No longer willing to live in Causeway Bay’s shadow, Tai Hang has emerged as a cool area in its own right. Filled with vintage and specialty shops, culture (the Tai Hang fire dragon dance, a three-day event during the mid autumn festival, is always a big draw) and lots of food and drink options, Tai Hang deserves a look. Make a day of it with a marvellous meal followed by a drink at a sleek neighbourhood bar. Where to go? That’s where we come in. See below and enjoy!
The quaint yet quirky Little Tai Hang hotel and apartments is not only a great alternative to skyscraper hotels, but houses some wonderful eateries and drinking holes. Tipsy is the latest to open here, bringing modern European cuisine in an elegant (there’s a beautiful hand-drawn feature wall inspired by Tai Hang) yet relaxing (brass accents and soft lighting) setting. Signature dishes include blow-torched Spanish red prawns and Sicilian anchovy pasta, either well-paired with a wine from their extensive list of old and new world labels.
Where: 1/F, Little Tai Hang, 98 Tung Lo Wan Road, Tai Hang
Contact: 2818 8807 or [email protected]
Also in Little Tai Hang is BOND, when you’re in the mood for Italian comfort food. Prices are affordable and there’s nothing like getting your pasta served from a giant cheese wheel: their table side spaghetti is portioned out from a large 24-month aged Parmesan wheel, making for a warm, cheesy plate of noodle bliss. The large open terrace is ideal for post-dinner cocktails and conversation.
Where: 2/F, Little Tai Hang, 98 Tung Lo Wan Road, Tai Hang
Contact: 2155 1777
And on the ground floor of the part serviced residence, part neighbourhood hangout of Little Tai Hang is Second Draft. It’s a much buzzed about gastropub, probably due to the fact that they pour beers from celebrated local brewers Young Master and internationally award-winning chef May Chow is behind the food. The Hong Kong-inspired menu features dishes like Tai Hang fries, chips dusted with cumin, takana and dried chilli, and crab pasta made with Shanghainese yellow noodles, house béchamel, cucumber, ginger and topped with a whole flower crab.
Where: G/F, Little Tai Hang, 98 Tung Lo Wan Road, Tai Hang
Contact: 2656 0232
Elementary is about sharing, Australian style, but with Asian, European and Middle Eastern influences. They warn you ahead of time – don’t expect to find kangaroo on the menu – but you will encounter unique light bites (burrata with pink peppercorn honey, curry leaf, stone fruit, bee pollen) filling mains (their ‘fancy poutine’ is a different take on the Canadian classic, with oxtail gravy, blue cheese and runny egg on fries) and an eclectic breakfast menu that ranges from the healthy (smashed avocado, poached eggs, goat’s cheese, beetroot pesto, quinoa and pumpkin seeds on multigrain) to the gluttonous (the ‘EFT’ – Elementary French toast, brioche, white chocolate sauce, rhubarb sorbet, baby basil, berries and pistachio). We know they’re into sharing, but we think that EFT will be difficult to part with.
Where: 15-16 School Street, Tai Hang
Contact: 2362 2812 or [email protected]
Plumcot brings French pastry heaven to the neighbourhood at the hands of professional French pastry chefs Camille and Dominique, who opened the artisanal bakery/ice cream shop last year. Their creations range from gorgeous viennoiseries like croissants (with special strawberry and pecan flavours on weekends only), brioche and pain au chocolat, to velvety-smooth ice cream with signature flavours like the namesake plumcot (a hybrid plum and apricot fruit) and blue cheese. Rover doesn’t get left out, as they even make treats for dogs (chicken or beef bone-shaped biscuits).
Where: 10A Sun Chun Street, Tai Hang
Contact: 2573 6293 or [email protected]
This small eatery opened earlier this year, and is located near Plumcot, so you can stock up on dessert post-meal. Handmade pasta and in-house baked bread is the focus at Dough Kitchen, and must-try dishes are the wagyu bolognese, sea urchin pasta and sautéed squid with salsa verde antipasti.
Where: 21B Brown Street, Tai Hang
Contact: 2688 7008
You never have to twist our arm to try the latest burger joint in town…All In Burger & Bar has been around for just over a year now, and they’re becoming a real contender in the local burger scene. Maybe it’s the patties made daily by hand, or the fact that they use vegetables from city wet markets and buns from a small Tai Hang bakery, but we’re sold. The beef burger’s patty is so thick and juicy, with melted cheese and caramelised onions heaped on top, and the spicy chicken burger has a bit of a kick in the crispy chicken steak, but the juicy pineapple offsets it nicely. Go the unconventional burger route and try crab or shrimp sandwiched between a soft bun. Their menu also offers pub grub like ribs, fish and chips, and scotch eggs.
