There’s a whole lot more to Hong Kong’s Central district than high rises and harbour views. Check out our guide to Central for its best hotspots – from artisan coffee houses to old-school cocktail bars – to keep you entertained!
Hong Kong’s most iconic district is famous for its staggering high rises, hectic streets and tourist highlights. Look beyond the bustle, however, and you’ll find a thriving scene of excellent eateries just waiting to be discovered. Tucked away in the teeming streets just moments from the Hive Central on Queen’s Road Central are hotspots for every budget and taste. Here are our favourites!
Best Coffee Shops in Central
A stark contrast to the bustling Des Voeux Road waking up outside its doors, the small Amber Coffee Brewery is a calm and relaxing spot to kickstart your early morning adventures. Thanks to award-winning barista Dawn Chan, the coffee here has its own little twist with original and unique blends (pineapple, anyone?) and is served up alongside breakfast options perfectly suited to a morning on the go.
Insider Tip: Order the house black and you’ll get yours in a neat, sake-inspired flask.
Address: 142 Des Voeux Road, Central
Open From: Mon – Fri: 8 am – 6 pm, Sat: 9 am – 6 pm, Sun: 10 am – 6 pm
Tucked away through an inconspicuous doorway in Soho, Fineprint is the place to head for a high-end and hip coffee experience. Serving up artisanal coffee and a no-frills menu of breakfast favourites such as their much-loved avocado toast, its communal table is packed each morning with regulars who wouldn’t start their day without a pit stop here – you’ll even find some perching on the stoop. Check it out after work for an extensive wine menu, making it a great place for your more relaxed meetings as the day progresses.
Insider Tip: Happy hour runs from a generous 4 – 8 pm, Mondays to Saturdays.
Address: 38 Peel St, Central
Open From: Mon: 6 am – 6 pm, Wed: 8 am – 10 pm, Thu: 8 am – 12 am, Fri – Sat: 6 am – 12 am
Best Restaurants in Central
Known for serving up the best wonton noodles in town, Mak’s Noodle is a bonafide Hong Kong institution – and quite rightly so. A third-generation establishment that’s run by the descendant of Mak Woon-chi, Guangchou’s ‘King of Wonton Noodle’, the recipe is the same as that which was once served to the former president of the Republic of China, Chiang Kai-shek. There are some that grumble over the size of the wontons, and others who regard the eatery as being on the pricey side (a meal for one is around HKD 40), but for us, there’s no better place to savour our favourite slippery noodles. After all, if it’s good enough for Chiang Kai-shek…
Insider’s Tip: Given the ‘small’ portions, some recommend ordering an additional bowl if you’re hungry.
Address: 77 Wellington St, Central
Open From: 11 am – 9 pm
No trip to Hong Kong would be complete without savouring a steaming hot bowl of beef brisket noodles – and there’s nowhere that does it better than this legendary institution. Taking the top spot on many a foodie’s bucket list, Kau Kee has been serving up beef brisket for almost a century now, earning it a much-coveted spot on the Michelin-recommended ‘Bib Gourmand’ list for several years now. Boasting an impressive celebrity clientele to boot, popular orders here include the Beef Brisket with E-Fu Noodle in Broth and the Beef Tendon Noodles in Curry.
Insider’s Tip: This local, no-frills favourite is cash only and usually teeming with a constant stream of customers so be prepared to queue for your meal and share a table with other diners.
Address: G/F, 21 Gough Street, Central
Opening From: Mon-Sat: 12:30pm-10.30pm
Kicking off with the basics, a visit to 27 Kebab House is a no-frills experience that punches well above its weight on taste. Located under Central’s escalators and a long-held local favourite, this hole-in-the-wall has been serving up classic kebabs to passing visitors, hungry workers and the late-night crowd for years. Casual, deeply satisfying and totally fuss-free, this is fast food that delivers.
Insider Tip: Stop by on your way home after a night out to keep the wolf from the door, and consider getting their chicken doner for a juicy meal.
Address: Shop D-E, G/F, 27 Hollywood Road, Soho, Central
Open From: 10 am – 6 am
Walk down adjacent Lyndhurst Terrace and you can’t miss the daily queues to be found outside the Tai Cheong Bakery. Famous for its traditional egg tarts, this spot has been a firm part of Hong Kong culture since opening its doors in 1954, dishing out sweet treats to visitors and locals who all flock here for their afternoon fix – and an Insta-worthy shot, or two.
