An Italian chef’s favourite Hong Kong restaurants for fun with friends, local cuisine, guilty pleasures – and real Italian food
Gianni Caprioli likes to start the day with a decent breakfast and has a weakness for one of Hong Kong’s classic treats, but says there are fewer restaurants that serve real Italian cuisine in Hong Kong than you might think
Italian chef Gianni Caprioli first came to Hong Kong as chef of Isola in the IFC Mall, Central, but now he runs his own group that includes Giando, Gia, Fishsteria, Eat.It, and Mercato By Giando.
I like to take breakfast meetings at The Lounge (Four Seasons Hotel, 8 Finance Street, Central, tel: 3196 8820) where I can get my money’s worth in quality and service. All the egg dishes are stand-outs and are a great way to start the day. I take mine sunny side up.
When I go for a fun meal with friends, I tend to choose restaurants that are open in design. Sushi Kuu (1/F, M88 Wellington Place, 2-8 Wellington Street, Central, tel: 2971 0180) fits the bill for lunch. A place I visit for dinner is Japanese Restaurant Doraya (two locations including 451 Lockhart Road, Causeway Bay, tel: 2834 8851).
I have a soft spot for the soup dumplings at Din Tai Fung (various locations including 68 Yee Woo Street, Causeway Bay, tel: 3160 8998), and I love the big comfy chairs at Caprice (Podium 6, Four Seasons Hotel, tel: 3196 8860) almost as much as its food.
Of course, it’s important to share local cuisine with visitors. Sun Hing Restaurant (8 Smithfield Road, Kennedy Town, tel: 2816 0616) is good for first-timers and has a nice local crowd that delivers plenty of atmosphere.
One of my guilty pleasures is the traditional egg tarts of Tai Cheong Bakery (various locations including 35 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, tel: 8300 8301). Their buttery-yet-crispy crust is perfect with the creamy and slightly savoury custard. I also have a weakness for popcorn. I can’t resist when I go see movies, especially at Emperor Cinema in Central.
As an Italian, I admire Italian restaurants that serve real cuisine, though there are fewer than you think in Hong Kong. My friend Chef Umberto Bombana is as passionate about his food as I am, so 8½ Otto E Mezzo Bombana (Shop 202, Alexandra House, 16-20 Chater Road, Central, tel: 2537 8859) is always a favourite for me.