Header image courtesy of Iryna Makukha (Shutterstock)
Hong Kong island gets a lot of attention for being at the centre of things, but the mirroring skyline across the harbour deserves a bit of the limelight as well. A six-minute ride away from Central Pier is Tsim Sha Tsui, home to some of the biggest and most unique malls in the city. The streets are always swarming with tourists and salarymen, scurrying between the skyscrapers that hold a thousand different stories. Restaurants and drinking dens come in clusters, in-between high-end hotels and an extraordinary number of tailor shops. The unveiling of the new K11 MUSEA mall and the West Kowloon Cultural District has given the neighbourhood a new perspective, oscillating between traditional luxury and artistic modernity.
At a glance, the harbourfront district is a seemingly disjunct maze of streets and sights, somewhat disconnected from the neighbouring Jordan, Yau Ma Tei, and Mong Kok, even though they occupy different sections along the same road, but upon closer inspection presents a glimpse into the city’s cultural identity. Join us as we shine a light on the best things to see and do, and the best places to eat, drink, and shop along the paved streets and marbled hallways of the dark side.
A hidden oasis in the middle of a busy shopping district, Kowloon Park is a great place to get a break from all the noise, figuratively and literally. Once you enter the perimeters of the park, the scene is almost unrecognizable. A vision of lush green growth and idyllic ponds, tranquil pavilions, and an oft-photographed flamboyance of flamingoes, the park is a popular spot for a weekend picnic or just a quiet lunch.
Kowloon Park, 22 Austin Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 2724 3344
A heady system of restaurants and bars stacked in stories and crammed into alleys, this is the LKF of Kowloon. Where LKF draws an expat crowd, Knutsford Terrace welcomes a more local following. Shisha bars perfume the air that is already thick with chatter, enveloping patrons with the expectation of a good time and a late night.
Knutsford Terrace, entrance near Miramar Shopping Centre behind Kimberley Road
An iconic strip along the promenade that features in multiple guidebooks and itineraries, the Avenue of Stars features bronze statues of Hong Kong celebrities like Bruce Lee and Anita Mui, and a Hollywood Walk of Fame-esque walkway of celebrity handprints. It is also one of the most popular spots to admire the city’s famous skyline; every night at 8 pm, a dazzling show of lights and lasers illuminate the sky, elegantly named the Symphony of Lights.
Avenue of Stars, 3 Hoi Bun Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 2918 1722
The city’s first public art museum is more than 50 years old, having reopened to the public late 2019 after undergoing extensive renovations and expansions. Large scale installations and interactive exhibits are part of the museum’s program, with works that span four main areas: Chinese painting and calligraphy, Chinese antiquities, China trade art, and modern and Hong Kong art.
Hong Kong Museum of Art, 10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 2721 0116
A swanky steakhouse located inside the Rosewood Hong Kong, Henry serves premium cuts of dry-aged meats and other meat-centric dishes. A homage to old-school butchery and signature Texan barbeque traditions, this is a meat lover’s playground.
Henry, 5/F, Rosewood Hong Kong, Victoria Dockside, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 3891 8888
A London transplant, this new-age all-day eatery celebrates all things avocado. On the menu are items like the avocado lobster roll, the quintessential avo toast, smoothie bowl, and other healthy options. Superfood infused lattes made with beetroot, matcha, and turmeric make for an excellent way to get into healthy eating.
Avobar, Shop B201–4, B2/F, K11 Musea, Victoria Dockside, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 2264 0089
Along the strip of Korean restaurants on Kimberley Road is Seorae, a chain restaurant serving high-quality KBBQ and other Korean staples. A selection of different cuts of beef and pork are available, along with varieties of bibimbap, buckwheat noodles, Korean rice cakes, and seafood and kimchi pancakes. A plethora of sides, or banchan, whet the appetite. Wash it all down with bottles of flavoured and original soju, as the Koreans do.
Seorae, Shop A, G/F & 1/F, Passkon Court, 79–81 Kimberley Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 2723 6692
A low-key spot with great lunch deals, this izakaya is run by a Japanese couple that speaks fluent Cantonese. While it might not stand out at first, we assure you that the food there will blow you away. Authentic and generously portioned, options like sashimi on rice, beef sukiyaki, and buckwheat noodles are sure to satisfy without putting a dent in your wallet. Dishes are served within minutes of ordering, even though the restaurant is usually packed to the gills come mealtimes.
Kyozasa Restaurant, 1/F, Po Fung Building, 32–34 Haiphong Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 2376 1888
Hongkongers love Japanese cuisine, so when the world’s first Michelin-starred ramen joint opened, dozens flocked there for a taste. The broth is made with whole chickens, fresh clams, dried fish, and is simmered for nine hours. Their signature bowl is the Ajitama Shoya Soba, served with homemade truffle sauce.
