No doubt there are many wonderful places to dine in Hong Kong when your budget stretches to $1,000 a head but, given the choice, we would not go further than The Verandah, at Repulse Bay. Overlooking the South China Sea, the celebrated restaurant belonging to The Peninsula family has been delighting diners for more than 80 years. The Repulse Bay Hotel was pulled down during redevelopment in 1982, but The Verandah was preserved, and continues to offer patrons the kind of classy dining experience Hong Kong offered in the 1920s. It is altogether very colonial, with a duet of musicians playing classical music in the background and fans spinning overhead as splendidly attired waiters, flashing smiles as white as their dinner jackets, wheel out a trolley of champagne cocktails to greet each new arrival. The restaurant's historic Reading Room has been retained, and so has the original fireplace. One touch of modernity is the glazing of the arched windows to accommodate the air-conditioning. For all its glamour, dining here can be surprisingly affordable, with a set menu for $598. But we were out to spoil ourselves, and spent ages lingering over Austrian executive chef Dietmar Spitzer's tantalising a la carte menu. Spitzer left the Banyan Tree in the Maldives to take up the job in a restaurant he says 'doesn't get more classic'. 'When I first saw The Verandah, it was like, wow!' he recalls. 'The Verandah has my heart and soul. I just love this place.' Turning to the menu, we finally made our selection, having been advised to leave room for the famous souffle the restaurant has been making since 1920. Our choices were lobster salad and milk-fed lamb, and crab salad and Barbarie duck. Chef Spitzer was impressed. Apparently our choices included dishes he considered to be among some of his best efforts. But first we were served the chef's personal favourite: home-made mushroom ravioli with black truffles ($175). It was an exquisite starter, both indulgent and delectable, and washed down perfectly with a champagne cocktail ($130 per glass). Exemplary ingredients continued to feature in the Boston lobster salad. The mango, avocado and tomato salsa was topped with Sevruga caviare and perfumed with white truffle oil ($198). The appetiser was matched with a French 2001 Chardonnay, Calvet Vin de Pays D'oc ($38 per glass). My choice of the Alaskan king crab meat salad stuffed in piquillos chilli, with marmande tomato pulp and baguette brushed with garlic, olive oil and tomato ($168) was, by the chef's definition, 'a funny dish'. He was referring to the eclectic mix of colours, shapes and flavours. It was obvious that someone in the kitchen had as much fun putting this dish together as I did in demolishing it. We paired the crab with a glass of South African 2002 Sauvignon Blanc by Firefinch Robertson ($40 per glass). For mains, the milk-fed baby lamb served with an eggplant tian and a garlic-infused thyme sauce ($295) was accompanied by a glass of Australian shiraz , the 2001 Wyndham Estate Bin 555 from the Hunter Valley ($44 per glass). Being milk-fed, the lamb does not have a strong gamey flavour. It is cooked two ways: first in the oven, and then braised. It a truly beautiful dish, enhanced by the flavour of the herbs. My breast of Barbarie duck with black pepper cassis sauce came on a polenta souffle cake with baby zucchini and semi-dried tomatoes ($275). The duck - like most of the products used here - came from France, and the quality was therefore assured. It was delectable, enjoyed with a glass of 2002 New Zealand Merlot from Sacred Hill Hawkes Bay ($68 per glass). Our dessert choices included the signature souffle, a heavenly, feather-light Grand Marnier selection from the flavours on offer ($88), and another of the chef's favourites - a Toblerone chocolate mousse with fresh berries ($89). Coffee and petits fours completed a memorable meal, which came in just under budget at $969 and $944 per head respectively. Elsewhere in Hong Kong, dining out for $1,000 can be as gastronomically rewarding. Marriott Hotel executive chef Thomas Rebler's recommended menu at the hotel's signature restaurant, JW's California, offers a luxury experience, using ingredients based on general dining trends that take into account women who like to go easy on the calories and men who prefer a hearty, filling meal. 'We used a lot of natural, healthy and prime ingredients, since this is our standard,' he said of a menu featuring lobster, Kobe beef, caviar and black truffles. 'The general public is health-conscious, so the choices reflect this growing need. 'Many diners are willing to indulge, but in moderation. Almost all diners want a balance between life and work, between responsibility and enjoyment,' Rebler says. 'It is a challenge to provide this unique dining experience to every person who walks into our restaurants, especially in a place like Hong Kong, where palates and taste buds are discerning and where guests are spoiled for choice.' Jochen Kern, executive chef at the InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong, has created a classic menu for two at The Mistral. 'Both four-course menus feature classic Italian delicacies using fresh and seasonal produce,' he says. 'The lady's menu is well-balanced, the Maine lobster being especially light and sweet, and the lamb loin is the most tender part with the least strong lamb taste. The men's menu is more meaty and balanced with a refreshing seafood pasta and rustic osso bucco.' At the Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel, executive chef Urs Besmer boasts that his menu at the Tai Pan Grill includes 'probably the best beef you have tasted'. A rack of lamb from a free-range farm in Australia is also featured on the restaurant's menu, along with Tai Pan's signature soup and salad dishes.