Finding an eatery that ticks all the boxes for a family meal can seem daunting. Happily, Hong Kong is blessed with plenty of places with menus to please adults and kids alike, and an atmosphere welcoming of prams and other parent paraphernalia. Here, the EL team puts three venues to the test with children of varying ages in tow, including two tweens. Read on for our picks of some of the best family-friendly restaurants in Hong Kong, which offer play areas, colouring sheets and special kids’ menus.
Within minutes of ordering at TokyoLima’s new family-friendly brunch, my daughter disappeared. She’d been lured by the twin delights of a well-equipped play area and a well-stocked sweet station, which is all part of the restaurant’s very family-oriented weekend offering. She returned only long enough to eat the Japanese karaagestyle fried chicken she’d selected from the kids’ menu, which also included sushi, a pork belly bun, chicken skewers and ice cream.
The uncharacteristic peace at the table meant my husband and I could make the most of the main four-course omakase (“chef’s choice”) brunch menu. TokyoLima offers Nikkei cuisine, which consists of dishes combining Japanese techniques and Peruvian flavours. The brunch starts with sharing dishes – we loved the Nikkei-style soba salad and made the most of a pork chicharrón platter. Raw-bar dishes of ceviche and sushi are offered as the next stage of the brunch – there are plenty of different flavours on offer, with the Ceviches Japones my personal favourite. Mains are then ordered from the menu. We highly recommend the tender pincanha grilled rump steak and succulent grilled cod. The meal is nicely rounded off with a selection from the dessert station. Brunch comes with free-flow options and, if you needed any more incentives, a DIY Bloody Mary station. – Melissa Stevens
Jamie Oliver has made headlines around the world for his anti-junk food campaigns and efforts to change the way healthy food is marketed to children. So, it comes as no surprise that Jamie’s Italian, founded by Jamie himself, serves up a kids’ menu with a healthy twist. With two locations in Hong Kong, the restaurant offers dishes inspired by Jamie’s visits to Italy. I took two hungry tweens along with me to give them a try.
The kids’ menu is available in two sizes: “little kids” and “big kids”. Traditional favourites such as spaghetti and meatballs are there, along with salmon, chicken wraps and, the favourite by a mile, Chicken Lollipops with Hedgehog Potatoes. All kids’ meals are served with a fresh “shake-me” salad, which would never usually get a glance by my lot, but when you can shake up your salad with its own dressing, it suddenly becomes interesting. Right before my eyes, the entire thing was eaten. Nice one, Jamie!
Thankfully, there’s a grown-up menu that is equally satisfying. For starters, don’t miss the roasted cauliflower, served with egg, asparagus, pancetta cream and lemon; the flavours are delicious. There’s a good selection of homemade pasta dishes, including spicy nduja rigatoni, which was very tasty. The standout for me was the balsamic-braised short-ribs, served with a celeriac salad. It was tender, tasty and simply sensational.
While the kids’ dessert menu does offer a healthy option, the gooey chocolate brownie with ice cream was the hands-down winner. How could I refuse? After all, they ate their salad! – Danielle Higgins
Close to Hung Hom Ferry Pier and Whampoa MTR is the innovative Dockyard, offering a fun, fast and fresh approach to informal dining. Once seated in the open, airy, industrial-style space, simply download the menu from the App Store and punch in your order. Watch in wonder as the “10 kiosks to your table” concept works its magic.
A mouthwatering choice awaits: plump dumplings from Korea’s Dongsan mountain, sushi direct from Tokyo’s famous Tsukiji market, homemade ramen by global award-winning chef Hide Yamamoto, silky fresh pho, curries and that Hong Kong classic of slow-cooked beef brisket with homemade noodles – pretty much every Asian delight imaginable, or so it feels.
You can also build your own salads or tuck into crab brioche rolls, heavenly burgers or Guinness black-bun sliders. The choice is breathtaking and it all magically appears at your table before you know it. After a few clicks, our order arrived.
