Tastes of Napoli: The first venture by a team whose previous expertise is in jewelry, Gustaci Pizzalounge brings the authentic tastes and flavors of Napoli to the heart of Hong Kong.
Look & Feel: Occupying prime position in PMQ, Gustaci Pizzalounge is a design-forward spot that’s at once elegant and welcoming. Guests enter at the bar area, a sophisticated high-top setup that’s sure to be a go-to for aperitivos. Diners make their way further into the space to a dining room that’s filled with simple yet stylish furnishings, pops of color from yellow banquettes, and a host of dreamy abstract art by the owner’s wife.
On the Menu: Gustaci Pizzalounge is all about delivering the unique traditions of Neapolitan cuisine and to that end, the menu is full of rich, hearty dishes you probably won’t be familiar with unless you’ve been to Napoli yourself. Much of it is recognizable as Italian cuisine – think plenty of pizza and pasta, but these are rendered in a way that captures the complexities of Neapolitan cuisine.
No good Italian mean should begin without an aperitivo, and so as soon as we sit down, an Aperol Spritz appears to whet our appetite, along with a unique bruschetta that is topped with burrata and pancetta.
We also try the Frittura Mista Napoletana, a platter of fried goodness that’s an iconic street food of Napoli. The trio of bites includes a simply doughy ball infused with seaweed called Zeppole (subtle and light), a potato croquette (delicious), and an arancini (different from the norm, perhaps could use some refining). Luckily, all that fried stuff is offset by the next dish, a bright, fresh salad of Sicilian octopus, potato, and greens that bursts with the flavors of the Mediterranean sea.
Next up is the Montanarine, a typical Neapolitan dish that might not be familiar to Hongkongers. Essentially, it’s a big fried dumpling (though surprisingly light an airy) that comes with delicious toppings – ours has ricotta and mortadella, and is utterly moreish.
Of course, any decent Italian restaurant will have pizza and pasta as a matter of course. We try the Gatto pizza, a unique creation featuring potato croquettes xxx xxx. The pizza was perfectly well executed, though this particular topping won’t be to everyone’s taste – luckily, there’s a range of other classic flavors and special concoctions on offer, too.
As if that weren’t enough, we finish this decadent meal with not one but three desserts, a Sfogliatella, a Pastiera Cake, and a rich chocolate cake. The first is an airy, not-too-sweet dessert filled with ricotta; the second a simple wheat cake with elegant citrus flavors that’s popular at Easter; and the last is a devilishly decadent chocolate concoction that won’t let you stop at a few bites. Coupled with an espresso – and of course, a house pour of limoncello – it’s the perfect end to a thoroughly indulgent and satisfying meal.
Jeng: The design, the laidback vibes, and the utter Italianess of the whole concept – there was even a table of businessmen loudly chattering away in Italian! We also like the prices – they’re very affordable for this part of the city.
Not So Jeng: Not much to fault here. Perhaps the only thing is that some of the dishes could use a little refinement – specifically the Frittura Mista Neapolitan.
Great For: Casual lunches, group dinners, and aperitivo.
FYI: Gustaci Pizzalounge has an expansive alfresco terrace that is perfect for dining out in good weather.
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This writeup was based on a complimentary media tasting. The Loop HK doesn’t guarantee/sell restaurant review coverage. See our editorial policy here.