Cover Image courtesy of Percy's

The Tatler team reveals where they'll be heading for some chow once the sun goes down

To say Hong Kong has pent-up energy from 16 weeks of its toughest pandemic restrictions yet is putting it lightly—if the throngs of people that flocked to every outlying island and hiking trail over the Easter long weekend proved anything. The restaurant industry is preparing for the same influx when dinner restrictions finally lift tomorrow, providing a much needed lifeline to many F&B businesses on the verge of shutting shop for good. As we get to grips with a return to a semblance of normality, the Tatler team are already thinking of where to soak in the renewed novelty of dining out after dark. From cooked food markets to steakhouses, keep reading to find our where our editors are heading after 6pm.

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1. Salisterra

Our first dinner outside in nearly four months certainly merits a sense of occasion, and Salisterra at The Upper House—with its vaulted interiors and soaring views of the city—certain meets this criteria. While I'm sad to see Chris Winski (who helmed the kitchen during Salisterra's opening) go, the arrival of chef Cary Docherty (an alum of Gough's on Gough by way of Lobster Bar & Grill from neighbouring Island Shangri-La) means the culinary vision of Salisterra's founding chef Jun Tanaka is in safe hands. Word is the restaurant's cocktail offerings are also undergoing a major revamp—hopefully I'll be tasting sipping this for myself come tomorrow night.

— Gavin Yeung, Dining Editor

2. Embla

It’s been a long fifth wave, and while I’ve been enjoying the odd fine dining delivery—those from Mono and Roganic stand out, especially the accompanying wine pairings with the latter—and a handful of lunches locally, there’s nothing quite like going out for dinner. On that front, I’m already booked in for supper at Embla. I loved Frantzen’s Kitchen, and the recent collaboration between Andō's Agustin Balbi and Embla's Jim Löfdahl for Tatler Dining’s Off Menu at Home put the restaurant at the forefront of my mind. I’m also keen to check out Grand Majestic Sichuan—I’m a big fan of Fuchsia Dunlop, who consulted on the restaurant’s culinary offering, but I’ll also soon be in need of a Sichuan spice fix—this constant dining at home has significantly depleted my Sichuan chilli sauce supplies.

— Rachel Duffell, Regional Content Director

See also: "I'm Not Leaving"—11 Westside's Daniel Eun on Hope and Despair in Hong Kong

3. Mosu

Just before the fifth wave hit, I joined as an M+ member and went precisely one time before it was forced to shut due to social distancing restrictions. During this time, Mosu—the first Hong Kong outpost of the two-starred restaurant from Seoul, located within the museum—has been under soft opening and so I’m looking forward to finally visiting for dinner and a spot of art in one go. For more everyday eats, Chin Jor in Tai Hang, one of my favourite noodle bars, has finally reopened after a sudden hiatus and I am already craving their hot, sour and spicy potato noodles with juicy shredded chicken and all the extra coriander.

— Charmaine Mok, Content Director, Dining

4. Butahage

Butadon restaurant Butahage just opened its second outlet in Tai Koo in January—just when the dining restrictions came in! Fortunately, I was able to get a taste of their takeaway menu and it was absolutely delicious. The grilled eel lunch box reminded me of my time living in Japan. The sauce and the softness of the eel just melts in your mouth. I'm incredibly excited to try the other dishes in the restaurant itself including the Obihiro pork bun and the Meibutsu pork loin don which my family members loved. It's best for dinner because I absolutely need the space to fit in all that food.

— Jianne Soriano, Digital Writer

5. Dong Kee

The very first spot I’ll be heading to for dinner is Dong Kee, a hole-in-the-wall at the Sheung Wan Municipal Services Building And Civic Centre that’s been a firm favourite of mine for almost a decade. This no-frills eatery serves up Cantonese crowd pleasers—think crispy chicken, and Chiu Chow dishes like baked grey mullet. I’m also looking forward to an indulgent dinner at Frank’s, the Wyndham Street hotspot serving up Italian-American classics—chicken parm, veal and lobster meatball, homemade burrata and more.

