Hong Kong has long been known for its seafood. It's not hard to find great Cantonese restaurants with live seafood tanks dishing up steamed whole fish, braised abalone, and all sorts of shellfish.
However, it's been harder to experience seafood the way I enjoyed it in Boston. It's harder to find a place with a great raw seafood, freshly shucked oysters on the half shell, and fish cooked with a more western slant.
This is why I was so excited to try Fishteria (inspired from Fish + Hysteria). Fishteria is a seafood-focused restaurant in the heart of Wan Chai with Italian leanings and a focus on the best fresh and sustainable seafood - not to mention the HK equivalent of "dollar oysters" (here it's HKD10 oysters) during happy hour.
Fishteria aims to provide "the finest and widest selection of fresh seafood straight from the ocean to your table." The food has an Italian bent. After all, Chef Owner Gianni is from Rimini, Italy, located right on the Adriatic Sea. Prior to moving to Hong Kong, he gained experience in the US, Japan, Corsica, and France. Chef Gianni is a seasoned restauranteur in Hong Kong, having also opened Giando Italian Restaurant & Bar, Gia Trattoria Italiana, and EAT.it Italy Eatery.
We tried the Fishteria Seafood Salad [HKD208], a generously sized salad full of frisée, radicchio, and multi-colored tomatoes mixed with smoked salmon, prawns, octopus, and crabmeat. The dressing was simple, with Italian olive oil playing a key role. The salad was pleasant. It didn't blow us away, but it felt healthy and it was reasonably fresh.
The Fishteria Caprese [HKD178] was solid, with creamy burrata, cherry tomatoes, and basil served with anchovies, sardines and bottarga tossed in a light balsamic dressing.
Main Course / Pastas
The most visually beautiful dish was definitely the Sea Urchin Tagliolini [HKD308], a fusion dish consisting of homemade tagliolini “aglio e olio” serve with raw Japanese sea urchin and chili. The dish was expertly prepared, and the ingredients were fresh.
We tried the Dover Sole “Qwehli” [HKD368], 600g of dover sole served meunière style (you could also choose grilled). Cooking fish "a la meunière" traditionally means lightly dredging the fish filet in flour, pan frying it in clarified butter, and serving it with a meunière sauce made with the pan butter sauce, lemon, and parsley. In this case, there was no sauce. Instead, the parsley was sprinkled on top and a lemon was served on the side. The dish was fine, though I prefer a more traditional preparation with actual meunière sauce.
The fish came with seasonal vegetables simply sauteed in olive oil.
Fishteria Wan Chai - General Thoughts
Fishteria very much has the feel of a seafood restaurant that I would find in the US. They have lots of seafood options, such as caviar, crudo, raw seafood towers, whole fish, lobsters, and crabs, and a number of creatively cooked seafood dishes. It definitely hits the spot for foreigners who miss this type of restaurant. The cooking is solid, the ingredients are fresh, and overall it's a reasonably pleasant place to dine.
Having said that, we did feel that it was quite expensive for what it offered. The bill racks up fast when appetizers hover around the HKD200 range and entrees range from HKD200 to HKD688 (that's not counting any soups, sides, or raw seafood starters). The food was good, but didn't blow us away, especially at those prices. It's perhaps a good place to go if you are on an expense account.
I will say that one of my friends loves going to their Oyster Happy Hour, which happens everyday from 5pm to 7pm. During those times, oysters only cost HK$10 each with purchase of a drink ( I believe there is a limit, maybe either 6 or 12 oysters per drink).
There's still a lot Fishteria that I haven't tried. There's crudo seafood brunch, set lunches, and the oyster bar + cocktail. I will probably return again at least to try the restaurant in a different way. Stay tuned!
Fishteria Wan Chai
G/F & 1/F,
111 Queen’s Road East,
Wan Chai Hong Kong
This is the twenty-fourth post in the updated #50Postsin50Days – Take 2 Challenge. Other posts in this series will be added to the bottom of the original post.
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