Where: Shop B, G/F Sun Chun Building, 4A-7 Sun Chun Street, Tai Hang
Contact: 9211 0879 or [email protected]
Being the burgeoning foodie area it is, Tai Hang has some choice sushi spots to hit up, and one of the newer ones is Sushi Hana. It’s billed as a high-end sushi restaurant with local professional sushi chefs at the helm, so it’s probably not one to pop into for a cheap and quick cucumber roll. The cosy and understated setting is most inviting, with lovely Japanese art featured throughout. Hokkaido scallops with miso dressing are a highlight, as is the assorted sashimi set, a treat to eat as well as watch being made by the masters in front of you, as you sit at the counter and sip your sake.
Where: 142 Tung Lo Wan Road, Hong Kong Tai Hang
Contact: 2679 8038 or [email protected]
Teppanyaki may not be for everyone…chefs slicing and griddling Japanese delicacies in front of you on a hot surface, steam and sizzling smoke coming at you from various angles. But when delivered by a noted teppanyaki chef in a one Michelin-starred establishment, it’s a memorable dining experience. Chef Lawrence Mok, who also operates nearby Sushi Hana, serves up outstanding lunch and dinner sets that are excellent value, using premium quality wagyu and lobster. The cosy setting adds to the meal, putting you next to the action, or there’s a private room that can be reserved for an intimate night out with friends.
Where: 134 Tung Lo Wan Road, Tai Hang
Contact: 2570 7088 or [email protected]
Come for some hot ‘poetry in a bowl’ at this charming cafe, with wall clocks and luggage mixed in the décor to give it a railway station feel. Why the train motif and name? Because the delicious beef noodle soup that brings people here has a tale behind it, one involving passengers waiting at a train station once upon a time on a cold day in Saigon. An alluring aroma of beef broth from a nearby noodle stand caused a long queue to form in front, eventually growing to the size of an entire train. Hence the name ‘locomotive beef noodles’, done here with a secret recipe using beef bones and spices simmered into a rich broth, topped with thin slices of beef. There’s a vegetarian option too.
Where: G/F, 11 Wun Sha Street, Tai Hang
Contact: 2882 8227, 2577 3171 or [email protected]
A proper hole in the wall where ramen junkies in the city come for heaping bowls of noodle goodness. Some say it’s the best ramen in Hong Kong, and there’s no shortage of choices, including some creative spins on the Japanese classic like curry ramen with mashed potato. The service is wonderful, especially if you need help selecting the right soup base (green, red, black, regular) for your taste buds. Always wanted to try basil and cheese with your ramen? Then go green. Red means hot and spicy, and black comes from fragrant blackened garlic and squid ink.
Where: G/F, 3 King Street, Tai Hang
Very laid back and good for a rousing time with pals over tacos and chicken tikka. Yes, Andy’s Garage (full name Andy’s Garage Mediterranean Grill) can be a bit confusing, as it’s primarily billed as a Mexican restaurant, but the menu is a mish-mash of Middle Eastern and Mexican eats, with fajitas, burritos, quesadillas, roast lamb, falafel, and an entire kebab section. The decoration scheme is kitschy mechanic shop mixed with flea market finds and brightly painted walls. Sometimes there’s belly dancing entertainment. Like we said, confusing, but the food is a hit, particularly the nachos, a towering plateful of crispy tortilla chips and mounds of sour cream, guacamole, salsa and cheese.
Where: G/F, 14A Sun Chun Street, Tai Hang
Contact: 2267 9023 or [email protected]
On the ground floor of The Warren on Warren Street you’ll find Warren Restaurant. Thankfully the menu is a bit more creative, with a changing monthly menu of European (mainly French) fare, such as sous-vide duck breast with beetroot puree and purple sweet mashed potato, or pan-fried USDA sirloin with chocolate gravy. It has a bistro feel and is a nice setting for a casual bite with a friend, with amiable service making for a lovely outing.
Where: Shop 1, G/F, The Warren, 9 Warren Street, Tai Hang
Contact: 2392 5121 or [email protected]
A favourite with local vegetarians and non-veg eaters too for fresh and tasty salads, wraps, juices and smoothies. It’s more of a takeaway place, but there’s a handful of seats if you want to park yourself with an affordable meal set (main, soup, juice) and other healthy eats. Take your veggie burger with ‘sheese’ (they cater to vegans too) to go and grab some fresh fruit and veggies on your way out, as they sell those too.
Where: 144 Tung Lo Wan Road, Tai Hang
Contact: 2802 6126
As this list indicates, there’s no shortage of Japanese restaurants in Tai Hang, but this one claims to have some of the finest wagyu beef in the city. The ambience is simple but pleasing, with cheerful service and a top yakiniku (grilled meat) selection. Get acquainted and order the ‘Chef’s Recommendation’ – at $680 it’s the priciest choice on the menu, but you’re getting the finest cuts of deluxe sirloin, deluxe tendon, Chateaubriand and deluxe tenderloin.
Where: 18-20 Shepherd Street, Tai Hang
Contact: 2970 0488 or [email protected]
A casual, family-oriented restaurant from the Castelo restaurant group, Tai Hang Bar & Grill serves Asian and western favourites and is good for popping in for a quick bite, or a stiff drink at their daily happy hour. People rave about their crackling pork belly, and dessert options are quite indulgent, like the chocolate chip cookie skillet, a soft and gooey chocolate chip cookie in a hot skillet drizzled in caramel sauce with vanilla bean ice cream.
