Hong Kong Cray !!! Restaurants for Date Night or Tinder Date0
OK so Valentine’s Day just passed. I can’t even believe how many messages I was getting from my guy friends asking about where to take their wives/girlfriends for Valentine’s Day. A handful were pretty proactive, planning weeks in advance (good for you). But let’s be honest, most of them were clueless, trying to make reservations the day before, and some hours before the Hallmark holiday (bro… c’mon).
Regardless of the occasion, I get hit up a lot with questions like “where should I take BAE for _____?” Whether you’re celebrating an anniversary, birthday, promotion, date night, or on a Tinder date, here are some suggestions on where to go to make your life a little easier. I’ve organized the list from super fancy ($$$$$) to casual ($). Good luck fellas / ladies!
If you’re really trying to impress your special someone and prepared to make it rain… Scope out these restaurants. Reservations are definitely required:
- Sushi Shikon ($$$$$): Sushi Shikon is a place you would take your wifey, or soon to be wifey, seriously. There are only eight seats available priced at HKD $1,800 ($230 USD) for lunch and HKD $3,500 ($450) for dinner. They serve an omakase menu that is strictly sushi, but it is amazing.
- 8½ Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA ($$$$$): If he/she likes Italian, easy, take them to the best 3-Michelin Star Italian restaurant in Hong Kong and ranked No.8 on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Chef Umberto Bombana has a truffle obsession and has perfected his handmade pasta dishes. I’d also recommend making a reservation for lunch, the lunch set is a killer deal.
- Sushi Sase ($$$$): Sushi Sase is another dope sushi spot that isn’t as pricey as Sushi Shikon. It’s a good alternative and is nearly half the price, HKD $1180 ($250 USD) for the cheapest set dinner and has an even cheaper set lunch menu.
- Amber ($$$$$): Feelin’ French, Amber’s got your back. Run by Chef Richard Ekkebus, Amber is a 2-Michelin Star restaurant at the Landmark Oriental serving innovative French dishes utilizing the highest quality of seasonal ingredients.
- Tenku Ryugin ($$$$$): This spot serves up a legit 10-course Japanese Kaiseki at a 2-Michelin Star restaurant with a view from the 101st floor of the ICC, the tallest building in Hong Kong. Make sure you check out the set menu online before making a reservation as there is no a la carte option.
- L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon ($$$$$): This was one of the first 3-Michelin Star restaurant I’ve eaten at and one of the restaurants my husband Eugene had taken me for our anniversary. Good move Eugene, Joël Robuchon’s menu had all my weaknesses – a sea urchin triology, Oscietra caviar over a crispy poached egg, steak tartare and more.
- Mandarin Grill + Bar ($$$$$): The Mandarin Grill is one of my favorites on this list. Serving modern European cuisine, Executive Chef Uwe Opocensky has created a next level whimsical menu where finishing touches are done tableside. It’s incredible.
If you’re going for something special, but in a less pretentious setting, here are some restaurants to look into. Best to make reservations:
- RONIN ($$$$): Ronin is a Japanese-influenced seafood-centric restaurant and whiskey bar. The menu constantly changes depending on what’s fresh that day, utilizing a plethora of fresh fish and seafood. Start with the oysters and sashimi, and don’t leave without trying the flower crab with uni, mentako udon, kagoshima beef, and uni with panko.
- Carbone ($$$): An American Italian restaurant hailing from New York City. The food here is on point – order the Carpaccio Piemontese, Caesar alla ZZ, Mario’s Meatballs, Spicy Rigatoni Vodka, Carrot Cake and Lemon Cheesecake!
- Nobu ($$$$): Nobu is pretty international, but definitely worth going. It’s is located in the InterContinetal Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui parked right next to the harbour so the view is amazing. Order the A5 Japanese Wagyu beef tataki, yellowtail sashimi, toro tataki, foie gras and Wagyu beef gyoza, and the vegetable kakiage with spicy lobster salad and uni.
- 121 BC ($$$): For an intimate setting, 121BC serves Italian share-plates and hand-made breads, pastas, gelati and cheeses. Their menu changes quite frequently depending on seasonality and their wine list is on point.
- Ku-suya Rakuen ($$): Ku-suya Rakuen is cozy low-key Japanese restaurant / izakaya in Causeway Bay. It’s pretty laid back suitable for sippin’ on sake or enjoying a variety of “tapas” portion-sized Okinawan specialties.
For a date that’s a little more casual, fun, with good food and drinks, check out these restaurants. Most of these places don’t take reservations, so I suggest going a little early to put your name on the list:
- Yardbird ($$$): If you live in Hong Kong, I can’t recommend this spot to go on a romantic outing. But if you’re visiting from out of town or just wanting to have a good time, there’s no way you can’t have fun at this spot. A perennial favorite to start the evening, the friendly service, consistently delicious food and drinks will loosen you up for a solid outing.
- CHINO ($$$): CHINO comes correct in the realm of thoughtful intersections of Mexican and Japanese cuisine. Chef Erik Idos was raised in California but spent many of his professional years at Nobu hence the particularly unexpected mix. But don’t worry, there’s a sense of familiarity that runs throughout the menu and you’ll be impressed by the solid selection of Mexican spirits.
