After the pandemic put the 2021 edition of our awards on pause, the Tatler Dining community have once again rallied together to dine and decide upon the fresh 2022 Tatler Dining 20 list

With hundreds of restaurants and bars to be reviewed each year, Tatler Dining’s in-house team of experts also tapped into the wider F&B community for their time and expertise. The reviewing panel and the voting panel, consisting of industry leaders and tastemakers, are responsible for nominating, vetting, and voting to help us arrive at the annual Tatler Dining 20 list—an unranked collection of the year’s most interesting, impactful and inspiring restaurants—and the awardees for the Best of the Year accolades.

How do we do it? 

Nominations for venues to be reviewed and reassessed, plus venues and groups/individuals to be considered for special awards, are submitted independently and consolidated by the Tatler Dining team. Each restaurant is reviewed anonymously to the best of our ability— our reviewers do not make themselves known to the restaurant prior to their visit, and always book under a pseudonym—and rated using an extensive scoresheet that takes into account more than 35 different points of reference including creativity of the plating, manners of staff, comprehensiveness of the drinks list, and whether or not the restaurant makes an effort to be environmentally aware. Reviewers are also encouraged to include additional notes and comments that are not covered by the scoring matrix. Following the completion of the reviews, we compiled the scores to find the top-rated restaurants. Each panellist was given the list, in alphabetical order and with no final scores to influence them, and asked to select 20 restaurants they felt were most deserving of inclusion based on their experiences.

Throughout the blind voting process, the panel adhered to a strict code of conduct that prevents votes where there may be significant conflict of interest. Votes must be accompanied by a justification and panellists may also voice opinions when they believe a particular venue should be reconsidered. Importantly, panellists are reminded that the Tatler Dining 20 is not simply a list of venues where they had an excellent meal— with over 250 restaurants featured in this guide based on that merit alone, the 20 named must prove to be offering something above and beyond, whether it is a significant contribution to the dining scene through their work, an undeniable sense of representing the culinary zeitgeist, or simply offering that deeper sense of irreplaceability. Ultimately, our collection here is a snapshot of the Hong Kong dining scene at a particular moment in time. Scroll down to read more about the new class of 2022. 

* = denotes a new addition to the list, which is featured in alphabetical order

1. Amber

As one of the city's most coveted restaurants, Amber remains the crown jewel of the already star-studded dining roster of the Landmark Mandarin Oriental under the continued guidance of culinary director Richard Ekkebus. The Dutch chef's ethos of sustainability has only been burnished by his recently announced presidency of Food Made Good for the coming year, as well as seasonal menus that exhibit flair, creativity, and technical prowess—these qualities are best found in dishes like corn with Kristal caviar, seawater and sudachi, and the blue lobster with summer squash, Amalfi lemon and caper leaf. The restaurant's vegetarian menu is a strong contender for best in town, while the overall experience lends a softness and approachability to fine dining that is attracting a new cohort of younger, more conscientious gastronomes.

2. Andō *

Opening in the throes of a pandemic is never easy, but the team at Andō have successfully navigated the challenges of 2021 to emerge as one of the city’s most exciting—and perpetually booked out— restaurants. The intimate space with its theatrical open kitchen invites diners to enjoy the choreography of the tight-knit team, while engaging table side service and storytelling are streamlined without feeling staid; the menu is presented as a series of illustrated postcards, designed to be abstract enough to keep you guessing, but the sheer process of it all is charming rather than cringe. Chef Agustin Balbi and his brigade have continued to back it up, too, pushing themselves and refining their dishes that every visit presents an evolution of Ando’s unique Japanese-inflected and Latin American-rooted contemporary cuisine.

3. Arbor

A perfect example of quiet power, chef Eric Räty proves that his particular brand of cuisine—Asian-inflected modern Nordic—is all about restraint, refinement and revelation. The past year, the Finnish chef has leaned even further into Japanese signifiers—the cloud-like brioche comes infused with nori and is served with an impactful miso and mentaiko butter, while a genmaicha and caviar dessert is designed to look like a gunkan-maki. Few western restaurants would dare to put a simple nigiri on their tasting menu, mingling with more commonly seen offerings such as seared A4 wagyu, but Räty does. No doubt, it’s this continuous drive to improve and develop unexpected directions for his dishes is what makes the dining experience at Arbor exciting—and fresh—each and every time.

