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  • Favorite restaurants
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  • Family celebrations, social occasions and business meetings all revolve around food, usually at restaurants. There are more than 8,000 restaurants in Kowloon and Hong Kong Island alone. Cantonese cuisine dominates, but Hong Kong also boasts myriad restaurants serving regional Chinese cuisines, from Peking to Shanghai to Yunnan to Sichuan. Other Asian cuisines—such as Thai, Indonesian, Malay and Japanese—also abound.

    Dim sum is a must for any visit to Hong Kong—many Chinese restaurants serve this a la carte style at lunch. In older restaurants, the wait staff pushes small trolleys around the room, carrying different dishes in bamboo steamer baskets or on plates. Look inside the baskets, point to what you want; the waiter will add a stamp to your bill. The traditional trolleys are slowly disappearing, however. Many restaurants now have English-menu request forms where you simply circle the dishes you want. Dim sum generally costs between HK$20-$50 per basket. Favorite dim sum choices are siu mai (small balls of pork, wrapped in a small cabbage leaf), ha gow (small dumplings with steamed prawns inside) and cha siu bao (steamed barbecued pork buns). Try the daan tart (small custard-filled pastry) for dessert. If you see "coconut cake," it's not angel food cake with coconut frosting but rather a delicious, creamy pudding, usually served in small blocks that look like tofu. Dim sum restaurants tend to get rather crowded, especially on Sundays. Usually, you cannot make reservations, so get there early and be prepared to wait.

    Hong Kong has a new area of trendy bars, cafes and restaurants known as SoHo. Like the New York City neighborhood, its name is derived from its location—in this case, South of Hollywood Road. A five-minute ride from Queen's Road Central on the Mid-Levels escalator delivers you to the hub of the action on Staunton Street. Other restaurants are spread along the surrounding streets.

    Below is a sampling of restaurants in town. Expect to pay within these general guidelines, based on the cost of a dinner for one excluding drinks, tax and tip: $ = less than HK$200; $$ = HK$200-$400; $$$ = HK$401-$600; and $$$$ = more than HK$600. A 10% service charge will be added to your bill.

    Favorite restaurants  | Local and regional specialties  | Asian  | Breakfast and brunch  | French  | Italian (including pizzerias)  | Seafood  | Additional experiences


    Bayou Restaurant and Bar—This is the sort of place to see and be seen, and the multiple mirrors make sure you won't miss a thing. The menu is New Orleans-style Cajun and Creole. The shrimp creole and the jambalaya are delicious. Open 8 am for Sunday breakfast. Daily 12:30-2:30 pm and 6:30-10:30 pm. $$. Most major credit cards. 9-13 Shelly St., Central, Hong Kong. Phone 2526-2118.

    Beirut—Traditional Lebanese food in a relaxing atmosphere with excellent service. Appetizers include hummus and baba ganoush. The sharwarma, for a main dish, is delicious. Also a second location. Daily noon-11 pm. $$$. Most major credit cards. 27 D'Aguilar St., Lan Kwai Fong, Central, Hong Kong. Phone 2804-6611.

    El Pomposo—Tapas have taken off in Hong Kong, and this is the place to get them. Some tempting ones are prawns with white wine, almonds and grapes or smoked tortillas. Also a wide selection of wines. Tapas cost about HK$45 each. 10 am-10:30 pm. $$. Most major credit cards. 4 Tun Wo Lane, Central, Hong Kong. Phone 2869-7679.

    Gaddi's—On the first floor of the Peninsula Hotel, this French restaurant is known for its superb wines and food. Popular dishes include grilled Dover sole and Scottish rack of lamb. Exquisite setting and live music by a small combo. ($$ for set-price lunches.) Daily noon-2:30 pm and 7-11 pm. $$$-$$$$. Most major credit cards. Peninsula Hotel, Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong. Phone 2315-3171.

    The Mandarin Grill—An elegant setting for business meals or for quiet romantic dinners. Known for its beef rib provencal. Daily 7-11 am, noon-3 pm and 6:30-11 pm. $$$-$$$$. Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, 5 Connaught Rd., Central, Hong Kong. Phone 2522-0111.

