10 Iconic Macau Restaurants

There’s only one word to describe the 10 places on this list – institutions. 

They’re not just restaurants in Macau; they are in some ways Macau itself, the very spirit and soul of a city embedded in the cracks and creaks of blue wall azulejos, in the faint falling chalk dust of neatly written Chinese characters listing dishes that have remained unchanged for decades, in the sure but steady gait of an aging waitress clearing up the last few tables of the night, her life’s work given in service of moving plates and bowls.

From the food, service and decor, right down to the individual sights, sounds, and smells, these restaurants are every bit as representative of Macau as St Paul’s and A Ma Temple.  Visiting two or three of them while in town is almost mandatory, while diving in and trying all ten wouldn’t be the worst idea either, time permitting, of course. 

To that end, I’ve included a possible dining plan at the end, keeping a number of factors in mind, such as location, flow, when dim sum is served, and appropriate times to drink wine.

Fusion, nouveau, fiction and farce – for terms like that, try reading the Michelin Guide. What follows below is the real deal – 10 Macau restaurants that have reached iconic status, where quality always takes precedence, where good money never goes to waste.

Iconic Macau Restaurants #1: Rickshaw

Type: Macanese     Opened: 1970’s     Price: $100/pax     Maven Restaurant Review Rank: 4 Stars

Most restaurants in Macau are just like Rickshaw – basic, unassuming, and despite what you might’ve read elsewhere, relatively cheap.  It was opened in the 1970’s by the legend herself, the 103 year old Godmother of Macanese Cuisine, Aida de Jesus, who still shows up twice a day rain or shine, to eat, read, keep tabs on quality control and take photos with lucky customers.  Under her tutelage the history of Macanese cuisine is preserved on the menu that she created, with Minchi, African Chicken, Pork with Tamarind, and Feijoada often available on a daily basis. 

Best Macau Dishes: Minchi at Rickshaw Macau
Minchi

The only restaurant on this list that is cafeteria like, their daily specials ($59) are buffet style and stay out all day, so are usually served a touch cold.  Macanese food benefits from being left out though and are often better the second day, so no big worries there. 

Best Macau Restaurants: Rickshaw

Reputed to be a little bit off the tourist track, Kun Iam Temple, Lou Lim Ioec Park, and Guia Lighthouse are actually only 5 to 10 minutes away by foot, giving you plenty of reason to track it down and give it try.

Address: 69 Avenida Sidonio Pais     Hours: 12:00 pm to 10:00 pm

#2: Litoral

Type: Macanese     Opened: 1995     Price: $350/pax     Maven Restaurant Review Rank: 5 Stars

Known as the White House of Macanese cuisine, a much more inviting atmosphere awaits you at Litoral, located a stone’s throw away from where the first Portuguese ships reached Macau in 1513. 

Best Macau Restaurants: Litoral Macau

Overseen by Dona Manuela Ferreira, whose family tree in Macau dates back 400 years, her grandmother taught the legendary America Angelo the nuances of Macanese cooking; he would later go on to invent African Chicken.   Ferreira then studied under Americo when they shared a kitchen together at the Hotel Lisboa in the 1970’s, thereby completing a neat culinary circle, and showing everyone (yet again) how small of a town Macau really is.

Best Macau Dishes: Curry Shrimp with Crab Meat at Litoral
Curry Shrimp with Crab Meat

Litoral debuted in 1995 and literally means “face the sea”, something it surely did at the time, but not anymore.  Best enjoyed at night, when you have time to thoroughly unwind over a gorgeous Portuguese red, try the Baked Crab Meat, try the Bafassá Saffron Pork, try the Curry Shrimp, try the Baked Portuguese Chicken , try it all…. 

Address: Rua do Almirante Sergio 261 – A     Hours: 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm, 5:30 pm to 10:30 pm

Iconic Macau Restaurants #3: Nga Tim

Type: Macanese     Opened: 1972     Price: $250/pax     Maven Restaurant Review Rank: 4.5 Stars

Situated in the heart of Coloane Village, beside the pretty pastel tinged Chapel of St. Francis Xavier, Nga Tim opened in the halcyon backwater days of the 1970’s, when Coloane still an island only accessible by ferry, which would dock down the street at the old Coloane Pier.

Best Macau restaurants: Nga Tim Cafe

To this day, it remains a popular meeting place for large groups of families and friends, who use the outdoor patio to its maximum effect, pitchers of Sangria most definitely in hand.  With classic Cantonese, Macanese and Portuguese favourites dominating the menu, Nga Tim is the perfect embodiment of Macau’s rich culinary history, at prices that still belong to last century.

