Italian cuisine comes in many different forms. There’s intricate Michelin-starred fine dining, rustic family-style spreads and huge, comforting pizzas for friends to share. Instead of settling for just any old eatery that serves Italian food, we went armed with our forks to pick out the 13 best Italian restaurants in Hong Kong.
RECOMMENDED: Want more meat than carbs? Head to one of these steakhouses to satisfy your carnivorous cravings. Or try a Japanese restaurant if you’ve got a hankering for some Asian flavours.
Hong Kong’s best Italian restaurants
The recipient of three Michelin stars for the past seven years, not to mention being ranked 13th in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2018, there’s no denying that 8½ is among one of the best. The vintage-style décor and ambient lighting create a seriously romantic vibe. Helmed by culinary master Umberto Bombana, the dishes are expertly made and curated as well as beautifully plated. Signatures include tuna tartare and homemade linguine. If you don’t want to splurge too much, the three-course lunch menus start from $780 and are totally worth it.
If you’re a fan of pizza, then look no further than this two-storey restaurant. Modelled after a New York-style penthouse, the lower level has a more casual vibe with some light bites and a bar. 208 is also serious about its pizza, and its menu is all quality and no gimmicks. Baked in an Italian-made stone oven, everything in and on the pie, from the flour, buffalo cheese, tomato and ham, are all delivered from Italy. Loaded with ingredients and super fluffy, every bite is perfumed with a fantastic floury aroma.
A casual and chic Italian restaurant with a stunning harbour view to boot, Cucina welcomes diners to its open kitchen venue and serves up fantastic traditional Italian fare. Head chef Andrea Delzanno lends his expert culinary skills to deliver signature dishes such as linguine with red prawn and fresh cherry tomatoes. Cucina often hosts chefs from Michelin-starred restaurants straight from Italy, so the menu here never gets stale. Enjoy a tipple at the stylish bar or light up a post-dinner cigar out on the cosy terrace.
Here you’ll find speciality dishes from various regions of Italy, covering everything from coastal towns to remote countrysides. Executive chef Gianni Caprioli, who hails from a family of chefs in Potenza, has plenty of impressive experience under his belt, including being the personal chef of Fiat owner Gianni Agnelli. Selecting only the best ingredients, the menu here is simple but wins hearts thanks to its home-style cooking. Located in a quiet corner of Fenwick Pier, it can be awkward to get to but is very much worth the trouble.
Named after the hugely popular Italian breadsticks, the Grand Hyatt’s Italian restaurant is all about authenticity. Overlooking Victoria Harbour and accompanied by Philippe Starck furniture and Tony DeLap paintings, the interior is nothing short of classy. The moment you step inside, you’re welcomed by a waft of freshly baked bread and homemade pasta. There’s also a floor-to-ceiling wine cellar that holds up to 1,000 bottles.
Tucked away in Happy Valley, this unassuming Italian joint seats just 28 diners, making it cosy and intimate. Locanda is the brainchild of Sicily-born Angelo Aglianó, who mentored under the late Joël Robuchon. Aside from the house speciality risotto, Aglianó regularly updates the seasonal menu, so you never know what dishes you might find when you step inside.
A venture by world-class chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Mercato has been a popular local stomping ground since its opening in 2016. The main draw is its affordable, contemporary, farm-style Italian cuisine, as well as its eight-course sharing-style menus, exclusive to Sunday nights. We’re talking homemade ricotta with strawberry, chargrilled octopus with caper garlic dressing, and wood oven-roasted whole sea bass with white wine. And there’s no better way to end a big family meal than with some of Mercato’s tiramisu.
There’s arguably no classier Italian restaurant than Nicholini’s – much loved by Hong Kong foodies for its range of authentic Northern Italian cuisine and renowned for its homemade pasta. Executive chef Riccardo Catarsi is a master when it comes to adding new twists to traditional dishes, as is evident with signatures like foie gras tortelli. Each mini dumpling is filled with delightful paté, which is paired with a sauce made from veal and parmesan cheese and brewed for 24 hours. Also worth ordering is the Boston lobster angel hair, where the crustacean is cooked to perfection and accompanied by a seriously flavourful tomato sauce.
Fresh, hand-rolled pasta is the name of the game here. With branches in Wan Chai, Central and Tsim Sha Tsui, this neighbourhood pasta bar offers simple and hearty dishes that can cheer anyone up. Pick from a packed menu that includes tagliolini with white truffle paste and shaved black truffle, and orecchiette with Italian sausage and spicy ’nduja. The warm and casual vibe at Pici makes it an ideal spot to unwind and gorge on some carbs.
Sabatini is an Italian institution. Everything from the food to the interiors is recreated to match its main branch in Rome. You can literally taste chef Claudio Favero’s love and passion for food with Sabatini’s seasonal six-course tasting menu. We recommend the smoked kingfish with zucchini, lemon yogurt and caviar; spaghetti with crab meat and sea urchin; and the crispy baby pork with eggplant purée.