4. Arcane

Showing that refined dining doesn’t need to be fussy, Shane Osborn’s original restaurant is also hitting the accelerator on its mission to promote a more conscious way of eating. Since launching his umbrella restaurant group, The Arcane Collective, in 2021, Osborn has further championed local organic produce, spotlighting Hong Kong farming co-ops and seasonal gems on his modern European menu that has been increasingly plant-forward and less reliant on meat. Another facet of The Arcane Collective has been to mentor and grow their talent pool, with success stories such as Neal Ledesma at Cornerstone and Michael Smith, currently manning the pass at plant-forward newcomer Moxie, proving that a restaurant group is more than the sum of its parts.

Arcane

Central
$ $ $ $

5. Bâtard *

You could say that Bâtard’s arrival on the dining scene disrupted any existing notions of what fine dining should be—premium plonk at retail prices matched with a mix of comfort food and delicately handled haute cuisine, all enjoyed in a room festooned with mismatched mirrors and graffiti-esque writing on the walls. The talent of the young team (head chef Aven Lau and pastry chef Natalie Eng making particular impressions) far surpasses the tiny premises in which they work, weaving culinary magic with each new dish or menu—the pastry work, in particular, is outstanding whether it’s used in a monkfish pithivier or a simple tomato tart. And yes, the roast chicken recipe that Lau brought over from his time working under Belon’s previous head chef Daniel Calvert remains a talking point, but there is so much more to this powerful modern French restaurant than the poulet.

6. Belon *

Despite his sparkling credentials, chef Matthew Kirkley faced an uphill battle taking over the mantle of Daniel Calvert's much-loved Parisian bistro. Indeed, little remained the same apart from the name—from the location and interiors (transformed into a moody modernist hideaway by Joyce Wang), to the serving format (degustation out, a la carte in), and the menu which, save for classics like the pigeon pithivier, was entirely revamped to reflect Kirkley's near-obsessive plating tendencies while evolving French cuisine in an almost abstract manner. Yet Kirkley has made Belon his own, maintaining the institution's standing and easily garnering it a spot in our Tatler 20 ranking this year—better yet, wife and restaurant manager Lauren Kirkley works tightly with him, keeping the front of house shipshape. Look out for great things to come from this power couple of the local dining scene.

7. Caprice

For the ne plus ultra in French fine dining, look no further than the inimitable Caprice. Now in its 17th year, Caprice's grand interiors haven't changed a bit—even though the Kowloon skyline has thoroughly transformed in the same period—and it looks none the less impressive for it. Chef Guillaume Galliot manages to inject an element of personal history into the cuisine, whether its the tomato and prawns variation using produce from his mother's garden, or My Hot and Cold Onion Soup, which combines a scoop of onion ice cream with onion purée to tantalising effect. Adding to the legend of Caprice are the encyclopaedic wine list and the no-holds-barred cheese board; the service, too, is faultless and a shining example for the hospitality industry at large. Long may they reign.

8. Chaat *

There’s a lot of chat about Chaat, that’s for certain—whether it’s the months-long wait for a table, the supremely devourable meats seared in the tandoor, or the sporadic but epic Friday curry feasts that chef Manav Tuli curates to highlight specific regional Indian techniques and ingredients. Importantly, a place like this—with interiors that are smart without being soulless, and a menu that showcases vibrant flavours that refuse to be dumbed down—creates a wonderfully enticing proposition that you can’t help but love it. Tuli doesn’t seek to “elevate” Indian food; rather, he allows its essence to unfurl in a way that is approachable and aligned with his own vision for modernisation, challenging dated expectations and preconceptions of the continent’s cuisine. For most of us, it’s been a most delicious education.