Best Macau Dishes: Seafood Rice at Nga Tim
Seafood Rice

If you’re lucky the septuagenarian owner might even be there playing a few tunes on his guitar or erhu, a former policeman who missed his true calling in life if judged by his name alone – the venerable Mr Feeling Wong.

Address: 1 Rua Caetano, Coloane Village     Hours: 11:30 am to 12:00 am 

#4: Long Wa

Type: Cantonese     Opened: 1963     Price: $100/pax     Maven Restaurant Review Rank: 4.5 Stars

Located next to Red Market, where they still source all of their fresh meat and produce daily, Long Wa is the last original teahouse still standing in Macau. Part antique hall, part art gallery and 100% living breathing museum, it’s admittedly never served the best Cantonese in town, but that’s never really been the point.

Best Macau Dishes: Stir Fried Noodles with Vegetables at Long Wa
Stir Fried Noodles with Vegetables

Dining at Long Wa has always been more about the experience, about sitting back amongst the artwork, plants and stacks of tea, enjoying a long leisurely dim sum lunch, getting a glimpse of Macau life in the 60’s and 70’s. As such, there is no Wifi, no computers, no music, nothing at all, just a restaurant that’s photogenic as old hell, and always a pleasure to be in.

Best Macau Restaurants: Long Wa Teahouse

No.3 Avenida do Almirante Lacerda     Hours: 7:30 am to 2:00 pm  *Closed on Thursdays

Iconic Macau Restaurants #5: Fernando

Type: Portuguese     Opened: 1986     Price: $350/pax     Maven Restaurant Review Rank: 3.5 Stars

Located next to Hac Sa Beach, Fernando is probably the most popular joint on this list, with reservations essential for both lunch and dinner. It’s especially revered among Hong Kongers, many of whom visit Macau just to go to this restaurant, a lazy laid back venue notable for its outdoor beer garden and lazy laid back vibes.

Best Macau restaurants: Fernando Macau

Funny thing is, I ridiculed it for years, before being set straight the owners of MacauSoul, who told me what their best dishes were and what to stay away from. If you stick with some combination of the Caldo Verde Soup ($40), Grilled Sardines ($118), Favas ($160), Suckling Pig ($186), and Oxtail Stew ($188), then Fernando’s is a 5 star venue all the way. 

Best Macau Dishes: Grilled Sardines at Fernando Macau
Grilled Sardines

Go off track though and you just might pay the price.

Address: Hac Sa Beach, Coloane     Hours: 12:00 pm to 9:30 pm

6. Henri’s Galley

Type: Portuguese     Opened: 1976     Price: $350/pax     Maven Restaurant Review Rank: 4.5 Stars

Señor Henri has long since passed the oars down to his son, who keeps the ship right on course, sailing through calm seas and golden sunsets. 

Best Macau restaurants: Henri's Galley Macau

You’ll be going primarily for the African Chicken, generally regarded as the best in town, but there are other reasons to visit Henri’s Galley too, with the Portuguese Chicken, Macau Sole, Spicy Prawns and Curry Crab all standout selections. 

Best Macau Dishes: African Chicken at Henri's Galley
African Chicken

Located a little bit out of the way on Avenida da Republica, the walk in from San Ma Lo along the Praia Grande can be quite lovely at night, as the light changes and sun goes down over large colonial homes on one side and water on the next, with Macau Tower always keeping watch in the distance.

Address: 4G-H Avenida da Republica     Hours: 12:00 pm to 10:00 pm

Iconic Macau Restaurants #7: Tai Long Fong       

Type: Cantonese     Opened: 1940’s     Price: $125/pax     Maven Restaurant Review Rank: 4.5 Stars

A modern upgrade on Long Wa, check out Tai Long Fong to see how Macau teahouses have evolved over the past 50 years.

Best Macau Restaurants: Tai Long Fong

A family business run by Mrs Chen, loud opera performances are held daily in the afternoon for the benefit of an aging audience who must have lost their hearing 20 years ago, hence the need for so much noise. The uncomfortable Fado-like shrieks, cymbals, and amplifiers are too much to take for more than 5 minutes, so make sure you’re out of there by 2:00 pm when the pandemonium starts.

Best Macau Dishes: lamb at Tai Long Fong
Lamb

Rather, the thing to do is stop in for lunch, mixing dim sum with la carte for a simply gorgeous meal that never disappoints.

Address: Rua de Cinco de Outubro, No 127, R/C     Hours: 6:00 am to 7:00 pm 

#8: The 8

Type: Cantonese     Opened: 2006     Price: $400/pax     Maven Restaurant Review Rank: 5 Stars    

Did you really expect another restaurant to hold down the 8th spot on this list?

Best Macau Restaurants: 8 Macau

A recipient of 3 Michelin stars since 2013, star chef Joseph Tse has elevated 8 to another level since coming aboard in 2015, serving Cantonese food as good as anywhere in the world. Even Hong Kong food snobs acquiesce and give the restaurant its due, in particular the dim sum lunches that always require reservations.

