While Macau is renowed for its Chinese cuisine (especially dim sum), most people come here to sample Portuguese and Macanese food. For cheap food, the cafes and no-frills Chinese places around Largo do Senado are a good bet.
Portuguese & Macanese
Rua do Almirante Sergio, just north of the A-Ma Temple on Macau Peninsula, is a great place to experience some of Macau's finest Portuguese and Macanese food.
Carlos ( 28751838; ground fl, Vista Magnifica Bldg, Rua Cidade de Braga; mains MOPS55-100; noon-3pm & 6-11pm Tue-Sun) Forget the menu; just ask Senhor Carlos what he'd like to cook today - you won't be disappointed. Otherwise, try the Macanese minchi (spicy mince with rice and egg on top) or any of the delicious Portuguese dishes.
Restaurante Fernando ( 2888 2264; 9 Praia de Hac Sa, Coloane; mains MOP$55-160, rice dishes MOPS60-75; -S noon-9.30pm) A Macau institution famed for seafood and the perfect place for a protracted, boozy lunch by the sea. The bar stays open till midnight.
A Lorcha (2831 3193; 289a Rua do Almirante Sergio; starters MOP$38-6S, mains MOP578-160; 12.30-3pm & 6.30-11 pm Wed-Mon) This place has a more Portuguese bent; try the chicken with onion and tomato, thefeijoada (a casserole of beans, pork, spicy sausages, potatoes and cabbage), the baked duck rice or the pig's-ear salad.
O Santos (2882 7508; 20 Rua da Cunha, Taipa; mains MOP$88-170; noon-3pm & 6.30-10.30pm) This tiny place is famous for its stuffed pork loin and its codfish dishes, especially bacalhau a ze do pipo (dried cod baked with mashed potatoes; MOP$72).
Litoral ( 2896 7878; 261a Rua do Almirante Sergio; starters MOP$30-50, mains MOP$95-180; S noon-3pm & 6-10.30pm) Top marks for this joint, which serves delightful Macanese fare, with excellent duck, baked rice and spicy prawn dishes.
Club Militar de Macau ( - 2871 4000; 975 Avenida da Praia Grande; starters MOP$40-105, mains MOP$120-180, lunch buffet MOP$110; noon-3pm & 7-11pm) The Military Club is one of Macau's most distinguished colonial buildings and its Portuguese restaurant is as atmospheric as you'll find in Macau, with Portuguese food that's very good, if not the very best in town.
Chinese & Other Asian
Wong Chi Kei 2833J313; 17 Largo do Senado; noodle & rice dishes MOP515-35; Sam-midnight) This little Chinese place has been serving cheap noodles and other dishes since 1946.
Tou Tou Koi (2857 2629; 6-8 Travessa do Mastro; meals MOP$58-150, seafood MOP$150-488; £ 8am-3pm & 5pm-midnight) Located down the alley just opposite the Pawnshop Heritage Exhibition, here you'll find traditional Cantonese dishes you can no longer find in other Chinese restaurants. Among the wide range of sumptuous dishes is its signature classic: deep-fried stuffed crab with shrimp.
Cafe Nga Tim (2888 2086; 8 Rua Caetano, Coloane; mains MOP$35-65; K noon-lam) We love the Sino-Portuguese food, laid-back atmosphere, location (opposite the Chapel of St Francis Xavier) and prices at this place.
Fook Lam Mun ( 2856 9256, 687 7296; 26f Rua do Bispo Medeiros; meals MOPS300-400, abalone & shark fin plate MOPS90-450; noon-midnight) This homely hole-in-the-wall restaurant is a hidden gem near Lou Lim lok Garden, and gets the thumbs-up from the Chinese in Macau. Specialities include abalone and shark fin, carefully prepared with fresh ingredients. If possible, bring a Chinese friend for communication.
Corner's Wine Bar & Tapas Cafe (2848 2848; 3 Travessa de Sao Paulo; dishes MOP$40-150; £ cafe noon-3pm & 6-11pm daily, wine bar 3pm-midnight Thu & Sun,3pm-1amFri&Sat) This rooftop bar and tapas joint offers that rare thing: outdoor dining.
