When I first moved back to Hong Kong, I was worried about many things but I wasn’t worried about food. I have my favourite restaurants in Toronto, but I knew that I would find my favourites in Hong Kong.
It’s been a while since I did a food-related blog post. My last one was the best pasta restaurants in Toronto (almost 4 months ago).
I haven’t done a restaurant review since almost a year ago. I quite enjoyed writing the Fishman Lobster Clubhouse restaurant review. Also, I like to read restaurant reviews myself so when I knew I was going to eat out last weekend, it was time to write another one.
I was going to be around Central (a district in Hong Kong) the past weekend so I wanted to take this opportunity to try a new restaurant. I was craving some Western food and did some research. Fini’s Italian American popped up on Google. Their name caught my attention because it’s an Italian American restaurant. What would their pizza be like? New York-style pizza or Italian-style pizza? Both types are quite different; people usually have strong preferences too.
I always research restaurants beforehand because I’m a picky eater. Picky eaters can relate. We all like to look at their menus online before deciding to eat at a restaurant.
There are two locations: one in Central and one in Wanchai (another district in Hong Kong). I could only go by the pictures but the menu selection seemed larger in Central. This worked out well because I was going to be in that area anyway.
I knew I was going to order the Fettucine Alfredo because they also had fried chicken bites with it. They’re like my two favourite things!
There’s also fried calamari at Fini’s. I love the fried calamari from Atlantic Fish in Boston. Since I’m not going to the U.S. anytime soon, it would be really nice to have a place I can go for fried calamari here in Hong Kong if I have a craving for it.
There was also truffle pasta, which I love.
I was down to eat at Fini’s after looking at their food pictures. The options look delicious!
Getting to Fini’s
When it was time for lunch, I typed in Fini’s on Google Maps so my family and I can walk there in Central. It was a 40-minute walk from where we were on a VERY hot that day. We decided to take the bus. It took about 20 minutes before we arrived (we got off at the wrong station and had to walk back one stop).
It wasn’t until we walked in front of the restaurant that I realized I might have taken us to the Wan Chai location. I looked around and was unfamiliar with the area.
When I typed in how to get to Fini’s, Google Maps automatically put the Wanchai location. I kicked myself mentally in the head. How could I not have known that I went to Wanchai? It should have been a sign when I took the bus. Hong Kong isn’t that big. I was in Central already. Going to a restaurant in the same district should have been quick.
The restaurant has a menu display in a glass window. I quickly scanned the menu and realized that the menu didn’t have the fried calamari and Fettucine Alfredo we were planning to get. We weren’t going to go back to Central just to eat at the same restaurant so we shrugged and went inside.
Inside the Restaurant
The restaurant had a very colourful and cozy vibe. Very bistro-like and I liked it immediately. The walls were decorated with art and it was a very casual atmosphere. You can hear people chatting away happily. There’s the bar area when you first walk in. You take a few more steps and there’s the main dining area.
We sat at a table where we could see the kitchen. I liked our view because we could see the staff cooking. We would get excited if we saw our dish from a distance. The entire visit lasted for 1.5 hours and I would say the restaurant was about 75% full. We saw many expats there but it makes sense because it is a casual, Western restaurant. The area is also known to be filled with expats.
There was a bar menu and a regular dining menu. We spotted the fried calamari on the bar menu. I was happy because I already knew that we couldn’t eat the Fettucine alfredo, the dish I was looking forward to most. At least it was the only dish we couldn’t eat out of all the ones we wanted to try.
The toilet wasn’t inside the restaurant. You had to go through the front door, turn left and go out to use the restroom. There’s no air condition inside the bathroom. Maybe I haven’t eaten out in a long time but don’t most restaurants have toilets INSIDE the restaurant? Thought that was interesting.
Food at Fini’s (the most exciting part!)
a) Fried Calamari
If you know me, you’ll know that I LOVE seafood especially fried calamari. I wanted this to be an Atlantic Fish replacement. I truly did but this wasn’t that good. The calamari itself was fresh. The breading also was good. Even the LOOK of it was pretty.
When you eat it though, there wasn’t much flavour. My family agreed. They had a marinara sauce (at least I think it was that) on the side but I prefer it when restaurants have a creamy dip with the fried calamari. I tried the marinara sauce and wasn’t a fan.
Since this was an appetizer, it was the first dish to come out. We were so hungry at that point. It was almost 1 pm. We finished the whole dish. Not because it was so good but because of our hunger. We wanted to fill our stomachs.
b) Homemade Fettucine Funghi
This was the second dish we ate. I didn’t have a high expectation of this dish after the calamari. I remember being a bit disappointed after the calamari thinking ‘ah, maybe this isn’t a place I’ll come back to.’
The staff brought out the dish first then shaved some black truffle on top of the pasta. I liked that they did that in front of us. I even took a video of it, which I posted on Instagram.
