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10 Best Chinese and International Lunches in Hong Kong, China



Everybody in Hong Kong has at least three favorite places for lunch. First is somewhere they visit on a regular basis, probably near the office, where the staff know what they're going to order the moment they walk in the door. Second is somewhere similarly nearby, but rather more expensive, a place to entertain important guests or celebrate a special occasion. And third is somewhere that they'll travel to just because the food is so good – a particular brand of Chinese cuisine, a special dessert menu, a seasonal specialty.

So it doesn't take much detective work to realize that lunch occupies an important part of every Hong Konger's day. It's not simply a matter of eating, but a chance to share some time with friends or colleagues. Food is one of the main topics of Hong Kong conversation – a good ice-breaker for out-of-towners.

And the choice is practically endless, from hole-in-the-wall eateries on a street corner with chairs and tables spilling out onto the sidewalk, to smartly designed homages to gastronomy with harbor views to match. And while Gaddi's is probably one of the most highly respected (and expensive) there are plenty of other marvelous eateries such as Va Bene and The Optimist.


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Bombay Dreams
Photo courtesy of Bombay Dreams


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.

Recommended for Lunch because: Indian cuisine is all things to all palates, with plenty of vegetarian choices for non-meat eaters.

Ed's expert tip: If your youngsters are not used to spicy food, check with your server for mild dishes.

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Jumbo Floating Restaurant
Photo courtesy of Jumbo Floating Restaurant


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.

Recommended for Lunch because: This is a great lunch experience, there is nowhere else like it in Hong Kong.

Ed's expert tip: Bring your camera as Jumbo Floating Restaurant is moored in one of the most scenic parts of Hong Kong.

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Wan Chai
22 Ships
Photo courtesy of 22 Ships


22 Ships, a project by Michelin star chef Jason Atherton, has a hip ambiance and comfortable neighborhood attitude. It is set to bring a unique flavor and vibe to Hong Kong, complementing Ship Street's casual and easy-going nature. The buzz focuses on Atherton's modern tapas menu, created especially for 22 Ships, representing the modern face of dining - outstanding food that is reasonably priced. The team at 22 Ships also provide a friendly experience, going the extra mile to suggest choices and explain dishes. The 1,500 square foot eatery adds a fresh and convivial atmosphere to the metropolitan culinary scene, intimately seating 35. Blending into the neighborhood with a balance of vintage touches and modern charm, the venue offers inside table and communal bar seating, as well as relaxed al fresco dining and drinking.

Recommended for Lunch because: There's a bright and breezy ambiance that suggests a meal here should be anything but hurried.

Tracy You's expert tip: As well as tapas, 22 Ships does a fine line in desserts.

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Tsim Sha Tsui
Hutong
Photo courtesy of Hutong

Hutong's stunning space is a clever play of faux rustic decor against the backdrop of uber-modern Hong Kong seen from floor to ceiling windows. Much of the food, traditional northern Chinese with a modern bent, may not appeal to meat-and-potatoes types. That said, there are still a few dishes that even the most Western of palates will appreciate, such as crispy de-boned lamb ribs, wok-fried beef tenderloin with scallions and pan-fried sole. Otherwise, expect to find unusual but wonderful dishes such as shark's lips marinated with ginger and black fungi, stewed fish head, sea cucumber salad or poached frog legs with sponge cucumber. MTR: Tsim Sha Tsui.

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Central
Isola
Photo courtesy of Isola


Hong Kong is not lacking when it comes to restaurants with a view, so a venue needs to be truly exceptional in some other way to distinguish itself from the pack. Isola's floor-to-ceiling windows and huge outdoor terrace do indeed offer stunning panoramas, and its tastefully monochromatic decor is stylish and clean. But the food is stellar from appetizer to dessert. Start with baked mozzarella in walnut bread with sweet cherry tomatoes, a layering of flavors and textures that is simply brilliant. Main course dishes are just as impressive, grilled sirloin with red onion and anchovy sauce, and salt-crusted sea bass, in particular, stand out. The clientele here tends to be trendy and well-coiffed; reservations are strongly encouraged.

Recommended for Lunch because: Located in the ultra-swish IFC mall, Isola is where the smart set come to lunch.

