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La Dolce Vita: The best Italian restaurants in Hong Kong

By Inés Fung 13 December 2019

When we think about Italian cuisine, our first thoughts are never far from pizza and pasta. From the glittering coastline to the idyllic mountains, there’s so much more to explore from the country that’s nearly synonymous with “love for food”, and luckily for us, Hong Kong is home to a wealth of authentic takes on Italian cuisine. Next time you get a hankering for a taste of Italy, head to these Italian restaurants that will have you kissing your fingers all night long.

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8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana

8½ Otto e Mezzo-Bombana’s reputation precedes them: Not only do they have a whopping three Michelin stars (the only Italian restaurant outside of Italy with this achievement), they’re also ranked No. 12 on this year’s Asia 50 Best Restaurants list.

Chef Umberto Bombana is a true ambassador of his home country, naming the restaurant after a Federico Fellini film (you may have heard of his most famous work, La Dolce Vita) as well as bringing vibrant Italian fine dining to our city in the form of dishes like Blue Lobster with Broccoli Emulsion, Homemade Cavatelli Shellfish Ragout topped with sea urchin, and more.

Paired with a cheese-ageing room, an endless wine list, and impeccable service, 8½ Otto e Mezzo-Bombana is the star of the show in Hong Kong. Definitely worth the splurge.

8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana, Shop 202, 2/F, Alexandra House, 18 Chater Road, Central | (+852) 2537 8859

Octavium

Octavium is 8½ Otto e Mezzo-Bombana’s more laid-back and adventurous sibling. Described as chef Umberto Bombana’s creative laboratory, the menu at Octavium is full of dishes that chef Bombana himself loves and eats on the regular, or dishes with more low-key ingredients or experimental techniques. Like its sister restaurant, the menu is fresh and seasonal, but past favourites include their Homemade Tagliolini, Roasted Te Mana Lamb, and of course, a classic Tiramisu. Octavium may be more intimate and chilled, but they’ve still bagged a Michelin star, so you know you’re in for a treat here. 

Octavium, 8/F, One Chinachem Central, 22 Des Voeux Road Central, Central | (+852) 2111 9395

Giá Trattoria Italiana

Tucked away in the quiet Fenwick Pier is Giá Trattoria Italiana, a family-style, farm-to-table Italian restaurant that serves food true to chef and founder Gianni Caprioli’s roots. Chef Caprioli’s insistence on using sustainable and non-GMO ingredients that are mainly sourced from Italy in his kitchen ensures that you are getting a genuine taste of the pan-regional dishes Giá Trattoria Italiana offers. We especially love the Ham Counter, a customisable charcuterie board offering, as well as the non-tomato-base pizzas that are hard to come across at other establishments. Giá Trattoria Italiana is spacious and welcoming, making it a great place for a cheery family dinner. 

Giá Trattoria Italiana, 1/F, Fleet Arcade, Fenwick Pier, 1 Lung King Street, Wanchai | (+852) 2511 8081

Keep scrolling for the rest of the list 👇

Frank’s

Frank’s is a relative newcomer to the Hong Kong dining scene, but it has already firmly captured our hearts with its winning no-frills cocktail bar and red-sauce dining room combo. You can’t miss them: a bright red neon sign illuminates Wyndham Street, and good music is always playing over the speakers. Italian-American restaurants may seem like a dime a dozen in Hong Kong, but Chef Darnell brings an air of soul and authenticity to the menu.

Start your meal off with the Gnoccho Frittos, deep-fried pillows of dough topped with cheese and dipped in marinara, and the very hearty Meatballs that don’t require a side of spaghetti. The mains of Parpadelle alla Vodka and Chicken Parm are to die for as well, and if you’ve still got room for dessert after this hearty New York-style feast, the tableside dessert tray won’t even be a challenge. 

Frank’s, G/F, 79 Wyndham Street, Central | (+852) 2320 0858

Pici

Pici is almost always packed to the rafters at all of their locations, and for good reason: their menu features affordable and unpretentious takes on the ultimate Italian comfort food—homemade pasta. The rotational Lunch Menu is a steal, consisting of a starter, main, and dessert for just $158. We absolutely can't get enough of the Burrata, the burning dishes of Lasagna, and perfect pots of Tiramisu. Pici is the place to go for a satisfying carb-load, and we’ve never left without having to loosen our belts. 

Pici, locations across Hong Kong

208 Duecento Otto

208 is a stalwart on Hollywood Road, having served up casual Italian comfort to the neighbourhood for years. Their wood-fired Napoletana Pizzas are a must-order, as the pizzas are prepared to the specifications of the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, which stipulates that only buffalo mozzarella imported from Campania can be used and the pizzas must be baked in a custom-designed pizza oven shipped straight from Naples.

We would recommend coming for brunch, particularly on a day you really need a pick-me-up. You can get a choice of mains plus unlimited helpings of antipasti, seafood, salad, cheese, and dessert from the bar for just $368. Tack on the two-hour free-flow package for the “hair of the dog” recovery method—they’ve got Aperol Spritzes on tap, wink wink

208 Duecento Otto, 208 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan | (+852) 2549 0208

Keep scrolling for the rest of the list 👇

Grissini

The breadsticks here are so delicious that they named the restaurant after them. Grissini has recently re-opened after a massive renovation and it’s classier than ever with the same sweeping views of our iconic harbour. The signature Grissini breadsticks are baked fresh in-house daily and served alongside meals with fragrant extra-virgin olive oil and house-blended balsamic glaze. The Italian country classics on offer at Grissini are even more impressive than the scenery outside, particularly the soft and succulent Ravioli Capresi that is made following Chef Marcello’s family recipe, and steamed instead of boiled.

The dishes carry a distinctly Mediterranean flavour, as Chef Marcello is from the southern Campania region, so seafood is another must-try here. Be sure to make room for dessert though, as the Gelato is homemade and the Tiramisu is served to you from a bowl. For the vino lovers, go for an Italian wine pairing from the two-storey wine cellar with floor-to-ceiling vinothéque

Grissini, 2/F, Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, 1 Harbour Road, Wan Chai | (+852) 2584 7722

Sabatini

Sabatini is a true Italian institution. It’s been around since our parents first started dating, and will probably be around when our kids start dating. When it comes to their recipe for longevity, the proof is in the pudding: the quality of the food has stayed consistently high, the cosy countryside cottage-esque furnishings (modelled after the original Sabatini in Rome) are timeless, and the live band that roams from table to table is essential dinnertime entertainment. 

Sabatini, 3/F, The Royal Garden, 69 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 2733 2000

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Inés Fung

Contributor

Currently based in Hong Kong by way of Calgary, Inés has always had a passion for writing and her creative work can be found in obscure literary ’zines. When she’s not busy scouring the city for the best gin-based cocktail, she can be found curled up with her journal and fur-ever friend Peanut. Don’t be surprised if you cross paths with her and she already knows all your mates.

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