Hong Kong is a food lover’s paradise with its saturated market of restaurants, cafes, and bars serving cuisine from all over the world. Just when you think that there couldn’t possibly be another restaurant to pop up that could set itself apart from the hundreds of others, EAT.it comes along and drops itself in the foodie mecca of Causeway Bay (also known as everybody’s worst nightmare on a Sunday afternoon). So, what exactly sets EAT.it apart from the many other Italian eateries in HK? This is the first restaurant I know of in the city that has implemented a marketplace dining concept.
If you’ve ever had a meal at a marketplace restaurant (for me, it reminded me of the once-loved, now-closed Richtree Market restaurant in Toronto or the Marché restaurant group), you would have probably been overwhelmed with choice at first; which station do you go to first? How does this card thing even work? This dining style is reminiscent of an adult version of a university dining hall, which some people may love while others may hate it. Either way, I find marketplace dining an unpretentious and unique option for those who are looking for something different.
EAT.it has a wide selection of antipasti, salad, pizza, pasta, paninis, and dessert options. Most of which, you can actually see at each of their stations to help you make some of these difficult food decisions (the struggle is real, amiright?). There is also an area at the front where you can purchase some of their imported goods if you’re in the mood to play Italian chef for a night at home.
The restaurant itself is quite spacious with a large semi-outdoor seating area with no ceiling and very high glass windows, as well as a fairly spacious indoor dining area that wraps around all of the food stations. Because of the massive windows throughout, the natural light shines into the restaurant making it a great spot to enjoy a bright weekend brunch.
My biggest annoyance in terms of service was the fact that they don’t serve tap water, which I find extremely frustrating in HK. Like, no thanks, I don’t want to pay $30 for a bottle of still or sparkling water..
Moving onto the food, EAT.it serves most of your typical Italian comfort food (except no gnocchi.. why is it so hard to find in HK?!). We started with calamari ($108) and rice balls with tomato sauce ($78), both of which were fried perfectly. There was a decent serving of each and the calamari was some of the better I’ve had in HK. There were six rice balls; three were cheese-filled and the other three were tomato-based.
For our main dish, we opted to try the Nero de Seppa ($148) with linguine, and octopus and scallops with squid ink. The presentation wasn’t very appealing, though I suppose it’s not the prettiest looking dish in general. Unfortunately, this dish lacked flavour and the scallops were very thin and piece-y.
For dessert, we tried the honey cheesecake ($48) and a little cannoli ($12), accompanied by an ice coffee ($35) and an Italian hot chocolate ($48). The cheesecake was really good, but unfortunately it wasn’t your typical North American style cheesecake (that thick and dense cream cheese deliciousness). Thankfully, it wasn’t as bad as the “cheesecake” you find at a local bakery. This version was somewhere in between, so while it wasn’t horrible by any means, it wasn’t quite what we were hoping for either. The cannoli was disappointing as well; the filling was decent, but the pastry dough tasted as though it was left in the fryer for far too long. Next time, I’ll stick with the gelato.
Thankfully, the iced coffee and Italian hot chocolate were spot on. We loved how actual chocolate was used to make the hot chocolate and we were left with little pieces of chocolate during the last few sips.
The marketplace concept of EAT.it Italian restaurant is unique in Hong Kong and offers a relaxing environment for diners who are looking for something new. Though there are room for improvements in terms of their food and service (about that tap water..), it’s a good option as a casual catch-up with a friend for lunch.
EAT.it – Italy Eatery
9 Kingston Street, Fashion Walk