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.
8 On Wo Ln., Central
This izakaya-style dining bar comes from the owners of wildly successful Japanese chicken-centric restaurant Yardbird, Matt Abergel and Lindsay Jang. Specialized in fish (tiger fish, market fish karaage, sardines), seafood (shigoku oysters uni panko, flower crab, unagi chirashi), and Japanese spirits, Ronin has a more intimate, sophisticated attitude than your average izakaya. The daily changing menu responds to what’s freshest and best at the market; if you’re not in a seafood mood, the Kogoshima Beef, udon, and quail are all incredible alternatives.
32-40 Wellington St., Central
Established in 1942, this dim sum institution is on the touristy side, but it’s an experience you’d be remiss to skip. Go for the roast goose—it’s world-famous for a reason. Other signature dishes include sauteed frog's leg with bamboo shoots, steamed live fish in soya sauce, and charcoal-grilled barbecue meats prepared with longstanding family recipes: all in all, an elevated adventure in classic Cantonese cuisine.
Shanghai Tang Mansion, Level 3, 1 Duddell St., Central
With two Michelin stars, Duddell’s—helmed by Executive Chef Siu Hin-Chi—is an arts-devoted restaurant stylishly merging Hong Kong’s joint British and Chinese heritage to great success, serving contemporary spins on traditional Cantonese cuisine—especially dim sum—in a cool setting reminiscent of a country estate. On any given day they also host lectures, talks, screenings, and guest curated exhibitions of international modern and contemporary art, including some local to Hong Kong, and some on loan from private collectors—while the food is exceptional, the art in and of itself makes it a must. As an added bonus, their garden terrace is a welcome escape from the city streets.
Exchange Square Podium, 8 Connaught Place & New World Tower, 16-18 Queen's Rd., Central
When you've maxed out on dim sum and just want a simple café where you can tuck into the paper, and maybe a bagel and lox or some avocado toast, Classified is a nice choice. So welcome, in fact, that there are something like nine outposts scattered across the region. They do a reliably great English and Irish breakfast and the coffee is better than what you'll find in most joints. Other locations include Stanley, Causeway Bay, Wan Chai, Repulse Bay, Sheung Wan, and Happy Valley.
Landmark, 15 Queen’s Rd., Central
Zuma is one of our favorite restaurants in London, and its Hong Kong branch does not disappoint. While the multi-level setting is dramatic, the casual Izakaya-style menu of Japanese delicacies (and extensive drink menu) is totally approachable.
Old Bank of China Building, 1 Bank St., 13th Floor, Central
If you happen to know a member of this club, hit them up for an invite (a good hotel concierge should probably be able to get you in, too): It’s the closest thing to a contemporary Chinese art museum in Hong Kong, with an unparalleled collection. Their dim sum is top-notch, too.
Mandarin Oriental, 5 Connaught Rd., Central
If you’re in the mood for superlative dim sum, look no further than Man Wah, which is perched on top of the flagship Mandarin Oriental. The setting is impeccable and old-world, and the dim sum is exactly what you want after a long flight to Asia. There's also a buffet in the café that sits overlooking the lobby.