9. The Chairman

When Danny Yip established The Chairman in 2009, it was to fulfil a desire to bring to the main stage the cornerstones of Cantonese cuisine, from the obscenely detailed processes that underscore a deceivingly simple white-cut chicken to the unparalleled quality of fresh, live seafood. The philosophy still stands more than one decade on, with each iteration of the menu a continuously evolving ode to the fascinating characteristics of Cantonese culinary culture. With head chef Kwok Keung-Tung leading the kitchen team, The Chairman has done things for previously overlooked ingredients and traditions—from a mature stalk of choi sum to the bland beauty of congee—that few could even imagine. Hong Kong should be proud to have a venue like this flying the flag for local cuisine, and inspiring more to follow in their footsteps.

10. Estro *

Having made the leap to Hong Kong during the pandemic, Antimo Maria Merone arrived with a mission: to open a new chapter with JIA Group on a sole venture, but not before providing the city with a window into his culinary thought process with a two-month-long pop-up at our very own Tatler Dining Kitchen. Safe to say that when Estro opened in September, all eyes were on Merone’s very personal take on the cuisine of his native Napoli, and it did not disappoint. From a pigeon encased in ash to a multi-layered ragu of beef, dishes with real substance are part and parcel of the Estro experience, with a stunning André Fu-designed interior to boot.

Estro

Central
$ $ $ $

11. Godenya

With Japan so close yet so far due to ongoing travel restrictions, we are even more grateful that a restaurant such as Godenya exists—and that it continues to be a revelation after each visit, as seasons change while chef and sake master Shinya Goshima quietly dials up the inventiveness behind the bar. Known primarily as an omakase restaurant that prizes sake and food in equal measure, Godenya is a place you go to when you crave the unexpected—it’s a place that continues to excite with its selection of Japanese produce and small sake labels for a one-of-a-kind experience.

12. Hansik Goo *

Chef Mingoo Kang opened the original Hansik Goo somewhat remotely, at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, guiding his Hong Kong team through Zoom and Whatsapp. Imagined as the culinary equivalent of a diffusion line, an overseas complement to the award-winning Mingles in Seoul, Hansik Goo struck a chord with its approachable homage to Korean flavours. Less than a year later, the restaurant made a surprise move to new premises, reinventing itself again with a more sophisticated visual identity (more art gallery than the original, thanks to work by Korean studio Area Plus) and fine-tuned menu that still introduces the pillars of Korean cuisine while upending our expectations of it—there is a finesse in the presentation that is on par with the ways in which chef Steve Lee and his team are able to spotlight the complexities of Korean flavours, and that is truly exciting.

13. L'Envol *

It’s hard to believe that this is only the St. Regis Hong Kong’s third year, but in that time, resident French fine dining restaurant L’Envol has only gone from strength to strength under the hand of Olivier Elzer. The service is as refined as the interiors, but the food, which spotlights flights of fancy (as the French translation of the restaurant name implies), contains numerous references to Elzer’s luminous career while remaining fresh and relevant. The wine list is a particular strength here, as is the cheese trolley with fresh-off-the-beehive honey for your choosing. For those looking to spoil themselves, ‘L’ marks the spot.

14. Mono *

Venezuelan-inflected fine dining is a tall ask in Hong Kong, given the city’s glaring lack of South American food, but in the two years since its opening, Mono has carved out this niche for itself with aplomb. Manning the open kitchen is Mirazur alum Ricardo Chaneton, who plays as much a role as an educator as much as he is a chef. Overcoming unfamiliarity towards a novel cuisine and a paucity of South American ingredients, Chaneton has grown a dedicated fanbase who return time and again for dishes like his homemade mole sauce and adobo dry-aged Brittany monkfish with blue corn taco. We’d be hard-pressed to find a more fitting ambassador for a whole continent.

Mono

Central
$ $ $ $

15. Neighborhood

No meal here is ever the same—nor should it be, given chef-owner David Lai’s penchant for culinary mischief, his particular brand of cheeky capriciousness the very reason why Neighborhood has remained high on any food lover’s list of places to return to time and time again. Long-time regulars will recognise that while signature items such as the chicken rice with morels and yellow wine or the chocolate palette are non-negotiable, but a meal here is more often than not punctuated with flashes of brilliance as the seasons change, bringing Lai an ever-revolving pantry of ingredients that call out for experimentation. It’s how he arrives at ‘why didn’t I think of that?’ dishes such as watermelon or persimmon draped in thin sheaths of lardo and dollops of caviar, or cauliflower roasted and then drenched in a sea urchin sauce, paired with sweet-salty slices of jamon. Anyone would be glad to have this gem in their ‘hood.