There were a variety of mushrooms and they made a terrific combo. I would have liked some chicken in this dish as well but it’s because I’m always down for the chicken and mushrooms.
We requested some parmesan cheese on top because the dish didn’t feel right without it. We tried the pasta before and after they added the cheese. Definitely better with the cheese. Who doesn’t like cheese on their pasta?
The Fettucine Funghi was really good but a little too salty for my liking. It was weird because we didn’t expect that after the tasteless calamari. The portion was also a little smaller than I thought. When they first served us, it looked like a decent size portion. It could be that we liked it so much so we finished it fast.
c) Pepperoni Pizza
This was a hit for restaurant go-ers. Almost all the tables at Fini’s ordered the pepperoni pizza.
It was freshly made when they served the pizza to us. We waited for the cheese to settle in for a bit (also didn’t want to burn our hands and mouths eating the pizza). I ate the pizza American style (with hands) but most people ate it Italian style (with a knife and fork).
It was a good thickness. One of the reasons I don’t love Italian-style pizza is because of how thin their crust is. I hate it when I’m lifting the pizza and all the toppings fall off. Trying to put it back on the pizza is not fun.
I generally do like pepperoni pizza or else I wouldn’t have ordered it. However, I don’t like it when there are too many pepperoni pieces on the pizza. I had to pick them out. The pepperoni is a bit spicy. It’s also thicker, a little crispier, and smaller than the pepperoni I’m used to eating.
You could see the parmesan shavings on the crust but it was just fluff. I didn’t think it made a difference to the dish.
It’s a pretty good dish. I wouldn’t go out of my way to eat this dish but if I eat at Fini’s again in the future, I will definitely re-order their pepperoni pizza.
The pizza was HUGE. Now that’s what I’m talking about when it comes to American food sizing. Haha. We took home more than half of the pizza (there were 8 slices in total). If it’s a food I like, I honestly don’t mind leftovers although it tastes best fresh. Actually, I even get a little excited knowing that I can eat something I really like again the next day. Be prepared for leftover pizza unless you’re going as a group and have more people sharing it.
d) Skillet Cookie
I didn’t know if I had room for dessert after all food but I’m so glad I ordered this. This was SOO good. It was my favourite thing at Fini’s.
Don’t be fooled by its appearance. I didn’t think there were enough chocolate chips at first glance but when you eat the cookie, you’ll see all the gooey chocolate inside. The chocolate chip cookie was sweet and chewy and the scoop of milk ice cream balances out the taste. They serve the dish to us, you guessed it, in a skillet.
It’s been really hard for me to find a good sweet and chewy cookie in Hong Kong. The cookies I’ve had here aren’t sweet enough. My tastes in desserts are 100% Westernized. Locals in Hong Kong would not like the sweetness of a real American chocolate chip cookie which is probably why the sweetness is usually toned down a lot.
I thought the chocolate chip cookie at Fini’s would cater to the locals’ tastes. We are in Hong Kong after all but this one was definitely very American style. The cookie was freshly baked and you could see the heat melting the scoop of milk ice cream. The cookie was HOT and the ice cream was cold. That combination was amazing.
Never heard of milk ice cream? It’s a thing in Asia. I would say it tastes like vanilla. If the menu didn’t say milk ice cream, I would have assumed that it’s vanilla. I couldn’t tell the difference honestly.
We were so full from all our other dishes (especially the pizza) that we couldn’t finish the skillet cookie (it was a pretty big cookie). We still ate about 95% of it though. Close enough.
Fini’s service was not good. Going to be straight up here. When we sat down at the table, they didn’t give us a menu. The restaurant wasn’t even half full when we first went in. We sat awhile and waited patiently. They could have been busy but it was clear that they forgot so we had to ask for menus.
Also, it was an extremely hot day on Sunday. It was about 36 degrees Celsius. We wanted some refreshing drinks meaning ice water. We asked for some and they forgot about it. After sitting down for a bit, we weren’t as hot anymore so we didn’t push for it.
They did give us room temperature water but we had to keep asking for refills ourselves instead of them filling it up without prompting. Their service could be better. I wasn’t ecstatic about the 10% service fee that was added to the bill.
Overall thoughts about Fini’s
The service isn’t the best but it’s not so bad that it will stop me from going to Fini’s again in the future. Next time, I wouldn’t order the fried calamari but I would order everything else again.
I would also make sure that it would be the CENTRAL location and not the Wan Chai location. I am determined to try the Fettucine alfredo with chicken bites. At least once.
Favourite: Skillet Cookie
Least Favourite: Fried Calamari
I would recommend this restaurant for those who like authentic and casual American-style restaurants.
Whew, this blog post was a long one but I wanted to write a detailed review about Fini’s Italian American restaurant. I look forward to writing more restaurant reviews in the future. In the meantime, check out my review on Summer Palace, Agehan Japanese Restaurant and Pica Pica.
What are your favourite restaurants in your city/town?