It's very hard to fault Cafe de Coral, whose Chinese name translates at Big Happy Family. It's by no means gourmet, but for a handful of dollars (mains are about HK$35) you get a full meal that looks and tastes good. No wonder there are lines at all its branches at breakfast, lunch and dinner and quite a lot of the time in between. The (bilingual) menu is predominantly Chinese, with a few international dishes as well. The best deals are the set meals. If you would like extra sauce or pickle or similar, the staff are usually happy to oblige. There's good reason why Cafe de Coral caters to more than 300,000 diners daily.
To call Dan Ryan's a Hong Kong institution would be a massive understatement. It's one of the most popular restaurants in the city: partly for its food, partly for its service and, perhaps most of all, for its all-American ambiance. After operating for many years in Admiralty, it moved to the new foodie district of Taikoo Shing, with a prestigious location in the Cityplaza mall. Diners are presented with a choice of sitting at the bar or in one of the comfortable booths, while there are views of the chefs strutting their stuff in the open kitchen. All the Dan Ryan's favorites are here: the super green salad with a base of fresh baby spinach, quinoa and rocket leaves, the deluxe chili burger, the US prime tomahawk steak, seared Hokkaido scallops and that absolute triumph known as the dessert sampler comprising house-made carrot cake, apple pie, cheesecake, double fudge brownie and Asian-inspired matcha truffles. There's a good selection of craft beer, non-stop sports TV, and the edifying sight of packed tables all around filled with customers getting their fill of a very American meal.
Jimmy's is, perhaps, Hong Kong's most famous restaurant. Move than somewhere to eat, it's an icon, a place that Hong Kongers were brought for a treat as youngsters, and in turn take along their children and grandchildren. Located on Wyndham Street, this Continental-style restaurant has a definite Western atmosphere. Menu options span the globe from New Zealand shellfish to North American beef and Western European corned beef and cabbage. After more than 80 years, Jimmy's is still popular with Hong Kong's expatriate community, especially as a place to meet up for a good lunch. Reservations, therefore, are suggested. MTR: Central.
This modern deco-style restaurant is located in Pacific Place, one of the city's most popular shopping, dining and entertainment venues. The staff is efficient, and most of their dishes are portioned large enough to share with others. The menu features items that are reasonably priced, and most bear the influence of traditional Shanghainese cuisine. On Friday nights at Ye Shanghai, you can hear live jazz while you dine, so not surprisingly, this is one of Ye Shanghai's busiest evenings. Unique to Ye Shanghai is the fusion of Shanghainese dishes with Cantonese dim sum, served during lunch hours. Reservations are suggested. MTR: Admiralty.
Watermark offers unparalleled waterfront dining. Boasting a stunning 270-degree view of Victoria Harbour,it offers the perfect backdrop for any occasion. Serving Continental gourmet fare, including dry-aged steaks and fresh seafood specialties that are meticulously prepared by its culinary team with a strong emphasis on creativity, freshness and the seasonality of ingredients, together with its impressive selection of fine wines and cocktails, guests have everything they need to fully experience all that a waterfront restaurant has to offer. A semi-private room on the mezzanine floor is also available for any events. Lunch here is good, but the views (neon, moonlight) are best in the evening.
Indian food is quite popular in Hong Kong, given the city's substantial Indian population, so purveyors of the piquant cuisine are a dime a dozen. Bombay Dreams earns high marks, though, for its exceptional cooking. A wide variety of appetizers includes several soups not ordinarily found on Indian restaurant menus, such as Murg Shorba (chicken) and Tamatar Ka Shorba (tomato based). The selection of main courses is extensive as well, with numerous fish and seafood dishes along with vegetable, chicken and lamb based favorites. The buffet lunch is quite popular with local office workers, and really very reasonably priced. MTR: Central.
Grappa's offers a trattoria-like environment right in the heart of one of Wanchai's liveliest streets. The pizza, pastas and attractive salads are popular with the lunchtime crowd, and Grappa's also boasts admirable beer and wine lists. A sure indication of Grappa's excellence is that it has been running for many years, as quite a few restaurants in Hong Kong close down after a short time. Service is especially good, with the staff offering helpful and informed advice while always ensuring they are not intruding on the dining experience. Large windows ensure a great view of the bustling scene outside. MTR: Wanchai
Luk Yu has the distinction of being Hong Kong's oldest still-operating tea house. It opened back in 1933, and not much about the place has changed since. The setting is still charming, with ceiling fans, wooden booths, marble tabletops, wood paneling and stained-glass windows. During the day it's packed with regulars who swear by the dim sum; in the evening there's a truly vast dinner menu. Service is notoriously indifferent (some might even say a bit rude), but this is a place you come to for an old-school local ambiance. Many of Hong Kong's A List come to dine here.
In operation for decades, the Jumbo has become something of a landmark. Renovated to create a modern and stylish interior, expansions over the years include a tea garden, banquet and party facilities and a museum exhibit of bronzeware. The restaurant offers an extensive menu and is a popular dim sum spot on Sunday morning, when it opens early. For lunch and dinner, you can choose from a la carte options, or select from one of about a half dozen set menus in varying degrees of opulence. Opinions differ on the overall quality of the experience, but one thing is for certain: the Jumbo Floating Restaurant is quintessential Hong Kong.