Best restaurants in Malaysia

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Lake Gardens, Brickfields & Bangsar

    Rebung

    Occupying the top level of a multistorey car park overlooking the Perdana Botanical Garden, flamboyant celebrity chef Ismail's restaurant is one of KL's best. The seemingly endless buffet spread is splendid, with all kinds of dishes that you'd typically only be served in a Malay home. Go hungry and book ahead at weekends, when it's super busy. Start by loading your plate with rice and then work your way round the spread of vegetable, meat and fish dishes and fiery sambal. Ask staff for help identifying the food. Don't miss the additional food stations outside for noodles, barbecued fish, banana fritters, rojak (a mixed vegetable dish with a thick shrimp-based sauce) and desserts.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Kuala Lumpur

    Isabel

    Isabel is pure charm and a great addition to KL's dining scene. Both in terms of its menu and contemporary tropical decor, the restaurant provides a sophisticated twist on local classics, with dishes from across the region including a delicious Laotian chicken larb (salad), a mango kerabu salad and luscious oxtail stew as well as various curries.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Kuala Lumpur

    Nadodi

    The recipes and ingredients of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Sri Lanka are the foundation for the sensational tasting menus served at Nadodi (which means nomad). We highly recommend the vegetarian option – 12 courses may sound like a lot, but the sizes of each beautifully presented plate are just right, allowing the chef's artistry to shine.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Kuala Lumpur

    Jalan Alor

    KL's biggest collection of roadside restaurants and street food vendors sprawls along Jln Alor, just north of Jln Bukit Bintang. While a few restaurants and stalls are open during the day, most open for business in the evening when the street transforms into a continuous open-air restaurant, with hundreds of plastic tables and chairs and rival caterers shouting out to passers-by to drum up business. Most places serve alcohol and you can sample pretty much every Malay, Chinese and Thai dish imaginable, from grilled fish and satay to kai-lan (Chinese greens) in oyster sauce to congee (rice porridge) with frogs' legs. Stroll along looking at the signs and the dishes on the tables to see what takes your fancy.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in George Town

    Lorong Baru Hawker Stalls

    Ask locals where their favourite hawker stalls are and most will pick this night-time street extravaganza. It's a great spot for ikan bakar (grilled seafood), asam and Penang laksa, fried oysters, apong (coconut pancakes), Hokkien mee (noodles in prawn broth) and pohpiah (spring rolls). Prepare to battle for a seat if you're visiting on weekends.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in George Town

    China House

    You can't really say you've been out in George Town until you've stepped inside China House. This block-wide amalgamation of shophouses is packed with hip places to eat, drink, shop and chill out. By day, order coffees, smoothies and adventurous fusion meals at Kopi C, and extremely good three-inch thick cakes at Beach Street Bakery, then come back after dark for guest ales and live music at Canteen. Other top options include the upstairs crafts boutique, fine dining (modern European meets Malaysian) at BTB, and sleek cocktails in moody surroundings at Vine & Single.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Kuala Lumpur

    Eat X Dignity

    Barack Obama visited this worthy project run by Dignity, a Malaysian foundation providing education for the poor and refugees. Students gain work experience at this attractive cafe, which serves excellent renditions of local favourites, including nasi lemak and laksa, alongside salads, burgers and pasta. Some of the ingredients are grown in small kitchen gardens that students tend in front of the restaurant and on the roof of the building. Ask them also to show you their other projects in the complex: the Cut X Dignity hair salon and the Sew X Dignity sewing shop – two more places where teenage students receive skills training.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Kuching

    Dyak

    This elegant restaurant, 2km southeast of Old Chinatown, was the first to treat Dayak home cooking as true cuisine. Classically trained in a Western style, the chef uses traditional recipes, many of them Iban (a few are Kelabit, Kayan or Bidayuh), and fresh, organic jungle produce to create mouth-watering dishes. The dining room is packed with unusual indigenous artefacts and the menu urges diners to have a walk around to view them. Vegetarian dishes, made without lard, are available upon request; staff are happy to explain the origin of each dish. A meal at the Dyak (the restaurant uses the colonial-era spelling of the word) is not to be missed.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Sarawak

    Payung Cafe

    At this delightful cafe diners feast on healthy local food such as mushroom rolls, spicy otak otak barbecued fish, deliciously fresh herb salad and generous servings of the volcano-like Mulu ice cream. There's no re-used oil, deep frying or MSG. Drinks include fresh-pineapple-and-ginger soda (very refreshing) and local Sibu coffee. The place is set back from the road – look for the potted trees – and is lit up with coloured lights and paper parasols ( payung means umbrella in Bahasa Malaysia). Opening hours can sometimes be flexible, so it's worth phoning ahead to check that the cafe is open.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Kota Kinabalu

    Todak Waterfront

    Flaming woks, crowds of customers and tables of glistening fish and squid, crabs, prawns and lobster, all within a few metres of the fishing boats bobbing on their moorings. This is a nicer way to enjoy a fresh seafood dinner than the very smoky Filipino barbecue stalls further south. Choose your seafood and cooking style and take a plastic seat. On the tables are a box of utensils, hand-washing water and bottles of drinking water (RM1). Several stallholders are unfussed about providing beer. It's located between the Central Market and the Todak (aka spearfish/marlin) roundabout on Jln Tun Fuad Stephens.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Chinatown, Merdeka Square & Bukit Nanas

