Where to Eat for Date Night
As Virginia Woolf so famously put it: “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” In light of thinking with a clear head when it comes to matters of the heart, we’ve put together a list of restaurants to make sure you never have a hangry moment with your better half.
The Big Money
Named after the Italian word for “inspire”, Estro certainly inspires our craving for refined Neapolitan fare. An ode to the flavors of his Sicilian upbringing, chef Antimo Maria Merone, in partnership with JIA Group, premiered his fine dining Neapolitan restaurant in the later half of 2021 following his career at Michelin-starred 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo. Add to it a plush, earthy interior by André Fu designs and mineral hued murals by French artist Elsa Jeandedieu, and you have a recipe for success. A QR code printed on a Roman-style coin opens up to the tasting menu options, with our favorite dish being the unforgettably delicious Vesuvio ragù Genovese. Make sure to book a table at the two cozy alcoves near the front of the restaurant for an intimate tête-à-tête experience.
2/F, 1 Duddell Street, Central, book online
Awarded two Michelin-stars soon after its opening in Central’s H Queen’s, Arbor is a blending of Nordic-Japanese cuisines using the best seasonal ingredients picked at their prime. Finnish chef Eric Räty spearheads the kitchen in partnership with Gourmet Dining Group, renowned for its repertoire of fine dining establishments the likes of ÉPURE, Ami and Woodear. Chef Räty’s flawless execution using classic French techniques creates innovative and unusual pairings when married with Japanese flavors. The mineral rose-hued dining room with plush seating offers up plenty of room to relax and unwind. We’ve never had a disappointing meal here, making us return time and time again to Arbor for its imaginative menu and meticulous consistency. The signature, freshly baked madeleines made from sake lee and citrus zest, is always a sweet ending to a memorable meal.
Arbor, 25/F, H Queen’s, 80 Queen’s Road Central, Central, 3185 8388, firstname.lastname@example.org
Awash in soothing natural tones of white marble and soft, pale wood, L’Envol at the St. Regis features tasting menus artfully crafted by chef Olivier Elzer. A veteran rainmaker when it comes to Michelin stars, Chef Olivier won his first Michelin star at the youthful age of 29. He then went on to work at renowned establishments the likes of Abbaye de la Bussierre, Pierre and L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, before opening his own restaurant, Season’s by Olivier. The menus at L’Envol are built on the finesse of French fine dining, with a leaning towards fresh seafood. Be sure to save room for the cheese plate as well as a tipple from the digestif trolley.
3/F, The St. Regis Hong Kong, 1 Harbour Drive, Wan Chai, 2138-6818
Perched amongst the clouds on the 101st floor of ICC, Radical Chic offers refined Italian cuisine with a hefty serving of panoramic Victoria Harbour views. The second fine dining established by the same husband-and-wife team behind Causeway Bay’s Castellana, Radical Chic is a tranquil, minimalist space with floor-to-ceiling windows and vibrant pops of burnt orange-colored furnishings. The menu offers a range of a la carte specialities as well as tasting menus, with a special focus on Northern Italian ingredients. For a special occasion, make sure to advance reserve the coveted table at the far corner, so you can marvel at the harbor views from both sides of the glass walls.
Stroll past a brick-lined pathway reminiscent of old Beijing, through a traditional moon gate into a tunnel lined with glowing red silk lanterns, and be transformed to another world. Hutong, a much-adored restaurant with two decades of history in Hong Kong, has traded up to a glamorous new address on the penthouse floor of H Zentre. The extravagantly decorated interior, moody with a hint of mystery, features the same renowned Northern Chinese favorites, with a few additional newcomers. Dip your chopstick into red lantern crispy soft-shell crab, thrice-cooked crispy lab ribs and Mandarin fish in salted egg yolk while gazing out at the breath-taking skyline of Hong Kong’s iconic skyscrapers across Victoria Harbour. Don’t forget to sip a drink or three at the apothecary bar before making a wish at the wishing tree within the restaurant.
18/F, H Zentre, 15 Middle Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, 3428-8342
For a more laid-back view with a balmy, beach vibe and a touch of colonial romance, look no further than The Verandah. Owned and operated by luxury hotel brand The Peninsula, The Verandah conjures up images of old Hong Kong with its ornate wall paneling, classic gold fixtures and dark wood accents. The menu here features refined continental delectables with a fine dining flair, served up with the kind of intuitive service only a five-star hotel can provide. Enjoy a meal in the splendors of a bygone era, then head to Repulse Beach for a romantic walk along the shoreline.
109 Repulse Bay Road, Repulse Bay, 2292-2822
The Cute Casual
Pane e Latte
Inspired by the breezy vacation vibes of the Italian coast, Pane e Latte is not only Instagram perfection, but also a sinfully good indulgence for the palate. Just make sure to head over early, preferably for breakfast, as the ocean-side eatery fills up fast with lines going out the door. Highlights include their truffled scrambled egg croissant, croissant bomboloni, pizza alla pala,and foccacia sandwiches. Be sure to head downstairs to their “speakeasy”, where you can watch the magic being made in the kitchen while scooping up homemade gelato. Live your best dolce vita in Stanley at Pane e Latte.
G/F, U-C Court, 25 Stanley Market Road, Stanley, 2337 7221 (no reservations)
Shari Shari Kakigori House
Have you ever licked snow as a kid and loved how fluffy the icy flakes felt on your tongue? Then you will love the shaved ice from Shari Shari Kakigori House. Made with ice imported from Japan, frozen in a particular way to reduce air bubbles, then shaved into fluffy, snow-like flakes and drizzled with an assortment of flavors, this dessert is our kryptonite. With a rainbow lineup of flavors ranging from black sesame and mango lassi to fresh strawberry, hojicha and matcha, it’s a refreshing treat that feels somewhat “lighter” due to the shaved ice base. Our all-time favorite has to be the matcha, with the slightly astringent green tea contrasting with the sweet crushed cookie crumbs buried in the middle of the icy mountain. Maneuvering around eating this heap of deliciousness requires some coordination, so this dessert is also a test to how in-tune and coordinated you are as a couple!
G/F, 14 Haven Street, Causeway Bay | G/F, 47 Staunton Street, Soho, Central
Founded by a couple of passionate adventurers, Carpe Diem is a quaint little cafe nestled on the slope of Aberdeen Street in Soho. The tranquil, relaxing environment is reminiscent of the easy cadence of backpacker cafes, with little splashes of potted greenery peeking out between travel books and various cultural trinkets the couple had collected through their travels. The menu is simple but filled with delicious comfort favorites like Taiwanese popcorn chicken and hearty beef noodles. There’s also an array of sweet temptations like the mega ice cream shakes and fluffy waffles. A serene little spot to unwind with some delicious, simple food and good company.
G/F, 42 Aberdeen Street, Soho, Central, 9722-0366