More than a few Hong Kong eateries boast outdoor seating, but not all of them are suited for the little ones in our lives. We’ve all experienced the horror of a child melting down in a too-formal restaurant as neighbouring couples look on… it’s not the best situation to find yourself in. Luckily, Sassy Mama has curated a list of fabulous alfresco dining options that are perfect for bringing the whole troupe along. Some of our suggestions are tried-and-true favourites, and some might be your brand new weekly open-air haunt.
With a beautifully landscaped, wide terrace, and a menu that’s fresh and light, Red Bar + Restaurant at ifc is a perfect lunch spot with your family on a bluebird day. This is “New California” cuisine, straight to Hong Kong.
Try the blackened salmon salad with quinoa, and let your kids indulge in a crispy margherita pizza. The deck is plenty wide for them to roam while you finish a glass of bubbly. An extension of Pure Fitness, Red is as lovely as you’d expect from the fine folks who brought us such amazing yoga (and steam rooms). You’ll feel like you’ve spent the hour in Santa Barbara! (Note that no reservations are taken for the outdoor dining.)
Red Bar + Restaurant, 4/F, ifc mall, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong, 8129 8882, www.pure-red.com
DiVino Patio calls itself “a place to discover the tradition of old Italian grocery stores from the 50s.” Skip the airport and travel to almost-Italy this weekend!
Brick walls, warm wood and happy customers set the tone at DiVino Patio. Your kids will love the Sunday brunch, a gorgeous antipasti buffet that’s free for little ones under 7. Plus, there’s a kids play corner on Sundays – so you might even have a shot at some adult conversation. And hey, if it’s almost-Italy, maybe George Clooney will show up.
DiVino Patio, Shop 11, 1/F, Causeway Centre, 28 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, 2877 3552, www.divinogroup.com
Classified, you’re our standby. Whether mama’s hankering for a cappuccino or a cheese plate, all 10 Hong Kong locations have you covered. From Happy Valley to Stanley, Classified is a classic because it’s familiar food for any homesick Westerners – and it’s pretty tasty! Our favourite locations for al fresco dining are at the Sheung Wan post and the newest location in Repulse Bay, where you can even grab a porch swing and look out to sea (past the throngs of tourists).
Classified, Shop 107, 1/F The Pulse, 28 Beach Road, Repulse Bay, Hong Kong, 2351 3454, www.classifiedfood.com
When it comes to hot baguettes and bloomy cheese, there’s no better place on the south side for Francophiles than Stan Café. Perched at the top of Stanley Plaza, the menu is simple and straightforward – the Eggs Benedict is especially nice – but, really, every item is a winner.
The views inside are phenomenal (those windows!), and the patio area is just as lovely (order inside and bring your food with you). Order a croissant for each family member, and we can almost guarantee your kids will be speechless for at least five minutes. Perfect peace.
Stan Café, Shop 505, 5/F, Stanley Plaza, Carmel Road, Stanley, Hong Kong, 2324 9008, www.stancafe.hk
Located in a charming cottage house on the top of Hong Kong Island, The Peak Lookout is a perfect family destination. Yes, it might be on every tourist’s hit list, but that doesn’t mean that we Hong Kongers should neglect it!
When the weather is behaving, it’s a relaxing place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, and the view over the south side of the island is spectacular. With a wide selection of delicious Western and Asian dishes (remember to order the tandoori!), The Peak Lookout is the perfect garden spot away from it all.
The Peak Lookout, 121 Peak Road, The Peak, Hong Kong, 2849 1000, www.peaklookout.com.hk
Sometimes you (and your kids) need a break from bustling city life, so a trip to Rainbow Seafood Restaurant on Lamma Island is the perfect escape. One ferry ride will transport you to a whole other Hong Kong.
Select your entrée straight from the gurgling tanks, then head to a round table and wait for the traditional Hong Kong seafood to arrive. Whether it’s the heralded Rainbow garoupa or fried crab with honey and pepper, the whole family will enjoy the authentic flavors and atmosphere at this Lamma institution. Easy access is a bonus: the free Rainbow ferries depart from Central, Aberdeen and TST direct to the feasting!
Rainbow Seafood Restaurant, Sok Kwu Wan First Street, Lamma Island, 2982 8100, www.rainbowrest.com.hk
Great beaches and clean air draw Hong Kongers to the south side – they don’t migrate beyond the MTR’s reach for the restaurant selection, frankly. However, Repulse Bay’s Spices is a go-to staple for families (and everyone else) for good reason.
With a range of favourite Asian dishes on offer – we’re talking red duck and lychee curry, satay, tom yam gung and teriyaki – the menu is eclectic, but the quality and presentation are excellent. It doesn’t hurt that the terrace is spacious enough for kids to burn off all kinds of post-meal wiggles as well. Just don’t forget your sunglasses!
Spices, G/F, The Arcade, 109 Repulse Bay Road, Repulse Bay, Hong Kong, 2292 2821, www.therepulsebay.com
Trek out to Lantau for the ultimate family-friendly dining spot: Mavericks on Pui O beach. It’s another cool bar and resto created by brand designer/art director Jay FC (of Flying Brats, Mr Bing, Linguini Fini, Stone Nullah Tavern, and Homegrown Foods). You’re in good hands, mamas.