Painstakingly prepared by a skilled team of artisan chefs, the dim sum presentation is sometimes so cute and creative that people feel bad eating it. The best part about it though? Everything tastes just as good as it looks!

Best Macau Dishes: Steamed Barbecue Pork Buns at 8
Steamed Barbecue Pork Buns

The youngest entrant on this list, the 8 is the only “fine dining” venue that made the cut, but lunch won’t necessarily cost a fortune.

Address: Grand Lisboa, 3rd Floor     Hours: 11:30 am to 2:30 pm Monday to Saturday, 10:00 pm to 3:00 pm Sunday and Public Holiday, 6:30 pm to 10:30 pm daily

Iconic Macau Restaurants #9:  Lei Hong Kei

Type: Cantonese     Opened: 1956     Price: $200/pax     Maven Restaurant Review Rank: 5 Stars   

Two things I love about Lei Hong Kei (besides the food): their big retro red and blue neon sign outside and warm wood furnishings inside, highlighted by the simple chalkboard menus on the walls.

Best Macau Restaurants: Lei Hong Kei

Tou Tou Koi might get all the press (and business) in this part of town, but Lei Hong Kei is miles better, a picture perfect snapshot of the 1960’s and 70’s, brought to you in resplendent 21st Century light and colour. Their soups, roasted meats and fresh seafood have been delighting diners for more than half a century on the Street of Happiness, and it just feels and looks too much like old Macau to leave off this list.

Best Macau Dishes: Roasted Pork at Lei Hong Kei
Roasted Pork

In stark contrast to the 8, which caters more to the shallow selfie Instagram/Facebook crowd, with some pretty frivolous flash and kitsch, Lei Hong Kei is made by the people for the people, serving food that’s just as good for half of the price.

Opened by a Mr/Mrs Lei and Hong during the 1950’s, I don’t know if the original owners are still around today, but they sure left one brilliant restaurant in their name.

Address: 33-37 Rua Da Felicidade     Hours: 11:00 am to 3:00 pm, 5:00 pm to 11:00 pm 

#10: Solmar

Type: Portuguese     Opened: 1961     Price: $350/pax     Maven Restaurant Review Rank: 4.5 Stars   

Originally a private club, Solmar first catered to politicians and other social elites before opening their doors to the general public in the mid 1960’s. To my knowledge it’s the oldest Portuguese restaurant in town, and much like Lei Hong Kei and Long Wa, stepping inside is like entering another time and era.

Best Macau Restaurants: Solmar Macau

The service staff has barely changed in decades, working alongside the same vintage wooden decor and wall azelujos that have been in place since the 70s. Featuring a menu of classic Portuguese and Macanese favorites, top recommendations include the African Chicken, Caldo Verde soup and Portuguese Baked Fish, while I’ve always been a fan of their brilliant Butter Gilled Sole.

Best Macau Dishes: Macau Sole at Solmar Macau
Macau Sole

Situated just off San Ma Lo on the Praia Grande, it’s minutes away from both Senado Square and the Lisboa, quite possibly the best location of any restaurant on the old Peninsula.

Address: Avenida da Praia Grande 512     Hours: 11:00 am to 11:00 pm

POSSIBLE DINING PLAN

With the exception of the two restaurants in Coloane, all of the other ones are located on the old Peninsula.  Dim sum dominates at lunch, while there are ample opportunities to pair your food with wine at night.

Day 1

The perfect introduction to Macau, head over to the Rickshaw for some blue collar Macanese cuisine, where the minchi is a must order.  Lei Hong Kei concludes at night on the atmospheric Street of Happiness. Afterwards, a perfect nightcap of wine and gossip awaits on MacauSoul, only ten minutes away on foot.

Day 2

Step back into the 60’s with a dim sum lunch at Long Wa, followed by some signature African Chicken at Henri’s Galley at night.

Day 3

To see how tea restaurants have evolved, go for more dim sum and Cantonese favourites at Tai Long FongSolmar beckons at night, where the wine list mustn’t be ignored.

Day 4

Day 4, by necessity, will have to be spent exclusively in Coloane. Visit the pandas, A Ma Cultural Village and Coloane Village in the morning, before hitting Nga Tim for lunch. See the rest of Coloane (the two beaches, the Hac Sa Long Chao Kok Coastal Trail and Ka Ho) before ending the day at Fernando

Day 5

You’ve worked your way up the dim sum ladder to reach the pinnacle, lunch at 8. In the evening, treat yourself to a long enjoyable dinner at Litoral, the perfect way to end any trip in Macau.

Read on for 10 Can’t Miss Macau Dishes!

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