Fook Lam Moon
Shop 3, G/F, 35-45 Johnston Rd., Wan Chai
This long-standing, family-owned restaurant boasts some of the best Cantonese food in Hong Kong. This is the place to try more expensive dishes like bird’s nest soup or abalone, but they’re well-known roasted suckling pig, fried crispy chicken, and excellent dim sum classics. It’s a great spot for an upscale lunch; They have several outposts, but this is the original.
Liu Yuan Pavilion
The Broadway, 54-62 Lockhart Rd., Wan Chai
Recently renovated and located on the third floor of an office building in the Wan Chai District, Liu Yuan Pavilion is known as one of the best Shanghainese restaurants in Hong Kong (and has a 2017 Bib Gourmand from Michelin to prove it). Don’t miss the dim sum, of course, but it’s also worth trying dishes like their Mandarin fish with sweet and sour sauce or their braised pig knuckle. Because of its popularity and small-ish space, it’s usually very hard to drop in—definitely make reservations in advance.
Tim ho Wan
9-11 Fuk Wing St., Sham Shui Po
Chef Mak Kwai Pui originally opened this casual dim sum eatery as a 20-seat restaurant in Mongkok, which earned a Michelin star in 2010, leading to its claim to fame as the world’s least expensive restaurant to hold one. In 2015, this Sham Shui Po location received a Michelin star, too, and it’s not difficult to understand why—every dumpling is perfect, perhaps the best anywhere. Be sure to try the pork buns, which are equal parts sweet and smoky, soft and chewy; but you really can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. The original location closed in 2013, but they have outposts all over, including a recently-opened (and unsurprisingly popular) spot in Greenwich Village. If you want to avoid the crowds, try going in the afternoon.
Le Garcon Saigon
12-18 Wing Fung St., Wan Chai
You won’t find traditional pho here, but what you will find are unexpected flavor pairings—green papaya salad with shrimp crisp, cashew nuts and spicy tamarind, fresh veggies and hearty grilled prawn skewers—all served up in a brightly lit, Parisian brasserie-like setting. Vegetarians will be pleasantly sated with the soy-braised tofu and hedgehog mushrooms. If it’s not too hot out, opt for one of the tables outside, settle into one of the roomy wicker chairs, and take in the bustle of the surrounding Star Street neighborhood. Don’t glaze over the wine list—it features an impressive roster of biodynamic French wines rarely seen elsewhere in Hong Kong.
16 Lan Kwai Fong, Central
Tokio Joe, located in Lan Kwai Fong, the popular nightlife section of Central, is a relatively casual restaurant where you'll get some of the best sushi in the city. The kitchen is run by two chefs who have been with Tokio Joe since the mid-1990's: one began as an apprentice at the restaurant and the other previously spent a decade working in kitchens in Japan. The menu is a contemporary take on Japanese favorites (sashimi, soba noodles, variations of don rice bowls), and changes a couple times a year, although some dishes, like their house salad with marinated tuna, never do.
20A D'Aguilar St., Central
Despite its somewhat hidden location in a side alley off of D'Aguilar Street, word quickly got out about this graffiti-adorned Mexican restaurant and lively cocktail bar when in it opened in 2012. They don't take reservations, but the bar here makes the wait actually entertaining. For food, don't skip on go-to's: chips and guac, Mexican street corn, queso fundido. Also try their watermelon salad, taco of the moment, and a few different tostadas to share. The kitchen closes at midnight but the bar stays open late (4am on weekends).
Ho Lee Fook
1-5 Elgin St., Central
While this Chinese/fusion restaurant found its inspiration in the 1960's Chinatown joints of NYC, the kitchen isn't afraid to try new things. Helmed by Chef Jowett Yu, who was born in Taiwan, trained in Sydney (at Testuya's), Ho Lee Fook's popularity is due in part to its exciting menu. The first floor of the restaurant houses its open kitchen, and downstairs, below ground level, is a dimly-lit, club-y dining room.
48 Forbes St., Kennedy Town
Hong Kong is no stranger to unassuming, easy-to-miss spots that you don't want to miss. Missy Ho's falls into that camp: It doesn't look like much from the outside, but the interior is an eclectic space outfitted with vintage pieces, rustic wood tables, and an industrial, exposed ceiling. A long swing hangs in the middle of the restaurant, and a lively crowd tries on masks and props throughout dinner. (The food itself is a seasonal selection of Asian fusion dishes.)
206 Hollywood Rd., Tai Ping Shan
Chachawan serves up Thai food in a modern-yet-rustic, super-cool space, with colorful murals on the walls that give it an elevated street-art vibe, and an open kitchen behind the bar. Chef Adam Lee Cliff and restaurateur Yenn Wong run this hotspot for northeastern-Thailand-inspired Isaan cuisine—a rarity compared to the usual/ubiquitous Thai fare in HK. Their dishes are vetted to be authentic, meaning they do not hold back on spice; be sure to make a special request for milder seasoning if breathing fire isn’t your jam.
72 Po Hing Fong, Tai Ping Shan
Nestled in the hipster-bait Sheung Wan neighborhood, this restaurant serves up a unique mélange of French and Japanese cuisine. The outdoor seating is more casual and self-serve—get a table indoors for the full experience. Open for breakfast, afternoon tea, and lunch, their savory sandwiches are delicious—the steak sandwich and B.E.L.T. are popular go-tos—each of which comes on fluffy, springy bread, fresh-baked hot out of the oven next door at their sister spot, incredible Japanese/French hybrid bakery Po’s Atelier. Better yet: Everything is made with fresh, in-season ingredients.
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