It's in a great location just across from the cathedral ruins and serves decent tapas dishes. At night it's a perfect place to come for some chilled-out drinks amid soft lighting and soothing music
Cafe Bela Vista (793 3861; 2nd fl, Mandarin Oriental, 956-1110 Avenida da Amizade; starters MOP$65-100, buffet MOP$190; £6.30am-12.30am) Don't be put off by the buffet-style offering. The Bela Vista manages to serve a decent range of Western dishes, along with freshly prepared }apanese and Indian fare. Service is great and standards are high. Good breakfasts, too.
Peninsular Macau's food stalls sell excellent stir-fried dishes; try the dai pai dong along Rua do Almirante Sergio near the Inner Harbour.
Yuk gon (dried sweet strips of pork and other meats) are a Macau speciality, as are hung yan bang (almond biscuits sprinkled with powdered sugar). You'll see both scat-tered about older parts of the city, particu-larly near Rua da Caldeira and Travessa do Matadouro at the northern end of Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro.
Two of the largest markets are the Almirante Lacerda City Market (Mercado Municipal Almirante Lacerda; Map pp564-5; 130 Avenida do Almirante Lacerda; 6am-8pm), also called the Red Market, in northern Macau, and the St Lawrence City Market (Mercado Municipal de Sao Lourenco; Rua de Joao Lecaros; 6am-8pm) in the south.
Opposite the Macau ferry terminal, New Yaohan Department Store (725 338; Avenida da Amizade; Sl1am-10.30pm) has a large supermarket on the 2nd floor. Note that at the time of writing the New Yaohan had opened temporarily near the Nam Van Lake, but it should be back at its original location by mid-2009:
Despite its reputation as a city of sin, Macau's nightlife has, until recently, been dominated by dancing girls and casinos. But that's all beginning to change. As contrived as Fisherman's What might seem, there are a few decent bars and restaurants there and the atmosphere is generally pretty good. The bar strip in the Dochas area on Avenida Dr Sun Yat Sen is also worth a look.
Elsewhere, there's a fine line between cafes, most of which serve food as well, and bars. Here we've listed our favourite places for a warm beverage under Cafes and those where we seek something colder (and stronger) under Bars.
Macau's many little cafes are great for a coffee break and also for cheap and tasty lunches. If you're anywhere near Largo do Senado, Travessa de Sao Domingos has plenty of options.
Caffe Toscana ( S 2837 0354; 11 Travessa de Sao Domingos; meals MOP$25-50; noon-9.30pm Wed-Mon) The Toscana serves good coffee and light snacks, including focaccia (MOP$18 to MOPS27), in a cosy, old-fashioned setting.
Caravela ( 712 080; ground fl, Kam Loi Bldg, 7 Patio do Comandante Mata e Oliveira; 8am-10pm) This wonderful pastelaria (pastry shop) just north of Avenida de Dom Joao IV serves excellent coffee, delectable pastries (cakes MOP$10 to MOP$25) and good sandwiches.
Margaret's Cafe e Nata ( 2871 0032; Rua Aim Costa Cabral; S 6.30am-8pm Mon-Sat, 9am-7pm Sun) This busy little cafe is famous for its meltingly sweet, rich egg tarts and good-value sandwiches.
Lord Stow's Cafe (Map p571; (g 2888 2174; 1 Rua da Tassara; ® 7am-10pm Thu-Tue, to 7pm Wed) This place serves baked goodies from the famous bakery around the corner, including its cel-ebrated pasteis de nata, a warm egg-custard
Al's Diner ( fisherman's Wharf) This garden-style place on the waterfront serves up cheap beer and more than passable Filipino bands.
Vasco ( 793 3830; ground fl, Mandarin Oriental, 956-1110 Avenida da Amizade; S 2pm-2am) This cool, quiet, softly lit haven offers respite from the crowds, noise and glowing neon. In the afternoon it serves tapas-style afternoon tea and in the evenings there's some excellent live music (accomplished jazz singers or good lounge music typically).
