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By Andrea Lo | November 21st, 2015

Hong Kong 30 Under 30 2015

Co-owner, Pirata and The Optimist

Hailing from Spain, restaurateur Manuel Palacio left home at 18 to travel the world. Before moving to the SAR, Palacio worked a long list of cities, including Madrid, London and New York.

There are three things I try to remember every day: Stay optimistic; be relentless … and that without your team, you can’t make it.

He arrived in Hong Kong in 2012 and worked as a venue manager at Armani Prive for three years before striking out on his own. Palacio’s first adventure was Italian restaurant Pirata in 2014, now a Wan Chai hot spot. Just this October, he opened The Optimist, a three-story dining address in the same building. The new ground-floor address specializes in grilled Spanish bites and sharing plates.

“We are firm believers in the execution of the concepts,” says Palacio. “Whether you are eating a bowl of pasta, a great fish or a simple salad, we all like to be well looked after.”

His very first job? Manuel washed dishes in a Madrid coffee shop.

Click here to return to The Loop’s 30 Under 30 page.