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The Peak Lookout
Photograph: Courtesy The Peak Lookout

Hong Kong's oldest restaurants you need to visit

They haven’t lost their touch over the years

Edited by
Tatum Ancheta
&
Cherry Chan
Written by
Time Out editors
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The food and drink industry in Hong Kong is constantly changing. Every month, we see a slew of new restaurants opening in the city. But while we all love to get a seat at the latest dining establishments, we should also make time to revisit some of the city's longest-standing establishments that have survived the rocky F&B scene over the decades – before they’re gone forever. So, without further ado, here are some of the most historical restaurants in Hong Kong you should check out today.

RECOMMENDED: Make your way through our list of the 50 best restaurants in Hong Kong you need to try.

The oldest restaurants in Hong Kong

  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Central

Luk Yu Tea House has been a go-to dim sum spot for local and visiting patrons since it first opened in 1933. The loyal customers who grew up with the restaurant still visit today for a sense of old Hong Kong nostalgia, and its superbly done Cantonese dishes have been attracting a new generation altogether. Signature dishes include the deep fried prawn toasts, Chinese almond and pork lung soup, and steamed chicken buns.

  • Restaurants
  • Yau Ma Tei

Even if you’ve never heard of Mido Cafe, you’ll most certainly recognise its interior. This cha chaan teng-bing sutt combo hasn’t changed one bit ever since it was established in 1950, and exudes nostalgia thanks to its well-worn coloured windows, mosaic tiles, and ceiling fans. It has served as a backdrop for numerous films and TV shows, including The World of Suzie Wong, Moonlight ExpressStreet Fighters, and Revolving Doors of Vengeance. Try and grab a seat in one of the booths near the window so you can admire the scenery outside. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary European
  • The Peak

Marking its 77th anniversary this year, The Peak Lookout (originally named The Peak Café) holds a near and dear spot in our hearts. With unobstructed views of the city below, the restaurant is known for its international dishes to complement the sights.  After its refurbishments, the renewed restaurant still retains its old school charm and the same much-loved menu. 

  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Tsim Sha Tsui
  • price 4 of 4

One of Hong Kong’s first fine dining European restaurants, Gaddi’s has been a destination for special occasions for the past 60 years and counting. While maintaining its time-honoured traditions, Gaddi’s has also been rolling with the times to add creativity to its menu offering while still providing the same luxurious experience it has over the years.

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  • Restaurants
  • Steakhouse
  • Wan Chai

Opened in 1966, Boston Restaurant is one of the city’s very first Hong Kong-style western steakhouses. Perched on the corner of Luard Road and Johnston Road, the restaurant has been a Wan Chai landmark with its unmissable giant neon sign and street views of the tram. Best known for its theatrical sizzling plates with slabs of meat served flambéed tableside, the restaurant has created its own cuisine, adapting local elements to the western dishes. The mixed grill, baked rice dishes, buttered buns, and minestrone soup are all past and present signatures of Boston Restaurant.

  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Tsuen Wan

Despite its unassuming exterior, this old-school style tea house located in Tai Mo Shan serves up a range of traditional dim sum, including Chinese dumplings, rolls, buns, and other delicacies in classic Cantonese style. Everything here is mostly self-service, down to preparing and pouring your own tea. Many of the vegetables here are sourced from a local farm, which means the dim sum is not only flavourful but also fresh.

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  • Restaurants
  • Tsuen Wan

A trusted name since opening in 1978, Gala Café is no stranger to queues and crowded tables. This famous spot is well-known for its liberal portions – specifically when it comes to its egg sandwich. There’s more fried egg than bread at play here. While that might seem to throw things out of proportion, in actuality this eggy mess is comfort food in its purest form. They’ve recently opened a new branch in To Kwa Wan that serves the same dishes, with a kitschy and retro looking interior that makes you feel like you’ve gone back in time.

  • Restaurants
  • Wan Chai

Many assert that this is the first proper cha chaan teng in Hong Kong. That claim may be dubious, but its credentials as a local culinary institution most certainly are not up for debate, having been around since the 1940s and opening international branches in Singapore, Taiwan, and China. All the standard cha chaan teng fare here is good, but it’s the coffee and egg tarts that have kept people coming back to this patch of Wan Chai for over 70 years.

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  • Restaurants
  • Central

Located on Elgin Street, Yuk Yip Dessert has been famous for its classic Chinese desserts for more than a century. Despite its quaint set up, it has remained a popular spot for some late-night meals and a place to satisfy any sweet cravings after dinner or drinks.

  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Sha Tin

This place is a true Hong Kong institution and has been serving up Cantonese delicacies for over half a century. This postwar hotel was built in the 50s, and was once a popular socialising spot for Hong Kong celebrities, socialites, and important government officials between 1950 to 1960, before closing its doors in 1985. The restaurant, however, carried on. After surviving a devastating fire in early 2020, the restaurant is still standing with its nostalgic interior and continues to serve nostalgic Hongkongers its famed roast pigeon.

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  • Restaurants
  • Sham Shui Po

As unfussy and unpretentious as it gets, Oi Man Sang has been a Sham Shui Po staple since 1956 – making it one of the oldest dai pai dongs in Hong Kong. Popular with locals and tourists, Oi Man Sang’s down-to-earth dining experience doesn’t take away from their gusty dishes. Without much change over the years, the dishes on the dai pai dong’s menu are still crowd-pleasers.

  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Tsim Sha Tsui

As one of the city's longest standing Indian eateries in town, Gaylord Indian Restaurant has been open since 1972 and continues to serve standout tandoor-roasted dishes, decadent stews, and curries. This year, the restaurant celebrated their 50th year of operating by inviting celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor to create a golden jubilee celebratory menu full of Gaylord’s classic favourites with chef Kapoor’s exquisite delicacies.  

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  • Restaurants
  • Sai Ying Pun

A Sai Ying Pun institute for over 50 years, the latter half of the 2010s was not kind to Sammy’s Kitchen. They were forced to remove their famous cow-shaped neon sign in 2015 and came close to relocating in 2017 after their rent was doubled overnight. Thankfully they survived, and continue to serve up both cha chaan teng staples and vintage Hong Kong-style Western food, which is an increasingly rare cuisine.

  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Central

Altogether almost 130-years-old through its various iterations, Ser Wong Fun has been an institution here for generations. The restaurant has retained a fiercely loyal following who come in their droves for the shop’s delicious snake soup believed to have myriad of health benefits. If you’ve still got room for more food, their glutinous rice with Chinese cured sausages is another must-try dish.

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  • Restaurants
  • Sha Tin

Established in 1956, this iconic eatery located in the oldest public housing estate in Sha Tin is not just your ordinary dai pai dong. The artsy photographs on the wall and randomly placed memorabilia give this place an eclectic vibe. The restaurant is run by Cheung Man-keung (also known as B Gor), a patron of the arts and a well-known figure in the community. B Gor and his staff regularly organise events from bowling competitions to beach clean-ups and even run a monthly Elderly Happiness Day at the shop where noodles are given to the elderly for free.

  • Restaurants
  • Jordan

Tai Ping Koon is one of the oldest existing names in Chinese restaurant history, having first opened in 1860 in Guangzhou before coming to Hong Kong in 1937. A favourite among neighbourhood locals, the food at Tai Ping Koon is consistent and plentiful. Aside from their Swiss sauce chicken wings (which are rumoured to be the original recipe for the iconic dish), Tai Ping Koon Restaurant’s must-try signature dishes are the roasted young pigeon and TPK dry fried rice noodles with beef.

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