Best things to do and eat in Kennedy Town
The first % Arabica store originally opened in Discovery Bay in 2013. Despite being widely featured, the store eventually shuttered and the chain moved its operations to Kyoto, which led to global expansion with more than 20 branches across the world. Now launching its fourth outlet in Hong Kong, the Kennedy Town café is stylishly designed, serving the same excellent coffee and offering front-row seats to an incredible harbourside view. Aside from the signature espresso drinks, % Arabica also does a mean Spanish latte and matcha latte.
This joint is helmed by Mexican chef Esdras Ochoa of Los Angeles’ lauded Mexican restaurant Salazar, and beverage director Daniel Eun, a man with experience at some of America’s best bars, including New York speakeasy PDT. 11 Westside serves up some gorgeous guac and tasty tacos that pair well with the agave-based cocktails on offer. It may be pricier than the average Mexican restaurant in HK, but it's a cut above the rest.
This spicy, sour, soupy joint is simple. Choose your spice level, pick from a choice of Yunnan, Shanghainese or crystal noodles with anything from leek dumplings, trotters, shredded chicken and the classic fried pork chop. Topped with chopped spring onions, peanuts and pickles, this mix of spicy, sour and savoury makes for a cheap, filling and flavourful meal.
This cosy joint serves up good pizza and good drinks in equal measure. It's reminiscent of a casual New York neighbourhood bar and its sourdough-based pizzas often make use of local flavours (the char siu pizzas are good examples). Order classic pizzas, pastas and other hearty offerings and wash it down with something from the impressive drinks menu. There's also a large selection of Young Master craft beers, rarer imported brews, cocktails, natural wines and Hong Kong's most extensive collection of American-only craft whiskeys.
This Egyptian restaurant on Hau Wo Street boasts great food, reasonable prices and ever-so-friendly staff. The family-run joint has hand-painted murals on the walls and a menu bursting with Middle Eastern and North African favourites. Tuck into super fresh and flavourful hummus and babaganoush with pita bread, perfectly charred lamb kofta and sweet treats such as buttery and flakey baklava.
Helmed by chef Eric Idos, this trendy-casual neighbourhood joint – with floor-to-ceiling glass windows and a wall of street artist Aaron de la Cruz’s minimalist etchings at the back – serves up some supremely tasty fare. The Mexican-style eats are inspired by Japanese ingredients and techniques. There's crispy fish tacos, scallop and uni tostadas, eggplant katsu and chorizo fried rice and a great selection of wines, beers, tequilas, and mezcals that's specially curated by Sunday's Grocery.
This waterfront eatery is the laid-back sister of chef Gianni Caprioli’s popular Fishsteria restaurant in Wan Chai. Expect a wide-spanning seafood-led menu, with dishes such as lobster rolls, sea urchin chitarra and lobster giant macaroni. A place to linger, the restaurant also boasts a neat selection of wines, craft beers and even a foosball table.
This co-working space is home to many local creative enterprises and startup businesses, and uses these friendly connections to host all kinds of unique workshops, from neon-light making to tie-dying fabrics. The team also does monthly socials where entrepreneurs and like-minded individuals can meet up, chat and network.
Australian foodies should be well acquainted with the Maloufs. Patriarch Greg is regarded Down Under as the father of modern Lebanese cuisine, taking his skills as far as London to Michelin glory. At Mama Malouf, there's mezzes of silky hummus, cucumber and tarragon labneh, pickled vegetables and the like, as well as delicious haloumi, fontina fondue with fig jam and classics like falafels with yoghurt tahini and a selection of shawarmas.
Relatively hidden on Forbes Street, this funky, intimate space boasts some eclectic decor, including birdcages with superman toy figures inside, a wall of costume hats and wigs, and antique-looking vases. While there’s no rhyme or reason to them, they do add to the restaurant’s character. Foodwise, Missy Ho’s offers an Asian fusion menu that’s designed for sharing. Highlights include edamame with chilli salt, yakitori skewers and the pork belly bao.
