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-relocated Castellana, which focuses solely on the food of the mountainous Piedmont region in northern Italy. Boasting remarkable expertise evidenced by various gastronomic certifications and experience across the globe (most recently at the five-star Relais Sam Maurizio in Piedmont), Executive Chef Romeo Morelli reinvigorates Piedmontese fine-dining at Castellana. Fully immerse yourself in the culinary experience with a seat at the Chef’s table, where highlights such as the dry-aged Fassona veal with Piedmontese burrata cheese and a white truffle ravioli are accompanied by personal introductions by Chef Morelli himself. It also goes without saying that a wine pairing is essential for the chance to try local Piedmontese wines from Castellana’s collection of 300-plus bottles.
UG/F & 1/F, Club Lusitano Building, 16 Ice House Street, Central; 3188 5028, castellanahongkong.com
Victoria Dockside’s K11 Musea is home to the newest member of Chef Umberto Bombana’s Octavo Management Group restaurants. Positioned as a wine bar offering a casual yet intimate dining experience, Cannnubi Enoteca is named after the famed Barolo wine-producing Cannubi hill in Northern Italy’s Piedmont region. To accompany a meal of delicate antipasti, exquisite pastas, and indulgent desserts (both the tiramisu and pistachio gelato-stuffed croissant are heavenly), turn to their exhaustive selection of over 2,000 wines with sommelier expertise courtesy of restaurant manager Leonardo. Bottles upon bottles of the finest wines decorate the walls at Cannubi, while an outside display offers exclusive wine storage for special clients.
Shop 113A, 1/F, K11 Musea, Victoria Dockside, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui; 2133 4903, Cannubi
Tuber Umberto Bombana is the fine dining counterpart to Cannubi. Housing up to 36 guests per evening, and accessed via an exclusive car drop-off entrance adjacent to the Regent Hotel or the private staircase within its sister restaurant, Tuber showcases Chef Bombana’s truffle expertise through a visionary menu that features both crowd-favourites and seasonal state-of-the-art creations. Together with Executive Chef Keith Yam, Chef Roland Schuller of Octavium leaves his post at the restaurant to lead the establishment’s kitchen. On the menu expect Chef Schuller’s famed linguine starring a succulent oversized Carabinero red prawn, a signature dish at Bombana’s restaurants, as well as the dry-aged pigeon Bresse paired with donabe matsutake risotto and black winter truffle.
Shop 113A, 1/F, K11 Musea, Victoria Dockside, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui; 2133 4743, TUBER
Neighbour to Tai Kwun’s The Dispensary bar and The Chinese Library, Cantina puts the spotlight on good honest Italian cooking, redefined for a modern palate. Chef Luca Shiavone’s expertise gives way to standout dishes like the Sicilian red prawn carpaccio with pistachio, pomegranate and lemon for added brightness, and the cavatelli pasta with pork ribs, beef and fennel sausage ragu. Meanwhile the desserts boast mastered classics of a table side tiramisu available in original, hazelnut or pistachio versions, as well as a dreamy cannoli stuffed with a velvety pistachio and ricotta filling.
Police Headquarters Block 01, Tai Kwun, 10 Hollywood Road, Central; aquarestaurantgroup.co.uk/cantina
The pandemic was undoubtedly a time of retrospection and evaluation for many of us, and it was no different for Locanda Dell’Angelo’s Executive Chef, Steve Chiu. With time to regroup under the extended dinnertime restrictions of the city’s fifth wave, Chef Steve returned with a new vision for the restaurant. Locando Dell’Angelo has taken on the new challenge of a contemporary Asian-inspired approach to Italian fare with constantly revolving seasonal menus. Their Italian red prawn is served with sea urchin and a local tofu sauce, and appetisers like the pan-fried free range quail with grape compote and crispy leek roll, call on flavours Hong Kong patrons will be familiar with.
G/F, 12 Yuen Yuen Street, Happy Valley; 3709 2788, Locanda dell’Angelo
Chef Antimo Maria Merone’s first independent restaurant, Estro is an exploration of his Neapolitan roots, culinary heritage and his personal stories. A region heavily associated with humble eateries and homely pizzas, Chef Merone refreshes the Neapolitan palate through seasonal menus that reflect contemporary cooking and unexpected innovation. Highlights from the current menu include a lamb served with mint artichoke, baby onions and a natural jus; the mussels “Gemmina”, an original recipe from Chef Merone’s grandmother revived with modern flair; and the Mazara red prawn panna cotta with premium hybrid caviar, where a typical Italian dessert takes a savoury turn into an appetiser. The desserts too, gaze upon tradition in their newly elevated forms. In a reinvention of his own, Estro’s head pastry chef Fabio Bardi hybridises the traditional Neapolitan Zuppetto with a millefoglie, replacing the typical sponge cake with a rich incuso olive oil cake.
2/F, 1 Duddell Street, Central; 9380 0161, estro.hk
At Radical Chic one can immerse themselves in a gastronomic journey across various Italian regions from a sky-high table perched on the 101st floor of Hong Kong’s tallest skyscrapers. Currently honouring white truffle season with an entire menu dedicated to the coveted ingredient, Radical Chic spotlights the Alba White truffle in helpings of homemade tagliolini with butter emulsion, and seared Otoro tuna accompanied by a Madeira jus and uni. Both dishes also find their place in the restaurant’s Radical & Chic Degustation menu, which includes other innovative delicacies like the savoury shallot, orange and 36-month Comté cheese torta salata.
Shop B1, 101/F, International Commerce Centre, 1 Austin Road West, Tsim Sha Tsui; 36187880, radicalchichk.com
With walls awash in a blue the colour of a soft sky, and decorated with artwork of sandy shores, Giacomo hints at the breezy coastal flavours of famed Southern Italian towns. Located in Causeway Bay’s 5-star Crowne Plaza hotel, a neo-classic approach to Southern Italian cuisine sees a fine dining experience focused on quality seafood. Helmed by Chef Keith Yam, formerly of Tosca di Angelo, Giacomo’s signatures include the red prawn spaghetti chitarra and a Brittany Blue lobster Sardinian gnocchi with sea urchin, both featuring artisanal pastas. They do exceptionally well beyond seafood as well, evidenced by a pan-seared Colorado lamb with roasted artichokes, sun-dried tomato compote and lamb jus, as well as a crowd-favourite dessert of figs pavlova, which is available on Giacomo’s Taste of Autumn wine pairing menu.
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 Angelo Vecchio, Aria brings refined Italian cuisine with contemporary updates to the heart of Central. Each dish creatively reinvents classic Italian flavours, with a focus on showcasing the country’s biodiversity. Employing a wealth of ingredients to create dishes like the “Uni Taglierini” angel pasta hair featuring fresh uni and the world’s finest Iberico ham, and now the pigeon with chanterelle mushrooms, goose liver emulsion and chestnut purée, Chef Angelo incorporates some of his favourite ingredients to shed light on authentic Italian cuisine.
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
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 visionary menus that Chef Angelo Agliano continues to bring into this culinary institution. 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 Sicilian busiate pasta with Carabineros prawn and baby pak choi, especially when paired with a glass of regional wine.
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 roasted blue lobster with lobster sauce and Tasmanian white asparagus. Alba white 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 mozzarella bocconcini and seafood salad, 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
Nourishing Soups To Try This Winter
EditorVogue Hong Kong
CreditLead image: Samantha Wong