G/F, 28 Elgin Street, Central
Tel: 2577 7160
Vibe: This has the distinctive aura of an Italian-style New York restaurant. The ceilings are unusually high, making the restaurant feel bigger and more spacious than it is. The simple wooden tables and chairs combined with the open-air doors that spill out onto Elgin street create a welcoming, relaxed vibe. The chalkboard specials hang on an exposed brick wall, and the open kitchen littered with herbs, spices and bustling with life screams Italian home cooking.
Who to take: Take friends for a quick lunch, grandma for Sunday brunch or even swing by for a coffee on your own to sit and people-watch at one of the stools near the door. Although the layout of the tables is best designed for smaller groups, it would be hard to feel out of place here, no matter who you bring.
What’s hot: The food is simple and hearty. The portions are more Hong Kong-sized than American-sized, and it’s nice not to feel put off by a huge plate. In line with the rustic theme, the pastas are served simply, in a white dish, and the flavours are simple and tasty. Pizzas are served charred on a hot iron skillet, and are very, very cheesy. This inevitably makes them a little greasy, but it doesn’t mean they don’t taste great. Basil leaves add a burst of freshness and the rich, home-made tomato base helps balance out all the cheese.
What’s not: The drinks are deceptively expensive. Although they bring you a drinks menu when you sit down, it only has mocktails and other fancy drinks on it. But soft drinks and bottled water, while available, aren’t advertised, and it’s a bit of a blow to realise when the bill comes that a Coca Cola costs HK$40.
Cost: Starters priced from HK$48-HK$138. Pasta costs HK$128-HK$198. Pizza costs HK$118-HK$148. Drinks cost from HK$40-HK$78.