Filmart: 5 Hong Kong Restaurants That Offer an Alternative to Cantonese Cuisine

Courtesy of Black Sheep Restaurants
The interior of James Henry's Belon

From Bilboa to Bangkok, the vibrant restaurant scene in Hong Kong offers irresistible international dishes that would impress even the most jaded of global travelers.

There are tens of thousands of restaurants in Hong Kong that cater to every type of taste and income. In a city with such a wealth of choices, it can become difficult to sort the dizzying number of options, so we've narrowed it down to five buzzy new places that the locals swear by.

Le Garcon Saigon

Located nearer the Pacific Place mall than the hustle and bustle found in the center of Wanchai, Le Garcon Saigon is a thoroughly modern Vietnamese brasserie. Popular with Hong Kong’s creative class, LGS, as locals call it, serves up the flavors of South Vietnam rather than typical pho in a space that mixes cosy with French colonial retro touches. Make sure to try the grilled fish and meats and the rice paper spring rolls that have become legendary.

Le Garcon Saigon, 12 Wing Fung St, Wan Chai.

The Optimist

Situated in the heart of Wanchai, a short distance from one of the most vibrant night districts in the city, The Optimist is a great spot to get pre-drinks or grab a quick bite to eat. Taking its inspiration from the food of northern Spain, The Optimist thankfully stays clear of tapas in favor of thick cuts of meats and grilled fish. But the drinks are worth the journey, with an excellent selection of cocktails and gins. Make sure to try the signature concoctions like the Black Heart, a delirious mix of Diplomatico rum, muddled fig, Creme de Casis and lime.  

The Optimist, 239 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai.


One of the hottest new restaurants in Hong Kong is Samsen, a Thai eatery from the former chef of Chachawan. Taking its culinary and aesthetic cues from the hole-in-the-wall street food style restaurants that dominate Bangkok, Samsen offers wholesome noodles and quick bites at prices that won’t make you wince. Planning ahead is a must with this no-reservations joint, with lines outside a common sight, but it is well worth the wait.

Samsen, 68 Stone Nullah Lane, Wan Chai. 


Recently opened Spiga has some heavyweight names behind it, chiefly multiple-Michelin-starred chef Enrico Bartolini with the decor designed by Joyce Wang, Hong Kong’s queen of restaurant interiors. Luckily the food lives up to the reputations, with Bartolini offering modern northeastern Italian dishes like crunchy veal cheek and house-made ravioli with buffalo ricotta. There’s also an excellent wine list, a must for connoisseurs. 

Spiga, 3/F, LHT Tower, 31 Queens Road, Central. 


Hong Kong isn’t short of world-class French restaurants, but Belon takes a refreshing approach by dialing down the pretentiousness and focusing on the food. Another standout establishment from the Black Sheep group (which also operates Le Garcon Saigon), Belon is a collaboration with Australian chef James Henry, whose specialty is French nose-to-tail style cooking using the freshest ingredients. Must-have dishes include the seafood options (try the seafood omelet) and the whole roasted chicken (pictured). The desserts are a delight, too.

Belon, 41 Elgin St, Soho, Central.

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