To find a restaurant that takes you from breakfast to a late-night bite all while serving aperivito and afternoon tea, CRUST Italian’s new opening in the heart of Wan Chai is sure to impress. The all-day dining spot is the brainchild of chef Sergio Landi – formerly of Cova and Tony Paese, who sought out to celebrate the sophisticated nostalgia of their home cuisine. Showcasing the tradition of Southern Italy, the menu at CRUST blends the warm taste of Naples and the Almafi Coast. Start the day early with a cafe sospeso, drank by the bar per the Italian style. CRUST’s takeaway options offer Napoli street food favourites like pizza fritta while its in-dining menu focuses on elevated Italian cuisine, reminiscent of a meal had by the island Sala Capri.
Woo Cheong Pawn Shop, 60 Johnston Road, Wan Chai; crustitalian.com.hk
Helmed by executive chef Andrea Zamboni, previously of 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo Bombana, Aria brings refined Italian cuisine with contemporary updates to the heart of Central. Each dish creatively reinvents classic Italian flavours, with a focus on quality, seasonal ingredients and traditional cooking techniques. With the Turbot “Xiao Long Bao” with Crayfish and Citrus, Chef Andrea pays homage to his favourite Chinese dimsum with ravioli filled with French turbot tartare. Beetroot and squid ink pasta encase the turbot, while citrus chutney replaces the standard vinegar for a refreshing hit of acidity.
24/F, California Tower, 30-36 D’Aguilar St, Central; ariaitalian.com
A hidden gem within Kowloon Shangri-La, Hong Kong, Angelini does high-end, yet family-style, Italian fare by native chef Andrea Burzio. His cooking is influenced by the northern Piedmont region of Italy, where he is from and where he learnt traditional recipes passed down through his family. Regional delights such as Piedmontese beef and Liguria extra virgin olive oil contribute to a menu that features Italian delicacies including red Sicilian prawns, Alba white truffles, Carnaroli rice and Castelmagno cheese. His speciality is handmade pasta – ravioli, tagliatelle and chitarra – which is not to be missed.
64 Mody Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui; 2733 8750, shangri-la.com
This quietly-confident neighbourhood trattoria, on an alleyway off Sai Ying Pun’s Third Street, skilfully toes the line between being smart and straight-forward. The interiors are dark and moody, which suits its subterranean locale, and the wine is delicious and mostly natural and biodynamic, but its homemade ravioli with sweet tomatoes and fresh ricotta steals the show. The chitarra-style spaghetti, dished up al dente with black truffle and pecorino cheese, should be ordered too. This is just as true of the plate of cheeses, which range from a creamy gorgonzola to hard pecorino. It’s run by two hotel chefs: Alessandro Angelini of Shangri-La’s Angelini, and Luca de Berardinis formerly at Conrad’s Nicholini’s — who joined names to become LucAle.
Shop A, 100 Third Street, Sai Ying Pun; lucalehk.com
Italian food is often monolithic in Hong Kong, with restaurants frequently failing to present the country’s regional cuisines as the nuanced and singular traditions that they are. Not in the case of the newly-opened Castellana, which focuses solely on the food of the mountainous Piedmont region in northern Italy. Created in collaboration with two-Michelin-starred Chef Marco Sacco of Italy’s Piccolo Lago restaurant, Castellana’s fine-dining interpretation of Piedmontese cuisine is heavy on the truffle and wine pairings, since both are grown in the region. Opt for the seven-course Piccolo Lago tasting menu, with highlights such as the Risotto with Black Garlic and River Prawns and the Carbonara “Au Koque” demonstrating the traditionally richer and more full-bodied flavours of the region. It goes without saying that a wine pairing is essential for the chance to try local Piedmontese wines from the restaurant’s collection of 300-plus bottles. For the more adventurous, the cocktail bar also serves decadent truffle cocktails capitalising on the region’s specialty produce.
10/F, Cubus, 1 Hoi Ping Rd, Causeway Bay; 3188 5028, castellanahongkong.com
The sky-high vista from its 102nd floor perch in the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong isn’t the only thing going for Tosca, thanks to the revitalised menu that Chef Angelo Agliano has brought into this culinary institution with the beginning of his tenure back in March. The Sicilian native has infused the coastal flavours he grew up with into seasonal dishes that evoke the Mediterranean, an impression mirrored all the more by the restaurant’s harbour views. Effortlessly combining Italian cooking with the best of international produce, Chef Agliano’s ethos is best represented by the Hamachi Carpaccio with Sicilian Condiment and Oscietra Caviar, especially when paired with a glass of 2015 Pietradolce Etna Bianco.
102/F, The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, ICC, 1 Austin Rd West, Kowloon; 2263 2270, ritzcarlton.com
8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana
A titan in Hong Kong’s Italian restaurant scene with its many accolades (including three Michelin stars and 12th place on this year’s Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards), 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana continues to lead the development of Italian cuisine in the region from its spot in The Landmark. Named after a Fellini film, the restaurant interior oozes cinematic pizzazz, although the food here is undeniably the star of the show. The seasonal menu changes frequently, although some recent highlights include blue lobster with broccolini emulsion and Aveyron baby lamb. Black truffle also dominates the à-la-carte menu, incorporated into everything from risotto to pasta and even gelato. That’s not to mention anything of the cheese ageing room or the inexhaustible wine list – making it clear the dedication to the perfection of Italian cuisine that won Chef Umberto Bombana three stars in the first place.
2/F, Landmark Alexandria, 18 Chater Rd, Central; 2537 8859, ottoemezzobombana.com
Italian-American fare is always hearty and unpretentious, and Frank’s – unmissable thanks to its New York-worthy red neon sign at the corner of Wyndham and Pottinger Streets – delivers in spades. The interiors, similarly bathed in a red neon glow and furnished in dark woods, red banquettes and Art Deco pendant lights, amply sets the stage for a decadent menu of pasta and seafood. Start with the homemade burrata and Sicilian red prawns, which offers a light counterpoint to the favourite chicken parmigiana, of which the Supreme option is half a chicken. The drinks are classically inclined and punchy – Frank’s Negroni is well worth a digestif at the restaurant’s first-floor bar.
Harilela House, G/F & 1/F, No. 79 Wyndham St, Central; 2320 0858, frankshk.com