Updated: Jan 17, 2020
Since I did a neighborhood food guide for Hung Hom, I might as well cover all the other districts around Hong Kong. I'm a bit more knowledgeable about western than local restaurants on the island side, though, so will stick to what I know. Here's a guide to my favourite restaurants of all price ranges in Central District, starting from cheap eats all the way to lavish fine-dining. Note that I may have missed out on some *famous* spots because I probably haven't eaten there before.
$ - Low range
$$ - Mid-range
$$$ - Upper mid-range
$$$$ - Supa fine
Cheung Hing Kee $
Some seriously bomb Shanghai-style dumplings of the pan-fried pork bun variety. Their signature buns are prepared fresh in-house, and served with a garnish of spring onions. It's a tiny shop with hardly any seats, so I usually just take the dumplings to go. The rich pork bone broth inside is piping hot though and can get real messy, so watch out when you take a bite!
Cuisine: Shanghainese, pan-fried dumplings
Address: Shop 1A, G/F, 52-60 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central Hong Kong
My mom and I love to stop by for tsukemen ("dip dip ramen") here. You can choose the size, temperature, hardness and texture of your daily handmade noodles, and the richness of broth. I usually get the largest, extra-hard noodles (cold) with hot broth, which give such a nice contrast. Order the gyoza, too!
Cuisine: Japanese, tsukemen, ramen
Tel: +852 2850 6009
Address: G/F 5 Gough Street, Central
Another dumpling shop recommended to me by Jen from @IndulgentEats, this family-run establishment is located in the alley across from the big Zara. They have counter seating if you want to sit and enjoy the fresh homemade dumplings. The flavours are constantly changing, and my favourites include the traditional pan-fried pork and chive, and the boiled dumplings with water chestnuts. So cheap, and love their spicy sauce, too!
Cuisine: Cantonese, boiled dumplings
Tel: +852 9178 9269
Address: G/F, 25 Li Yuen Street East Central, Hong Kong
R&R Bagels $
If you're wanting for some real hand-rolled New York City style bagels, go to New York. In Hong Kong, the next best thing is by far the bagel selection at R&R Bagels. My go-to here is the lox spread on everything bagel, with a fresh-pressed orange juice. It usually gets pretty packed on weekends, and often I've experienced the everything bagel being sold out, so try to go earlier if you can.
Cuisine: American, New York bagel
Tel: +852 2178 5168
Address: 28 Li Yuen Street West, Central, Hong Kong
Tsim Chai Kee Noodle Shop $
Cheap and cheerful traditional Hong Kong noodle shop that has received mention on the Michelin Guide. Expect brisk and bustling service, but excellent flavour. Try the handmade fishball noodle soup, or the wonton noodle soup. I much prefer the noodles here over Mak's.
Cuisine: Hong Kong, wonton noodles
Tel: +852 2850 6471
Address: G/F Jade Centre, 98 Wellington St, Central
Nothing like revisiting nostalgic memories of road trips along North Shore with poke and acai bowls for surfing fuel! You can get takeaway island-style ahi poke bowls right here in Hong Kong as well - great for a quick, filling and healthy (ish) bite. You can choose your base, dressing and of course the type of sashimi-grade seafood poke.
Cuisine: Hawaiian, poke bowls
Tel: +852 2755 8099
Address: 35-39 Graham Street, Kar Ho Building, Central, Hong Kong
Trendy, delicious and serious value for money! Pici is a pasta specialist, with fresh handmade pastas done in the traditional Italian way. They use great Italian-imported ingredients, from the cheese to the pasta dough to the various fillings. Always have a great time here, and I highly recommend the ravioli carbonara (pictured below), orechiette, and meatballs.
Tel: +852 2755 5233
Address: 24 - 26 Aberdeen St, Central, Hong Kong
The Chicken Bar $
A hearty, traditional New Orleans-inspired fried chicken shop located in H Code. They use an amazing yellow chicken sourced locally, so the crispy fried chicken is extra juicy and fresh. I also really liked the flavour-rich chicken soup here, which was packed with ingredients like yuba and okra.
Cuisine: American, southern fried chicken
Tel: +852 2569 9883
Address: Shop 3 G/F, H Code Building45 Pottinger Street, Central, Hong Kong
Adding this under mid-range eats since a bowl of ramen here goes for around HK$160 - but once you taste it you'll understand why! This is my favourite spot for a quick ramen fix. In love with the rich and creamy chicken broth, as well as the tender chicken meat that comes with it. I usually go for the tsukemen.
