Innovative Japanese food with iconic views
One of the most renowned restaurants in the city, Nobu InterContinental Hong Kong embodies the ambitions and work ethic of chef Nobu Matsuhisa. Hailing from Japan, the chef got his big break after opening Matsuhisa Restaurant in Beverly Hills in 1987. It became a magnet for gourmands and celebrities, including actor Robert De Niro, who eventually became Nobu’s business partner.
In 1994, the pair opened the first Nobu in New York City, which was an instant hit. Since then, the tireless chef has created a global empire with restaurants, hotels, ceramics and even sake brewed in the Nobu name.
Even with the rapid expansion, chef Nobu has ensured that each location delivers a wonderful experience. In Hong Kong, for instance, you enter through a graceful wooden foyer, after which the atmosphere dramatically shifts. Designed by New York’s Rockwell Group — the same company behind the first Nobu location in the Big Apple — the gorgeous restaurant is decked out with wooden floors and warm amber lighting, echoing Japanese minimalist aesthetics albeit with a contemporary spin.
Enjoy beautifully plated sashimi and innovative Japanese dishes, with Victoria Harbour and the stunning Hong Kong skyline as a backdrop.
Our Inspector’s Highlights
● Trained as a sushi chef in Tokyo, Nobu draws from his international experience — especially his time in Peru and Argentina — to create his distinct, modern Japanese dishes.
● There’s no wrong order at this beloved address, but signature dishes include the fresh yellowtail sashimi with jalapeño, black cod with sweet miso, toro tartare with caviar, and white fish tiradito.
● Nobu’s team uses a wood-burning oven to cook many of the main courses, including octopus with yuzu lemon garlic and the sake-roasted cod.
● A carefully curated sake menu features bottles from Hokusetsu Brewery on Sado Island, where Nobu’s own label is crafted. The brewery’s sake is known for its subtly sweet flavor — at Nobu, it’s served in bamboo cups to accentuate the aroma.
● Nobu’s influence is evident throughout the Hong Kong restaurant, including the chinaware — designed by the chef himself and made in Japan.
Things to Know
● Couldn’t secure a reservation? Take a seat at the bar, where intimate booths offer amazing harbor views.
● The window-side seats might give you an uninterrupted panorama of Victoria Harbour, but the next best view is at the onyx-made sushi bar. Sit in one of the nine seats and watch chef Kazunari Araki’s masterful sushi-making skills.
● Not sure what to order? Leave it to the chef by choosing the multi-course omakase menu.
● While the signature black cod is one of the restaurant’s biggest hits, Nobu also dishes up a delicious saga beef truffle nigiri sushi and a sake-roasted Chilean sea bass that are not to be missed.
● For an afternoon treat, Nobu offers “fizzy” Japanese tea sets, complete with sweet and savory creations and a glass of champagne. And on Sundays, the Japanese restaurant throws a set lunch with free-flow bubbly.
● One way to sample the menu is during weekday lunch. Create your own deluxe bento box, try an A5 wagyu steak donburi (rice bowl), a sushi set or relax over a multi-course prix fixe.
● The restaurant’s design is inspired by the ocean, with thoughtful details such as gleaming black river stones framing the bar area, terrazzo walls embedded with bamboo rings and ceilings covered in 450,000 tiny sea urchin shells.
● As for the bar, it’s carved from a ficus tree trunk — the remainder of the wood was incorporated into the restaurant’s tables and host stations.
● The design highlight is behind the bar area, where you’ll find a sparkling depiction of Japan’s ethereal cherry blossoms covered in Murano glass beads, by American photographer Michael Palladino.