Once known only as Asia’s gambling capital, the tiny peninsula has evolved into a more wholesome destination for all kinds of travelers—foodies especially.
The tiny autonomous region of Macau on the south coast of China is best known for one thing: gambling. Although the former Portuguese colony has embraced its identity as a high roller’s paradise, it has, over the past few years, evolved into a more family-friendly destination.
There’s now more to see and do on in Macau beyond its glittering integrated resort complexes. Of course, its charming historic center and well-preserved quaint villages are always must-visits for first-time visitors. But its lively Cotai Strip, Macau’s answer to Las Vegas, with its casinos and hotels and resorts, has transcended its “sin city” image. It now has attractions that appeal to those traveling as a family or those who don’t have casinos on their itinerary. There’s teamLab SuperNature Macao at The Venetian and the recently-opened Harry Potter Exhibition at The Londoner.
Macau’s evolution into a more wholesome destination has also seen it transform into a foodie haven, boasting world-class restaurants that cater to all taste buds. This said, we’ve listed down some of the must-try dining spots for when you’re in Macau’s Cotai Strip, either as the destination itself or as a day trip from neighboring Hong Kong.
This is the place to go for your not-so-usual Chinese food, at least for us Filipinos. What we’re more familiar with is Hokkien fare, since most of the early Chinese traders and settlers in the country were from the Fujian province, as well as Cantonese (think dim sum, dumplings, and chow fun).
At the North Palace, you’ll be treated to Northern Chinese and Mongolian cuisines, such as its showstopping Roasted Beijing Duck with a skin so sweet and crunchy it’s like eating candy. Its specialty, Organic Mongolian Roasted Lamb, is also phenomenal with its melt-in-your mouth meat and warm, earthy flavors. At the heart of the restaurant are a traditional duck oven, an open fire pit, and rotisserie grills where its specialties are roasted for all the guests to behold.
Aside from the atmospheric interiors decked in red and gold, and accented with auspicious symbols, diners are treated to a traditional dance every 30 minutes or so.
1/F, The Londoner Macao, Sands Cotai Central Cotai Strip, Taipa. Open 24/7.
One of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2023, this two-star Michelin restaurant honors traditional Sichuan cuisine while exploring its many possibilities. Led by culinary director and esteemed chef André Chiang, alongside executive chef Wilson Fam, Sichuan Moon captivates guests with its classic menu that features crowd favorites and its discovery menu which changes seasonally.
Highly recommended are its Mapo Tofu which comes with four different kinds of tofu, and its handmade longevity Dan Dan noodles that’s served with a rich and textured sauce made from smoked duck skin and breast, chicken skin, chili oil, crushed peanuts, and Sichuan-preserved mustard green.
G/F, North Esplanade, Wynn Palace, Avenida da Nave Desportiva. Opening hours: Thursday to Sunday, 5:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. (closed Mondays to Wednesdays).
This award-winning, three-star Michelin Chinese restaurant is headed by Hong Kong-born chef Kelvin Au Yeung and offers traditional Cantonese dishes served with a creative and modern flair. Specialties include its Crispy Suckling Pig topped with Caviar, Chilled Cherry Tomato Marinated in Avocado Oil and Plum Wine Jelly, Barbecue Iberico Pork Pluma, and its assortment of dim sum. The official Michelin Guide’s website recommends chef Kelvin’s double-boiled tonic soups with herbal medicine, and the restaurant’s seasonal offerings such as its Roasted Prime Rib with Chili.
The restaurant is a destination in itself with its opulent interior that features Chinese art, ebony, crystal, jade, gold, and silver accents, making every visit not only a sumptuous but also a luxurious experience.
2/F, The Boulevard, City of Dreams, Estrada do Istmo. Operating hours: 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Located at the stunning Crystal Palace of The Londoner Macao, this four-meal restaurant is inspired by Sir Winston Churchill and some of Britain’s iconic dishes. It offers an extensive buffet breakfast featuring dishes and delicacies from China to the UK, including traditional Chinese desserts such as fried doughnuts and noodles, Macau’s famous egg tarts, and breakfast staples such as bacon, sausages, pancakes, breads, and pastries. Its brekky spread even includes roast beef and ham!