Cuisine: Japanese, ramen, tsukemen
Tel: +852 2447 1398
Address: G/F 7 Gough Street, Central
Famous pizzaiolo Franco Pepe's first restaurant in Hong Kong, Kytaly, serves authentic Italian pizza with light-as-air dough and delicious Datterini tomato base. Franco's "Best Pizza in Italy"-awarded Margherita Sbagliata from his flagship restaurant Pepe in Grani is on the menu, as well as other signatures such as fried pizza cone filled with cream of Grana Padano DOP 12 months aged cheese and cold cubed pineapple, and another pizza topped with my favourites - olives and anchovies.
Cuisine: Italian, Pizza
Tel: +852 2808 1961
Address: 5/F Carfield Commercial Building, 77 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong
Chom Chom $$
I always have a fab meal whenever I come here. A casual joint whose famed dishes include the roasted bone marrow served with slices of toast, and the delicious shared shaking beef with rice. Walk-ins only, so go early for dinner.
Cuisine: Vietnamese, Southeast Asian
Tel: + 852 2810 0850
Address: 58 Peel St, Soho, Central
Braza Churrascuria $$
This is somewhere I go with my friends from time to time when we're craving BBQ and feijoada. The all-you-can-eat format is traditional to the Brazilian churrascaria, serving unlimited barbecued meats (beef, lamb, pork, chicken) to the table. There's a buffet table of salads, cured meats, cheeses and hot rice dishes as well. I think it's a great deal, with dinner priced at only HK$398 per person.
Cuisine: Brazilian BBQ / All-You-Can-Eat
Tel: +852 2890 9268
Address: 3/F, Grand Progress Building, 15 Lan Kwai Fong, Central
If you're craving Japanese food without the rigidity and exorbitant prices of traditional sushi restaurants, go to Fukuro! The izakaya-style menu goes beyond market-fresh sashimi, like the buttery snow crab yaki udon, nori and unagi burger, grilled scallops in oyster butter, grilled caramel corn and Sendai-native Chef Shun's daily-changing specials. The vibe is trendy, modern and loud, and only walk-ins are allowed - so prepare to grab a drink somewhere first!
Cuisine: Modern Japanese, izakaya
Tel: +852 2333 8841
Address: 1-5 Elgin Street, SoHo, Hong Kong
Uncle Desi Food & Sons $$ - DIGITAL RESTAURANT
This is the city's first "digital restaurant" opened by Blacksheep, and headed by Chef Palash Mitra (1-Michelin-starred New Punjab Club). Serves throwback classics like aloo samosa, chicken tikka masala, lamb rogan josh and prawn vindaloo. Only delivers in Western district, up to Tai Hang and the Peak.
Cuisine: Indian takeaway
Tel: +852 6085 8656 / Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Order online: https://uncledesifood.ordering.co/home
Kinship is run by ex-Lily & Bloom Executive Chef Chris Grare, and ex-Gough's on Gough Arron Rhodes, and presents elevated rustic fare in a relaxed setting. The menu is predominantly American, with European and various Asian influences running through it. My favourites were the burnt onion risotto and roasted spring chicken with gnocchi!
Cuisine: American / European, family-style meals
Tel: +852 2520 0899
Address: 3/F LL Tower, 2 Shelley St, Central, Hong Kong
Soul Food Thai $$
A modern Thai kitchen brought over from Bangkok, Soul Food Thai is a great casual dinner spot. Actually really enjoyed the Massaman curry, tom yum soup, and the market fish of the day. The vibe and menu reminded me a lot of Kiln in London!
Cuisine: Thai, modern
Tel: +852 2177 3544
Address: 26-28 Elgin St, Soho Central
Maison Libanaise $$
By far the best Middle Eastern restaurant in Central! Make sure to order the hummus and baba ghanoush dips, as well as the chicken skewer and roasted cauliflower. So delicious. They also stock a large variety of Lebanese wines, which are surprisingly very good and pair well with the flavour-rich meal. The three-storey restaurant also has an alfresco dining space on the rooftop with fairy lights for more of a date-night vibe.
Cuisine: Middle Eastern, Lebanese
Tel: +852 2111 2284
Address: 10 Shelley Street, SoHo, Central, Hong Kong
La Vache $$
Steak frites. That's all they serve, and they do it damn well. Watch out for the all-you-can-eat crispy golden fries, because they're completely addicting. Just let your server know which temperature you want your steak to be served in, and the night of feasting begins. Walk-in's only, so have a drink in the surrounding area first. Suggest Quinary, COA or The Wise King.
Cuisine: French, steak frites
Tel: +852 2880 0248
Address: 48 Peel Street, Central, SoHo, Hong Kong
Sake Central $$
A cool and modern space in PMQ, with a large space for drinking and separated sections for counter dining. Their menu is constantly changing, but feature bites like market vegetable tempura with karasumi and wagyu tartare with quail egg. I also saw recently they're starting to do noodles like abura soba, but not sure if that's just a seasonal thing. Also a very affordable tasting menu at HK$600pp!
