• Eating Your Way Through China: There's no better place in the world to sample regional Chinese cuisine than Hong Kong, where you can eat everything from the ubiquitous Cantonese food to Sichuan, Shanghainese, Hunanese, Beijing, Chiu Chow, and Pekingese dishes. 
  • Stuffing Yourself at a Buffet Spread: If you have a big appetite or like variety in your meals, the best Hong Kong bargain is the all-you-can-eat buffet spread. Almost all hotels offer buffet lunches and dinners; other restaurants may feature buffets for lunch. Most offer an assortment of international fare, from Japanese sushi and Chinese dishes to pasta and carveries.
  • Dining with a View: Enjoy Chinese or Western cuisine at one of Hong Kong's many restaurants that offer spectacular views of either Kowloon (with its glowing neon lights) or Hong Kong Island (with its skyscrapers and Victoria Peak). In fact, Hong Kong boasts so many restaurants with views, the dilemma will be in the choosing. The absolute winners? Those atop Victoria Peak.
  • Dining on Dim Sum: Nothing conveys a sense of Chinese life more vividly than a visit to a crowded, lively Cantonese restaurant for breakfast or lunch, when you can feast on spring rolls, steamed dumplings, and other goodies served in bamboo steamers.
  • Taking High Tea at a Posh Hotel: The British rulers may be gone, but their legacy lives on in the afternoon tea. Virtually all upper-class hotels offer afternoon tea, but my favorites are those offered by the Peninsula Hong Kong and InterContinental Hong Kong. Come for afternoon tea, nibble on finger sandwiches, and gaze away.
  • Relaxing at an Open-Air Seafood Restaurant: Get rid of stress by relaxing over a meal of fresh seafood at one of Hong Kong's rural waterfront seafood restaurants. My favorite place is Lamma island.

I'm convinced Hong Kong has some of the best restaurants in the world -- which makes it extremely difficult to choose the best of the best. Nevertheless, the following are my personal favorites.

  • Best Spot for a Romantic Dinner: With views of Hong Kong's fabled harbor, great service, and French cuisine, Caprice, Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, 8 Finance St., Central (tel. 852/3196 8860), sets the mood for a special evening a deux. You'll want to linger for some time here, savoring the innovative dishes, the gorgeous setting, the view, and each other.
  • Best Spot for a Business Lunch: Nicholini's, in the Conrad Hotel, Pacific Place, Central (tel. 852/2521 3838, ext. 8210), serves what some claim is the best Italian food in town, including weekday set lunches that are dependably good yet won't blow your expense account. Its atmosphere is both highbrow and relaxed, giving it a winning combination for clinching those business deals.
  • Best Spot for a Celebration: An elegant, colonial-age setting, attentive service, dependably good French haute cuisine, an extensive wine list, and a long history make Gaddi's at the Peninsula Hong Kong, Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui (tel. 852/2315 3171), a natural for a splurge, special celebration, or memorable place to pop the question.
  • Best Decor: Designed by Philippe Starck, the avant-garde Felix, in the Peninsula Hong Kong, Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui (tel. 852/2315 3188), manages to hold its own despite competing newcomers. In addition to providing Hong Kong's most unusual, innovative setting, the restaurant offers stunning views, one of the world's smallest discos, and slightly exhibitionist bathrooms. Wear your trendiest duds -- you, too, will be part of the display.
  • Best View: In a town famous for its views, you might as well go to the very top, where the curved facade of Cafe Deco, Peak Galleria, Victoria Peak (tel. 852/2849 5111), offers Hong Kong's best panorama, plus moderately priced -- though occasionally mediocre -- international cuisine. Reserve a harbor-view window seat a couple of weeks in advance; what you're really paying for here is the unparalleled view.
  • Best Chinese Hot Spot: Make reservations early for Hutong, on the 28th floor of an office building at 1 Peking Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui (tel. 852/3428 8342). It's as hip as a Chinese restaurant can be, with great views over Hong Kong, a dark interior with splashes of red lighting, and innovative northern Chinese cuisine.
  • Best Fusion: Gregarious Chef Nobu is conquering the world with his modern Japanese cuisine; witness NOBU InterContinental Hong Kong, Salisbury Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui (tel. 852/2313 2323), with its outstanding Japanese/American/Latin-influenced dishes, great interior design, and fabulous harbor views.
  • Best Dim Sum Experience: The quaint ceiling fans, spittoons, and wooden booths evoke a 1930s ambience at Luk Yu Tea House, 24-26 Stanley St., Central (tel. 852/2523 5464). First opened in 1933, it's one of Hong Kong's oldest restaurants, famous for its dim sum and filled daily with regular customers. It's hard to find an empty seat here but worth the effort. For a less touristy, completely down-home alternative, Lin Heung Tea House, 160-164 Wellington, Central (tel. 852/2544 4556), has been serving dim sum from trolleys at its humble abode for more than 80 years.
  • Best Suzie Wong-Era Relic: There's no better dive for pretending you're in a B-grade 1950s movie than the Mido Cafe, 63 Temple St., Yau Ma Tei (tel. 852/2384 6402), a time capsule of the era with its antique cash register, ceiling fans, hard booths, and own interpretations of Western and Chinese food.
  • Best Vegetarian: With its informal atmosphere, wood furnishings, and health-foods store, Life, 10 Shelley St. in SoHo (tel. 852/2810 9777), is a lifesaver for those in search of organic, vegetarian fare, including salads, quiche, noodle and pasta dishes, daily specials, and power drinks.
  • Best Buffet Spread: Lots of hotels offer buffets, but none can match the sheer extravagance and chic atmosphere of cafe TOO, Island Shangri-La Hong Kong, Supreme Court Road, Central (tel. 852/2820 8571). Overlooking the greenery of Hong Kong Park and sporting a hip, contemporary look, it features open kitchens and seven "stations" of food presentations spread throughout the restaurant, thus eliminating the assembly-line atmosphere inherent in most buffet restaurants. The danger? The temptation to try every delectable dish on display.
  • Best Outdoor Dining: Atop Victoria Peak, away from the constant drone of Hong Kong's traffic, is the delightful Peak Lookout, 121 Peak Rd., Victoria Peak (tel. 852/2849 1000), which serves international cuisine. From an outdoor terrace surrounded by lush foliage, you can actually hear the birds sing. Some tables provide views of Hong Kong Island's southern coast.
  • Best Takeout: Whether you're after hearty, meaty meals or vegetarian curries, there's a little something for everyone at the combination health-food store/cafeteria Three Sixty, with locations in the Landmark, Central (tel. 852/2111 4880), and Elements, 1 Austin Rd. W., Kowloon (tel. 852/2196 8066).
  • Best Place to Chill Out: If the stress of travel and the noise and crowds of Hong Kong have pushed you to the breaking point, take the free shuttle boat to Aberdeen's Jumbo Kingdom floating restaurant, where Top Deck, at the Jumbo (tel. 852/2553 3331) offers great seafood, comfy sofa seating, and alfresco dining with views of surrounding Aberdeen.
  • Best Afternoon Tea: For that most British institution, no place is more famous than the golden-age and unparalleled Lobby of the Peninsula Hong Kong, Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui (tel. 852/2315 3146), where you can nibble on delicate finger sandwiches and scones, watch the parade of people, and listen to live classical music being played from an upstairs balcony.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.