- Ho Le Fook ($$$): Ho Lee Fook’s food definitely doesn’t disappoint if you want to see a modern take on Chinese and Southeast Asian cuisine. Some favorites are inevitably variations on things you may have grown up eating. Most of the signature dishes come in larger portions, so I would recommend Ho Lee Fook for a double date if you want a little more variety.
- Chachawan ($$$): The food here has its own unique approach to Thai, with a focus on the Issan region of Thailand. The result are some fiery dishes best washed down with some cold beverages. Always packed with flavor, you may want to keep things chill after if you don’t often eat a lot of spicy food (if you know what I mean).
- 22 Ships ($$$): 22 Ships brings some great pedigree with it courtesy of Michelin-recognized chef Jason Atherton. The tapas arrangement ensures you’ll try a good range of offerings while enjoying a class of wine. To be fair, the line-up here is often quite long so it doesn’t hurt to check out the sister establishment, Ham & Sherry, down the street.
- Little Bao ($$): Little Bao’s food is a modern take on Chinese food, but done in a way that doesn’t seem at all gimmicky. Many people come almost exclusively for the LB Ice Cream Sandwich but there’s way more to this spot so try out the solid list of savory dishes. The space is undoubtedly small and cramped but that just forces you to really cuddle up nah mean.
- La Vache! ($$): A good steak that doesn’t leave you eating ramen for the rest of the month was and still is pretty hard to find in Hong Kong. In between the high-end steak houses and the highly-treated local Chinese-Western restaurants, La Vache! serves its purpose well. The focus is only on one dish, steak and fries (oh and a salad). You come in and are asked how your steak is cooked while the salads come out. You can gorge yourself on bottomless fries but the dessert trolley ain’t no joke. You could come out of here spending much less than you would at a high(er) steak joint but you’re pretty limited for choice. By Hong Kong standards, most people will say La Vache! is a reasonable deal.
- ATUM Desserant: Dedicated strictly to desserts, ATUM Desserant steps up the dessert game in Hong Kong taking an unconventional approach to satisfying that sugar craving. Chicago’s Alinea, seems to have been a source of inspiration for ATUM, using modernist techniques, mainly molecular gastronomy, along with artistic plating and table theatre. ATUM is the perfect place to take a date who has a sweet tooth.
If you’re keeping it super casual, here are some spots that won’t cost you a fortune, but are still fun:
- Futago ($$): Get turnt on meat and barbecue with the Japanese yakiniku spot, Futago. Unlike some of its other competitors, Futago offers great bang for your buck. It carries with it some heavy Japanese elements such as the boisterous waiters (who mean well obviously), and cheap beer, but the proteins are often great bang for your buck and feature a great assortment of pedestrian and more exotic fare. Make sure you make reservations here though!
- Sahara Mezz Bar ($$): A lively yet intimate Moroccan restaurant located in SOHO serving an amalgamation of Berber, Arab, Moorish, Middle Eastern, African, Mediterranean, Iberian and Jewish-inspired food. Taking a date to this spot will hopefully make you look hella cultured and sophisticated as you order interesting platters to share and delicious aromatic tagines whilst hitting that grape mint shisha Hookah.
- Delhi Club ($): OK, maybe I’m a little biased about this place. This totally worked for me, but it really depends on what kind of person you’re taking out on a date. I’d never been to Chungking Mansion before, so I was actually pretty intrigued by the shiit that goes down in there from brothels to murders to kidnappings. I read all about the shady ish that used to happen in this building so as naive as this may sound, I was pretty impressed that Eugene (my now husband) would be brave enough to take me there on our first date. HAHA.. probably not the best idea, but could be worth a try doe. Who knows, you may end up getting married!
If you’re testing out the waters with a Tinder date and don’t want to commit to a full meal just in case you wish you had swiped left, check out these spots for drinks:
- Café Gray Deluxe: If you have some friends who have had the luxury of staying at the Upperhouse, there’s no way they can hate. The Upperhouse is one of Hong Kong’s finest hotel experiences with some great views to boot. Take the elevator up to Café Gray Deluxe to enjoy a drink and take in a pretty spectacular view.
- Sevva: Sevva is one of those spots you often take tourists because the terrace opens up into the heart of Central with a view of the HSBC building. The spot can get pretty busy on a weekend where people extend well past happy hour and unwind after what is probably an intense and ultimately very boring week spent looking at numbers.
- Ozone: $100 sips. Ozone, stands as the world’s tallest bar on the 118th floor of the Ritz-Carleton. The one thing bigger than its view is the cost of the drinks. “$100 sips,” is a term we coined after ordering an expensive-ass drink there. You probably should reserve this one for a special occasion otherwise it’s pretty hard to top a date here. You can expect some mighty fine spirit selection and some bougie-ass cocktails here.
- Lily & Bloom: Located in the heart of LKF, Lily & Bloom is a convenient spot to link up given that there are several options to segway into after starting the night here. The spot early in the evening is often pretty chill and is conducive to conversation. The extensive bar offers the usual plethora of cocktails including some innovative options that will do the trick.