Mavericks boasts a happy, chilled out environment right on the beach, the perfect place to spend your afternoon with sandcastle-builders in your family. With amazing food, good beers and a killer sunset to match, Mavericks is definitely one to try when your crew needs a weekend adventure in the sun.
Mavericks, Pui O Beach, Lantau Island, 5662 8552, www.mavericks.hk
More than four years ago, Hong Kongers clamoured into the brand new Oolaa for the brunch they’d been longing for, and we’re happy to say the place still delivers. It’s a great spot for kids as well – we’ve never met a kid who refused the strawberry pancakes – and the expansive dinner menu is equally approachable (the mashed potatoes have more than a few fans).
As it’s long been a hotspot in Soho, reservations are definitely recommended at Oolaa. There’s not a formal kids menu, but the staff is highly accommodating and happily adapts menu items for the littlest diners. This is a real winner if your kids wake up at the crack of dawn – the kitchen opens at 7:30 am and the Illy is hot!
Oolaa, G/F, Bridges Street, CentreStage, Soho, Mid-Levels, Hong Kong, 2803 2083, www.casteloconcepts.com
Sometimes a date night destination is just as well-suited to a family meal, and so it is with Isola. With a new look and a refreshed menu, this ifc gem by Gaia Group is surprisingly kid-friendly, particularly during the day.
With house-made pasta and a view that goes on for days, the terrace at Isola is what preschoolers call so so so so good. And any kid who loves Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site will be relishing it live as he’s munching away on that stone-baked pizza.
By the way, native English speakers, the accent is on the first syllable. Who knows, mama? You might get an extra bread basket if you can pull off the pronunciation – “EE-so-la”!
Isola, Shop 3071-75, Level 3, ifc mall, Central, Hong Kong, 2383 8765, www.gaiagroup.com.hk/isola
By night it’s a Causeway Bay hotspot, but before the sun goes down, Hooray is wonderful for families. The view alone will dazzle your children, and when you see Hong Kong from the top of this place, you’ll fall in love with our city’s skyline once again.
With a huge outdoor terrace, this enormous space includes an Italian-Asian fusion restaurant and bar where you can grab something to eat and a couple of drinks for mama, too! Although there’s no set kids menu, the pizzas, pastas and mains such as the marinated spring chicken will please all ages. Plus, if you order the gelato puffs? You’ll live happily ever after.
Hooray, P502, World Trade Centre, 280 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, 2895 0885, www.jcgroup.hk/restaurants/hooray
If you’ve ever toted your children to Thailand, you’ve experienced the charm and delight of Thai hospitality toward little ones. Koh Thai is no exception, but the food is the best part of all!
Spicy, sour, sweet and salty – Koh Thai turns out one delicious dish after another in the traditional flavour profile of the land of smiles. Order some coconut rice for the baby and a mild version of the panang curry for the rest of you, and soon you’ll feel like you’re back on holiday in Thailand. Much cheaper than Cathay, ahem.
Koh Thai, 1/F, J-Residence, 60 Johnston Road (entrance by 18 Ship Street), Wan Chai, Hong Kong, 3160 8535, www.kohthai.com.hk
When you’ve just finished up an afternoon at the Island East Markets, look no further than Quarry Bay’s Enoteca. This popular Mediterranean eatery has been offering good wine and food to Hong Kongers for a couple of years now, with their original location in Soho.
Scrumptious tapas-style food in a relaxed, alfresco setting is perfect for hungry mamas and kids alike (papas too, of course). You’ll really get into the Mediterranean vibe with the piazza-style dining – great for watching people go by as you enjoy a glass of vino. The kids menu is offered on weekends alone, but with little plates like parma ham and cheese croquettes, Enoteca is a good idea all week long.
Enoteca, G/F, 35-41 Tong Chong Street, Quarry Bay, Hong Kong, 2744 6000, www.enoteca.hk
This popular brunch spot is a fantastic place to relax and enjoy a relaxing meal with the troupe in tow. Mums and Pops can soak in the view of Victoria Harbour in a comfortable, breezy setting while little ones dig into the kids’ menu filled with favourites such as Carbonara or Fish & Chips.
We love the French-style cuisine here, with mains including Tagliatelle alla Bouillabaise and Beef Tartare and a Country-Style Burger to fill up after an appetising round of salads and soups from the semi-buffet. Kids will love slurping up the delicious smoothies , while adults go for the 2-hour free-flow special for just $250.
Quayside, G/F, Fleet Arcade, Fenwick Pier, 1 Lung King Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, 2661 6708, www.quaysidehongkong.com
With a new brunch menu launching this Saturday, this casual cafe is a pleasant spot to bring the family for a bite on their spacious outdoor patio. There’s no kids’ menu, but the dishes use only the best quality seasonal ingredients with a delicious & nutritious twist that will tempt even the finnicky taste buds of your littlest members.
Pop by to sample the brand new brunch menu, with mains such as Shakshuka Egg with Feta and the popular Avocado Eggs Benedict with Yoghurt Hollandaise Sauce. For those with healthy appetites, The Kinnet Full Breakfast is sure to please. Their lunch never fails to disappoint either, with a varied deli-counter, salads, desserts and pastry items for you to feast on. A bonus? Enjoy 10% off before 12:30pm for any lunch items on weekdays.