    Petrus—On the 56th floor of the Island Shangri-La Hotel, Petrus boasts superb French cuisine and a lavish wine list. The emphasis is on quality of service, food and ambience. Try the rack of lamb or pigeon salad. Daily noon-2:30 pm and 6:30-10:30 pm. $$$. 56/F Island Shangri-La, Pacific Place, Supreme Court Road, Central, Hong Kong. Phone 2877-3838.

    Staunton's Bar and Cafe—This restaurant is ideal for people watching. The ground floor has high ceilings and windows, so you can check out the talent as you sip a cappuccino or savor a sundowner. Italian food is served upstairs—with some vegetarian-friendly selections such as a vegetable platter with marinated vegetables, hummus, olives, Italian cheese and grilled bread. Daily 8 am-midnight. $-$$. Most major credit cards. 10-12 Staunton St., Central, Hong Kong. Phone 2973-6611.

    Two Sardines—For French cuisine, this is a nice informal spot with a friendly atmosphere. The sardines are a tasty starter, as is the goat-cheese salad. For the main course, try the grilled salmon or the rack of lamb. Daily noon-2:30 pm, 6-11:30 pm. $-$$. Most major credit cards. 43 Elgin St., Central, Hong Kong. Phone 2973-6618.

    Vong—With the increasing popularity of fusion cuisine, Vong has earned an excellent reputation for its Franco-Thai offerings. The decor is purely European, but the menu is East-meets-West, with such specialties as rice-wine-marinated quail and spiny lobster with Thai herbs. 25th Floor, Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Daily noon-3 pm, 6 pm-midnight. $$$. Most major credit cards. 5 Connaught Rd., Central, Hong Kong. Phone 2825-4028.

    Favorite restaurants  | Local and regional specialties  | Asian  | Breakfast and brunch  | French  | Italian (including pizzerias)  | Seafood  | Additional experiences


    Dim Sum—Its retro-style decor and creative chefs have generated a huge following. Along with dim sum dishes (served, atypically, at both lunch and dinner), the menu includes soups, noodle and rice dishes. Make reservations to avoid disappointment (no reservations on weekends; come early). Daily 11 am-4:30 pm and 6-10:30 pm. Reservations suggested (no reservations on weekends). $$-$$$. 63 Shing Woo Rd., Happy Valley, Hong Kong. Phone 2834-8893.

    Landau's/Jimmy's Kitchen—This rather old-fashioned, long-established restaurant group caters to the expatriate and local crowd looking for quality Western food and no surprises. The menu is huge, with dishes ranging from macaroni and cheese to garoupa shashlik and Wiener schnitzel. Try the fresh strawberries in a biscuit-basket with strawberry sauce and fresh cream. Open daily noon-3 pm and 6:30 pm-midnight. $$-$$$. Most major credit cards. Three locations: Landau's, Sun Hun Kai Centre, 30 Harbour Rd., Wanchai, phone 2827-7901. Jimmy's Kitchen (on Hong Kong side), 1 Wyndham St., Central, phone 2526-5293. Jimmy's Kitchen (on Kowloon side), 29 Ashley Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui, phone 2376-0327.

    Luk Yu Tea House & Restaurant—Fans, spittoons and surly waiters add to the experience of this 60-year-old restaurant. Cantonese cuisine throughout the day to 10 pm. Dim sum served daily 7 am-6 pm. Daily 7 am-10 pm. $$-$$$. 26 Stanley St., Central, Hong Kong. Phone 2523-5464.

    Maxim's, City Hall—One of the liveliest venues in town, offering a wide variety of dim sum "standards" as well as several specialty items. Its dim sum brunch is a local favorite. Weekends can be crowded, and there is often a wait of up to 30 minutes. Dim sum served until 2:30 pm. Daily 10 am-3 pm and 5:30 pm-11 pm. Most major credit cards. Second floor of City Hall, next to Star Ferry pier, Hong Kong. Phone 2521-1303.

