We Dine

PUBLISHED : Friday, 05 June, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 05 June, 1998, 12:00am

LA SCALA Royal Plaza Hotel 193 Prince Edward Road West, Kowloon Tel: 2622-6156 Open: 6am-11pm This spacious restaurant overlooking the lobby of the Royal Plaza Hotel is a great place to come if you are with a large group of hungry and picky eaters. There is something for everyone, because they have buffets for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Diners pass to and fro with plates piled high with everything from roasts, grilled meats and Asian noodles to Chinese and Western desserts. There are also the usual sushi and cold dishes.

An unusual feature is the open kitchen, where chefs prepare grilled meats, Asian stir-fries and noodles to diners' specifications.

Lighter appetites can choose from the a la carte menu.

The Hainan chicken rice is moist and tender, although the dipping sauces need a bit more salt.

Beef ravioli are home-made - large, plump and tender, and garnished with al dente vegetables.

CAMARGUE 1/F, 128 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai Tel: 2525-7997 Open: Monday-Friday 11am-3pm, 6pm-10.30pm, Saturday and Sunday 7pm-10.30pm This popular restaurant has made two moves before settling in this space in Wan Chai. Fortunately, the food has remained consistently delicious and well-priced.

The menu is extensive, with a good selection of hot and cold starters, pastas, meats and desserts.

A must-try is the sauteed foie gras on mixed greens. The foie gras is crusty outside and melting within, and the greens and sharp vinaigrette do a good job of cutting the richness of the liver.

We also like their pastas, which range from rich and indulgent to light and healthy.

The servers are very friendly and attentive.

AMERICAN PIE 4/F, California Entertainment Building 34-36 D'Aguilar Street, Lan Kwai Fong, Central Tel: 2877-9779 Open: Monday-Saturday noon-2.30pm, 6.30pm-10pm (Friday and Saturday until 11pm), Sunday 11am-3pm, 6.30pm-10pm This restaurant on the fourth floor of the California Entertainment Building has one of the nicest balconies in Hong Kong. The shady awning keeps out the brightest rays, and the balcony is filled with plants.

The restaurant itself is cool and light, with pale wood, green walls and comfortable wicker chairs.

The menu features many traditional American favourites - cheeseburgers, Maryland crab cakes, New England clam chowder and chicken pot pie. But there is also the influence of more recent American immigrants - everything from Italian pasta to chicken stir-fry.

Maryland crab cakes, served with a spicy tomato sauce and mixed salad, are surprisingly generous with the crab meat. At some other restaurants, these taste only of breading, but the ones here have lots of crab. They are lightly breaded and perfectly fried so the outside is crunchy and the inside is soft and moist.

Avocado stuffed with cocktail shrimp is a simple dish that relies entirely on good ingredients. The avocado is perfectly ripe and the shrimp are fresh and sweet.

Good old American cheeseburger comes beautifully grilled on a soft sesame-seed bun.

There is a well-priced executive set lunch for $128 plus 10 per cent for soup and main course, tea or coffee.

LING ZHI VEGETARIAN RESTAURANT G/F, 951 King's Road, Quarry Bay Tel: 2880-0883 Open: 9am-11.30pm Chinese vegetarian food is probably one of the more satisfying (that is, filling) of this type of diet.

Instead of the alfalfa sprouts, bean sprouts and grilled vegetables that vegetarians in the West must rely on, Chinese vegetarians can feast on mock goose, roast pork, ham and many other gluten and bean curd-based dishes that have been perfected over the years.

Unfortunately, these vegetarian dishes are sometimes very oily. But at Ling Zhi in Quarry Bay, you get all the flavour without the excessive oiliness.

The mixed platter of gluten and bean curd cooked in different sauces is delicious, and each of the items on the plate tastes distinctly different. There is roast pork and ham made from bean curd, and sweet and sour and curry gluten.

Deep fried bean curd is luscious - crisp outside and juicy within. The large pieces of bean curd are topped with tiny bits of fried chilli, garlic and green onion.

Asparagus and macadamia nuts in a taro basket is another delicious dish.

The asparagus is perfectly al dente, and although the macadamias should be roasted more to bring out the flavour, they are fresh and plentiful.

The menu is extensive, with many interesting dishes.

partake Afternoon Tea Relax with afternoon tea from 3.15pm to 5.30pm on any Saturday, Sunday or public holiday in the Lobby Lounge at The Prince Hong Kong, Harbour City. Enjoy delicate sweet and savoury treats, with tea, coffee or fruit juices, for $95 plus 10 per cent. Tel: 2113-6051