Andrew Rowat

From Beijing to Tokyo, hotel restaurants are still among the best places to eat on the continent. Here, six noteworthy newcomers.

Peter Jon Lindberg, Anya von Bremzen, Darrell Hartman, Jarrett Wrisley
December 07, 2010

Beijing

Qi

The Lowdown In Chinese, Qi means "Seven"— the number of China’s provinces whose cuisines are on the menu of the Ritz-Carlton Beijing, Financial Street’s new restaurant. (For more on the hotel, see T+L’s It List.) Craving the tingling heat of Sichuan cooking?Try the yellowfish fried with ethereal lightness and zapped by the region’s signature chiles. The mood of the softly lit room is Modern Asian: black wooden tables set with red glassware posed against wall paneling patterned in 17th-century chinoiserie.
Highlight After dinner, retire to the Tea Apothecary in the lobby and choose a brew from the list of 88 teas. 1 Jin Cheng Fang St. E., Financial Street; 86-10/6601-6666; doubles from $200; dinner for two $95.

Ho Chi Minh City

Square One

The Lowdown Almost a decade in the making, the new Park Hyatt Saigon is now finished, and one of its restaurants is already among the best in HCMC. The vast second-floor space is divided by scrims into a series of intimate dining nooks—some overlooking Lam Son Square, others with views of one of five open kitchens. The real showstoppers here are the seafood tanks, brimming with black garrupa, soft-shell crabs, and giant freshwater prawns. Try one of the winning Vietnamese starters, such as the clever take on classic papaya salad, made instead with julienned palm hearts.
Highlight Don’t miss the locally caught, flash-grilled Nha Trang lobster. Wrap a few morsels in lettuce with shiso and holy basil, then dunk it in fragrant nuoc cham (fish sauce with spicy chiles). 2 Lam Son Square, 84-8/824-1234; www.saigon.park.hyatt.com; doubles from $230; dinner for two $80.

Hong Kong

Nobu

The Lowdown Granted, the InterContinental Hong Kong is home to Nobuyuki Matsuhisa’s 17th Nobu, but even the most jaded will be wowed once again. The sweeping Rockwell Group-designed space features a dramatic ceiling decorated with sea-urchin spines, and panoramic views of the city skyline across Victoria Harbour. In this setting, Nobu’s signature rock-shrimp tempura with ponzu sauce tastes even better than when you last had it in Malibu or Milan.
Highlight The chef’s riffs on Cantonese luxury staples—abalone, crabmeat, and shark fin—presented in a bamboo container and covered in a savory shower of bonito flakes. 18 Salisbury Rd.; 852/2721-1211; doubles from $525; dinner for two $180.

Penang

Feringgi Grill

The Lowdown Three-hundred-year-old rain trees frame the Andaman Sea from the windows of the Feringgi Grill, at the newly renovated Shangri-La Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa. The restaurant is unapologetically old-school: Caesar salads are dressed and tossed tableside, where your perfectly pink chateaubriand will be carved and dressed with choron sauce and homemade mustard.
Highlight The views of the gardens and beach are amazing. And at dusk, watch the sun sink behind the Penang Hills. Batu Feringgi Beach, Penang, Malaysia; 60-4/888-8888; doubles from $338; dinner for two $110.

Shanghai

Allure

The Lowdown Whether through architecture or avant food, this city is fast becoming a showcase for Modernism. But at Le Royal Méridien Shanghai’s Allure, chef Michael Wendling prefers to stick to French classics: he eschews foams for beurre blanc and sea urchin for sea scallops. The results are simple and simply delicious.
Highlight Order the delicate white-bean soup enhanced with earthy black truffles and porcini mushrooms, or the oven-roasted black cod in a nut-brown butter sauce. 789 Nanjing Rd. E.; 86-21/3318-9999; www.starwoodhotels.com; doubles from $489; dinner for two $120.

Tokyo

Signature

The Lowdown Talk about high style: from the 37th-floor perch of Tokyo’s Mandarin Oriental hotel, chef Olivier Rodriguez dishes up toasted scallops with lemony, vanilla-glazed turnips, and a smoked fillet of beef from the Iwate Prefecture with a rosemary-semolina tart.
Highlight At the Mandarin Bar, next door, live jazz sets the tone in the steel, glass, and polished-wood room, which looks onto Shinjuku and the Imperial Palace. 2-1-1 Nihonbashi Muromachi, Chuo-ku; 81-3/3270-8188; doubles from $545; dinner for two $240.

Nobu, Hong Kong

Located on the second floor of the Intercontinental Hotel, this Japanese restaurant takes its namesake from chef Nobu Matsuhisa. Japanese design elements dominate the interior, including the ceiling that resembles sea urchin texture and a cherry blossom motif at the bar. Lunch offerings (guided by chef Erik Idos) include the spicy salmon roll and grilled sea bass with genmai salsa, while at dinner, cold whitefish sashimi appetizers set the stage for hot entrees such as Chilean sea bass with dried miso. 

Square One, Ho Chi Minh City

In a city where hotel restaurants are decidedly lackluster, this (along with the Park Hyatt’s other great dining room, Opera) is a remarkable exception: for its confident service; its striking but not distracting interior design featuring latticework screens, dramatically lit displays of fresh produce, and private nooks; and, not least, for the food. The kitchen does particularly well with Vietnamese starters (try the palm-heart salad) and with gloriously fresh seafood, which comes straight from the tanks on display; arrive early for maximum selection. There’s also a grill for top-grade steaks, chops, pork, and Wagyu beef.

Qi

When counting in Chinese, “qi” means “seven,” and this intimate restaurant offers fare from seven provinces, including Sichuan. The small space on the second floor of the Ritz-Carlton Financial Street in the Chaoyang district has seven private rooms of varying sizes. Patterned walls, elegantly set round tables and accents of orange and red set the atmosphere inside. Cantonese fare is the specialty, with dishes like sweet and sour fried prawns and roasted duck with mango and lemon sauce.

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