Robuchon’s signature Steak Tartare with black truffle (left); Carne de Porco a Alentejana
Food & Drink Features

From Michelin-star to homestyle dining: 7 good reasons for a casino break in Macau

Beyond Chinese food, Macau offers a study in contrasts, from fine Michelin star dining to old-school Portuguese
Cyrene de la Rosa | Apr 21 2019

When it comes to the food scene, Macau boasts fancy fine dining restaurants inside gleaming hotels and casinos. But you can also discover vestiges of the Portuguese influence in the many restaurants that serve homestyle Macanese and Portuguese fare. If you’re tired of dining on Chinese food, check out these 7 restaurants that offer everything from Michelin star meals, beautiful French desserts, and premium steaks, to Portuguese comfort food and, of course, Macau’s famous egg tarts.

 

Pierre Hermé Lounge

Atrium, G/F, Morpheus at City of Dreams, www.cityofdreamsmacau.com

Marking the first partnership between Maison Pierre Hermé Paris and City of Dreams Macau is the Pierre Hermé Lounge located at the atrium lobby of Morpheus at City of Dreams. Designed by the late Dame Zaha Hadid, this stunning hotel recently won the 2019 Building of the Year Awards in the Hospitality Architecture Category, as voted by readers of ArchDaily website.

The lounge’s spectacular contemporary design

 

Other foodie destinations in Asia:

 

Fitting around 30 comfortably, this lounge would be my first pick for a relaxing breakfast, brunch, lunch, or snack away from the crowd. Open as early as 8 am, the lounge serves savory dishes and cocktails, together with Pierre Hermé’s world famous desserts, until 10 pm. It’s where you can escape from the more action packed areas of Macau while exploring this celebrated French pastry chef’s delicious universe.

Pierre Hermé Universe dessert sampler

Must-tries include a heavenly Pain au Chocolat made with gianduja, and a light Mesclun Salad topped with crab meat, avocado, grapefruit, with olive oil and lemon dressing that made me feel less guilty about starting the day with a dessert-centric meal.

A light meal with dessert sampler at Pierre Hermé Lounge

The best way to explore the dessert offerings is by ordering the Discover Pierre Hermé Universe sampler of seven assorted petit fours of Pierre Hermé’s most beloved desserts—Plaisir Sucré, Tarte Citron, Montblanc, Tarte Vanille, Satine, Ipahan, and Tarte Café. If you still have room for more, there’s also the must order Morpheus Signature “Gold” Plaisir Sucré. Crack the top open with a mallet to discover a symphony of chocolate, cream, and hazelnut underneath. This pairs well with a Coffee Martini made with single origin Iapar Rouge du Bresil coffee beans from Brazil.

 

Robuchon au Dôme

43/F Grand Lisboa Hotel, www.grandlisboahotels.com

Fans of the late culinary icon Joël Robuchon tend to agree that his Macau outpost is one of his best in Asia in terms of food. It also helps that its prime location on the 43rd floor of one of the most iconic hotels in the region gives it a breathtaking 360° view of Macau (best experienced during lunch time). Combine this with its comfortably calm dining environment and seamless service, further enhanced by a master pianist playing beautiful music in the background, this restaurant is a tough act to follow.

The restaurant’s iconic dome setting

The bread and butter course alone is worth the trip. It doesn’t hurt too that the wine list is reputedly one of the best in the world. Thus, it comes as no surprise that Michelin just gave it three stars again this year.

The famous bread basket at Robuchon au Dôme
 

A Tasca Do Luis

A Tasca Do Luis (new location to be announced soon)

During a recent visit to Macau, I was finally able to try Macanese cuisine. Apparently, it is not something readily available nor served in the big casino hotels. But thanks to a tip from a Macanese lady I met in a Portuguese tart cooking class, we ended up in this homestyle Portuguese restaurant known for its Minchi in the heart of Old Taipa Village. Minchi is a very tasty but sloppy looking dish made mainly of sautéed minced beef or pork with potatoes, like a cross between picadillo and arroz a la cubana sans the raisins. It is considered by many as Macau’s national dish with each family cooking its own version. At Tasca Do Luis, one order of Minchi can feed two to three hungry diners easily. But take note that Minchi is not listed on the restaurant’s menu.

Minchi with egg

A Tasca is also a good place to try the very popular Caldo Verde, a creamy Portuguese potato and kale soup. This version was the tastiest one I tried out of five different Portuguese restaurants within Taipa Village. As of this publishing, A Tasca Do Luis closed its Old Taipa location with its new address soon to be announced on its Facebook page.

Caldo Verde

 

Portugalia

Rua dos Mercadores No. 5, Taipa

A branch of a popular beerhouse in Portugal, this traditional Portuguese restaurant located in Old Taipa is also well known for its steaks among the local Portuguese community. In lieu of steak though, you can try the Carne de Porco a Alentejana, a heavenly dish comprised of marinated black pork cubes, fresh clams, and potatoes cooked in olive oil with white wine and coriander. This dish is best eaten with a crusty Portuguese roll.

A scene from Old Taipa Village
Carne de Porco a Alentejana

 

In Portuguese Food

Rua de Correia da Silva, Taipa

This restaurant serves classic Portuguese food with a modern twist. It is located in a tri-level space with an outdoor rooftop dining area with a nice view of Old Taipa Village. Must-tries include Duck Rice, Roast Pork, Grilled Octopus, and Chorizo Flambé or chorizo flame grilled at your table in a traditional clay pot.

Duck Rice

 

Lord Stow’s Bakery

Various locations, www.lordstow.com/macau-outlets/

Macau egg tarts have gained a cult following through the years. Founded by Englishman Andrew Stow, Lord Stow’s Bakery is credited with inventing this famous Macau edible icon in 1989, and remains the most popular and best tasting brand in town. It’s best eaten fresh out of the oven at its Rua do Cunha shop in Old Taipa Village. Rua do Cunha is a well-known pedestrian-only street lined with local restaurants and shops and is a good stop for souvenir or pasalubong shopping, too.

Lord Stow’s egg tarts inspired by Lisbon’s Pasteis de Nata

 

SW Steakhouse

North Esplanade, Wynn Palace Cotai, www.wynnpalace.com

If you’re craving for steak, this Vegas-to-Macau import is a good choice, inspired by its award-winning Las Vegas outpost. The restaurant’s high ceilings and very comfortable, modern sleek interiors provide an ideal venue to enjoy your meal.

SW Steakhouse’s warm interiors with the show stage as backdrop (Photo courtesy of Wynn Palace)

SW boasts a good selection of steaks, great salads and sides, delicious desserts, and an extensive wine list, too. Its baked on-the-premises bread rolls are also quite addicting. The free cabaret-inspired mini-shows provided is a tad quirky, but very entertaining. Combine all these with the SW team’s excellent service and you’re guaranteed a good time.

Snake River Farms Rib-eye with sides

 

Photos by Cyrene de la Rosa