Born out of a former crocodile farm in Australia, Little Creatures is a craft microbrewery that’s been churning out some incredible hoppy beers for the past 16 years. Its first foray into Hong Kong is a vast bar with high ceilings, industrial fittings and a visible working microbrewery. The food menu is hearty and fresh, offering everything from pizzas to sharing plates and steaks. House brews change regularly and there's a tasting paddle of six samples of the brewery’s top creations.
The only temple in Hong Kong dedicated to Lo Pan, the patron saint of Chinese builders and carpenters. This Grade I historic building is well worth a visit for its mural paintings, ceramic figurines and engravings. Dating back to 1884, most of the patrons are building workers and people planning construction projects for some much-needed blessings.
The Sai Wan Swimming Shed is the only swimming shed in Hong Kong still open to the public. Hidden away from all the residential buildings and high-rises nearby, this gem offers a spectrum of picturesque views of calm waters as well as dramatic scenes of the waves. Show up at sunset for added beauty.
Sheung Hei is a well-known local joint in Kennedy Town, recommended in the Michelin Guide. The restaurant is so popular, there are queues every evening almost without fail. There are about 30 different claypot options to pick from at Sheung Hei, including the preserved meat and spare rib claypot rice. Its popularity may be down to the chef’s habit of mixing fresh and leftover rice and adding a couple of drops of pig fat, which help the rice achieve the perfect charred condition. Sheung Hei can be trusted to dish up a great pot and top-notch service.
Kennedy Town welcomes a zero-waste store into its midst with the new opening of Slowood, a self-described sustainable lifestyle grocery store. With a floor-to-ceiling window storefront and an impressive 3,000sq ft of space, Slowood sources from more than 100 international and local brands to provide a wide range of environmentally friendly crockery and homeware, while offering grocery staples in bulk. There’s also a refill station where you can bring in clean bottles to stock up on things like rice, salt and spices at cheaper prices. A small vegetarian kitchen can be found in-store, featuring a mushroom-themed menu and furnishings.
Hankering for some post-night-out dim sum or a super early breakfast? Sun Hing is open from 3am to 4pm daily to satisfy all your late-night cravings. Top picks here include the golden custard buns, har gao, ma lai gao, siu mai and the must-try crispy fried milk.
Opened in 2018, Wheat and Wood is one of Hong Kong’s newest board-game cafés. Located down a lane between Holland Street and Sai Cheung Street, the place has a huge range of games, with everything from Cards Against Humanity to Catan and Saboteur to Tokaido. It’s $90 for two hours of play (each extra 30 minutes costs an additional $10), which also gets you $40 credit towards your F&B spending.
Tucked away within 11 Westwide is Kennedy Town’s best cocktail bar. The Wilshire is spacious, with two windows overlooking Davis and Forbes streets, and two walls lined with bottles from floor to ceiling. Within, comfortable, low tables and a small bar area are complimented by a billiards table in the centre. Though the surrounds are plush and comfortable, the menu is where the bar shines brightest. Compact and straightforward, it lists five offerings featuring classic flavours coupled with modest but refreshing twists.
The second branch of Winstons Coffee opened in Kennedy Town this year and has proved to be an instant hit. Not much has changed from the original in Sai Ying Pun – there’s the same mix of coffee and coffee-based cocktails and the use of old cassette tapes to keep track of orders. Especially pleasant is the outdoor seating, which takes in lovely views of Forbes Street’s famous banyan trees.
This successful street-food chain has a huge following in Taiwan. The exterior is true to its roots (even its address plate is designed to look like a street sign in Taipei) and looks exactly like what you might encounter in the night markets of Taiwan. Have a go at their signature fatty minced pork on rice, oyster omelette and deep fried salty chicken and don’t miss out on a wealth of Taiwanese drinks - bubble tea, winter melon tea, you name it. Best of all, everything is positively dirt-cheap.