Unless you’ve a bottomless bank account, not to mention a bottomless belly, finding the best restaurant in Hong Kong’s Soho district is no easy task. The place is stuffed with eateries. Below aren’t the Soho restaurants with the best food, the best price or the best décor, but a combination of all three. These are five of Soho’s most popular restaurants, where you’re guaranteed a good feed. Prices run from a fistful of dollars to a bagful, but none of the restaurants below will scare your bank manager. Food runs from mayonnaise laden fries to the best hummus in town.
The city’s food critics would rather drown themselves in a bowl of quail egg soup than admit to enjoying a bite in Jaspas, but this SoHo mainstay has been pleasing the crowds with its solid international menu for decades. Forget organically grown potatoes flown in from the Baltic or cows sourced from the rocky hilltops of the Andes, Jaspas is all about well executed comfort food without the PR that has gripped many Hong Kong restaurants. The perpetual crowds, usually of loyal customers, are a nod to the quality of the cooking and the laidback, good time atmosphere. Famed for its boozy brunches, lunches and dinners, the drinking here is almost as popular as the eating.
2. La Pampa Argentinean Steak House
Bring your appetite and a good pair of teeth. Competition for Hong Kong's best steak house has always been a gloves off affair and one man’s supreme slice can be another mans sinew. La Pampa probably isn't King of the Cow in Hong Kong, but it's not far off and features prices far lighter than the town's premium steak houses. Other grilled animals fresh from the kitchen include rack of lamb and half chicken, as well as a selection of fish, all complimented by an impeccable wine list showcasing the best in Argentinian reds.
An upscale Bierhalle decked out in dark, panelled wood walls, padded wooden benches and a floor to ceiling bar stuffed with Brussels best beer. While it’s the pints that get all the headlines, the food here is also superb. The menu is a carnivores playground, featuring various farmyard animals freshly grilled, including an excellent pork knuckle and the unmissable Schnitzel with vinegar doused, mayonnaise covered fries. For something a little more delicate, they also have a selection of fresh mussels and some excellent Belgian waffles.
4. Archie Bs and Taco Loco
Two separate establishments that share a wall, an owner and a continent. Archie B’s is a convincing recreation of a New York Deli, featuring a selection of decent burgers, bagels and hotdogs. Your real reason for coming here, however, is the brick sized sandwiches, with cheesesteaks, rye bread and dill pickles all on offer, washed down with a Dr Pepper and a twinkie. Next door, Taco Loco is a Hong Kong institution for fans of Mexican food. The menu only stretches to quesadillas, burritos and tacos, but all are excellent and so thoroughly stuffed they can easily substitute for a main meal. Both offer seating, although your elbow might end up in next doors burrito, and prices are little more than pocket change.
5. Habibi Café and Restaurant
Arguably Hong Kong’s most authentic Middle Eastern food, Habibi serves up convincing portions of koshary, mussaka and shwarma as well as a legendary hummus. Split between a relaxed café and a slightly more expensive and formal restaurant setting, the café actually boasts the better atmosphere, where the Egyptian owners have resisted the urge to slap pictures of Ali Baba and other Arab clichés on the wall, in favour of pre war Middle Eastern movie pictures and a subtle mosaic design. Be warned, the servings are notoriously light, so be sure to order enough if you have a large hole to fill.