Macau's opulent Cantonese eatery
Understatement is not usually the first idea that comes to mind in Macau, a place where bigger is better and less is only more if you’re counting your losses at the casino. And yet, Zi Yat Heen, the superb Chinese restaurant in the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Four Seasons Hotel Macao, Cotai Strip, seems to understand that luxury lives in the little details.
Of course, there’s no shortage of grandeur here. As the hotel title implies, the property is located on the famed stretch of real estate, among many big name hotels and casinos (the sprawling Venetian complex is next door) and fervent development. Arriving at the restaurant requires a trip through the ornate Italianate lobby of the hotel.
Still, dining here feels like a welcome retreat from the hubbub. Greetings are warm, and service is anticipatory and personalized. Guests’ names are remembered, tea never goes cold and messy plates are replaced unobtrusively. The dining room is done in shades of gold and ivory, evoking opulence if not ostentation. Tables are set with white linens and silver tipped chopsticks. Deeply polished wood trip contrasts with the pale hues, the walls are paneled with Chinese landscape scenes and lanterns cast a warm glow on the space. Well-spaced tables are organized around a glass case that breaks up the room into more intimate sections while drawing attention to one of the restaurants proudest features: a wine list with over 1,000 references.
The food is Cantonese through and through (the Peking duck notwithstanding), with an enticing selection of barbecue items, loads of seafood, delicate soups and traditional prestige products such as abalone and bird’s nest, as well as an assortment of classic and creative dim sum at lunch time. The menu is copious – consider choosing one of the seasonal specialties, or focusing on signature dishes (noted with an icon on the menu) such as crispy crab claw with shrimp mousse, a trademark crispy chicken or lamb chops with an unusual coffee sauce. For a grand occasion, tasting menus are offered, and the aforementioned wine list can be counted on to impress. If vino is not your thing – or even if it is — something from the menu of fine teas will certainly do.