Dining and Drinking Hot Spots
Many of the best places to dine and drink can be found clustered together in one of the city’s well-known “hotspots.”
Lan Kwai Fong, Central
Anyone wanting dinner, drinks and a night out on the town should head straight to Lan Kwai Fong (or “LKF” as the locals call it) in Central, Hong Kong’s renowned dining and entertainment hotspot. Choose from an atlas of cuisines, from Japanese to Middle Eastern to Spanish to Southern American. Where chic rooftop lounges and fashionable restaurants abound, this is the perfect place to see and be seen.
The iconic California Tower in the heart of LKF houses 27 floors of hip restaurants, bars and lifestyle vendors including premium health club chain PURE Fitness. Ciao Chow – Italian Cafeteria on the tower’s ground-floor level is a popular gathering place for a drink or dinner and people watching.
Inspired by the trend popping up in cities all around the world, Basehall is Hong Kong’s first premium food hall. It houses ten of Hong Kong’s top homegrown food and beverage vendors in the basement of local landmark Jardine House, steps from IFC and the Central ferry piers. It gets quite crowded with office workers during the week, so try going on a weekend for a more relaxing experience.
SoHo, Mid-Levels Central
Equally popular to LKF, the area south of Hollywood Road, known as SoHo, is a hotspot on the island which comes to life at night. Well-heeled diners head here to see and be seen at one of the area’s stylish restaurants, while happy hour cocktail drinkers spill out onto the lively streets as the night wears on. SoHo is easily accessible from Central or Mid-Levels via the world’s longest outdoor escalator.
High Street, Sai Ying Pun
On High Street and Third Street in Sai Ying Pun, you’ll find one-off bistros and vegan bakeries; reliable (if somewhat predictable) Western-style offerings from local chains and restaurant groups; what might be the city’s densest concentration of independent artisan coffee shops; and some excellent old-school noodle joints hanging on amidst the gentrifying onslaught.
Kennedy Town New Praya
There’s hardly a nicer place on Hong Kong Island to enjoy the sunset while drinking a locally brewed beer or digging into a plate of fish and chips. The vibe in K-Town’s spacious, low-slung waterfront eateries is dog- and child-friendly, without being full-on Chuck E. Cheese.
Starstreet Precinct, Wan Chai
The growth of Star Street Precinct behind Three Pacific Place in Wan Chai has been a catalyst in the district’s gentrification over the past 20 years. The quiet pedestrian-friendly neighborhood comprising Star, Moon, Sun and St. Francis Streets is now home to many trendy restaurants, cafés, bars, art galleries and leafy courtyards.
Food Street, Causeway Bay
Food Street at Fashion Walk in Causeway Bay is a pleasant shady pedestrian walkway lined by a number of trendy restaurants, coffee shops and bars. Reward yourself after a long day of shopping with a hearty meal or an ice-cold beer and watch the world go by from your alfresco perch.
Tai Hang may not have a catchy name or a snazzy website, but this leafy micro-neighborhood near Causeway Bay is becoming increasingly known for its handsome, comfortable eateries with high-quality food to match. The streets are quiet and perfect for strolling. Whether it’s an Australian coffee, Italian pasta, or locally brewed beer you’re after, you’re sure to find something to suit.
This leafy micro-neighborhood near Causeway Bay is becoming increasingly known for its handsome, comfortable eateries with high-quality food to match.
SoHo East, Sai Wan Ho
Located a 10-minute walk away from Sai Wan Ho MTR station is the quiet residential community of Lei King Wan; a surprising home to a variety of waterfront and dog-friendly pubs, restaurants and cafés. The self-proclaimed SoHo East dining district enjoys a relaxed seaside neighborhood vibe where local residents are often seen out jogging or cycling. Its out-of-the-way location means it never gets as crowded as its famous Central counterpart.
Knutsford Terrace, Tsim Sha Tsui
Knutsford Terrace is a small lane sandwiched between the north side of Kimberley Road and the south side of Observatory Road in Tsim Sha Tsui. Kowloon’s mini-version of Lan Kwai Fong offers a lively selection of restaurants, bistros and bars on an alfresco terrace, with even more to be found on the inside and upstairs of the buildings behind.
Tsim Sha Tsui East
This strip of alfresco bars, cafés and restaurants located just behind the East Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront promenade offers excellent views of the harbor and people-watching opportunities. Come any day of the week to see local office workers and tourists alike enjoying a beer or three.