Whisky Bar ( 2838 3838; 16th fl, Star World Hotel, Avenida da Amizade; ® 11am-2am Sun-Thu, to 3am Fri & Sat) High up in the tacky Star World casino-hotel, this cheerful bar offers grand vistas across the peninsula to the Guia Lighthouse, plus a Filipino covers band and a lively atmosphere. Strangely enough, there's not much of a whisky menu. Grab a window seat.
Not surprisingly, entertainment in Macau is dominated by the casinos. Whether it's an assignation with Lady Luck you seek, or the free shows and events the casinos host, there is more to choose from with every passing month as new venues open up. Cirque du Soleil now performs nightly here, along with an increasingly impressive host of big-name singers and bands from all around the world.
It's all part of Macau's bid to reshape it-self not just as a gambling enclave but as the Southeast Asian artistic destination. Whether or not a city can buy an artistic soul just like that remains to be seen and it certainly has some way to go, although cultural perform-ances such as opera are becoming increasingly regular; consult the territory's premier venue, the Macau Cultural Centre (Centra Cultural de Macau; 2870 0699,2855 5555; www.ccm.gov.mo; Avenida Xian Xing Hai), for details.
Casinos and the endless dollars they suck into the city are the lifeblood of Macau (see the boxed text, p569). All of them operate 24 hours a day and punters must be at least 18 years old and properly dressed. Even if you don't fancy playing the tables (in many the minimum bet is MOP$100 or more), it's worth taking a look around, enjoying the temples of Mammon operate. Each year there's yet more spectacle and glitz.
Most of Macau's casinos are located in big hotels. The following is a small selection.
Wynn Macao (2888 9966; Rua Cidade de Sintra, NAPE) A touch of Vegas transplanted in the East, the US-based Wynn brand does things in some style, with high-end boutiques and restaurants attached. It also has a non-smoking gambling hall.
Grand Lisboa Casino ( 2838 2828; Avenida de Lisboa) This towering, flaming-torch-shaped megastructure has become the landmark you navigate the peninsula streets by, outshining its little sister (the next-door Casino Lisboa) with its unbridled kitsch inside and out.
Venetian ( 2888 9988; Grand Emperor Hotel, 299 Avenida Comerical De Macau) This ersatz Doge's Palace is the first of several massive recent constructions that will form the Vegas Strip-style Cotai Strip. It's a vast hotel, conference, gambling and shopping city within a city, recreating many Venetian icons, right down to the canals (complete with singing gondoliers).
Casino Lisboa ( 2837 5111; 2-4 Avenida de Lisboa) The best-known casino in Asia for its faded '60s glamour, the Pineapple folly may be outshone by its big sister (the Grand Lisboa) but retains much of its old raunchy personality. The Crazy Paris Show still sends out the dancing girls and the punters still cram into smoke-filled gaming rooms. It's a charismatic contrast with the vast newer casinos.
Grand Emperor Casino ( 2888 9988; Grand Emperor Hotel, 299 Avenida Comerical De Macau) With pure gold bricks on the floor and the faux historic interior complete with portraits of British royalty, this place is a scream, right down to a pair of rather unconvincing Queen's own Irish Guards standing sentry outside (psst, we don't think those are real bearskin hats).
The nightlife scene is taking off in Macau. Many of the large, newer casino-hotel operators run bars-cum-clubs with live music. If you want a choice of several places, the bars and clubs around the NAPE area, close to the water, are lively most nights.
D2 (564-5;@ 2872 3777; 2nd fl, AIA Tower, 301 Avenida Comercial de Macaua; S 10pm-7am, happy hour 11pm-2an) The latest incarnation of DD, the former (in)famous bar and dance club. It's ionable and, by 3am, full of young women dancing. A place to revel and to flirt.
Nicole Fashion Club ( Fisherman's Wharf; ®7pm-late) pick your night carefully here. Midweek it can be dead, but on a good night there's a decent mix of tunes and a fun vibe. The indoor-outdoor combo is perfect, and makes it the best place on the wharf.
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