Macau has a rich and powerful history like no other place. This Special Administrative Region is, among others, synonymous with a high-end lifestyle, with themed parties in local nightclubs, friends gathering in hotel pools, and fancy restaurants. The latter usually took place at lunch in iconic spots around town that still stand to this day. Here is our list of the oldest restaurants in Macau that are a part of the city’s history, and well worth checking out if you’re in a “traveling down memory lane” kind of mood.
Fat Siu Lau
(See featured image above)
Established in 1903 in Macau’s former red-light street (Rua da Felicidade), the restaurant is still there with the same decorations, a remarkable front door, and run by the same family who founded it. Its signature dish is “shek ki”–roasted pigeon–and it is a popular local delicacy made with a secret family recipe. You’ll certainly feel the historic vibe when stepping into Fat Siu Lau, as it’s located on one of Macau’s most remarkable streets. There are also a few cafés and dessert shops close by that are great to visit after a hearty lunch or dinner.
Opening hours: Daily, 12:30pm–10:30pm
“A Vencedora” is the Portuguese expression for “The Winner”. Opened in 1918, this joint in the heart of the city offers a few dishes, but all of them are guaranteed to keep you wanting more. Besides the typical minchi, there is also boiled codfish with vegetables, feijoada–a Portuguese stew with different meats, beans and cabbage served with plain rice–and a remarkable bitoque (beef steak with a side dish of French fries and a fried egg). Additionally, there’s the option to have a glass of wine with your preferred main dish! The restaurant owner does not speak fluent Portuguese nor does he have a drop of Lusophone blood, but his grandmother learned this warm-hearted cuisine from a former employer from Lisbon.
Opening hours: Daily, 11:00am–11:00pm
A Vencedora 264 Rua do Campo, Pak Nin Son Building, Macau, +853 2835 5460
Long Wa Tea House
Set close to the Red Market in Horta e Costa neighborhood, Long Wa Tea House has been open since 1962 offering simple, traditional, and mouthwatering dim sum dishes, but also some other Cantonese delicacies such as stir-fried noodles with beef or curry, fried rice, and others. The restaurant is wide and usually has its numerous windows opened, creating an airy atmosphere inside. Mostly frequented by locals who come here to unwind and have breakfast or lunch, you can see people read the newspaper, sit down with family members, amongst other things. It’s a to-go place where people can feel the local Macau vibe and take awesome photos in a vintage setting as it is one of the few remaining tea houses left in the city.
Opening hours: Daily, 7:00am–2:00pm
Long Wa Tea House 3 R. Norte do Mercado Alm. Lacerda, Macau, +853 2857 4456
A favorite amongst expats–especially the Portuguese–they have some truly traditional dishes such as African chicken, Macanese minchi, and Portuguese delicacies that’re codfish-based (à brás, roasted or boiled). Aside from their international dishes, their local cuisine offerings include specialties like spicy king prawn, curry fresh crab, whole roasted fish, amongst others. Opened in 1976, it’s not too crowded these days and has two cute tables set outside, overlooking Sai Van Lake and the Macau Tower. So why not head there for a taste of true Macanese food, while unwinding by the waterfront? Their sangria is really worth it, as well as the bulhão pato style clams.
Opening hours: Thursday–Tuesday, 12:00pm–10:00pm
Henri’s Galley 4 Avenida da República, Macau, +853 2855 6251
Owned by Macanese Aida de Jesus, Riquexó is still opened for all those who want to experience a true taste of Macanese food. Simple, modest, and affordable, it’s a set menu kind of place, where you can order minchi and other dishes accompanied with the soup of the day and a drink: and voilà, a lunch for less than MOP $100! Riquexó first opened its doors more than 30 years ago and this is one of the only places in town where you’ll still be able to overhear people speaking patuá, the Macau dialect that mixes Portuguese with Cantonese. Lots of Macanese go there to dine, but tourists are also regular visitors to this local eatery.
