For a very small slice of land, Macao has one of the world’s most impressive range of Michelin-starred restaurants. Given the high-rollers and business leaders frequently in town, it’s no surprise that when it comes to fine dining, the sky’s the limit, especially when it comes to French gastronomy. The finest and freshest produce is flown in direct from producers around the world, while incredible collections of wine, cognac and baiju (a distilled Chinese spirit) ensure that sommeliers have an embarrassment of riches to offer clients.
Robuchon Au Dome
Heading north from Cotai, the reclaimed island at the tip of Macao, takes you back to Macao’s historical centre. Today huge multi-million dollar casinos dot the landscape, but a number of vestiges remain of older Macau.
Churches, houses, ruins and forts date as far back as the 17th century under Portuguese rule, but a more recent construction is the Lisboa Hotel, a true Macau icon opened by ‘The King of Gaming’ Stanley Ho back in 1970.
The Lisboa is also home to a breathtaking French restaurant with three Michelin stars, Robuchon Au Dôme.
As you’d expect from a casino hotel, no expense is spared on the interior and design.
A stunning Swarovski chandelier descends from the dome, while Christofle, Riedel and Lalique greet you at your table.
MOP$688 for lunch is an absolute steal for such refined cooking, impeccable ingredients and elegant service.
At the higher end, you can eat à la carte or choose the dinner tasting menu ($2,988), featuring Imperial caviar with king crab or Chateaubriand of beef with foie gras, but thereafter the sky truly is the limit.
That’s because you have one of the world’s greatest wine cellars to play with, an almost unbelievable 15,000 labels across a 530-page wine list. It’s a collection that has won multiple awards, including 2016’s World’s Best Wine List. Fancy a drop of Red Burgundy? You have 140 pages to choose from.
The British chef Tom Aikens once told me how working 20-hour days was expected at Robuchon’s flagship restaurant in Paris.
If you made one mistake, no second chances were given. That partly explains why Jöel Robuchon oversees a global empire with a mind-blowing 28 Michelin stars. The attention to detail and excellence in Macao reflects this obsession with precision across a simply flawless lunch.
Tasting Room City of Dreams
City of Dreams is one of Macao’s largest and most impressive integrated resorts with a vast array of dining options across its multiple properties, none more impressive than the two Michelin-starred Tasting Room.
The restaurant commands impressive views across the remarkable skyline of the Cotai Strip with its mind-bending array of contemporary architecture and some familiar global icons. However, the plates from celebrated chef Fabrice Vulin do more than enough to keep you focused on the table.
Vulin, from the French Alps, draws on his extensive experience in some of the world’s finest kitchens to oversee beautiful, impeccable cuisine firmly grounded in the seasons and the world’s finest produce.
Indeed, Vulin has access to arguably the very best and most exclusive ingredients available on the planet. That includes incredible beef from Alexandre Polmard, a fifth-generation farmer and butcher with a mind-blowing cryogenic technique to preserve meat. That translates as the opportunity to taste vintage beef, for example, from 2001.
Seriously. If it sounds like science fiction, Polmard claims that you can even taste the ‘terroir’ or unique environment of the year it was produced.
Chef Vulin is the only chef in the world to regularly receive the tenderloin cut and it’s so rare that he has received calls from guests all over the world, desperate to try it.
The Tasting Room is not just for high-rollers, however, and a lunch menu of three impeccable courses comes in at a very reasonable HK$498. That could mean, for example, Parmesan tart with langoustines and tomatoes, followed by John Dory with squid spaghetti and a decadent selection of tempting patisserie creations.
The Brasserie at The Parisian
Naturally, there are other French restaurants at more modest price points. Top of the pack comes The Brasserie at The Parisian, one of the newest additions to the Macao skyline complete with its half-scale replica of the Eiffel Tower.
As its name suggests, it’s simpler and more familiar food on the menu, but all the dishes are well-executed and there’s a nice buzz from 11 in the morning until 11 at night.
Beef tartare, salade niçoise, escargots and foie gras are good renditions, but the standouts on my visits were exceptional charcuterie made in-house and an excellent French onion soup with just the depth of flavour you’d hope for.
The classic steak frites is a very reasonable $188 or confit of duck with potatoes with garlic and parsley at $165.
In true French style, the set lunch is the best value option with two courses for either $168 or $198, where their apple tart with Calvados ice cream is a fine way to finish.
Chris Dwyer is a Hong Kong-based freelance writer who writes about luxury travel and food.
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