Tsuta, Shop G111, Gateway Arcade, Harbour City, 3–27 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 31882748
Opening to great fanfare, this famed patisserie puts a local twist in its offerings. Besides the Cronut, Hong Kong-themed desserts like the Lemon Juice Box, Soup Dumpling, Pineapple Bun, and a cookie shot served with milk tea are available. Stop by for a fun bite after a day of shopping in the massive Harbour City mall complex.
Dang Wen Li by Dominique Ansel, Shop OT G63A, G/F, Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, 3–27 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 2613 8618
Fine-dining French restaurant Epure serves exquisite dishes in a casual but refined setting. The interior design is created by award-winning international design firm Yabu Pushelberg, with plenty of gold accents and an amazing terrace area named the French Garden, perfect for enjoy a glass of wine as the sun goes down.
Epure, Shop 403, Level 4, Ocean Centre, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 2185 8338
Get your daily caffeine fix at % Arabica, a cult favourite coffee shop with a minimalistic menu of medium-dark roasts and single-origin beans. There are two locations in TST, one beside the ferry pier and a kiosk on the promenade in front of K11 MUSEA. The kiosk is playfully named Kube, probably because it is shaped like a literal cube and golden all over.
% Arabica, multiple locations
Live jazz enjoyed with some smooth dark liquid in crystalline glasses—that’s what life should be all about. Named after Kowloon side’s nickname, this hotel bar is sophisticated but uncliched. Design touches permeate the space, from the hourglasses that lazily tumble overhead to the leather-bound tables. A place for those who like dressing up to drink.
Darkside, Rosewood Hong Kong, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 3891 8732
A different type of jazz bar full of rowdy expats and Australian tourists, Ned Kelly’s Last Stand is an institution that might be a bit rough around the edges but has stood the test of time. This is a classic pub with classic pub bites like buffalo wings and pints of beer always dangerously close to spilling, where patrons are put just a few feet away from the legendary resident band.
Ned Kelly’s Last Stand, 11A Ashley Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 2376 0562
People seem to like high places, perhaps because it gives them perspective. Or maybe it’s just nice to stare down at the dots down on the ground that are your fellow man and feel superior. Inside Ritz-Carlton is the highest bar in the world, Ozone, sitting at a lofty 480 meters above ground on the 118th floor. Aside from the view, the drinks offerings are also worth the hike. The cocktail menu is inspired by the five elements: earth, fire, water, metal, and air. In addition to a long list of spirits and wines, seasonal collaborations add to the intrigue.
Ozone, The Ritz-Carlton, Level 118, International Commerce Centre, 1 Austin Road West, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 2263 2270
Branded as a “cultural-retail destination,” K11 MUSEA wants to be more than just a mall. The K11 brand is almost synonymous with art and design, so it's no surprise that the newest member of its family has a heavy focus on these aspects, from the design of the space to the retail and F&B offerings within. Shop for lifestyle goods at the MoMA design store, and luxury upcycled bags and accessories from British brand Bottletop. The complex also has outposts for hard to find brands such as Italian streetwear label GCDS and avant-garde Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto’s namesake label.
K11 MUSEA, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 3892 3890
A few blocks down on Hanoi Road is the K11 Art Mall, which seeks to meld art and commerce and bring it to the masses in a new format. The result is a seven-storey retail complex that plays host to artworks by young local artists as well as brands like Calvin Klein, JNBY, agnes b, and Miss Sixty. In their K11 Select store, new design talent is spotlighted, while other specified areas showcase wares from relevant brands. Other stores of interest include Harrison Wong, a Hong Kong menswear brand with an edge, L’Carene, a multi-brand womenswear store with a collection of contemporary labels from all over the world like Keepsake, Clare V., C/MEO, Veja, and Maison Labiche.
K11 Art Mall, 18 Hanoi Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 3118 8070
This shopping complex is actually made up of three malls in one: Harbour City (for your average mall offerings), Ocean Terminal (for more youth-centric brands), and The Gateway (for ultra-high-end designer goods). With over 450 stores and 70 restaurants inside, you can easily spend a whole day inside. The mall occupies a good chunk of Canton Road, ending at the Tsim Sha Tsui ferry pier. Luxury brands from far and wide find a home here, as well as a couple of adjoining hotels.
Harbour City, 3–27 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 2118 8666
A vintage kitsch lifestyle and clothing shop formed in partnership with the original store in Harajuku, Japan, Bunkaya Zakkaten is filled with quirky pieces for the alternative fashionista. The original location is closed down, leaving the Hong Kong outpost to continue its legacy as the underground but not underground destination for trendy outfits and home décor.
Bunkaya Zakkaten, 22 Kimberley Street, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 2721 2227
Frocks, headpieces, and beaded purses line the shelves and racks of this vintage store on Granville Road. An explosion of colour and print, Little Dot Vintage specialises in vintage womenswear from the 1950s to the 1980s, sourced from Japan and the US.
Little Dot Vintage, 1/F, 47 Granville Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 6356 3049