Opening hours: Daily, 12:00pm–9:30pm
Solmar opened in 1961 to honor Macanese food. Although quite expensive compared to restaurants offering similar dishes, Solmar is an establishment that shouldn’t be missed. Do come and enjoy their spicy African and Portuguese chicken dishes! Their decoration is a little kitsch and the ambiance slightly dark, but Solmar’s location makes it the perfect spot for local food on a short lunch break.
Opening hours: Daily, 11:00am–10:30pm
Portas do Sol
Portas do Sol is one of our undeniable favorites. This Cantonese establishment from the 70s remains in the same place where it first started: Hotel Lisboa–not to be mistaken with the new Grand Lisboa Hotel. Besides being Macau’s first large-scale casino, Hotel Lisboa has a rich history that should be known by anyone who appreciates this city. There was a time where the river waves almost knocked at the casino’s door and the famous rickshaws were a pretty common means of transport.
Once at Portas do Sol, try everything your stomach can handle. Start with some dumplings, go through the “siu mei” (Cantonese expression for a series of different roasted meats), try the “siu yuk” (roasted pig), and don’t forget to ask for some fried noodles or “wet fried rice” with vegetables. Useful tip: take some screenshots of the dishes on your mobile to ease ordering.
Opening hours: Monday–Friday, 11:30am–2:30pm and 6:30pm–10:30pm (dinner); Saturday, Sunday and public holidays, 9:30am–3:00pm
This is a Portuguese restaurant in the heart of Taipa Village. Opened during the 70s, Pinocchio was one of the few Western joints in town offering a European menu. Sadly, it has lost a little bit of its sparkle, but it’s still a wonderful choice for Portuguese food. Try the curry crab and the barbecue dishes and you won’t be disappointed. Its location is great for people looking to explore this side of Macau, with all its narrow and cute streets. Filled with street food snack joints and some special things–like coffee shops with nice views–Taipa Village is an unmissable part of town.
Opening hours: Daily, 12:00am–9:00pm
Cozinha Pinocchio 38 Largo dos Bombeiros, Taipa Village, +853 2882 7128, 2882 7328
Also read: The Best Things to Do in Taipa Village
This restaurant opened in 1986. With simple and unassuming decoration, Fernando is a spot tucked away in Hac Sá Beach, serving all kinds of Portuguese dishes and featuring an outdoor area where you can dine, but people usually use it for drinking and gathering. With a strong focus on codfish specialties and charcoal-grilled delicacies–fish, seafood, and meat–the grilled ribs are a must-try.
There’s no steamed rice or butter in this establishment, but that’s one of the perks of being adored: the dishes speak by themselves. It’s usually very busy on weekends–especially Sundays–when foreigners and tourists from Hong Kong come here. Also pretty popular amongst the Portuguese living in Macau and serving food all day, we recommend having lunch or dinner a bit before or after rush hours. They don’t accept debit or credit cards, so prepare cash in advance.
Opening hours: Daily, 12:00pm–9:30pm
Fernando Restaurant 9 Praia de Hac Sá, Coloane, +853 2888 2264
Offering a very mixed menu focusing on seafood, fried rice and noodles, and baked goods, Nga Tim is a wonderful open-air restaurant to dine at and feel the true Macau vibe. Usually crowded with locals looking for a nice time with friends and family, it’s set in one of Coloane Village’s main squares, on the left-hand side of St. Francis Xavier Church. Inaugurated in 1972, Nga Tim soon became an all-time favorite for Portuguese expats living in Macau as well. First-timers will find their translated menu–also available on the placemat–kind of funny.
We recommend the stir-fried noodles with beef that arrive at the table on a sizzling skillet with lots of tender beef bits, peppers and chili, and also deep-fried offerings: squid and “peixinhos” (tiny, crispy fishes). Another must-have at Nga Tim are the clams with black beans and chili, which aren’t easy to find anywhere else in Macau.
Opening hours: Daily, 12:00pm–1:00am
Nga Tim 8 Rua Caetano, Coloane Village, +853 2888 2086