Insider Tip: Avoid going at peak hours to skip the long queue, although it moves fast.
Address: 35 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central
Open From: 8 am – 8:30 pm
The winner of a Tripadvisor certificate of excellence for four years running, Ding Dim has made its mark as a traditional dim sum restaurant offering up simple and accessible fare. Coupling quality with reasonable prices, it’s an obvious and easy choice for anyone tempted by some Hong Kong dumplings – highlights being their classic Xiao Long Bao.
Insider Tip: The dishes here are often bigger than usual, so come hungry!
Address: 59 Wyndham Street, Central
Open From: Sun – Thu: 11 am – 9:15 pm, Fri – Sat: 11 am – 10:15 pm
Tsim Chai Kee Noodle has been around for over 20 years, making it a veritable Hong Kong institution. Inconspicuous from the outside, this tiny restaurant is frequented by locals and often only discovered by the more intrepid explorers. It’s well worth seeking out. Not only does this place serve up a slice of authentic local food culture, but its wontons are also truly delicious.
Insider Tip: Try the fish and beef ball noodles – a local favourite.
Address: 98 Wellington St, Central
Open From: 9 am – 10 pm
If you’re looking for something green and healthy, MANA! is a great bet. One of the first movers in Hong Kong’s now buzzing vegan scene, it’s also a restaurant with a firm zero-waste philosophy and commitment to sustainability. With delicious flats and juices, hearty veggie burgers and good takeaway salad options, this guilt-free hotspot sees the crowds coming lunch after lunch.
Insider Tip: There aren’t a lot of seats here so make sure you arrive early. And for a treat, check out the garlicnaise chips.
Address: 8 Staunton Street, Central
Open From: 10 am – 10 pm
If you fancy Italian food before your night out in Lan Kwai Fong, Ciao Chow is a sound choice. From its streetside location at the base of California Tower and in the heart of the action, this sleek Italian-style cafeteria serves up delicious Neapolitan-style pizzas and fuss-free pasta to a relaxed, happy crowd – plus, it’s got 25 craft beers on tap.
Insider Tip: Check it out at the weekends for its well-priced brunch, serving up all the classics.
Address: G/F, California Tower, 30-32 D’Aguilar Street, Lan Kwai Fong, Central
Open From: Sun – Thu: 12 pm – 2 am, Fri – Sat: 12 pm – 4 am
Offering up the best of British cuisine, Mr Wolf is an all-day dining concept from the Castelo group that offers a stylish escape from the hectic streets below at any time of day. Open daily from 7 am, head to Mr Wolf for a hearty breakfast, or check it out throughout the day for its British bistro classics, cocktails served up from its terrace and an extremely popular weekend brunch featuring an all-you-can-eat British roast.
Insider Tip: Happy hour happens here seven days a week from 3 – 9 pm, starting at HKD 45.
Address: 5/F Crawford House, 70 Queen’s Road, Central
Open From: 7 am – 12 am
Understated from the outside but teeming with character on the inside, a visit to the New Punjab Club is a truly memorable experience. Recently awarded a Michelin star in the 2019 guide (the first Punjabi restaurant to win the accolade), the Black Sheep group’s small hotspot has quickly consolidated itself as a definitive highlight in Hong Kong’s food scene. Taking inspiration from post-colonial India and Pakistan, everything from its botanical gin and tonics to its wonderfully atmospheric decor, truly delicious dishes and traditionally-dressed doorman oozes swagger and style.
Insider Tip: It’s all about the tandoor here – and the exceptional gin and tonics.
Address: World Wide Commercial Building, 34 Wyndham Street, Central
Open From: Mon – Tue: 6 – 10:30 pm, Wed: 6 – 11:30 pm, Thu: 12 – 2:30 pm, 6 – 11:30 pm, Fri: 12 – 2:30 pm, 5 – 11:30 pm, Sat: 5 – 11:30 pm, Sun: 5 – 10:30 pm
A contemporary, upscale Chinese restaurant that’s commonly regarded to be one of the city’s chicest (and best!) dining experiences, Mott 32 is – and I hate to say it – sexy. A self-described celebration of Hong Kong culture and culinary tradition, stepping into Mott 32 is a feast for all the senses. An intricate fusion of East-meets-West that features silk-embroidered walls, Shanghai-style brickwork, mirrored panelling, and even a room lined with Chinese calligraphy brushes, diners will be hard-pressed to find a more stylish dim sum dining experience.