    Pine and Bamboo—Delicious Beijing food served in decidedly bland surroundings that let you concentrate on your plate. Bean curd in pepper sauce, Beijing duck (which need not be ordered ahead) and fried dumplings are all great. Daily 11 am-11 pm. $$. Most major credit cards. 30 Leighton Rd., Causeway Bay, Hong Kong. Phone 2577-4914.

    Yung Kee—Marinated roast goose has been Yung Kee's specialty since 1942. Also barbecue pork, dim sum at lunchtime and a range of Chinese dishes. Four floors can seat 1,000 guests. Daily 11 am-11:30 pm. $-$$. 32-40 Wellington St., Central, Hong Kong. Phone 2522-1624.

    Favorite restaurants  | Local and regional specialties  | Asian  | Breakfast and brunch  | French  | Italian (including pizzerias)  | Seafood  | Additional experiences


    The Ashoka Restaurant—Indian dishes in an elegant setting. Thali, the specialty, is a platter of all kinds of curries, vegetables, samosas, naan and a very sweet dessert. Order vegetarian or nonvegetarian thalis. Go for Sunday lunch—most Indian restaurants are very quiet then. Bar and Western wines. Daily noon-2:30 pm and 6-10:30 pm. $$. Most major credit cards. 57 Wyndham St., Central, phone 2524-9623.

    Chili Club—An old favorite for Thai food. Good red and green curries (duck, fish, beef), chili beef salad, tom yung koon soup and various seasonal dishes. Daily noon-3 pm and 6-10:30 pm. Reservations are helpful if you're hungry and don't want to wait. $$. Most major credit cards. 1st Floor, 88 Lockhart Rd., phone 2527-2872.

    Club Sri Lanka—A small family-owned business and a well-kept secret, tucked away between antique galleries on Hollywood Road. It offers a delicious home-style lunch and dinner buffet of curries, vegetable stews and other Sri Lankan favorites, including vegetarian and non-vegetarian fare. A small meeting room accommodating 25 can normally be booked with a few days' advance notice. The lunch buffet is HK$70 and dinner is HK$90. Most major credit cards. Daily noon-2:30 pm and 6-10 pm. $. 17 Hollywood Rd., Central, phone 2526-0659.

    Indochine 1929—Superb Vietnamese cuisine served in a context evocative of 1920s Vietnam. These are favorites: deep-fried softshell crabs, cha ca (Hanoi-style fried fish) and fresh spring rolls. Monday-Saturday noon-3 pm and 6:30-10:30 pm, Sunday noon-3 pm. $$$. 2nd Floor, California Tower, Lan Kwai Fong, Central, phone 2869-7399.

    Java—Tiny Indonesian restaurant that specializes in rijsttafel: a 16-dish extravaganza for just HK$150. Open daily noon-10:30 pm. $$. Most major credit cards. Ground Floor, Han Hing Mansion, 38 Hankow Rd., Kowloon, phone 2367-1230.

    Favorite restaurants  | Local and regional specialties  | Asian  | Breakfast and brunch  | French  | Italian (including pizzerias)  | Seafood  | Additional experiences


    Clipper Lounge—The ever-popular Clipper Lounge focuses on a healthy start for the day, with eggs from free-range hens, muesli and other cereals, yogurts, cheeses, breads and a luscious array of fresh fruits. 7:30-10 am. HK$190 for the buffet. Mezzanine, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Central, phone 2522-0111.

    Dan Ryan's Chicago Grill—Ideal for those craving an American start to the day. Dan serves brunch on weekends and holidays (otherwise, his day starts with lunch). Breakfast can be bacon and eggs, sausages, pancakes or French toast—and the portions are enormous. The frying begins at 10 am. $. Two locations: 114 Pacific Place, Queensway, phone 2845-4600, and Ocean Terminal, Tsim Sha Tsui, phone 2735-6111.

    The Peninsula—Breakfast in the famed lobby is a welcome alternative to the mania for afternoon tea (which is almost too popular). The peaceful atmosphere is complemented by excellent service and superb food. 7-11 am. $$-$$$. The Peninsula Hotel, Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, phone 2366-6251.