Ed's expert tip: Isola's as good for people-watching as it is for fine dining.

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Theo Mistral by Theo Randall
Photo courtesy of Theo Mistral by Theo Randall


Helmed by Theo Randall, one of Britain's top chefs, this charmingly decorated Italian restaurant is located in the basement of the harbor-side Grand Stanford Hotel. Signature dishes include fresh pasta with slow cooked beef in Chianti and San Marzano tomatoes, and mixed green ravioli with Swiss chard, rocket, ricotta, butter and sage. An excellent wine list complements a very fine menu. Sunday brunch is a popular outing here, especially with families or groups of friends. Reservations are recommended. Celebrity chefs have been coming to Hong Kong in increasing numbers in recent years, and Mr Randall's debut in early 2018 was acclaimed with more than a little enthusiasm. MTR: Tsim Sha Tsui

Recommended for Lunch because: There are hordes of restaurants in Tsim Sha Tsui, but Theo Mistral is definitely one of the best.

Ed's expert tip: Save room for the desserts, which are sensational.

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Nicholini's


This Northern Italian restaurant offers some excellent views of the Hong Kong skyline. The restaurant's stylish interior is noteworthy for its Murano glass collection and organza screens. The antipasti and main dishes like the seasoned lobster are popular, as are the ravioli with spinach, cheese and mushroom sauce. The potato gnocchi with melted Castelmagno cheese is especially good, while many diners come here simply to feast on the line-caught sea bass steak, cooked in a tomato olives and capers. The wine list is quite extensive, and the desserts, especially Nicholini's signature souffle with choices of sauce, are difficult to resist. MTR: Admiralty.

Recommended for Lunch because: Italian fare is one of Hong Kong's favorite "foreign" cuisines, and Nicholini's has few rivals.

Ed's expert tip: The San Daniele ham is cured for 20 months, and sliced by hand.

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Central
Va Bene


This lively restaurant is located right in the middle of Central district. The decor - styled by award-winning New York designer Tony Chi - is crafty, yet sensible, with mustard and blue being the predominant colors. The artichoke appetizers are extremely popular, as are the veal dishes and the capellini al granchio. Two especially nice touches: the signature bread basket of home-baked grissini and herbed flatbread served with tomato and onion salad, olive oil and balsamico vinegar, and the home-made Italian biscotti served with freshly brewed Italian coffee. Reservations are strongly suggested. MTR: Central.

Recommended for Lunch because: The buzzing atmosphere of this area makes Va Bene a fun place to eat.

Ed's expert tip: Va Bene is busiest on Friday and Saturday, when reservations are essential.

Read more about Va Bene →


Gaddi's
Photo courtesy of Gaddis


One of the Peninsuala Hotel's many culinary stars, Gaddi's has been a fixture of the Hong Kong restaurant scene for more than 50 years, during which time it has enjoyed a fine reputation for terrific service, ambiance, and food. Expect to see an older, more established crowd here, enjoying a meal accompanied by light piano music in the background. Among the restaurant's more popular dishes, the lobster bisque seems to rise above the rest, but the Scottish lamb is equally well prepared. Gaddi's comes with a smart dress code, so it's better to spruce up; reservations are highly recommended. MTR: Tsim Sha Tsui

Recommended for Lunch because: Nowhere else in Hong Kong serves more elegant French food.

Ed's expert tip: As well as superb food, Gaddis also features a superlative wine list.

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The Optimist
Photo courtesy of The Optimist


The Optimist is a Spanish restaurant and bar, spread over three levels, serving authentic cuisine in a space that is, unusually for Hong Kong, particularly relaxed and comfortable. The menu owes much to the asador, a grill where meat, seafood and vegetables are cooked rustically over hot coals or wood, following a centuries-old tradition. The staff are energetic, proactive and highly knowledgeable, and the rate at which the tables fill up, and stay filled, is testament to The Optimist's excellence. All in all, this is one of the most exciting restaurants in Wan Chai, and has very few rivals in the whole of Hong Kong.

Recommended for Lunch because: The menu is excellent, the restaurant spacious, and the staff friendly. What more could anyone want?

Ed's expert tip: Like dessert? Alfredo's Warm Apple Pie is bliss on the end of a spoon.

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