Insider’s Tip: We recommend ordering their renowned Peking Duck, Barbecued Iberico Pork with Yellow Mountain Honey, and Shanghaiese Soup Dumplings. Oh, and don’t forget to request a table in the train car-like side room when booking.
Address: Standard Chartered Bank Building, 4-4A Des Vouex Road, Central
Open From: 12 pm – 2:30 pm, 6 pm – 11 pm
The epitome of art deco elegance, this opulent, upscale Chinese restaurant is the ideal spot for financiers looking to impress. Conceived by legendary businessman Sir David Tang, the late founder of the China Club and Shanghai Tang, China Tang’s majestic décor just oozes glamour and luxury, instantly transporting you to 1920’s Shanghai. With signature dishes that range from the humble Char Siu (made from the belly underside of Kurobuta pork) to their famed Steamed Lobster Dumplings and Braised E-Fu Noodle with Langoustine, it’s clear that this is one restaurant that shows its weight both on its plates and on its walls.
Insider’s Tip: Their impressive wine cellar is notable for having received the ‘Best of Award of Excellence’ by Wine Spectator 2019.
Address: Shops 411-413 4/F Landmark Atrium, 15 Queen’s Road Central, Central
Open From: 12 pm – 2:30 pm, 6 pm – 10:30 pm
After bringing us our local favourite burger joint, Burger Joys, the boys are back with Wingman and their team of wing specialists. With 12 scrumptious flavours including cajun, lemon pepper and hoisin glazed with sesame, Wingman is definitely Hong Kong’s Lord of the Wings and the go-to spot for a zesty snack with saucy dips.
Insider Tip: Celebrate hump day at Wingman with HKD 5 wings night!
Address: 6/F, Cheung Hing Commercial Building, 37 Cochrane St, Central
Open From: 12 pm – 11 pm
Bringing Peruvian flavours and plenty of South American party vibes to Hong Kong, Ichu has become a firm, high-end favourite in the swanky foodie destination that is H Queen’s. From its earthy-meets-industrial space, this restaurant serves up a modern take on Peruvian cuisine – think sharing plates of delicious ceviche and mains such as banana leaf-wrapped sea bass and short ribs. Coupled with its extensive, speciality cocktail list and happening outdoor terrace where a DJ plays on well into the night, it’s a great spot for a glam night out.
Insider Tip: Take note of the Ichu Chilcanos, a signature cocktail which varies month by month according to seasonal fruits and different piscos.
Address: 3/F, H Queen’s, 80 Queen’s Road Central, Central
Open From: Mon – Thu: 12 – 2:30 pm, 6 – 10:30 pm, Fri: 12 – 2:30 pm, 6 – 11 pm, Sat: 6 – 11 pm, Sun: 6 – 10:30 pm
Best Bars in Central
For a truly original pre-dinner drinks spot, try Behind Bars, a cocktail bar located in amongst the old cells of the now-repurposed Tai Kwun Police Station. Setting itself apart from the saturation of drinking holes in the near vicinity thanks to its quirky location and sleek decor, this venture from dining empire the JIA Group serves up high-quality cocktails to guests sitting in booths housed in former cells and at a central communal table.
Insider Tip: Feeling peckish? You can order food in from other JIA locations such as the delectable Old Bailey restaurant next door.
Address: Shop 15, G/F, Barrack Block, 10 Hollywood Rd, Central
Open From: Mon – Thu: 4 pm – 12 am, Fri: 3 pm – 2 am, Sat: 2 pm – 2 am, Sun: 2 – 11 pm
Arguably one of the most welcoming bars in Central, Bobby’s Rabble prides itself on its welcoming atmosphere and anything-goes attitude. With two branches on offer, head to Wyndham Street for plenty of space, fun-loving crowds, a big selection of craft beers and live music events.
Insider Tip: Bobby’s Rabble offers a freeflow deal on Fridays at 6 – 8 pm for HKD 200.
