Dining in Macao poses one key challenge for both visitors and locals: where to eat next? The array of cuisines and chefs make this a difficult choice as, from humble local favourites to Michelin-starred gastronomic temples of fine dining, there´s something for everyone, at every price point. We’ve compiled a Macao restaurant guide to help you decide what to eat in Macau and where to eat in Macau.
Some of the popular options include local Macanese cuisine, which is heavily-influenced by Macao´s Portuguese heritage; Cantonese food, given the territory´s location close to Guangdong Province, as well as Japanese and French restaurants renowned for flawless execution and impeccable ingredients.
Dining in Macao’s flashy resorts could see you eating dishes created by some of the world’s most famous chefs, or you could just as easily find yourself snacking on a legendary Portuguese egg tart for about $1 in the sleepy winding streets of old Coloane village.
Macanese cuisine reflects the territory´s fascinating history, melding Portuguese and Chinese ingredients and dishes to excellent effect. Here are three of our favourites.
The word ´legendary´ is over-used, but ask anyone about restaurants in Macao and Fernando´s will come top of the list, nine times out of ten.
Why? It´s the combination of red and white checked tablecloths, waiting for a table in the garden with cold beers and hot chorizo and brilliant food once you do eventually snag seats.
At Fernando’s Macau, clams with garlic sauce are served with enormous warm brown domes of bread; barbecue chicken sits on delicious fries while prawns from the grill are sensational in piles of garlic.
How much? Expect to pay around MOP$200 (A$30) per person or more.
Where? Praia de Hac Sa No.9, Coloane, Macao. Show up and put your name on their clipboard.
Set in a beautiful old colonial courtyard, Albergue 1601 is a dining experience that is a world away from the crowds and a step back into Macao’s colonial past.
Bacalhau or salt-cod is Portugal´s most beloved dish and it features in numerous menu options including balls made with fluffy potato and flecked with herbs.
African Chicken is sensational thanks to its sweet and spicy sauce of coconut and paprika, the smoky meat perfectly kissed by the charcoal under the grill.
Portuguese wines are vastly-underrated around the world and here shine through, proving that the country is not just good for Port.
How much? From MOP$150 (A$23) upwards.
Where? 8 Calçada da Igreja de S. Lazaro, Macao.
As the name suggests, Miramar overlooks the water on the southern tip of Macao. It’s not far from Fernando´s in Coloane. Fancy a progressive Portuguese meal?
The dining room opens out onto the beach, making for romantic and relaxed dining and drinking. The mainly Filipino service team are a delight and you can´t go wrong with the chef´s suggestions like gratinated scallops with cheese or monkfish kebabs.
The real standouts, however, are the stews, notably the tripe, while the fish stew brings a maritime bounty for hungry diners.
How much? From MOP$100 (A$16).
Where? Zona Norte Praia de Hác Sá, Coloane, Macao.
Macao’s cuisine is heavily influenced by the cuisine of the mainland Chinese province of Guangdong, which it shares a border with. This region is home to Cantonese cuisine, the cuisine most well-known to diners of Chinese food around the world. Stunning seafood, beautiful dim sum and superb roast meats are all on the menu in Macao.
Chiu Chow cuisine originally came from eastern Guangdong and has greatly influenced Cantonese menus around the world.
When you have access to such stellar ingredients, you let them do the talking and Pak Loh has more than 40 years’ experience, resulting in sublime signature dishes like sliced goose and tofu in a rich marinade, or delicate and surprisingly-subtle crispy oysters flavoured with spicy salts.
Seafood is a standout elsewhere, particularly the sautéed pomfret with preserved olives, seasoning without over-salting the perfectly cooked fish.
How much? A dim sum lunch costs from MOP$200 (A$32).
Where? Pak Loh, G048, Galaxy Macau, Estrada da Baía da Nossa Senhora da Esperança.
Macao’s City of Dreams is already a go-to destination thanks to the House of Dancing Water, the extraordinary performance mixing aquatic high-wire gymnastics with motorbikes.
Another great reason to go there is to have a meal at Jade Dragon. Chef Tam Kwok Fung is a master at mixing the contemporary with traditional.
From their dim sum, a steamed Kagani Crabmeat dumpling eats like a xiao lon bao, while an Australian M8 Wagyu beef puff comes in folds of the silkiest pastry imaginable.
Signature fried rice with roasted goose, shrimp and more was exceptional, all the grains remaining distinct, as they should, rather than sticking together.
How much? Dim sum costs from $18 (A$3) per piece.
Where? Jade Dragon, Level 2, The Shops at The Boulevard, City of Dreams, Macao.
The Ritz Carlton in Macau towers above the competition from a great height. Lai Heen sits up on the 51st floor and is a beautiful dining room, classically decorated with porcelain and other ceramics.
Chef Bill Fu helped the Hong Kong Ritz Carlton win two Michelin stars, so it’s not surprising that every dish is meticulous.