Where: G/F, Intelligent Court, 38 Tung Lo Wan Road, Tai Hang
Contact: 2525 1439 or [email protected]
This Tai Hang gem doesn’t seat a lot of patrons, yet it’s a popular haunt for its eye-catching interior design and superb curries. You may have to wait for a table, and it can get a touch loud in here, but you’ll happily deal with all this for the authentic and tasty Indian food. The samosas are wonderful and filling, as are the rest of the dishes, served in big portions so sharing is recommended. Go for the palak paneer, aromatic chicken curry, spicy vindaloo and a cool mango lassi.
Where: G/F, 14 Sun Chun Street, Tai Hang
Contact: 2267 9100 or [email protected]
They make a great steak at Bovini, whether you have a hankering for a juicy USDA ribeye, New York strip loin or Australian wagyu. Their tomahawk steak with deep fried cheese is not for the faint of heart, while the ossobuco risotto is rich and satisfying. Good for date night, as the interior is dimly lit and the set dinners (‘Joyful 3 Course Dinner Set for Two’, ‘Deluxe 3 Course Dinner Set for Two’ or ‘Premium 4 Course Dinner Set for Two’) cover all the bases, ensuring you’ll be well-fed and satisfied – the best part is the molten chocolate cake at the end.
Where: G/F, 128 Tung Lo Wan Road, Tai Hang
Contact: 2886 9381 or [email protected]
A meal at The Social House feels like you’re eating at home with friends, as the ambiance is, well, social, the staff friendly and the food comforting and delicious. They do modern European using ‘only fresh ingredients to create innovative dishes’, with a fabulous wine list to accompany hearty mains like roasted duck breast pappardelle or succulent suckling pig with sweet apricot jus.
Where: Shop A, G/F, 12-13 Shepherd Street, Tai Hang
Contact: 2808 2638 or [email protected]
Good old Classified, a popular spot for all day breakfast, weekend brunch or a meal with the kids, thanks to the affordable and varied kids’ menus. Locations are scattered around town, and the Tai Hang venue is warm and inviting, featuring tasteful wooden furniture with marble table tops. They’re also known for their cheese selection, carefully crafted from France. Whether you go for a funky blue cheese or a mild Camembert, they all go very nicely with the many varieties of wine on hand.
Where: 1-9 Lin Fa Kung Street West, Tai Hang
Contact: 2857 3454 or [email protected]
A convivial place for great pizza from a simple menu that makes ordering easy, because really, there’s no need to complicate the thin-crust Italian delight. All their pizzas are made from scratch using quality ingredients, including double-O flour (apparently the best flour for pizza-making). They do pastas too, but the main draw are the 11-inch pies, from a classic margherita to a more adventurous gorgonzola and apple creation.
Where: 1 Wun Sha Street, Tai Hang
Contact: 2824 3001
You’ll no doubt stumble upon a crowd outside this ice cream establishment, because it’s not the usual scoop and cone kind. It’s the city’s first liquid nitrogen ice cream ‘laboratory’, and it often draws people to catch a glimpse at how it’s all made, instantaneously in front of you in large mixers, misty clouds swirling about as liquid is transformed into solid ice cream in minutes. Some of their tempting rotating flavours are apple crumble, sticky toffee pudding and crusty sea salt with caramel.
Where: 6 Brown Street, Tai Hang
Contact: 9355 4476 or [email protected]
Tea aficionados will make fast friends with this modern and bright Tai Hang tea house, where they hand blend and custom-craft fine organic teas. Each tea (more than 150 different house-made blends are available) is individually hand-picked and blended, taken hot or cold in-store or to go. Packaged tea sets of their assorted blends are available in charming canisters, making for lovely gifts, and are so well-priced that you might as well grab one for yourself.
Where: G/F, 21 Ormsby Street, Tai Hang
Contact: 2284 4203 or [email protected]
It’s tiny, and there’s always competition for finding a place to sit, but that’s because Unar’s reputation is legendary in the neighbourhood for an awesome cup of coffee. Brewed from beans imported from Italy that are carefully picked to produce rich aromas and flavours, the selection goes beyond the ordinary – banana or cucumber coffee anyone?
Where: 15 Sun Chun Street, Tai Hang
Contact: 2838 5231
Great spot for a lazy Sunday coffee and pastry, or a satisfying brunch made with their in-house freshly baked bread. Grab a seat by the tall windows to catch the sun coming in, order the poached egg with avocado crab meat spread on toast and a signature foamy latte, and there’s your day sorted.
Where: 1 Lily Street, Tai Hang
Contact: 2566 1023
Nancy Matos is a lifestyle and culture writer from Vancouver, Canada currently based in Hong Kong and London. She can often be spotted in the crowd outside Lab Made, or wherever ice cream is served.