Restaurants & Cafés

The best restaurants and cafés in Kuala Lumpur, including restaurant reviews, new restaurants and editors' picks

Restaurants

Valentine's Day meals in KL

Make Cupid proud (and your other half fall a little more in love with you) with our list of Valentine's Day meals across town, sorted according to budget

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Latest restaurant reviews

Restaurants

Sumi-Ka

Sumika – what is one of the best yakitori restaurants in the Klang Valley – likes to play hard to get. Getting through their landline is a game of chance, aided by the challenge of scoring a reservation even on a weeknight. Unflinching and fearless, I call in early on a Sunday night but to no avail. I decide to drive to the restaurant, but the lights are shut, its inexplicit sign bearing no sign of life. The restaurant’s lack of an official online presence only thickens the air of mystery around it. A few nights later, post-reservation, I’m finally sitting in the smoky, low-ceilinged confines of Sumika. My dining partners and I sit past the sliding doors, where a grey view of an ever-shifting SS15 meets us. The shophouses below are taking a beating from the rain, which beckons us even more dangerously towards the prospect of sizzling meat on sticks. The waiters are keen and smiling, if slightly bumbling. We are recommended the chicken thigh muscle from the off-menu specials, as well as the baked rice ball with butter. We order both, on top of a smorgasbord of grilled meats ranging from pork to chicken. The beef tongue with ponzu arrives first. It’s cold, tangy and good enough to line the tummy, but not nearly as good as the meats that come after. The chicken thigh muscle is tender; the chicken breast with yuzu avoids the dry route by way of a wonderfully tangy marinade cast with a spike of heat; the beef ribs are salty with a gaminess that is partly shielded by miso; the p

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Restaurants

The Forum @ The Signature

Never mind that its name is more apt as a designated site for council meetings because The Forum is pretty. It’s 2016, and our tradition of measuring a café’s worth by its cosmetics is still well and truly alive. The space is decked out like a living room in an interior design magazine you’d pick up at an airport. It’s part warm, part fresh. The best details are the potted plants in the corners and the large glass windows that allow in a generous amount of natural light. The chai that I order is black tea and whole spices floating about in soymilk in a stainless steel pot. The tea and gear come from Prana Chai, an organic Melbourne chai company that uses only the ‘good stuff’. After a few minutes, I strain the spices from the pale, milky liquid. It’s the best thing I consume at The Forum. True to Melbourne’s taste for chai, the tea is delicate, silky in texture and lightly sweetened (with honey). The only shame is the dark, aromatic clump of tea twigs that could easily benefit from a second round of brewing. Alas, refills are not permitted. The coffee – from what was Melbourne’s best roastery five years ago, Axil – is decent. The food is largely unmemorable; a cluster of recycled brunch dishes executed to the pinnacle of mediocrity. The big breakfast blurs into all the versions you’ve already had. There is chicken sausage, there is ham whose animal origin is difficult to identify, there is a block of hash brown, and there is underripe tomato sitting in a slush of its sour j

Time Out says
  • 2 out of 5 stars
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Restaurants

Rak Somtam

Food trends come and go, but Thai fare remains a mainstay in the KL dining landscape. As more independent Thai eateries open shop, we made our way to one of the newest spots in Kota Damansara – Rak Somtam. It was a rainy evening when we dropped by, and the warm light spilling out from the windows and welcoming smiles from the staff set things off on a good note. A browse through the simple two-page menu showed that Rak Somtam focuses on regular Thai fare – skewers, Thai salads, sticky rice and tom yam. As the rain continued outside, the food arrived in odd intervals. The som tam (Thai salad) came first, a heap of shredded young papaya with chopped string beans, peanuts, wedges of creamy salted egg and a generous drizzle of spicy sauce (there were hints of fish sauce and lime juice). Served on a lotus leaf-like plate, the som tam came embellished with tiny bright orange prawns that provided a nice crunch and texture to the proceedings. Flavour-wise, it’s reminiscent of the versions we’ve had in Bangkok, but perhaps the young papayas could be more finely chopped for a more pleasant bite. The som tam languished on the table for some time before the rest of the orders (red tom yam, deep-fried sea bass and barbecued pork neck) arrived in quick succession. The fragrant pot of red tom yam was filled with mushrooms, lemongrass, dried chillies and chicken, but taste-wise, it teetered on the milder side. Meanwhile, the sea bass (all 750g of it) came in a large platter, with deep-frie

