For when you’re more interested in the ‘eat’ than the pray and the love, check out our round up of Italian restaurants in Hong Kong.
Today, Italian cuisine is a firm favourite across the globe. But that wasn’t always the case. In fact, when Italian food brought by early migrants from Italy first began spreading in the United States, it was seen as overly garlicky, greasy and generally unpalatable – criticisms that the modern foodie would hardly stand for. As attitudes shifted, palates expanded, and the dimensions of international movement and exchange grew, Italian cuisine won the hearts of diners from diverse walks of life. So too in the 852, which plays host to some of the very best Italian restaurants in the world.
Flavour, passion and gracious hospitality – these three elements should be at the core of any Italian dining experience. So, whether you’re in search of an upscale degustation for a culinary tour through the regions of Italy or an easy-going trattoria where the wine flows freely, here’s your guide to Italian restaurants in Hong Kong. Buon appetito!
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Italian Restaurants In Hong Kong
Once upon a time at the top of Possession Street there stood an old meat warehouse. Today, the scenery looks a little different: right next to Isaan eatery Chachawan towers JIA Group’s 208 Duecente Otto, a two-storey Italian restaurant and bar. After being renovated in late 2020, 208 Duecento Otto reopened with refreshed decor and new menu items. The bar area, now known as The House of Aperitivo, specialises in vermouth. Meanwhile, blistered crust Neapolitan pizzas (from $178) and paradigmatic pasta dishes – including the likes of Amatriciana ($188) and the vegetarian Black Truffle Ravioli ($188) – are difficult to fault at this price point. During Happy Hour (3pm to 7pm), post up at a street-facing high-top with a prosecco ($68) in hand.
Spearheaded by award-winning chef Umberto Bombana, 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana enjoys the extraordinary status of being the only Italian restaurant in the world, located outside of Italy, to earn three Michelin stars. While the wood-furnished interiors feel grand (this pick is the white truffle king’s Central palace after all!), service is decidedly unpretentious. The menu changes regularly to present seasonal produce, and autumn brings with it various expressions of truffle, including in ice cream! Bombana’s particular genius lies in his studied use of ingredients. Dishes unify local and traditional Italian ingredients, creating plates that are as reflective of chef Bombana’s personal journey as they are contemporary – a distinctive love letter to Italian cuisine in the beating heart of Hong Kong Island.
Balanced atop the 102nd floor of the luxurious Ritz Carlton, Tosca di Angelo is not your regular ristorante. Vaulted ceilings and elaborate chandeliers frame the panoramic views of Victoria Harbour at this Michelin-starred Italian restaurant, directed by chef Angelo Agliano. Ingredients are sourced straight from Italy, appearing in heirloom Sicilian dishes – like homemade tagliolini and the delicate hamachi carpaccio with Oscietra caviar – that accentuate the bounteous fruit of the sea. The tiramisu, served with coffee granita on the side, is known to be one of the best in Hong Kong!
With the possibility of stumbling upon healthy eats, sustainable goods and even a subterranean gin parlour, those who take the time to wind their way through Sai Ying Pun’s elevated paths are often rewarded for their efforts. Among the many not-so-hidden gems is alleyway trattoria LucAle. Although located in an inconspicuous area, there’s nothing secretive about it: this Italian restaurant is not only recognised by the Michelin Guide, but also more broadly beloved for its palate-pleasing pastas. Signatures include the Cappelletti Di Bolognese Bianca ($158) featuring white bolognese-filled parcels topped with biscuit-like crumbles of aged Parmigiano, and Sassy’s favourite vegetarian Chitarrino Al Tartufo Nero ($198) adorned with generous shavings of black truffle.
Read more: Your Neighbourhood Guide To Sai Ying Pun
Not every meal must serve as an edible study of the ultra-modern. At Sabatini Ristorante Italiano, ensconced within The Royal Garden Hotel and bedecked with countryside fittings like terracotta tiles and arched doorways, simplicity defines the food on offer. Here, guests have the opportunity to revel in an old-school dining experience where the classics are left largely untouched. Dishes such as Linguine alla Sabatini ($488), Lasagna alla Bolognese ($408), and Risotto ai Funghi ($398) are exquisitely crafted, employing no tricks to charm you– yet their effect is undeniable. There’s also a live band playing music every night for those who like a soundtrack to accompany their spaghetti.
Before anything else, here’s what you need to know about Italian restaurant Locanda dell’Angelo: order the linguine mancini with Boston lobster in advance when you make a reservation. The kitchen is led by owner-chef Angelo Agliano, who comes from a fishing family and grew up in Sicily. After working under Joël Robuchon for nearly a decade, chef Agliano opened Locanda dell’Angelo, an intimate neighbourhood joint where seafood takes centre stage. This is a veritable slice of Sicily in Happy Valley.
