Favourite Hong Kong restaurants of Giacomo Pani, Italian boss of the DiVino dining group
Tokio Joe’s toro tuna tartare often tempts Pani, who’s also partial to Thai food, the Chinese dishes at Ye Shanghai, and the fancy Italian fare at Tosca and 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana
I have many favourite restaurants in town. Tokio Joe (16 Lan Kwai Fong, Central, tel: 2525 1889) is unbeatable for its relaxed Japanese decor and ambience. I can’t stop eating the signature toro tuna tartare wrapped in salad leaf, which is my favourite dish – a must-try. For a main course, I love sharing the gently caramelised cod fish and the dynamite combo sushi platter.
My second pick is the Mandarin Grill (1/F, Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, 5 Connaught Road Central, tel: 2825 4004). I particularly love the effort of the team in reaching perfection all together, so that each dish is a unique experience revealing the aromas and flavours in an unexpected artistic presentation. I like to experience the Gourmet Tour menu with wine pairing. I still remember the sublime beef, seasonal garden vegetables and a painstakingly layered potato, presented inside a book.
For Chinese, I like Ye Shanghai in Pacific Place (Shop 332, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, tel: 2918 9833) and my other favourite is Din Tai Fung (various locations, including 68 Yee Wo Street, Causeway Bay, tel: 3610 8998) for their famous dumplings.
If I have visitors, I would invite them for a drink at Sevva (25/F Prince’s Building, 10 Chater Road, Central, tel: 2537 1388), followed by dinner in the China Club (13/F-14/F, Old Bank of China Building, Bank Street, Central, tel: 2521 8888) after a day of exploring the wet markets, the dried seafood street in Sheung Wan, maybe visiting Man Mo Temple and the Hollywood Road galleries.
For a casual lunch I like Chachawan (206 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, tel: 2549 0020) for easy-going and delicious Thai cuisine that takes me back to the kingdom. For weekend brunch with two children and a dog, I have to say I appreciate the casual outdoor terrace space of my own restaurant, DiVino Patio (Shop 11, Brim 28, 28 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2877 3552) with some Italian delicacies and a few glasses of our Sardinian vino rosso.
For something fancier, Tosca (level 102, The Ritz-Carlton, International Commerce Centre, 1 Austin Road West, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 2263 2270) offers one of the best buffets in Hong Kong for the quality and variety of ingredients. The view and staff are not bad, too. Another Italian place I have to mention is 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana (shop 202, 2/F Landmark Alexandra, 18 Chater Road, Central, tel: 2537 8859). Without a doubt, they serve the best Italian in town, other than my places.