In addition to casinos, shopping and world-class entertainment, Macau has continued to evolve as a world-class dining destination over the years, with a whopping number of 18 total Michelin-starred restaurants in this year’s 2018 Michelin Guide Hong Kong Macau.
For those seeking to hunt down these fine-dining gems and gastronomic experiences, the trio of hotels encompassing City of Dreams, Altira Macau and Studio City — all part of the Melco Resorts & Entertainment group — is a natural place to start. In this year’s guide, Melco has proven their commitment to elevating the level of fine dining in Macau with a total of 7 awarded stars, in addition to several Michelin-recommended dining establishments. If you’re looking to follow the trail of breadcrumbs left by the Michelin food inspectors, here’s where to start.
Savour the flavours of China at Bi Ying
Start your journey at Bi Ying, where you can indulge in everything from spicy marinated beef offal from Sichuan province, to Beijing-style pan-fried crispy pork dumplings and Shaanxi pancakes with shredded pork belly. This exceptional restaurant is dedicated to serving classic, time-honoured recipes from the different culinary regions of China, a fitting first-time guide for those looking to be swept away on a journey through China’s diverse culinary canon. Dishes are executed with care and craftsmanship by a brigade of diligent chefs, led by esteemed Executive Chef Kenneth Law, who oversees all of the restaurants under Studio City.
At Bi Ying, the scene is set by a regal gold dining room, accented with plush red carpets and an open-fronted kitchen, where toque-bearing chefs work meticulously at their stations. The gourmet experience here is rooted in seafood delicacies, noodles and roast meats — although you’re sure to find something to suit your individual palate.
Tuck into the tasty stir-fried dishes — think sweet and sour chicken with candied walnut, and asparagus with Chinese yam — or the double-boiled traditional Cantonese soups and delicately crafted dim sum. Savour the aromas wafting in from the open lychee barbecue station, where succulent meats from roast goose to duck are fired up until they achieve a shatteringly crispy skin. Pair the bold-flavoured dishes with an assortment of lighter items from abalone and chicken congee to double-boiled silky fowl soup with ginseng. The meal wraps up with creative desserts such as the Chinese herbal jelly with honey and sweet red bean soup with aged mandarin peel.
Discover Italian hospitality at Aurora
Over at Aurora, the dining room pulses with genial Italian hospitality and the enticing smells of bubbling cheese, earthy mushrooms and freshly squashed tomatoes. Situated in the Altira Macau, this Italian kitchen has been recommended by the Michelin guide for three years running, and serves a masterful assortment of classic Italian dishes prepared with a contemporary twist. The home-style dishes are enjoyed in the comfortable, warmly lit dining room aglow with copper paneling and padded with sumptuous fabrics.
To whet the palate, start with the marinated sea bream with confit lemon, the delicate fish bursting with fresh acidity and flecked with sea salt. Or go for the lobster winter salad, where succulent lobster is tossed with winter berries, thyme and rocket leaves. For the pasta course, chef Helder Amaral presents pillowy puffs of gnocchi with salsify and white beetroots, lobster ravioli and earthy cavatelli mushroom ragout under a black truffle emulsion.
Then it’s time to dig into the mains: there’s line-caught sea bass, roasted wild turbot or poached Boston lobster for seafood lovers; or 24-hour slow-cooked beef cheek, wild duck and crispy suckling pig for carnivores. Wash down the hearty meal with Altira’s extensive wine list, boasting over 700 bottles from Italy, France and Portugal. For a nightcap, head to the 700-square-meter terrace where you can cap off the night with a craft cocktail while soaking in the panoramic views of the Macau Peninsula.
Experience the tradition of tempura at Tenmasa
Ascend one floor higher in the Altira Macau and you’ll come upon an entirely different — yet equally satisfying — gastronomic experience, a meditative Japanese temple dedicated to the art of tempura frying. Started in Tokyo as a tiny restaurant in 1937 from founder Masaji Hashii, the tricks of frying perfect tempura have been closely guarded and passed down through generations to Hashii’s grandson and current owner Yoshiaki Hashii, who presides over the international growth of the brand, all the while preserving authenticity of his family’s recipes and this treasured Japanese cooking style.
Tenmasa at Altira Macau is led by chef Takenori Noguchi, a 10-year veteran of Tenmasa Tokyo. Starting with fresh, seasonal ingredients, the meal unfolds with each ingredient fried individually and presented piping hot from the fryer straight to the diner’s plate. The method here is to focus on the proper cooking of the ingredient — ‘steaming’ it, in fact — with a thin and crispy batter to let the natural flavours shine. There’s plump maki prawns, sweet pumpkin, robust mushrooms and even caramelised sweet potato tempura for dessert. Everything has been carefully calibrated, from the water to the lemon and salt selected and ordered specifically for Tenmasa. The rest of the menu offers a respite from fried foods with fresh sashimi flown in daily from Japan, creative sushi rolls and succulent beef tenderloin with foie gras in sesame miso sauce.
A meal at Tenmasa is a testament to the dedicated and studied Japanese form of cooking, with each chef’s years of practice and precision reflected in every bite. “Tempura-making takes years to master,” says chef Noguchi. “Experienced chefs watch carefully and listen to the sound of cooking.”
Bi Ying, Shop 1182, 1/F, Studio City, Estrada do Istmo, Cotai, Macau, +853 8865 6650
Aurora, 10/F, Altira Macau, Avenida de Kwong Tung, Taipa, Macau, +853 2886 8868
Tenmasa, 11/F, Altira Macau, Avenida de Kwong Tung, Taipa, Macau, +853 2886 8868
This story is presented by Melco Resorts & Entertainment.