Hong Kong's 7 Best Aperitivo Spreads
If you’ve ever had a happy hour “aperitivo” spread in Europe, then you’ll understand why we’re obsessed with these mini buffets: Generous selections of light bites with a pre-dinner cocktail. Can’t jet off to Italy? Check out the next best alternatives right here in the SAR. By John Robertson
Best Al Fresco: Giando
The hike to Giando at Fenwick Pier will help get that appetite going just in time for a premium spread from Chef Gianni Caprioli. The apertivo table here focuses on quality Italian ingredients, so expect imported olives, marinated onions, pickled vegetables, deep-fried mozzarella skin and more. Enjoy it all with a unique view of the harbor or chow down al fresco on the terrace.
Grab a bite: Daily 6pm onwards. Free with drink purchase.
1/F, The Fleet Arcade, Fenwick Pier, 1 Lung King St., Wan Chai, 2511-8912.
Giando goes green
Trend-Setter: La Piola
Stand anywhere on Lyndhurst Terrace and you’ll see the lively throng spilling out of this open-fronted bar on to the street. Chef Fabio Sgro and co-owner Enrico Gili come from Turin, the self-declared aperitivo capital of the world. So it’s no surprise that La Piola puts on a free evening mini-feast as long as you buy a cocktail. Among the rotating selection of items on the aperitivo buffet are mortadella on toast, buffalo mozzarella with cherry tomatoes, pizza, tramezzini, salami, focaccia with cherry tomatoes, poached shrimp skewers, savory quiche and mini bruschetta. Now the crowds are starting to make sense…
Grab a bite: Daily, 5-8pm. Free with drink purchase.
G-1/F, 2-10 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, 2851-2281.
Best Views: Aqua
Aqua can’t help but keep it classy, and the trend continues with its decadent Milano-style aperitivo selection, put on by executive chef Paolo Morresi. Expect choice cold cuts, buffalo mozzarella, carefully prepared mini sandwiches, and a selection of other fresh items that change daily. A soundtrack of 50s and 60s-era Italian jazz serenades the early evening hours, and be sure to check out cocktails by world-renowned mixologist Charles Joly all through this summer: We’re fans of the super-herby “Garden of England.”
Grab a bite: Monday-Friday, 5-7pm. Free with $150 drink minimum spend.
30/F, 1 Peking Road Shopping Arcade, 1 Peking Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui, 3427-2288.
Best Date Night: DiVino
DiVino has long been a popular spot for “opening the stomach,” as the Italians say, with a small bite before dinner—so popular that the restaurant is now offering two different aperitivi time slots. Weekday “aperitif moments” feature hot and cold antipasti treats, including cold cuts, cheeses, olives, frittata, pizza slices, and more—all complimentary with purchase of a drink. On Saturdays and Sundays from 2-6pm, expect a spread with a strong selection of charcuterie, plus different kinds of pâté, foie gras and terrines—available for $226.
Grab a bite: Weekdays 5:30-7:30pm, free with drink purchase; Weekends 2-6pm, from $226, includes two glasses of wine.
73 Wyndham St., Central, 2167-8883.
DiVino: Vino and more
Barcelonan Bites: Boqueria
True Spaniards know the best time to go for tapeo is before dinner. As for where to go, it’s hard to beat Boqueria, where aged jamón iberico legs hang proudly from the ceiling. The folks at Boqueria lay out a hearty selection of tapas during its “Spanish Happy Hour,” which often includes patatas bravas (crispy potatoes, salsa brava, roasted garlic aioli), jamón, blistered padrón peppers with sea salt, gazpacho and empanadas. It’s a serious spread, so come hungry to get your money’s worth.
Grab a bite: Monday-Saturday from 6-8pm. From $208 including free-flow Estrella draught beer and red sangria.
7/F, LKF Tower, 33 Wyndham St., Central, 2321-8681.
Best Deal: 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana
Big-time chef Umberto Bombana has a big-time aperitivo selection laid out in the evenings, and you don’t need to have Versace-lined pockets to test out this three-Michelin-star establishment. Any paisan who purchases a cocktail is welcome to enjoy Otto e Mezzo’s lavish spread of octopus on Ratte potatoes, Calvisius caviar on smoked salmon and cream cheese, marinated artichoke with pecorino Toscano, 5-year aged parmigiano reggiano, classic veal fillet with mayonnaise-like “tonnato” sauce, smoked salmon tartine, lobster tartar on toast, burrata with cherry tomato… shall we continue?
Grab a bite: Mon-Sat, 5-8pm. Free with drink purchase.
Shop 202, Landmark Alexandra, 18 Chater Rd., Central, 2537-8859.
Otto e Mezzo: a Michelin deal
Best Vibes: Isobar
Kick back with a snack and a killer view of the harbor at Isobar. The happening upstairs sister bar of Italian fine-dining favorite Isola has a daily “aperi dinner” spread, which includes fried calamari, bites of its ultra-crispy signature pizza, assorted Italian vegetable dishes, seafood salads and more. Get there early to snag yourself some seats outside. And don’t forget that their own resident DJ hits the decks with chilled-out tunes Thursdays to Saturdays.
Grab a bite: Daily 5-7pm. Free with $88 drink minimum spend.
Shop 3071-3075 & 4011, 3-4/F, IFC Mall, 8 Finance St., Central, 2383-8765.
Isobar's delicate bites