Hong Kong has a reputation for non-stop work, with breakfast snatched on the way to the office, lunch eaten at your desk, and dinner little more than a takeaway at the end of the day. So are there really any openings for a romantic dinner? The answer has to be a resounding yes.
First off is the city’s stunning location — set around Victoria Harbour, with skyscrapers towering on every side. Second is Hong Kong’s affection for not just Chinese food, but for cuisines from all around the world, to say nothing of a penchant for gourmet. And fine wines fill Hong Kong’s restaurant cellars.
So the end result is scores of romantic dining venues, which are all the more popular as Hong Kongers need a break from their hectic schedules from time to time. Many of the most romantic restaurants are in the city’s hotels, with Gaddi’s being a prime example. This is gourmet dining for the upper crust, totally formal and utterly memorable. For a little more informality, hit any of the four branches of Frites — fun food and fun times. And if it’s celebrity chefs you’re after, look no further than Nobu, possibly one of the most famous romantic dining names on the planet.
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.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Hutong’s romantically inspired menu is just perfect for couples on a special date.
Ed’s expert tip: Book a private room if you want some extra exclusivity.
Photo courtesy of The Verandah
The Peninsula, aka The Pen, is the oldest hotel in Hong Kong. There may be newer, bigger, more spiffy hotels in the city, but this is the most venerable, and The Verandah is one of its principal restaurants and quite the most gracious place to dine intimately in Hong Kong. The buffet is like one vast path to temptation while the kitchen will cook anything that takes your fancy, from steak to fish and beyond. The staff are a delight, past masters at looking after their guests and getting their evening off to a grand start. Beautiful decor sets the seal on a great venue.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: The Verandah is stylish, airy and fun; what more could anyone want on a romantic date?
Ed’s expert tip: You’ll enjoy your meal more if you are smartly dressed, like all the other diners.
Look out over the harbor for some truly inspirational romantic dining. This 56th-floor restaurant is, perhaps, one of the true gems of the Hong Kong dining scene. The view of Hong Kong and Victoria Harbour from some of tables here is breath-taking, and often is complemented by live piano music in the background. The cuisine is contemporary French; the foie gras is a favorite. A lunch menu offers two- and three-course meals, while dinner is served; la carte, with an eight-course tasting meal available. The chef at Petrus uses only the freshest available meat and produce. Reservations are essential. MTR: Admiralty
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Petrus doesn’t just deliver the goods, but does so with a delicious panache.
Ed’s expert tip: Leave room for the goat cheese, which is quite stupendous.
Internationally known chef Nobu Matsuhisa has acclaimed restaurants in world-class cities such as New York City, London, Las Vegas, Miami, Dallas, Milan and Tokyo. Add Hong Kong to the list! Opened at the end of 2006, this outpost is every bit as elegant, sleek and wonderful as its brothers and sisters, and the food is just as fabulous. Sushi and sashimi make up most of the menu, but there are several additional options as well, including steaks, tempura and a host of cooked Japanese dishes. Not to be missed! The restaurant’s location overlooking the harbor must make it one of the most amazing Nobus around the world.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: This restaurant is right next to the harbor, so the marine panoramas are unrivaled.
Ed’s expert tip: Book your table before you arrive in the city: it’s that popular.
Photo courtesy of Caprice
French food is a natural choice for romantic diners, and there are few more opulent restaurants than this one. The well-regarded Caprice is lovely, with tastefully opulent decor and a wonderful view over Victoria Harbour. Chef Vincent Thierry’s forte is contemporary French cuisine and he imports a plethora of special ingredients to accomplish the best flavors and textures. The menu changes frequently, but expect to find dishes such as Artichoke Cappuccino with Black Truffle, Pan-Sauted Veal Chop with Green Asparagus and Jus of Black Truffle, and Roast Chicken with Fondant Potatoes. If you’re feeling decadent, splurge on the degustation menu. Impressive wine list.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: This is not just really superb dining, but value for money too.
Ed’s expert tip: Ask the sommelier to guide you through the extensive wine list.
Photo courtesy of Frites
Lively Belgian beer house Frites brings a taste of Europe to Hong Kong. On entering the bistro, customers see an authentic Belgian-style bar, stocked with four genuine Belgian beers on tap and many more available by the bottle.The menu contains traditional and unique Belgian fare, including mussels in Hoegaarden beer sauce, pork knuckle. and Stella Artois battered fish and chips. At this buzzing authentic Belgian bistro customers can’t help but feel part of the energy and excitement, even before your first beer of many is served. Three other branches of Frites do a roaring trade in Wanchai, Causeway Bay and Central.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: There’s a very lively air to Frites, one that’s inspiring and romantic at the same time.
Ed’s expert tip: This works best as a venue for a romantic evening meal as lunchtimes are busy with executives from the surrounding offices.
Photo courtesy of Gaddis
One of the Peninsuala Hotel’s many stars, Gaddi’s has been a fixture on 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 its 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 Romantic Dining because: This is one of the oldest restaurants in Hong Kong and there’s good reason why it’s lasted so long.
Ed’s expert tip: As well as superb food, Gaddi’s also features a superlative wine list.
Photo courtesy of Mandarin Oriental
Take one of the world’s finest cuisines, combine it with one of the world’s most stunning metropolitan views, and the result is Pierre. Perched on the 25th floor of the Mandarin Oriental hotel, with floor-to-ceiling windows framing Victoria Harbour, this restaurant is the personal handiwork of Pierre Gagnaire, a French gastronomic genius and recognized everywhere as a truly original and artistic chef. The dishes are both intricate and elaborate dishes, but always firmly rooted in the French cooking tradition. Chef Pierre makes regular visits here, and in his absence the kitchen is run by Jacky Tauvry, Chef de Cuisine at Pierre. There’s no better romantic dining venue.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Put simply, the grilled salmon is perhaps the best in Asia, let alone Hong Kong.
Tracy You’s expert tip: Pierre’s open for both lunch and dinner, but in the evening the top-floor setting is at its most magical.
Photo courtesy of London House
Never mind that Brit celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay is the man behind London House, it’s the celebrity food that’s got everyone talking. Or rather, it would have, if they weren’t so busy chewing. This is the place for Brit pub classics like fish and chips and bangers (as the English call sausages) and mash, as well as a stunning range of puddings. London House is spread over two levels, with an outdoor dining terrace and big screens for all the sports action however it’s the laid-back atmosphere that makes it such a good dining venue. The staff, informed and friendly, deserve a minor round of applause too.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: This breezy, merry restaurant is relaxed enough to make it ideal for a first date. Or a second or third.
Ed’s expert tip: Bag a table with a view of the harbor on the outdoor terrace.