— Andrea Lo, Homes Editor

Related: 11 Best Dai Pai Dongs In Hong Kong

6. Hugo's

I fell in love with Hugo’s when I was assigned to rate the French restaurant for the Tatler Dining Awards last year. I particularly remember its romantic space with the castle-themed décor, and how the lobster bisque, steak tartare and Baked Alaska were prepared in front of me. That showmanship and presentation definitely added to the dining experience. Every course was a pleasant surprise: from the King Crab salad with Oscietra caviar and homemade crumpets, which had a well-balanced texture, the buttery escargots, the refreshing lemon sauce paired with the Dover sole meunière, and finally the rich Baked Alaska with homemade raspberry and chocolate ice-cream. My guest and I made a pact that we would return to try its Café Diablo, which means “the coffee of the devil”, made by stirring liqueur and brandy into hot coffee and adding a slice of orange peel. That would be my perfect evening before a concert at the Cultural Centre nearby, or a walk along the harbour like the Lady and the Tramp. Si, their spot is Italian but you know what I mean.

— Zabrina Lo, Associate Features Editor

7. Percy's

More than anything else I’ve been craving a good time spent with close friends, which I hope will cure the numbing monotony most of us have come to experience during this fifth wave. To remedy this, I’d head to Percy’s on Shelley Street. The ambience is fun and festive, service is warm, and food is fresh, wholesome, and plentiful—neither quality nor quantity is lacking. This might be the first time you hear a vegetarian recommending a seafood restaurant, but out of the 6 odd veg dishes they offer (all of which are more fresh and flavorful than most veg offerings you find in this city) a must-try are the fingerling potatoes—you might find you’ve developed a newfound addiction. (P.S. every carnivorous friend I’ve taken here has raved about the seafood, and stolen my potatoes).

— Aaina Bhargava, Arts and Culture Editor

8. Yardbird

As much as I’ve enjoyed the quiet weekends and getting through my backlog of saved recipes, I’m looking forward to a night out at Yardbird with my girlfriends. Nothing beats yakitori straight off the grill, and combined with tasty cocktails, solid tunes and a bustling atmosphere, it’ll feel like a much-needed celebration. I’m hoping that restaurants don’t stop doing lunch sets though, because they’re a great way to try the best of a menu for less. Highlights included: Lung Fu Pao when I’m craving sushi (which is all the time), Sorabol for a mid-week pick me up, Honky Tonks Tavern for that Americana fix and Beef Bar for an indulgent weekend lunch.

— Amalissa Hall, Style Writer

Read more: Lindsay Jang Battles Covid-19, and Shares How the 5th Wave Has Impacted Her Family and Businesses

9. The Cheesecake Factory

You'll find me in line for The Cheesecake Factory when dinner service reopens. It's indulgent and absolutely not good for your health, but it's so, so worth it. It's not a visit if we don't get the dramatically large portioned nachos, and pasta with a slice of cheesecake to finish. Bring friends, or else you'll be done eating after the first course.

— Doris Lam, Digital Writer

10. Chilli Fagara

It’s almost impossible to name just one place I can’t wait to visit when restrictions ease, as I’m desperate to return to all of my favourite haunts in Hong Kong—Cornerstone, Little Bao, Samsen... the list goes on. That being said, I’m really looking forward to a meal at Chilli Fagara. The restaurant offers an extensive selection of authentic Sichuan dishes including my coveted pork and vegetable dumplings in chilli sauce, and mains such as fresh mushrooms in spicy broth, and homestyle ma po tofu. The cosy vibes and attentive staff add to the charm of the place. I'm really looking forward to dining there with friends! 

— Helen Yu, Digital Editor

11. Chatterbox Cafe

I secretly enjoyed cooking with my family at home and all the bonding that happened as a result of the Covid dine-in ban; but it’s time to go out for dinner to calm my cravings for some authentic Asian food! Chatterbox Café impresses with its award-winning legendary mandarin chicken rice and signature laksa, but what you actually cannot miss is their pan-fried carrot cake. The tricky part of this dish is to keep the sweetness of the dark soya sauce and the soft, moist texture of the carrot cakes. Only a handful of places do it right in Hong Kong and Chatterbox Café is one of them.

— Cristen Tsoi, Digital Writer

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