Favourite restaurants of Manuel Palacio Ramos, co-owner of Pirata and The Optimist
Sushi in Wan Chai, Korean fried cauliflower in Sheung Wan and a taste of Manhattan in Admiralty are some of Manuel Palacio Ramos’ favourite eats in Hong Kong
Being a restaurateur and working 16- to 18-hour days, I don’t get to eat out as often as I’d like. The few times I manage to sit down during the day is when I have a food tasting with our chefs or when I pick up a little food between service, like a ham platter. Ham is my obsession: Parma, Iberico, recebo, you name it, I can’t stop eating it.
During the week, chances are I’ll finish late and head to the 7-Eleven for noodles, but when I’m not too tired I’ll grab some sushi at Okonomi (15 Canal Road West, Wan Chai, tel: 2833 2876). It’s fast, fresh and open until 2am. I head home with a good bottle of Amarone and we call it a night.
When it comes to my favourite and the most reliable restaurants in Hong Kong, I’m not very original as I always go where I know I am going to enjoy myself: Yardbird (33-35 Bridges Street, Sheung Wan, tel: 2547 9273) because it’s casual and I love the music, the service and their Korean fried cauliflower, also known as KFC.
At Ho Lee Fook (1 Elgin Street, SoHo, tel: 2810 0860) I can’t get enough of the dumplings while Carbone (9/F Lan Kwai Fong Tower, 33 Wyndham Street, Lan Kwai Fong, tel: 2593 2593) has replicated the atmosphere of the original New York restaurant (their T-bone is damn good).
When I want to treat myself I head to Amber (The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, 15 Queen’s Road Central, tel: 2132 0066). I really enjoy their selection of dishes and their incredible selection of wine. A visit here makes you feel like having a good bottle of wine, the room is impeccable and they have my favourite glassware in Hong Kong. I love to drink out of good glassware.
When I need comfort food I’ll head to NOM (Winly Building, 1-5 Elgin Street, Central, tel: 2540 7988) for its amazing pizza.
For drinks my favourite watering hole is Lobster Bar and Grill (6/F Island Shangri-La, Two Pacific Place, Admiralty, tel: 2820 8560). A good bar shows how good it is with their classics and here I love to drink old-fashioneds and Manhattans – they stir to perfection.
But if bartender Giancarlo Mancino is in town and hosting, usually at ON Dining Kitchen and Lounge (28/F-29/F, 18 On Lan Street, Central, tel: 2174 8100) then I will go where he is.
My favourite restaurant in the world is Babbo in New York (110 Waverly Place, New York, NY 10011, tel: +1 212 777 0303), simply because it’s electric, it’s just special. The dining experience that blew me away the most was at DiverXO (NH Eurobuilding, Calle Padre Damian, 23, 28036 Madrid, Spain, tel: +34 915 70 07 66).
As told to Kylie Knott