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Restaurants

Zhen Liew Siang

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from eating regularly at Zhen Liew Siang, it’s that curry leaves can make any dish taste great. This family-run Malaysian-Chinese restaurant, which has been around for more than a decade, seems to have a fascination with this aromatic herb – not that we’re complaining. While the cooking here is characteristically Chinese – with lots of steaming, braising and wok stir-frying – the liberal use of chilli and curry leaves gives it a uniquely Malaysian spin. The menu here is extensive; it covers all manners of meat (chicken, pork, fish, crustacean, etc), common vegetables, a small selection of soups and the one-dish rice meals. They’re all dependable, the kind of filling, satisfying food you’d want to come back to after a busy day at work. However, it’s the spicy dishes that the restaurant excels at, where the flavours are exciting, robust, and leaves your tongue tingling even after you’re done. You’d find the hot plate with banana leaf squid (or prawns) on most tables. The sweet, salty, creamy, spice-tinged sauce is brightened with curry leaves, making it comparable to kam heong in taste, while the banana leaf releases a beautiful fragrance as it sizzles in the heat. The crispy deep-fried mantis prawns with salted egg is also a crowd favourite; again, curry leaves and chilli are added to uplift the entire dish with acidity, making it truly addictive. There’s curry too. Served in a claypot with a choice of fish chunks, fish head or just mixed v

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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New restaurants and cafés in KL

Restaurants

Goodness Greens Café

Now that La Juiceria has established itself as one of the city's leading cold-press juice brands, its next mission, apparently, is to promote clean eating with the opening of its first offshoot, Goodness Greens, where you can have vegan-friendly dishes, customisable salads, superfood-packed smoothie bowls and even rice bowls and pastas, alongside the juices that started it all of course. Part of the appeal of Goodness Greens is its customisable salads – and by customisable, we mean you get to pick everything from your base (brown rice, salad leaves, romaine lettuce or warm potatoes) and mains (choose from a long list of proteins, grains, veggies and more) to your topping and dressing. The salads are available in three sizes: petit (RM14.90), medium (RM18.90) and grand (RM23.90); the difference between each is the number of mains and toppings you get to choose – the actual serving size of the dish remains the same, so if you’re content with just four mains, a base and a topping, just go for petit (and use the money you save on Goodness Greens’ other specialities. We'll get to that soon). If you prefer warm meals, order one of the vegan soups (homemade with almond milk instead of cream) available in pumpkin, zucchini, carrot with rosemary and classic mushroom, or get the summer or pesto pasta. For snacks, try not to get too full on GG Dip (spinach and mozzarella dip with baguette slices), and for a light but nutritious breakfast, the açaí berry and dragon fruit smoothie bowls

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Restaurants

Kult Coffee

This indie coffee joint serves your usual espresso-based coffees as well as cold brews in rustic vintage bottles. It may not seem the part, but Kult Coffee also serves waffles with ice cream, fry-ups, poached eggs, pasta dishes, and even nasi lemak – all of which, according to its Facebook page, are made from scratch. Its close proximity to record store Teenage Head Records means that you can swing by for a bite after some serious vinyl shopping.

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Restaurants

2OX

From the team behind Maison Française comes French bistro and bar 2OX. Headed by Chef Thierry Le Baut, the restaurant on the Doraisamy stretch goes for a casual Parisian vibe with its elegant setting (white-tiled walls, leather and wood furnishings, a fine wine list) and classic French fare (duck rillette, toasted goat’s cheese, coq au vin). Go for the three-course sets that start from RM88++.

