The third floor of iSquare shopping mall in Tsim Sha Tsui comprises of mostly restaurants which are well-patronised, often with crowds waiting outside. Italian restaurant Carpaccio is no exception. Always busy, the atmosphere is friendly, informal and lively. The restaurant is packed, mostly with the youthful set. There is a take-away counter and chefs can be seen at work in the open kitchen. Tables are utilitarian and covered with paper tablecloths. With several cinemas nearby, many diners come for a pre- or post- movie meal. Booking is obligatory if wishing to avoid queuing.
The food served at Carpaccio is in the style of an Italian trattoria with a wide choice of dishes. The restaurant boasts pizza, pasta and vino but there are many other choices. One of Carpaccio’s best appetisers is the spada, a chilled home-cured swordfish loin with Sicilian citrus served with avocado and lime salsa, which is exceptionally tasty and refreshing. Our other appetiser, a cantaloupe melon sliced and topped with thin slices of “Riserva” 24-month aged Parma ham, is a huge serving and enough for three to share. The ham is carved to order in the restaurant and Parma pizza from the Woodstone pizza oven is enormously popular with mounds of fresh ham glistening on top. Organic pasta is available for a HK$10 surcharge and combined with freshly steamed clams with white wine, garlic and chili is so moreish that extra bread is needed to mop up the sauce. Potato gnocchi is well-made and goes well with a ragu of slow-cooked rich meat and tomato sauce. Fish and meat in various guises are offered for main course with the ossobuco sprinkled with gremolata being especially well-executed. Desserts include tiramisu and refreshing strawberry sorbet.
Excellent work has been done by the compiler of the wine list. No massive tome to plough through here, just fifty well-chosen wines with 27 available either by tasting glass or full glass. The wines are first described by overall style and then individually. Whilst Italy is well-represented, several other major countries also feature. Prices are fair with five decent wines under HK$300 per bottle and five fine wines over HK$1,000.
The restaurant is normally packed and staff are always busy but nevertheless keep a friendly smile. Little things such as water can be forgotten. For a leisurely meal, it is best to order one single course at a time. Helpfully waiters will bring extra plates so each generous serving can be shared easily.
Excellent value for money. Set lunch is HK$78-$138 whilst a four-course set dinner with plenty of choice and coffee as well is HK$328. Ordering a la carte would be HK$400 per person for a substantial, enjoyable dinner.