Address: 46 Wyndham Street, Central
Open From: 5 pm – 2 am
Bringing all the colourful flavours and vibes of the Mexican street food scene to Hong Kong, Brickhouse is a reliably lively dining and cocktail experience. With its graffiti-strewn walls, delicious tostadas, and delectable margaritas, what this place lacks in formality it more than makes up for in atmosphere. Head here when it opens at 6 and stay late.
Insider Tip: Our favourite? A toss-up between their in-house-made tortillas and the Brickhouse Margarita, providing a twist on a much-loved classic.
Address: 20 D’Aguilar Street, Central
Open From: Mon – Wed: 6 pm – 2 am, Thu – Sat: 6 pm – 4 am
Calling all whisky aficionados, Whisky and Words is your next stop speakeasy for a ritzy evening out. Boasting an extensive list of more than 300 whiskies to choose from that come from all over the world, ranging from the 21-year old Japanese Suntory Hibiki (a classic!) all the way to the 17-year-old Scottish Highland Park, it’s time to up your game and sip like a pro.
Insider Tip: Staring from HKD 60, you’ll never find a whisky bar offering happy hour this cheap.
Address: 7 Shin Hing Street, Central, Hong Kong
Open From: 5 pm – 1 am
Looking out for a high-end bar to celebrate a special occasion, or just feeling particularly lavish? PDT, or Please Don’t Tell, at the Landmark Mandarin’s MO bar ticks all the boxes. An outpost of New York’s famous East Village cocktail lounge of the same name, this decadent, tiny drinking den houses a luxurious yet cosy bar, serving up top-class cocktails and top-notch bar snacks. The snag? Getting in. Make sure you book well in advance.
Insider Tip: To locate PDT, look for a secret telephone booth hidden above the Landmark Mandarin’s MO Bar.
Address: The Landmark, 15 Queen’s Road Central
Open From: Sun – Thu: 5 pm – 1:30 am, Fri – Sat: 5 pm – 2 am
What To Do in Central
Situated on an overpass spanning the Hong Kong hillside the length of Jubilee Street, the Central-Mid-Levels escalators are more than just a mode of transport. Providing an elevated view of the chaos below, as well as a break from all that pavement pounding, they’re the beating heart of this district and a great place to get your bearings from.
Insider tip: Keep your camera at the ready… you never know what you’re going to pass by.
Address: Jubilee Street, Central
Open From: 10:15 am – 12 am
Once the city’s Police Married Quarters, PMQ is a cultural and shopping destination packed with small, boutiquey finds and creative spots perfect for finding small gifts, trinkets and mementoes. While you’re here, 794729 Metalwork is worth a visit, producing lovely and individualised silver, copper and gold accessories, while Chailie Ho, Loom Loop, and Sake Central are other interesting boutiques. And, if all that retail therapy makes you peckish, head to Sohofama, an offshoot of Locofama, for some healthy dumplings or Jason Atherton’s Aberdeen Street Social for a cocktail and bites.
Insider Tip: There’s a lot to explore here, so consider taking a break at the Loupe Teahouse where they serve some delectable craft deserts and teas.
Address: 35 Aberdeen Street, Central
Open From: 7 am – 11 pm
Hong Kong’s latest dining and cultural hotspot, Tai Kwun on Hollywood Road reopened in May 2018 after over a decade of refurbishment. Once the city’s Central Police Station, incorporating parade ground, prison cells, offices and more, this network of stunning heritage buildings has now been restored to create a hub packed with excellent food and drinking spots, great shops and cultural exhibits. Start off your visit in the central courtyard with a cappuccino at Cafe Claudel to get your bearings before checking out the exhibitions tucked away in the complex’s corridors, exploring each floor to discover great shops and excellent dining that ranges from the fast to the fancy.
Insider Tip: Looking for a great spot for alfresco evening drinks? Tai Kwun is awash with options. Our favourite is Ashley Sutton’s Dragonfly with its utterly captivating and otherworldly green decor.
Address: 10 Hollywood Road, Central
Open From: 10 am – 11 pm
Feature image: IG: @arransaunders97
Come visit us!
the Hive Central, 14F, Manning House, 38-48 Queen’s Road Central, Central