A Hong Kong Italian restaurant owner’s favourite places to eat in the city
The photographer, kung fu fan and co-owner of bar/restaurant La Piola appreciates casual Japanese places, Shanghai dumplings and spicy Sichuan fare
I grew up near Turin and I started working in food and beverage as a teenager. I’m very curious about food in general. When I first came to Asia, I wanted to know about all the different ways of cooking. But I came to Hong Kong for kung fu; my sifu was here. I worked for the Igor’s Group for three years before starting my first restaurant.
I like to go to Kichi (6/F, Tern Plaza, 5 Cameron Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 2368 0000) for izakaya Japanese. I like the pork belly and the atmosphere. Also, I go to Bon Japanese Yakitori Bar (22/F, H8, 8 Hau Fook Street, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 2710 8686). Their chickens come from Miyazaki prefecture, and I like when things are done properly.
Italian food I can cook at home, but often I do go out for Spanish. I like Alex Fargas’ restaurants, FoFo by El Willy (20/F, M88, 2-8 Wellington Street, Central, tel: 2900 2009) and La Paloma (1/F, SoHo 189, 189 Queen’s Road West, Sheung Wan, tel: 2291 6161). My kids also like the food there and Alex is a friend.
I was just at San Xi Lou (7/F, Coda Plaza, 51 Garden Road, Mid-Levels, tel: 2838 8811). I go there often because my wife and I like spicy food. I also like to eat xiao long bao so I go to Din Tai Fung (various locations, including 68 Yee Woo Street, Causeway Bay, tel: 3160 8998), and we also have Peking duck at Lei Garden (various locations, including Shop 3008, 3/F IFC Mall, 1 Harbour View Street, Central, tel: 2295 0238). I like the way they do it.
For Italian friends visiting, let’s put it this way – [going for] yum cha is too early for them. It will have to be lunch or dinner, and for proximity we like Ye Shanghai (Shop 332, 3/F Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, tel: 2918 9833). I also like the way they do pork belly.
If I go for dim sum, I like Super Star Seafood Restaurant (various locations including 1/F, Shui On Centre, 6-8 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2628 0989). It’s hard to find the places with trolleys going around now. This is one of the last places with them.