Cuisine: Japanese, modern, western
Tel: PMQ - Showcase, S109 - S113, Block A, 35 Aberdeen St, Central
Address: +852 2656 6552
Yakiniku GREAT $$$
I actually enjoy the original Sheung Wan branch more, but the Central one is a little more accessible so I come here usually. The Japanese beef is of very high quality (chateau briand course is love!), and I noticed are all prepared by Japanese chefs. Uni wagyu rice bowl is excellent, as are the ochazuke and house-made pickles. You can order these alongside the meat omakase.
Cuisine: Japanese, BBQ
Tel: +852 2758 8688
Address: 1/F, The Steps ‧ H Code, 45 Pottinger Street Central
Old Bailey $$$
This is the restaurant I always recommend to friends when they're looking for well-executed traditional Chinese dishes in a trendy and modern setting, without the usual tablecloth and chandeliers. It's located in the renovated old prison, Tai Kwun, amidst quirky art installations. The cuisine is Jiangnan, so takes inspiration from Szechuan. Make sure to order the regular & mala xiaolongbaos, tea-smoked pigeon and grouper fish stir-fried with preserved vegetables. They also do a great hairy crab menu when the season rolls around.
Cuisine: Jiangnan, Chinese
Tel: +852 2877 8711
Address: 2/F JC Contemporary, Tai Kwun, Old Bailey Street, Central, Hong Kong - closest entrance is the blue gate Central
The second restaurant by #1 Asia's 50 Best Restaurants award-winner, Julien Royer. Louise is the homely off-shoot of his flagship restaurant Odette in Singapore. The show-stopper here is of course the whole Hong Kong yellow chicken (which truly lives up to the hype), served with Niigata rice en cocotte and petite salad. The rice is also fab, infused with chicken fat and topped with crispy chicken skin. Don't forget to order the frog legs, and angel hair pasta with caviar.
Cuisine: French, cosy
Tel: +852 2866 0300
Address: PMQ, 35 Aberdeen St, Central
La Rambla by Catalunya $$$
Gorgeous space in ifc mall with a huge terrace overlooking the harbour. The Spanish menu has all the crave-worthy classics like grilled truffle and cheese bikini sandwiches, patatas bravas, and paella Valenciana, as well as luxe options such as Josper-grilled carabinero and a4 wagyu from Ozaki farm (same beef used at WagyuMafia).
Cuisine: Spanish, Catalan, paella
Tel: +852 2661 1161
Address: 3071 - 73 Level 3, ifc mall, Central, Hong Kong
This little gem is tucked in the 7th floor of Landmark Mandarin Oriental, next to 2-Michelin-starred Amber. It's the more casual venture by Richard Ekkebus and Chef de Cuisine Mario Paecke, who serves up some delicious western-Japanese dishes with quality ingredients. Great spot for a catch-up wine dinner with friends! Read my full review of SOMM here.
Cuisine: Modern European / Japanese, small dishes, wine
Tel: +852 2132 0055
Address: 7/F, The Landmark Mandarin Oriental The Landmark, 15 Queen's Road Central, Hong Kong
La Petite Maison $$$
One of my favourite restaurants from London finally opened in Hong Kong! The flavours here are very fresh and natural, styled after the seafood-based cuisine of Mediterranean coastal towns. Especially love the butter-garlic escargot, octopus carpaccio and the light and fluffy gnocchi with fresh tomato sauce.
Cuisine: Mediterranean, modern European
Tel: +852 2887 1113 Address: Shop 1, H Queen's, 23-29, 1/F Stanley St, Central
Ranking #37 on Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2019, Chef David Lai's cosy and unpretentious restaurant with a weekly-changing menu is 100% booked out on any given night. Make sure to book at least a week in advance to secure a table, and even earlier if you're with a group. The pre-order specials (chicken rice, flower crab rice, etc) are large and sadly hard to share with just two, so I would recommend you to go with a group of 4 so you can try a larger variety of dishes. Loved the tapas like jumbo padron peppers, and pigeon eggs with caviar.
Cuisine: Modern European, tapas
Tel: +852 2617 0891
Address: 61 Hollywood Rd, Central (don't follow Google Maps - enter through the alley after going down Peel Street)
Celebrity Cuisine ($$$)
The best crispy-skinned chicken in town. My family comes here just for this sometimes. We order it whole, and the local yellow chicken is so juicy and flavourful, we're always bugging the chef about how he makes it so. Don't forget to order the pig's lung and almond soup, and exploding salted egg custard buns for dessert. If you want to try some serious 'old Hong Kong' style dishes, the chef can definitely do it. My dad also likes to order the off-menu Braised Pomelo Pith here.
