You can’t go past an Italian restaurant when you’re more interested in the ‘eat’ than the pray and the love! Check out our round-up of the best Italian restaurants in Hong Kong for more than just fresh pasta and pizza (although there’s plenty of that too!).
Today, Italian cuisine is a firm favourite across the globe. But that wasn’t always the case. In fact, when Italian food brought by early migrants from Italy first began spreading in the United States, it was seen as overly garlicky, greasy and generally unpalatable – criticisms that the modern foodie would hardly stand for. As attitudes shifted, palates expanded, and the dimensions of international movement and exchange grew, Italian cuisine won the hearts of diners from diverse walks of life. So too in the 852, which plays host to some of the very best Italian restaurants in the world.
Flavour, passion and gracious hospitality – these three elements should be at the core of any Italian dining experience. So, whether you’re in search of an upscale degustation for a culinary tour through the regions of Italy or an easy-going trattoria where the wine flows freely, here’s your guide to the best Italian restaurants in Hong Kong. Buon appetito!
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The Best Italian Restaurants In Hong Kong
Combining a pasticceria, bar and restaurant, Giovanni Pina’s flagship location in Central is helmed by renowned master chef Giovanni Pina (whose grandfather, also sharing the same name, founded the century-old Italian institution in 1920 in Italy!). The brand is best known for its Italian cakes and pastries, but also offers an equally decadent selection of savoury dishes at its restaurant. Each month Giovanni Pina switches up its Elite 4-Course Set Dinner, which comes at $608 and includes two starters, a choice of main and a signature cake. Call up the restaurant at 2755 1088 for the latest menu!
The Italian Club Seafood Wine Bar
The Italian Club Seafood Wine Bar opened in October 2022, bringing the fruit of Italy’s seas to the table with a transportive surf and turf menu. Head Chef Stefano Balsamo switches up the tasting menu every 60 days to highlight the freshest catch of the season, authentically prepared the Italian way alongside a curated selection of wines and Champagne. Open only for dinner, the seaside-inspired restaurant is limited to 24 seats per night, allowing for an intimate dining experience that will whisk you away to Italy’s coastal towns.
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Since Aria appointed its new Head Chef, Angelo Vecchio, in 2021, the Italian ristorante has been on a mission to present the best of Italian fare in an unexpected way to our city’s zealous diners. Its menu showcases Italy’s diverse variety of regional dishes (there’s more to the country’s cuisine than pasta and pizza!) and splendid wealth of ingredients.
Flaunting panoramic harbour views, Rosewood Hong Kong’s BluHouse offers a taste of everyday life from the streets of Italy (think deep-fried Italian street food, pasta, roasted meats, Roman-style pizza and gelato). Chef Giovanni Galeota helms both the casual Italian eatery and the neighbouring elevated, sustainable restaurant, The Dining Room by BluHouse, which features a private dining room and a lovingly stocked wine cellar.
Cantina can be found in the West Wing of Tai Kwun’s old Police Headquarters, which, fun fact, was originally the police officer’s mess hall back in the day. Once a place for casual lunches and convivial merrymaking, Cantina continues the tradition with generous sharing platters and ample free-flow. It’s all about good, honest Italian cooking here, with Executive Chef Luca Shiavone bringing his own modern interpretation to this Italian restaurant’s menu created in collaboration with aqua’s Executive Chef Andrea Mura.
Inspired by old school, New York-Italian elegance and sophistication, Carbone invites you in with its mix of glamour and comfort (and its famed Spicy Rigatoni Vodka). The menu showcases familiar dishes that take you back to the decadent heyday of Italian chic in New York, including comfort classics like the Lobster Ravioli, Veal Parmesan and Prime Porterhouse.
Michelin Bib Gourmand Italian restaurant Castellana has bid goodbye to its Causeway Bay homestead and re-opened in Central, taking up an elegant two-storey space in Club Lusitano. The restaurant’s new executive chef, Romeo Morelli, brings an entirely new menu showcasing the rich and diverse culinary landscape of Northern Italy’s Piedmont region. Highlights include the Bottoni di Aragosta Blu (homemade ravioli filled with Brittany blue lobster) and Morelli’s contemporary take on the classic tiramisu.
Cotton Tree Pizzeria
Sit down for a slice and an afternoon Aperol at the al fresco Cotton Tree Pizzaria set against The Murray’s iconic Arches and lush greenery. The hotel pizzeria serves up a wide selection of Neapolitan pizzas, covering classics like Margherita and Quattro Formaggi, alongside obligatory appetisers such as Burrata with Marinated Cherry Tomatoes and Prosciutto di Parma with Cantaloupe Melon.