    Post 97—Located in the trendy bar area of Lan Kwai Fong, Post 97 serves breakfast all day, beginning at 10 am. The breakfast menu runs 24 hours on Saturday for partyers. Relax or recover with a newspaper and the Grill Up or eggs Benedict. Monday-Friday 10 am-midnight, Saturday open 24 hours. $$. Upper Ground, Cosmos Building, 9-11 Lan Kwai Fong, Central, phone 2810-9333.

    Superstar Seafood Restaurant—In Superstar's Tsim Sha Tsui branch, dim sum is served 7 am-2:30 pm, affording a chance to experience an old-style Chinese breakfast. (Grilled fresh fish, steamed crab and a variety of seafood dishes are featured in the evening.) Daily 7 am-5 pm. First floor, Tsimshatsui Mansion, 83-97 Nathan Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, phone 2366-0878.

    Favorite restaurants  | Local and regional specialties  | Asian  | Breakfast and brunch  | French  | Italian (including pizzerias)  | Seafood  | Additional experiences


    Au Trou Normande—Very intimate atmosphere. This long-established restaurant is known for its extensive wine list and French cuisine. Favorites are escargots, grilled whole trout, spinach mousse and lamb with mushrooms. Lunch special of soup and salad buffet, entree (you choose from 8 to 10 entrees), dessert and coffee or tea can't be beat at HK$110. Daily noon-3 pm and 6-11 pm. $$$. Most major credit cards. 6 Carnarvon Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui, phone 2366-8754.

    Papillon—Quiet and understated, Papillon is tucked away on a small side street near Lan Kwai Fong. Monday-Friday 11 am-2:30 pm and 7-10:30 pm, Saturday 7-11 pm. $$-$$$$. Most major credit cards. 2nd Floor, 8-13 Wo On Lane, Central, phone 2234-9918.

    Stanley's French—A wonderful French restaurant away from the busy city streets. If the weather is mild, ask for a table on the balcony. The lamb loin with potato gratin is very tasty. Wide selection of French wines. Daily noon-midnight. $$-$$$. Most major credit cards. 90 Stanley Main St., Stanley, phone 2813-8873.

    Favorite restaurants  | Local and regional specialties  | Asian  | Breakfast and brunch  | French  | Italian (including pizzerias)  | Seafood  | Additional experiences


    Firenze—Decent Italian food that won't break the bank. A quiet setting makes it ideal for either business lunches or a romantic meal. Pastas, pizzas and more. Be sure to try the spaghetti alle vongole (spaghetti with clams) and mozzarella di bufala (mozzarella cheese with tomatoes and olive oil). Daily noon-11 pm. $$-$$$. Most major credit cards. Two locations: Basement, 34-36 D'Aguilar St., Central, phone 2868-3068, and 660 Po Tung Rd., Sai Kung, phone 2792-9090.

    Grappa's—Ignore the mall surroundings: The Italian food is wonderful, and service is courteous and friendly. Great pastas and salads, delicious soups and desserts. Open daily 9:30 am-midnight. $$-$$$. Most major credit cards. 132 Pacific Place, 88 Queensway (between Central and Wan Chai), phone 2868-0086.

    Trattoria—Good service, great food—a solid choice. Risottos, pastas and meat dishes, along with a mouthwatering dessert table. Afternoon tea (after lunch). Open daily 11 am-11 pm. Landmark, 15 Queen's Rd., Central, phone 2524-0111.

    Tutto Meglio—Ideal for a business lunch or dinner, this restaurant serves Florentine-inspired cuisine such as truffled porcini mushrooms, chicken and sausage stew, and pumpkin ravioli. Open Monday-Saturday noon-2:30 pm and 7-10:30 pm. $$$. Most major credit cards. 33 D'Aguilar St., Lan Kwai Fong, Central, phone 2869-7833.

    Va Bene—Consistently excellent Northern Italian food: Fried stuffed eggplant, pasta with porcini mushrooms and risotto are particular favorites. Open daily noon-2:30 pm and 7-10:30 pm (Saturday and Sunday to 11 pm). Reservations essential. $$$. Most major credit cards. 58-62 D'Aguilar St., Lan Kwai Fong, Central, phone 2845-5577.