16. Roganic

Many places claim to be sustainable, or focus on local produce, but Roganic is one restaurant that truly delivers on its promise—with delicious results. The smartly constructed menu is always one step ahead, incorporating the season’s most thrilling produce in well-honed dishes that rarely feel misjudged or underdeveloped. Dishes such as a perfectly burnished stuffed three-yellow chicken wing with a mushroom XO sauce and Marmite glaze are almost bonkers when you see it on paper, but makes complete sense on the palate; the way the team celebrate local ingredients, whether it’s the above mentioned chicken or a cracker formed from Yi O rice, comes from a place of confidence. Roganic, too, is one of few places with a truly well thought out non-alcoholic drink pairing menu that makes clever use of ferments and fresh juices for an original experience.

Roganic

Causeway Bay
$ $ $ $

17. Tate Dining Room

Ten years is a lifetime in Hong Kong’s breakneck dining scene, so it’s nothing short of a miracle that Vicky Lau’s Tate Dining Room has not only remained relevant in that time, but a constant innovator at the meeting point of Chinese and French cuisines. Each season sees the introduction of an ‘Ode’ to a different ingredient, whether it’s tea, rice, tofu or eggs, allowing Lau the space to fully flex her creative muscles. As a former graphic designer, Lau’s eye for detailed aesthetics is among the very best, whether it’s the painterly plating, elaborate tableware, or soothing interiors, making each meal at Tate a feast in all sense of the word.

Tate

Sheung Wan
$ $ $ $

18. VEA

You’d think that after opening Wing, chef-owner Vicky Cheng would have less time to keep things fresh and innovative at his original French x Chinese fine diner—contrary to that, VEA has continued to surprise and impress our panel with its meticulous attention to detail and continued efforts to bridge the two cuisines in new and exciting ways. A perfectly pan-roasted tranche of kinmedai with its crispy skin, for example, paired with a soured cabbage and spicy broth; or raw wild amberjack with Kristal caviar that floored us with its faithful recreation of the ginger and scallion flavour profiles of classic Cantonese steamed fish. Antonio Lai’s creative and dangerously quaffable cocktail pairings continue to delight and offer a change from wines.

19. Whey *

In a city chock full of French, Italian and Japanese fine dining, Whey not only beats its own path with elevated Singaporean-European fare, but does so faultlessly. Bringing little-known Straits ingredients such as petai beans, ginger flower and candlenut to our shores, chef Barry Quek speaks with quiet confidence through his cooking, where a constellation of influences from stints spent in Asia, Scandinavia and Australia shine through. Classic Singaporean dishes are subtly evolved—curry laksa konjac rice and chili king crab are particular highlights. Partner and restaurant manager Christina is an unfailingly jovial presence, setting an example for the detail-oriented front-of-house staff who are tasked with making guests feel at home—they succeed at that, and then some.

20. Wing *

After six years of fine-tuning his cuisine at VEA with its French roots and Chinese character, Vicky Cheng scratched the itch for delving even further into the techniques and ingredients of his heritage. Wing, which shares the character found in the chef’s Chinese name, is a poetic homage to his Cantonese and Shanghainese upbringing, bringing together a multi-course tasting menu that explores the diversity of regional Chinese cuisine for a new generation. Right off the bat, Wing’s menu struck gold with its immaculate yet soulful cooking—dishes that will resonate with those who grew up with similar flavours, but are equally enthralling to those who didn’t. Exquisite plateware, plush interiors by Candice Chan and warm service—Cheng is always dashing between his two restaurants to ensure that he can speak to and serve every guest at least once—have bound together with the cooking and wine service to create a flawless restaurant that feels like it has been perfecting its craft for years.

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