The Cantonese favourite of barbecued pork is taken to new heights with the chef’s Iberico Pork, while Crab Claw is steamed with Egg White and served in fragrant in Hua Diao Wine.
How much? Set lunch from MOP $400 (A$64) per person.
Where? Lai Heen, 51/F, Galaxy Macau, Estrada da Baía da Nossa Senhora da Esperança. galaxymacau.com
French cuisine needs no introduction, arguably the world´s finest and the home of gastronomy and stunning wines. With Michelin-starred chefs cooking up a storm in Macao, you’ll be treated to some of the best fine French cuisine in the world.
The Tasting Room
With two Michelin stars, the Tasting Room at City of Dreams was already a success even before the recent arrival of French chef Fabrice Vulin, himself a holder of multiple Michelin stars over the years.
Vulin has played up the venue´s impeccable and often exclusive sourcing of produce, such as the world´s rarest and most expensive beef, or peerless black truffles from Périgord in South West France. With perfect patisserie, an extravagant bread trolley and an incredible wine cellar, you´ll leave happy in more ways than one.
How much? Three-course set lunch from MOP $498 (A$80).
Where? Level 3 Crown Towers At City Of Dreams, Estrada Do Istmo, Cotai, Macao.
The Brasserie at The Parisian
When you see the half-size replica of the Eiffel Tower, there´s no doubting you´re in the right place for a French meal. Luckily, The Parisian’s French cuisine lives up to their reputation and The Brasserie is home to authentic, delicious dishes from morning through night.
Decadent foie gras is served with more-ish bread and sweet compotes to cut through the richness, while the classic salade niçoise shows expert sourcing of ingredients with just the right balance of flavours. Save room for desserts such as their brilliant and boozy baba rhum.
How much? Two course set lunch from MOP $168 (A$26).
Where? The Parisian, Lot 3, Strip, SAR, P.R. China, Estr. do Istmo, Macao
A contrast to the glamour of dining in a luxury resort, the humble patisserie KAFKA Sweets & Gourmandises has become a firm favourite with locals and visitors in the know.
That means you might have to queue, however, before you get to try their dishes like creamy spaghetti carbonara or their famous afternoon tea and sandwiches.
It’s the desserts at Kafka that steal the show. The patisserie has a selection of beautiful and delicious gateaux and pastries, made by a chef who trained at the prestigious Cordon Bleu school in Paris.
How much? Eat at Kafta from MOP $25 (A$4).
Where? Rue de Braga No. 152, Macao.
Japanese restaurants are renowned for their meticulous attention to detail, focus on doing one element beautifully and ensuring that service is the very definition of impeccable. You really can´t go wrong.
Shinji by Kanaseka
Shinji by Kanaseka is by far the best sushi dining experience I’ve had outside Japan. Shinji offers faultless ingredients, presentation, and execution, along with charming service from the always-smiling chef Toro Osumi.
You won’t feel nervous in this one Michelin-starred temple to sushi, even on a counter made from a 220-year-old Hinoki tree. The tuna cuts are impeccable, and the steamed octopus is ridged to let the marinade penetrate, making it a textural revelation.
As the sea urchin passes from the chef´s hand to mine, I think I’m in heaven.
How much? Three menus cost MOP $688 (A$110), MOP $988 (A$156) or $1,688 (A$270) prove that one very special meal is well worth two underwhelming ones elsewhere.
Where? Level 1, Crown Towers, City of Dreams.
Wynn Macau offers a paradise for fans of Japanese cuisine, thanks to the two Michelin-starred Mizumi. Uniquely, it represents a collaboration with at least three Michelin-starred chefs, each expert in the Japanese culinary traditions of sushi, tempura and teppanyaki.
The fish is brought in daily from Tokyo´s Tsukiji Market. Chef Tsutomu Shimamiya founded Sushi Zen in Hokkaido in 1971 and is Japan’s most revered practitioner of edomae style sushi.
Kazuhito Motoyoshi is a legendary tempura master famous for making scrambled eggs with sea urchin and truffles while Junichi Yoshida is a teppanyaki expert.
How much? Set menus from MOP 1000 (A$160).
Where? Wynn Macau, R. Cidade de Sintra, Macao.
Not every good Japanese restaurant is Michelin-starred. In Macao, a few local favourites draw in guests who love good, authentic cooking at very fair prices.
Arguably, Fortuna is at the top of this list. What’s more, it’s a few steps away from Macao’s historic old town.
Fortuna covers most bases when it comes to Japanese cuisine, from sushi and sashimi platters through to ramen soup noodles and even ice cream mochi, the popular sweet dumplings. Fortuna is unpretentious, popular and fun.
How much? A set lunch costs from MOP 95 (A$16).
Where? 63 R. de Cantão, Macau 6 FL, Macao
If you’re vegetarian, there are plenty of choices for you too. Here are some neat vegetarian restaurants in Macao. A good way to taste Macao food, especially if you’re travelling in a group, is to book into a cooking class.
Read our post about where to find the best Macanese chow in Macao.