial bird’s nest with crabmeat and roe, you can’t go past the three Michelin-starred T’ang Court at The Langham. It’s one of just four Cantonese restaurants to earn this recognition.  

See chefs prepare dishes right in front of your eyes at the bar counter that wraps around the open kitchen at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in The Landmark luxury shopping centre. It is the highest awarded Michelin-star restaurant in the world and serves modern French food in small portions that are delivered in a vibrant atmosphere much like that of a tapas bar.

Located in the Landmark Alexandra upmarket shopping centre is the three Michelin-star Otto e Mezzo Bombana. It is the only Italian restaurant outside of Italy to achieve this rating. The classic meat and fish dishes, with contemporary flavoured and textured plates of pasta, won’t disappoint.  Owned by renowned Italian chef, Umberto Bombana, the lively atmosphere immediately transports you to Italy.

New Territories & outlying islands

Known as Hong Kong’s back garden, the Sai Kung East Country Park has some of the most picturesque hiking trails and serene beaches outside the city. But it’s also renowned for superbly fresh seafood, and you don’t have to walk far in the village to find Seafood Street with its line-up of local, laid-back, fresh eateries. There’s even a one Michelin star restaurant here. Sing Kee is renowned for its incredible waterfront delights as well as crispy chicken.

Fresh seafood for sale at Sai Kung's Seafood Street.   Image: © Alan Williams

Doing a little island hopping by ferry is also a great way to see and experience more of Hong Kong’s unique areas. D’Deck at Discovery Bay on Lantau Island now offers the largest oceanfront dining spot. The 20 odd international restaurants stretch along the waterfront promenade to Tai Pak Beach. The relaxing alfresco setting also provides 180-degree sea views.

A 40-minute ferry trip from downtown Hong Kong will land you at the old fishing village of Sok Kwu Wan on Lamma Island.  The island is a favourite local weekend getaway with beautiful hiking trails, multicultural shops and cafes. A row of restaurants on stilts above the bay offer delicious seafood served with pleasant alfresco dining and relaxing sea views.

In between Lamma and Lantau Islands is smaller Cheung Chau Island, home to an active fishing fleet. The local restaurants along Pak She Praya Road near the pier offer the freshest catches of the day. Chill in the alfresco setting and soak up the lively locals going about their daily chores.

Header image: Sorapol Ujjin | Dreamstime

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