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The kitchen is led by owner-chef Angelo Agliano, who comes from a fishing family and grew up in Sicily. After working under Joël Robuchon for nearly a decade, chef Agliano opened Locanda dell’Angelo, an intimate neighbourhood Italian restaurant where seafood takes centre stage (we recommend the ‘Mancini’ Linguini!). This is a veritable slice of Sicily in Happy Valley.
Although this Italian restaurant is located in an inconspicuous area, there’s nothing secretive about LucAle: this alleyway trattoria is not only recognised by the Michelin Guide, but also more broadly beloved for its palate-pleasing pasta. Signatures include the homemade Pappardelle Al Ragù Di Bolognese Bianca, and Sassy’s favourite vegetarian Chitarrino Al Tartufo Nero adorned with generous shavings of black truffle.
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Octavium Italian Restaurant
The dishes at Octavium don’t attempt to reinvent the “veal” – instead, it’s all about building on the essence of hearty, often rustic, classics. In this home-style Italian restaurant, the fittings are far from every day – think handmade Venetian glasses and Italian designer furniture – lending a more minimalist, and laid-back atmosphere to enjoy dishes of first-class quality.
Black Sheep’s Osteria Marzia, situated on the ground floor of the Fleming Hotel, presents a worthy option for those in the mood for a taste of the ocean. Here, the focus is singular: coastal Italian cuisine, simply prepared. The menu pays tribute to three regions in particular – namely Campania, Puglia and Sicily – highlighting the rich, olive oil-soaked textures and tangy, anchovy-laden flavours of southern Italy.
Every neighbourhood could do with a Pici. With nine locations across the city, including its newest branch at Taikoo Place, Pici’s freshly made pasta doesn’t disappoint. From lasagne to pappardelle, there are no antics, sleights of hand or try-hard deconstructions – just honestly prepared dishes served in a warm and cheerful environment. And gluten-intolerant guests don’t have to go hungry either – the kitchen can switch to gluten-free pasta upon request!
Sabatini Ristorante Italiano
At Sabatini Ristorante Italiano, ensconced within The Royal Garden Hotel, simplicity defines the food on offer. Here, guests have the opportunity to revel in an old-school dining experience where the classics are left largely untouched. Dishes such as Linguine alla Sabatini, Lasagna alla Bolognese, and Risotto ai Funghi are exquisitely crafted.
Debuting as the sister restaurant of Trippa, the famed Milan outpost of Head Chef Diego Rossi and partner Pietro Caroli, Testina aims to transport diners to the family dining table in Italy, all while presenting an elevated dining experience. The compact menu, overseen by Executive Chef Marco Xodo (formerly chef de cuisine of 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana Shanghai), champions a nose-to-tail approach to cooking, featuring refined dishes based on classic recipes rooted from generation to generation.
Tosca di Angelo
Balanced atop the 102nd floor of the luxurious Ritz Carlton, vaulted ceilings and elaborate chandeliers frame the panoramic views of Victoria Harbour at this Michelin-starred Italian restaurant. Ingredients are sourced from Italy, appearing in heirloom Sicilian dishes like homemade tagliolini and hamachi carpaccio with Oscietra caviar. The tiramisu, served with coffee granita on the side, is known to be one of the best in Hong Kong!
8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana
Spearheaded by award-winning chef Umberto Bombana, 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana enjoys the extraordinary status of being the only Italian restaurant in the world, located outside of Italy, to earn three Michelin stars. Chef Bombana’s dishes unify local and traditional Italian ingredients, creating plates that are as reflective of Bombana’s personal journey as they are contemporary – a distinctive love letter to Italian cuisine in the beating heart of Hong Kong Island.
Editor’s Note: This article was most recently updated by Team Sassy in December 2022.
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Main image courtesy of Pici via Instagram, image 1 courtesy of Giovanni Pina, image 2 courtesy of The Italian Club Seafood Wine Bar via Instagram image 3 courtesy of BluHouse, image 4 courtesy of Carbone, image 5 courtesy of Cotton Tree Pizzeria via Instagram, image 6 courtesy of LucAle via Instagram, image 7 courtesy of Osteria Marzia via Instagram, image 8 courtesy of Sabatini Ristorante Italiano via Instagram, image 9 courtesy of Tosca di Angelo via Instagram.