Trays of Macau’s beloved egg tarts at Churchill’s Table’s buffet breakfast. Photo by Johanna L. Añes-de la Cruz
The dinner menu at Churchill’s Table is also impressive with its selection of high-end steaks, pasta dishes, and desserts. Must-try is its Lobster Seafood Risotto—a harmonious coming together of lobster, scallops, squid, clams, and chorizo cooked in white wine; and its mouthwatering American Wagyu Denver Steak that comes with Jerusalem artichoke, hen of the wood mushroom, and smoked eel jus.
Lobster Seafood Risotto Photos by Johanna L. Añes-de la CruzAmerican Wagyu Denver Steak
Churchill’s Table also has an extensive dessert and coffee menu and offers traditional English afternoon tea.
1/F, The Londoner Macao. Operating hours: 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m.
Right inside Macau’s replica of the Eiffel Tower is this award-winning restaurant which boasts an “east meets west” concept, specifically a fusion of Cantonese cuisine with French food presentation. Seafood and dim sum takes center stage at this chic dining spot led by Chinese chef Ben Lui.
Poached Seafood in Superior Lobster Bisque Photos by Johanna L. Añes-de la CruzBraised Australian Wagyu Beef Cheek in Chinese Gravy with Black Truffles
I suggest ordering La Chine’s eight-course all-day set menu which includes some of its signature dishes, my favorites being its Slow-Cooked Abalone with Yunnan Spicy Sauce, Stir-fried King Prawn with Homemade Spinach Bean Curd and Chili Sauce, Braised Australian Wagyu Beef Cheek in Chinese Gravy with Black Truffles, and Poached Seafood in Superior Lobster Bisque served with Crispy Rice.
L/6, Eiffel Tower, The Parisian Macao. Operating hours: Saturday to Sunday, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Thursday to Tuesday, 6:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. (closed every Wednesday).
This traditional Parisian restaurant takes pride in its classic French dishes such as Bourguignon de Joue de Bœuf (braised beef in Burgundy wine with potato purée, lardons, and glazed onions), and Coq au Vin (French chicken braised in red wine with baby onions, lardons, and mushrooms). Brasserie also has a wide selection of cheeses and cold cuts.
Escargots in Mushroom Sauce Photos by Johanna L. Añes-de la CruzDark Chocolate Mousse
Should I find myself dining at Brasserie once more, I will definitely order again its Feuilleté d’Escargots aux Champignons (Escargots in Mushroom Sauce), served in an unbelievably buttery and flaky vol-au-vent (puff pastry), as well as its decadent Mousse Chocolat (dark chocolate mousse served with vanilla ice cream).
Shop 3312, L/3, The Parisian Macao. Operating hours: 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. (closed every Monday).
Gordon Ramsay Pub and Grill
The celebrity chef’s first restaurant in Macau offers a menu that includes well-known Ramsay signatures such as Beef Wellington with a mushroom and truffle duxelle served with creamed potato and a red wine jus, Fish & Chips made from line-caught ale-battered cod, Triple-cooked Chips and a homemade tartar sauce, and Sticky Toffee Pudding with crème fraiche and vanilla ice cream.
Other menu highlights include Slow-roasted Pork Belly with a cider vinegar glaze and the London Burger that comes with a juicy beef patty, tomato apple ketchup, sweet onion relish, and cheddar cheese paired with triple-cooked chips. There is also the British Sunday Roast of porcini-rubbed roast beef. The restaurant’s beef is sourced from farms that focus on breeds that are known for greater complexity, extremely high marbling, and rich, buttery, and nutty flavors.
And because it’s also a pub, it has a wide selection of beers, handcrafted cocktails, and a premium wine menu.
L/1, The Londoner Macao. Operating hours: 11:00 a.m. to 3:00pm and 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.