Macau has a rich and powerful history like no other place. This now Special Administrative Region was once a synonym for 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. Here is our list of 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, 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.
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). 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 Pak Nin Son Building, 264 Rua do Campo, Macau, +853 2835 5460
Solmar opened in 1961 to honour 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 ambience 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
Solmar 512 Avenida da Praia Grande, Macau, +853 2888 1881
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. Besides being Macau’s first large-scale casino, Hotel Lisboa has a rich history which 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: Have 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
Portas do Sol Hotel Lisboa 2/F, East Wing, Macau, +853 8803 3100
This is a Portuguese-based 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