    Chō Chǎ Foodstore

    Behind the raw concrete and timber facade of the old Mah Lian Hotel is this restaurant and teashop with a plant-filled courtyard and the original hotel tiles. Chō Chǎ's 'tea sommelier' serves an extensive selection of speciality brews between 11am and 7pm, but it's the delicious modern Asian cooking using fresh farm-to-table ingredients that's the standout. Good wine list, too. If you come for dinner, head to the lush 1st-floor cocktail bar Botak Liquor for an pre- or post-meal drink.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Kuching

    Top Spot Food Court

    This neon-lit courtyard and its half-dozen humming seafood stalls sits, rather improbably, on the roof of a concrete parking garage. Don't be pressured into sitting at the first stall you come to – the staff are as good at catching customers as they are at netting fish. Check out the stalls for the freshest fish and then grab a table. A perennial favourite among local foodies. Barbecued white pomfret or red snapper are recommended, as are the prawns and squid. Cold Tiger beer is available from separate drinks stalls.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Pahang & Tioman Island

    Seri Mutiara Restaurant

    The excellent restaurant at the resort is open to nonguests and serves a fantastic range of foods, from local dishes such as satay (RM26) to salads, sandwiches, burgers and pizza. The buffet dinner (RM50) is a great option if you're hungry. It also serves a good range of alcoholic drinks including wine and cocktails. Service is very good, but it can often get busy. The restaurant is also open to non-guests for breakfast, a great start to your day trekking through the jungle.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Kuantan

    Tjantek

    With soft lighting, a jumble of antiques, odds and ends, curios and vintage paintings, and an enticing choice of tables, this superb, eclectic and very elegant cafe boasts charm and romantic appeal. The menu features the likes of egg-salad-stuffed croissant sandwiches, savoury French toast with chicken and cheese, and waffles adorned with caramelised cinnamon apples and granola. There's no alcohol served, but you can pair bites with a craft matcha, hot cocoa, or a patiently-brewed pour-over coffee.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in George Town

    Anjung Gurney Night Market

    Penang's most famous hawker complex sits just past the Gurney Plaza mall, cooled by breezes wafting in off the sea. It buzzes with stalls serving Muslim and Chinese-Malay dishes, including flame-cooked satay sticks, fried oysters, loh bak (five-spice pork sausage), lok-lok (skewered meats, seafood and vegetables cooked in broth), rojak (spicy fruit salad) and Penang laksa (sour fish soup). Gurney Drive is about 3km west of George Town. A taxi here will cost RM15-20.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Chinatown, Merdeka Square & Bukit Nanas

    Tommy Le Baker

    You're not going to meet anyone in KL as passionate about sourdough and baking as Tommy Lee, aka Tommy Le Baker. Trained in Paris, he bakes amazing sourdough loafs and sweet pastries. The bread is used in the delectable sandwiches and as an accompaniment to homemade soups, and there are also tempting homemade cakes, cookies and ice cream. Find it in the rear courtyard of the Zhongshan Building, accessed through the Naiise design store.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Lake Gardens, Brickfields & Bangsar

    Annalakshmi Vegetarian Restaurant

    The quality of the lunchtime buffet at this upmarket vegetarian restaurant is exceptional, with an extensive and constantly replenished array of freshly made salads, curries, biryanis, fried morsels, chutneys, raitas, pickles and breads. The buffet action continues for Friday and Saturday dinner; on other nights choose between the set meal or order à la carte (curries RM13–17). No alcohol. Find it inside the Temple of Fine Arts.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Ipoh

    Funny Mountain Soya Bean

    Local and visiting foodies scramble to this legendary Ipoh food stall, which has been serving fresh, warm, silky bean-curd pudding (tau fu fah) since 1952. Get the full experience by ordering an ice-cold soy milk, too, either plain or with strips of grass jelly. The shop closes when its signature curd runs out. Don't be deterred by the queues; the owners operate with machine-like efficiency (and their rhythmic curd-scooping and serving is a marvel to behold).

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Miri

    Summit Café

    If you’ve never tried Kelabit cuisine, this place will open up whole new worlds for your taste buds. Queue up and choose from the colourful array of ‘jungle food’ laid out at the counter, including dure (fried jungle leaf), minced tapioca leaves and labo senutuk (wild boar). The best selection is available before 11.30am – once the food runs out it closes. Owner and chef Sally Bungan Bat uses only Bario salt and homegrown highland rice.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Cameron Highlands

    Singh Chapati

    On a lofty perch above Tanah Rata's main drag, Singh's serves the most authentic Indian food in town, with a strong Punjabi flavour. Dig into fragrant biryanis, excellent veggie mains like butter paneer, and its famous, smoky chapati and parathas (flatbreads), and wash it down with mango lassi or masala tea served in big mugs. This no-frills restaurant sits above the main drag; try to bag a terrace table looking towards hills and mock-Tudor mansions.