The Anti-Hot Spot: Private Kitchens
The local phenomenon of the private kitchen arose in the early aughts in response to Hong Kong’s sky-high rents.
These establishments, usually operated by a single chef and a server or two, don’t advertise, post menus outside their premises or even call themselves restaurants.
They’re usually tucked away on an upstairs floor that’s been converted from residential or industrial purposes. By operating as “private clubs,” they avoid regulations and fees imposed on public restaurants. Diners usually save a bit of money too, as private kitchens are generally BYOB.
That being said, between Instagram, food blogs, and OpenRice, it’s pretty easy these days to find out about private kitchens. Or go the old-fashioned route and simply ask around.
Eating on the Go
Eating quickly is a way of life for everyone in Hong Kong.
Most office workers get just over an hour to eat, which means that lunch on a weekday is usually a speedy affair. Dinner time may be more leisurely, but taking long lunches during a workday (unless it’s Friday) is not customary here. Grabbing something to go, or eating hurriedly at a cha chaan teng and leaving as soon as you’re finished, is much more common.
Maxim’s MX, Fairwood and Café de Coral are Hong Kong’s largest and most visited local-style fast food chains, serving up Cantonese specialties at affordable, set-meal prices.
Maxim’s MX, Fairwood and Café de Coral are Hong Kong’s largest and most visited local-style fast food chains, serving up Cantonese specialties such as noodles and BBQ meats atop rice at affordable, set-meal prices. Menus at these local fast food chains are more extensive than at their American counterparts, and patrons can choose from a selection of “value lunch sets” which typically include a drink and/or a side in the meal price.
As you would expect, many global fast food chains such as McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and KFC also have a presence here, but don’t expect the menus to be the same as back home. Homegrown western-style fast food chains include pasta and pizza joint The Spaghetti House and sandwich chain Oliver’s Super Sandwiches. Jollibee, a fast food franchise from the Philippines, also has several outlets here to cater to the city’s notable Filipino community. Other lunch options with strong presences here include British sandwich shop chain Pret a Manger and Belgian bakery chain Le Pain Quotidien.
Food Delivery Apps
As if finding somewhere cheap and convenient to eat in Hong Kong wasn’t easy enough already, there is now the wonderfully lazy option of ordering food online and having it delivered straight to your doorstep. The city’s two main food delivery service providers, Foodpanda and Deliveroo, are joined by UberEats and GO (belonging to the much-loved local Black Sheep Restaurants group).
Staying on top of the ever-changing food scene in Hong Kong is no mean feat.
Online Food Recommendations
Food websites, bloggers and Instagram accounts are popular sources of advice on where to eat. Take recommendations with a grain of salt; some are more credible and objective than others. Some of these include:
Michelin Guide Hong Kong and Macau
The latest edition of the Michelin guide for Hong Kong and Macau reflects an improvement in the quality and choice of restaurants available in these two cities.
In Hong Kong, there are now 7 three-star, 11 two-star and 49 one-star restaurants, while Macau has 3 three-star, 7 two-star and 10 one-star restaurants listed.
The guide also features Bib Gourmand restaurants, chosen by the inspectors for their good value. These restaurants are popular for everyday meals.
Food and Beverage Festivals
In normal years there are many food and drink festivals in Hong Kong.
Here are some of the largest:
The Hong Kong Wine and Dine Festival
Organized by the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB), the annual Hong Kong Wine and Dine Festival is one of the city’s largest and most anticipated dining events. Not only is it a celebration of food and drink, but also an opportunity for local restaurants to showcase the diversity and quality of their offerings. Visitors can taste wines and sample food from over 300 booths, while lively culinary demonstrations and seminars provide endless entertainment.
Not only is it a celebration of food and drink, but also an opportunity for local restaurants to showcase the diversity and quality of their offerings.
Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair
The Hong Kong Trade Development Council’s International Wine and Spirits Fair, held annually in November, attracts thousands of exhibitors from every major wine-producing country and region. For the first time in 2021 the fair will be aimed primarily at the general public instead of registered trade buyers. Attendees can purchase wines, many of which are not yet available in Hong Kong, from distributors on site, at cost or just above cost. For anyone who loves wine, this is an event not to be missed.
Hong Kong Restaurant Week
Hong Kong’s Restaurant Week, held every autumn, is a good opportunity to try special set menus at new restaurants.