    Favorite restaurants  | Local and regional specialties  | Asian  | Breakfast and brunch  | French  | Italian (including pizzerias)  | Seafood  | Additional experiences


    Beautiful Lamma Island is spectacular at night. Many people take private boats to the island and then stop off for a fabulous seafood dinner. You can also take the ferry over, but be aware that it stops running at 10 pm. Specialties vary from restaurant to restaurant, but some of the great dishes are garlic king prawns, deep-fried squid, garoupa (a local fish) and scallops.

    Lamma Mandarin Seafood Restaurant—The Lamma Mandarin Seafood Restaurant, On Lamma Island, is open daily 10 am-10 pm. $$$. Most major credit cards. Ground Floor, 81st St., Sok Kwu Wan, Lamma Island, phone 2982-8128.

    Rainbow Seafood Restaurant—The Rainbow Seafood Restaurant, on Lamma Island, is open daily 11 am-9:30 pm. $$$. Most major credit cards. Ground Floor, 17 1st St., Sok Kwu Wan, Lamma Island, phone 2982-8100.

    Favorite restaurants  | Local and regional specialties  | Asian  | Breakfast and brunch  | French  | Italian (including pizzerias)  | Seafood  | Additional experiences


    Floating Restaurants—It's possible to hire a boatman-chef to take you into a harbor for a meal cooked onboard and served by lamplight. The village of Aberdeen is where most of these entrepreneurs operate. If negotiating with a freelancer for this experience sounds like too much hassle, you can take a short cruise in a sampan from Aberdeen to larger, anchored establishments (such as the Jumbo Floating Restaurant, the biggest restaurant-boat in Southeast Asia). These bigger boats offer a full Chinese menu (some include Beijing duck). However, unlike the experience on the small boats, the bigger boats are anything but intimate: With few exceptions, be prepared for merely adequate food, surly service and a bill written in Chinese. Aberdeen Harbour is on the south side of Hong Kong Island.

    Chungking Mansions— for the adventurous only. Chungking Mansions are a Hong Kong phenomenon: On the bottom floors are dozens of shops with every imaginable knickknack available, as well as a few shops serving Indian and Chinese fast food. Look at the directories near any of the elevators and you'll see occasional listings with the appendage "Club and Mess." These are small, family-run Indian or Pakistani restaurants, and eating in them has, for us, always been a delicious but surreal experience. On our first visit, we were invited to sit with a group of Indian nationals who, through the entire meal, stared at a Hindi movie playing on a small TV. The next visit was to a Pakistani restaurant where the first order of business was to send off for someone who spoke English. After our order was taken, we observed a small child hurry out and return 10 minutes later with some groceries. The child went out again and returned with an older woman, and only then did we hear any noise come out of the kitchen. It took some time, but the food was wonderful.

    Note: You may want to inspect several of the "Club and Mess" before you find one whose sanitation standards are visibly similar to yours. Chungking Mansions are on Nathan Road in Tsim Sha Tsui.

    The Noodle Box—This trendy noodle bar, outfitted in glass and stainless steel, is frequented by many Westerners. Wide array of noodle dishes, the most popular being Tom Yum Noodle Soup. Monday-Saturday 11 am-11 pm. $-$$. Ground Floor, 30-32 Wyndham St., Central, phone 2536-0571.

    Petticoat Lane—One of Hong Kong's first openly gay- and lesbian-friendly bars and restaurants. It's equally welcoming to straights. Located in a tiny house down a small lane (just above where the escalator crosses Lyndhurst Terrace) and decorated in ornate baroque style, it offers two- and three-course set lunches, happy hour and snacks in the evening. Outdoor seating is a rare pleasure. Open Sunday-Wednesday noon-2:30 pm, Thursday-Saturday noon-2:30 am. Most major credit cards. 2 Tun Wo Lane, Central, phone 2973-0642.

    Favorite restaurants  | Local and regional specialties  | Asian  | Breakfast and brunch  | French  | Italian (including pizzerias)  | Seafood  | Additional experiences

    Information prepared by Weissmann Travel Reports
    Copyright © 2000 by Reed Travel Group. All rights reserved.



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