Macau Michelin Guide (3-1 Stars)
(Last updated: April 12, 2021)
18 restaurants in Macau were awarded Michelin stars in the 2021 Macau Michelin Guide, down from 20 the previous year. Quite sadly, it looks like the Wuhan Coronavirus claimed another victim in Tim’s Kitchen, which ceased operations earlier this year. As your dutiful purveyor of all things Macau, particularly in regards to the dining scene, I’m happy to say that I’ve personally tried 14 of them, but to far different results than what Michelin came up with. In my view, only 5 Macau restaurants truly deserve their stars: the rest are ordinary, overrated, or just plain bad and expensive.
It also bothers me that no Portuguese restaurant made the list. Perhaps Michelin doesn’t rate the food as stylish or sophisticated enough to stand beside their Chinese, French and Italian peers, but that’s just ignorance. The truth is that some of the best meals in town are prepared in the kitchen of a Portuguese restaurant, and their predictable exclusion from this list year after year is shortsighted and inexcusable.
In other words, forget Michelin, and just listen to the Maven.
Here’s my take then on Macau restaurants that have been awarded Michelin stars, using my own distinct rating system. The stars beside the restaurant name are how many stars Michelin gave them.
On their own level; in a league of their own (***)
The 8 (***)
Hong Kong Chef Joseph Tse has a relatively straightforward cooking philosophy – dishes don’t necessarily have to be creative, they just have to be good. His track record suggests he’s got that skill locked down, first turning Above & Beyond in Tsim Sha Tsui East into one of Hong Kong’s hottest venues before leading the 8 into three star Michelin territory.
His dum sum lunches are simply the best in town, with reservations essential every day of the week.
Other signature choices include Barbecued Suckling Pig, Steamed Crab Claw with Egg White in Fish Broth, and Stir Fried Australian Lobster with Egg, Minced Pork and Black Bean.
A restaurant of distinction; I’d take my friends there (**)
Golden Flower (**)
Venerable master chef Liu Guo Zhu is in his 60s but shows no signs of slowing down, tending to his kitchen at Golden Flower five days a week, ensuring standards stay strong. Well schooled in the intricacies of both Northern and Southern Chinese cuisine, Chef Liu has created a menu that not only celebrates time honoured styles and traditions, but also breaks new ground.
For a crash course into the beauty and diversity of Chinese food, just try any of his carefully crafted set meals, which start from $1680 for 8 courses.
Other house specialties include Stir Fried Prawns with Sweet and Sour Sauce, Braised Pork Meat Belly in Clay Pot and Salted Baked Chicken.
Update: Golden Flower has temporarily closed down, and will resume operations once Macau gets back to normal.
Macau Michelin Guide: Lai Heen (*)
Chef Bill Fu cut his chops working at the Ritz Carlton Hong Kong where he helped Tin Lung Heen achieve 2 star status. Within one year of opening Lai Heen in Macau, he put it on the Michelin map, and it’s everything you’d expect of a Ritz-Carlton restaurant.
Rocking superlative service, a stunning venue on the 51st floor and out of this world Cantonese food, I’d be shocked if Lai Heen doesn’t have two stars by 2023.
Try the Chef’s Special Braised Pork Belly with Preserved Vegetables, Baked Crispy Fried Rice with Seafood in Baby Pumpkin, and BBQ Iberico Pork in Honey Sauce.
Macau Michelin Guide: Golden Peacock (*)
Only one of seven Indian restaurants in the world with a Michelin star, it took Golden Peacock just 7 months to get their first one in 2013.
Much of the restaurant’s success owes itself to affable Head Chef Justin Paul, a native of Kerala who’s been in Macau for 9 years. By only using original Indian spices, vegetables and peppers, and eschewing MSG, preservatives, and artificial enhancers, he and his team of 17 chefs are able to produce dishes of unusual depth and quality, in particular the soups and curries, which are just to die for.
Other signature dishes include Kandari Murgh Tikka, Kumarakom Tiger Prawn, Choosa-Khaas-Makhani, and Palak Chaman.
Update: Like Golden Flower, the Golden Peacock has also temporarily ceased operations.
Well-deserved; an above average restaurant (*)
Zi Yat Heen (*)
Zi Yat Heen specializes in Cantonese cuisine but also does other styles of Chinese food too, such as Beijing Duck. They had two stars for a number of years before losing one in 2017, which is more in line with how I rate the restaurant. An extremely pleasant dining venue located in the Four Seasons Macau, the service is top notch as is most of the food. For more discerning diners, there might not be a better choice in all of Macau.
Signature dishes include Zi Yat Heen Crispy Chicken, Barbecued Pork with Honey and Braised Superior Bird’s Nest with Crab Meat.
For restaurants that Michelin likes much more than the Maven, please follow the link below!