Introducing one of the best-loved Italian restaurants in Hong Kong; every neighbourhood could do with a Pici – a relaxed, no-nonsense staple that’s relatively affordable without compromising on quality. With six locations across the city, including its newest branch on the western edge of Hong Kong Island in Kennedy Town, Pici’s freshly-made pasta doesn’t disappoint. From lasagne to pappardelle, there’s no antics, sleights of hand or try-hard deconstructions – just honestly-prepared dishes served in a warm and cheerful environment. And gluten-intolerant guests don’t have to go hungry either – the kitchen can switch to gluten-free pasta upon request!
Another winning concept from Hong Kong’s resident white truffle royal, Octavium operates as an experimental arena for decorated chef Umberto Bombana. The dishes here don’t attempt to reinvent the “veal” – instead, it’s all about building on the essence of hearty, often rustic, classics. In this home-style restaurant, the fittings are far from everyday – think handmade Venetian glasses and Italian designer furniture – but the environs are more minimalist, and the atmosphere laid back compared to 8½ just a few buildings over.
From an extended omakase at an exclusive sushi bar to Guangdong-style seaside delicacies at one of the city’s still-standing dai pai dongs, there are oh so many ways to indulge in seafood in Hong Kong. Black Sheep’s Osteria Marzia, situated on the ground floor of the Fleming Hotel, presents a worthy option for those in the mood for a taste of the ocean. Here, the focus is singular: coastal Italian cuisine, simply prepared. The menu pays tribute to three regions in particular – namely Campania, Puglia and Sicily – highlighting the rich, olive oil-soaked textures and tangy, anchovy-laden flavours of southern Italy.
As Italian restaurants in Hong Kong go, this pick is a relative newcomer to the scene. Nevertheless, that hasn’t stopped Aria from winning our hearts with its masterful modern riffs on Italian classics. Chef Andrea Zamboni’s effusive culinary passion is undeniable – it’s a joy to watch him take centre stage on the restaurant floor during service instead of holing up in the kitchen; all the better for learning the stories and inspiration behind the dishes. And what dishes they are! Head here for elevated classics with a twist, with highlights including the Blue Lobster and Bagna-cauda Fondue Tagliatelle and the signature Italian Milk-fed Veal Cutlet. And always opt for the seasonal specials, many of which are dreamed up by Chef Andrea the day of depending on what’s in season.
There’s an innate respect for the heritage of Italian food and ingredients at Giá Trattoria Italiana. Headed by esteemed chef, Gianni Caprioli, this established Hong Kong spot serves up regional Italian dishes in an atmosphere that is as welcoming as it is superior. Giá describes itself as a place where “food lovers and wine enthusiasts converge” and it’s not hard to see why, with a talented team and the freshest seasonal ingredients playing second fiddle only to its deep commitment to customer satisfaction. This is also a place that takes pride in treating its food properly, sourcing all ingredients sustainably (and mostly from Italy). From the “Ham Counter” (a customisable ham and cheese board offering), to the specialty dishes like the Vitello Tonnato ($178) or the signature Linguine all’Aragosta ($588), a sharing pasta with whole chopped lobster and fresh tomato, you won’t leave hungry, that’s for sure!
For diners in search of classic Piedmontese cuisine in Hong Kong, a pilgrimage to Causeway Bay’s Castellana is a must. Partly owned by Marco Sacco, the second-generation chef-owner behind Michelin-starred Piccolo Lago in Verbania, Castellana’s menu asserts a strong sense of place. Robust northern Italian flavours – accompanied by luscious, full-bodied nebbiolo grape wines like Barolos and Barbarescos – shine through in dishes such as the veal with tuna sauce or Vitello Tonnato ($298), while the Carbonara “Au Koque” ($348), a signature at this Italian restaurant, sees gin and raspberry melded into the traditional egg yolk emulsion. A note for devotees of the musky, dark jewel: you can add a gram of Périgord black truffle to any dish for $58.
Inspired by old school, New York-Italian elegance and sophistication, Carbone invites you in with its mix of glamour and comfort (and the famous Spicy Rigatoni Vodka). As one of Black Sheep’s more premium concepts, expect the highest standard of food and drinks, along with a commitment to customer service. The menu showcases familiar dishes that take you back to the decadent heyday of Italian chic in New York, including comfort classics like the Lobster Ravioli, Veal Parmesan and Prime Porterhouse.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by Nina Brooklyn Brown in August, 2018 and was most recently updated in March, 2021.