Cuisine: traditional Cantonese, old Hong Kong
Tel: +852 3650 0066
Address: 1/F, Lan Kwai Fong Hotel, 3 Kau U Fong, Central
Sushi Saito $$$$
An amazing omakase sushi experience is hard to come by in Hong Kong, and if someone were to ask me for a recommendation, Sushi Saito would be it. It will cost you, though, as with all proper sushi bars in Hong Kong. It's located on the higher floors of the Four Seasons, and technically operates independently from the hotel so it'll be hard for you to get a reservation through them (or at all).
Cuisine: Japanese, counter sushi
Tel: +852 2527 0811
Address: 45/F, Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, Finance St, Central, Hong Kong
Your classic dimly lit, white tablecloth fine dining ambience. You know it's going to be a good experience when the sommelier greets you with a cart of six vintage champagnes to choose from. Two Michelin starred restaurant in the old Mandarin by the iconoclastic chef Pierre Gagnaire.
Tel: +852 2825 4001
Address: 25/F, Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, 5 Connaught Rd Central
Scandinavian sensibilities meet Japanese ingredients at Arbor, a completely underrated fine dining restaurant with a Michelin star to its name. Finnish chef Eric Raty (ex Upper House) showcases highly technical dishes, including melt-in-your-mouth Icelandic langoustine and a4 wagyu. With a background in pastry, his desserts here are excellent as well, including the salted egg yolk dessert with Japanese black beans glazed in Kowloon Soy Sauce Company soy sauce.
Cuisine: Scandinavian-Japanese, tasting menu
Tel: +852 3185 8388
Address: 25/F, H Queen's, 80 Queen's Road Central, Hong Kong
Excellent 3-Michelin-starred French fine dining in the Four Seasons - renowned as the hotel with the most Michelin star restaurants in Hong Kong. Executive Chef Guillaume Galliot and pastry extraordinaire Vivien Sonzogni make a potent team, serving up innovative dishes like laksa with king crab and the fluffiest hazelnut souffle of your life.
Cuisine: Modern French, tasting menu
Tel: +852 3196 8888
Address: 6/F Four Seasons Hotel, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong
Honest cooking, maximum flavour. Chef Maxime Gilbert went from zero to two Michelin stars in 2019, speaking to his exceptional creativity and craftsmanship. Expect contemporary French finesse using fresh regional ingredients. Absolutely loved the seasonal akamutsu steamed for 3 minutes with just some sake and seaweed. If you want something decadent, this is also the home of the monster caviar tart - not for the faint-hearted.
Cuisine: French, tasting menu
Tel: +852 2795 5996
Address: 26/F H Queen's, 80 Queen's Road Central, Hong Kong
8 1/2 Otto E Mezzo $$$$
I come here for the pasta. The 3-Michelin-starred Otto e Mezzo serves up some next-level handmade pastas with seasonal touches (white truffle, etc). A heftier price point given the stars, but a highly refined and satisfying meal from start to finish. I love the ragu pappardelle, and the orechiette with Sicilian red prawn.
Cuisine: Italian, pasta
Tel: +852 2537 8859
Address: Shop 202, 2/F, Alexandra House, 16-20 Chater House, Central, Hong Kong
Spearheaded by Chef Richard Ekkeus, the "new" Amber pioneers an eco approach across the entire concept, from the kitchen all the way to the dining room. The menu is now also dairy-free with minimal salt, yet I noticed still full of flavour from the unrivalled ingredients. The tasting menu also includes a course in the pristine new kitchen!
Cuisine: French, sustainable, non-dairy
Tel: +852 2132 0066
Address: 7/F, The Landmark Mandarin Oriental The Landmark, 15 Queen's Road Central, Hong Kong
Lung King Heen $$$$
3-Michelin-starred restaurant, this time for Cantonese cuisine. The focus here is not just the delectable fare, but the incredible service and hospitality of the staff, who literally tended to my every need - sometimes to the point that they were pre-emptive (like a scarf for the cold). Make sure to order the crispy suckling pig, frog's legs and signature chicken potage.
Tel: +852 3196 8888
Address: 4/F Four Seasons Hotel, 8 Finance St, Central, Hong Kong
An inventive Chinese-French tasting menu enjoyed with front row seats to the open kitchen. Here you’ll find aesthetic and equally delicious signature dishes like roasted sea cucumber and amazing uses of fish maw, Taiyouran egg and large-grained Chinese Thousand Island Lake caviar. Perfect for a romantic date night!
Cuisine: Chinese-French, tasting menu
Tel: +852 2711 8639
Address: 30/F The Wellington, 198 Wellington St, Central, Hong Kong