The Korean fried chicken was crisp and delightful; satays fell off their sticks; Thai green curry added a heady perfume; and the Indian butter chicken, vegetable samosas and cumin potatoes all offered great depth and spice. Ice creams and a warm skillet cookie with fudge sauce made for the sweetest of endings.
Dockyard is chilled, sociable and fun. Your kids will love navigating the app with its easy ordering system – and what a great way to introduce them to so many exciting tastes. With family and friends, this is indeed the perfect place to dock. – Karl Woodbury
Best of the rest
Equipped with play areas at all its locations across Hong Kong, Frites is a no-brainer when it comes to family-friendly restaurants. The main menu is extensive and includes delicious meats, seafood and even a good range of vegetarian options. There’s a crowd-pleasing menu for the little ones, with spaghetti bolognese, mini burgers, and fish and chips.
Multiple locations frites.hk
The Pawn offers a mix of traditional and modern British fare using ethically sourced ingredients. Kids up to the age of 12 get to eat for free (limited to one child per adult) with a brunch set, which includes a main and milkshake. You’ll want to head to the second floor as there is a well-sized play area where the kids can let off steam in between courses.
Beef & Liberty
With locations across Hong Kong, Beef & Liberty’s burgers are a hit with all ages. The Stanley restaurant is particularly well located for family dining as it faces onto a kids’ playground and a big open plaza, meaning you can send the tots and the teens outside when they get restless. Aside from their legendary burgers, there’s plenty of other family fare, and they do brunch on the weekends.
If you’re on the Kowloon side, Argentinian restaurant Tango offers a great kids’ deal with its brunch menu. Order a main course at brunch and you get a free kid’s main course, with dishes including beef burgers and gnocchi. The restaurant is spacious and the staff are relaxed and friendly, making it a good choice for a family meal. You can also burn off the meal by letting the kids run around the rooftop playground at Elements.
Zuma’s Japanese brunches are legendary, not the least because of the way they cater for kids. There’s a play area, a fab kids’ menu and, at weekend brunches, those under three get to eat for free! The restaurant is currently undergoing some renovations, so make sure you book.
208 Duecento Otto
208 is a beautiful two-storey Italian restaurant with a play area on the second floor for the kids. Go for the buffet brunch, which has a nice selection of antipasti, seafood, salads and cheeses at the bar. The Bambino menu for children features kid-sized pizzas, baked mac and cheese, and a sunny-side-up pancetta toast.
Every Sunday from noon to 2.30pm, kids aged four to ten can roll their own dough and make pizza, while their parents enjoy a leisurely brunch from either the à la carte menu or the three course power brunch. There’s also an indoor pop-up playroom for when the cooking and eating is over. It’s HK$120 per child for pizza making, and that includes an eight-inch pizza with the child’s chosen toppings, and free-flow juices and sodas. Dining vouchers go to the best pizza maker, and all participants get a certificate.
Little Creatures is a spacious brewery-cum-restaurant in Kennedy Town that’s perfect for large groups or family meals. It’s family-friendly, with a casual and relaxed atmosphere and large dining area. Colouring sheets and a kids’ menu for the little ones are available while parents get a selection of pizza, pasta, salads and, of course, deliciously crafted beer.
Zak’s in Discovery Bay has a spacious 5,000-square-foot outdoor terrace and play area that’s perfect for the kids to run about under watchful eye. With a wide range of Western and Eastern food options, there’s something for everyone on the menu. Spend HK$120 at the restaurant and get a free ferry ride back to Central, too!
At W Hotel, for every paying adult at the lunch buffet, one child between the age of four and eleven gets to eat for free. You’ll get a fantastic view of the harbour from the restaurant and can expect an impressive buffet spread, with the dessert options a hit with junior diners.
See more in our wine & dine section!
This article first appeared in the August/September 2018 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.