Hong Kong’s Top New Restaurants: From Balinese to Italian
It’s no secret that Hong Kong has a thriving dining scene. Naturally, there’s Chinese food to die for, but that’s not all – top-quality Asian and European restaurants are constantly opening up. We take a look at some of the best restaurant openings in the past year, each boasting a different local cuisine.
The Southside has been through a renaissance of sorts over the past year, with an abundance of restaurants opening up – and TRi is one such restaurant. Taking up an extensive space at dining and lifestyle hotspot The Pulse in Repulse Bay, it offers contemporary Balinese cuisine in a gorgeous setting – think water features and beautiful furniture against a fabulous ocean view that very much give it an island holiday vibe. The restaurant is run by the Le Comptoir restaurant group, known for its creative concepts around town. Exquisite Balinese dishes take centre stage. Soft shell crab, duck goreng and Bali-style suckling pig are just some of the highlights, alongside imaginative creations on the cocktail menu. Whether you’re looking for a brief escape of Hong Kong, or to impress a particularly picky date – TRi is your spot.
Ideal for: Intimate date for two; sunset sundowners
Shop 302, 3/F, Lobby C, The Pulse, 28 Beach Road, Repulse Bay, 2515 0577
Helmed by renowned Hong Kong chef Vicky Cheng and mixologist extraordinaire Antonio Lai, VEA is one of the hottest newcomers on the Hong Kong dining scene this year. On the restaurant side, you’ll have the opportunity to sample French cuisine in an eight-course tasting menu (wagyu beef, langoustine, and the like); at the lounge, sip on a good ol’ fashioned aviation or French 75 cocktail, as well as creative takes on the classics (we like the pistachio martini). If you’re looking for a more casual night out, the bar bites at the lounge are definitely worth your time. Try the parmesan truffle fries – you won’t regret it (although your waistline probably will). Head out to the terrace and drink in the unique view of Central.
Ideal for: After-work drinks; all-out fine dining experience
29-30/F, The Wellington, 198 Wellington Street, Central, 2711 8639
It’s all about “third culture dining” here at Crafty Cow, which takes the east-meets-west fusion cuisine to the next level. While avid foodies are no doubt familiar with Asian-inspired western dishes, or vice versa, we’ll bet you’ve never tried Sichuan pepper-infused bone marrow, ox tongue tortilla and foie gras duck poutine. Kick back with one of the excellent craft brews and soak in Crafty Cow’s hipster setting.
Ideal for: Trendy types, adventurous foodies, picky beer drinkers
3 Upper Station Street, Sheung Wan, 2915 8988
Fine dining establishment The Ocean is another restaurant run by Le Comptoir, which is also behind TRi. Like its sister restaurant, The Ocean is also located at the Pulse, boasting an all-encompassing Repulse Bay sea view. The colour blue is used throughout the decor, with the pièce de résistance being an eye-catching fish tank brimming with exotic sea creatures. The menu, serving up sustainable seafood, changes constantly – so expect to see an array of seasonal ingredients, like line-caught New Zealand snapper and Brittany lobster.
Ideal for: Dining with parents when they’re paying; impressing clients and other important people
Shop 303-304, 3/F, The Pulse, 28 Beach Road, Repulse Bay, 2889 5939
A Japanese izakaya, or casual drinking spot – KOKO is a joint effort from Hong Kong members’ club Kee and former Japanese footballer and fashion icon Hidetoshi Nakata. Sake is the name of the game here: Nakata, who owns a premium sake label, wants to educate Hong Kong on the Japanese liquor. Naturally, there’s an extensive selection of sakes for every taste here, while the food takes after dishes served in the izakayas of Japan. Try the rock shrimp tempura, okra and Hokkaido scallops. There’s a gorgeous alfresco space, perfect for pre-dinner cocktails or a nightcap.
Ideal for: People-watching, drinking really good booze
5/F, 77 Wyndham Street, Central, 2109 1777
If you’re after a true Italian dining experience with no BS, look no further. Pirata is all about hearty portions of delicious Italian fare made with simple recipes. Standout dishes include pappardelle with duck ragu; tagliatelle with Sicilian red prawns; and our favourite, butchers’ cut flank steak tagliata served with rocket and cherry tomato.
Ideal for: Satisfying a hungry group
29-30/F, 239 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, 2887 0270
ON Dining Kitchen & Lounge is the latest effort from chef Philippe Orrico, who was behind the one-Michelin-starred Upper Modern Bistro he opened in the city’s hip Sheung Wan neighbourhood. The modern French restaurant has a posh restaurant section as well as a more laid-back lounge area, which boasts a top-notch cocktail and cheese bar. A meal at ON doesn’t come cheap, so if you’re not looking to drop a ton of cash, the bar is a great option. If you’re not into cocktails, there’s a great selection of wines, while ON’s sommelier also has his very own champagne label. We love the cheese board – a selection of quality offerings. Grab a seat on the terrace: it’s breezy with a great view.
Ideal for: Visitors – prepared to be wowed by the unique vista and great hospitality
29/F, 18 On Lan Street, Central, 2174 8100
Spanish eatery La Paloma marks Barcelona-born chef Willy Trullas Moreno’s second effort a few years after the opening of the tremendously popular Fofo by El Willy in Central. Nestled in the super-hip Sai Ying Pun neighbourhood, La Paloma has everything you’d expect from a Spanish joint – scrumptious, carefully prepared tapas and delectable drinks to go with it. Signature tapas include the super-moreish “bikini” toasted sandwich with Iberico ham and black truffle, plus beef tartare with fresh jalapeno. Don’t forget to save room for the mains – the signature la paloma, or roasted pigeon dish, is a must-try.
Ideal for: Casual weeknight dining
1/F, 189 Queen’s Road West, Sai Ying Pun, 2291 6161
Andrea Lo is a freelance journalist and translator based in Hong Kong. After cutting her teeth in the industry as a staff writer at a lifestyle magazine, she embraced the freelance life in 2015 and hasn’t looked back. She spends her time exploring the best of Hong Kong’s dining and nightlife scene, trialling new fitness trends, and travelling to exotic locales – all in the name of “research”.