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Restaurants

Yellow Apron

The team behind Section 17's The Humble Pie Co. have made a notable expansion in the form of Yellow Apron not too far away in PJ's Section 13, breathing some life into the office- and warehouse-dominated street behind Jaya One. On the inside, Yellow Apron fulfils the criteria of today's sought-after cafés (a clean, minimalist interior with plenty of natural light coming in). It's also very spacious, making it a suitable spot for families with young children.  Currently, the menu at Yellow Apron features burgers, sandwiches, pastas and even some rice and noodle dishes, with plans of introducing a dinner menu of Malaysian-style tapas (or 'mapas' as they're calling it) soon. In the meantime, standouts include 'The Big Bold Beef Cheese Wasabi Sandwich' (like a roast beef sandwich but with wasabi in a pretzel bun), 'Curry Lamb Bam, Thank You Mam' (lamb shoulder curry with basmati rice), 'The Fantastically Fusion Fried Chicken Burger' (boneless buttermilk chicken thigh with sambal belacan), and 'Dancing Prawns, Swimming Chicken Fried Yee Mee Noodles'. At this point, you should know that Yellow Apron likes long, funny names.  Other than black coffee by Papa Pahleta and a selection of teas, Yellow Apron also serves sangria and bottled beers as well as a range of mocktails. For dessert, there are (obviously) pies and cakes by The Humble Pie Co, including its famed banoffee pie and Musang King pie.

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The best restaurants and cafés in KL

Restaurants

Bakar

Guys, let’s all calm down about the ‘grill-concept’ trend. Grilling as a cooking method is at least 300,000 years old, and these days, there’s nothing novel about a restaurant that cooks food directly over a source of heat. Fortunately, Bakar’s affiliation with charcoal fire is far from opportunistic – spend one night here and it’s easy to see that boundaries are meddled with, for KL standards at least. Trust The BIG Group in all manner of aesthetic; every detail is measured to enhance the experience, from the white marble tiling, to the matchbox mural, to the open kitchen – it’s stylish, but not outwardly so. And when I ask for recommendations, the waiters are kind and welcoming, a true refresher in Bangsar. I start with the barbecue classic – grilled watermelon. It comes in a salad with strawberry, pomegranate, chilli, radish, cucumber and coriander. Objectively, the flavours sound threatening, but when eaten together in one forkful, they open up well. The juiciness of the fruit against the sharpness of coriander, the surprise crunch of the cucumber, the mild nuttiness of sesame seeds – it’s like playing many rounds on a coin-operated claw crane, and getting a different soft toy at every attempt. The second starter of parcelled clam bake is more predictable, but still very, very good. The flavours – lemongrass, chilli, pandan – can easily be found in any Asian- Western mash-up, but at Bakar, Chef Keith Choong extrudes the most out of each ingredient. The broth in which t

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Restaurants

Cantaloupe

Try the deftly-prepared foie gras satay at one of KL’s most stunning restaurants.

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Restaurants

Fuego

The city view may be stunning, but it's the modern approach to grill and the inventive cocktails that make this restaurant and bar one of the best in the city.

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Bars and pubs

Mercat

This Catalan gastrobar in Bangsar is one of the area’s more stylish for a quick dash to Europe. Chef David Caral, formerly of Circus, has concocted a menu rarely seen in the city – Iberico ham croquettes, salmorejo (chilled tomato puree), rice cooked with squid ink and a fun take on patatas bravas are only a few of the tapas-sized plates on offer. When in doubt, definitely try the cold eggplant puree with pine nuts and honey; but when in a crisis, the Iberico pork ribs with roasted peppers are a must.

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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The best of food and drink in KL

Restaurants

The best restaurants and cafés in KL

The Time Out Kuala Lumpur Food 40 is our monthly, definitive guide for where to eat in the Klang Valley. Establishments will only appear in this list if they offer cuisine of a very high standard that is truly unique and worthy of your custom. No entry into the Food 40 has provided any Time Out team member with a free meal or other incentive – although plenty have tried! All have been chosen honestly, anonymously and after a great deal of deliberation by our team of expert food critics.

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Restaurants

The best restaurants in KL for healthy eating

Get in on the healthy food movement and start eating clean at these top restaurants for healthy eats in KL. We've also included a quick guide to meal portions and healthy-eating alternatives as recommended by some of the individuals behind these eateries. RECOMMENDED: Guide to eating clean

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Restaurants

The best banana leaf restaurants in KL

Tired of the usual suspects when it comes to banana leaf rice? We bury our fingers in rice and curry to track down some of Klang Valley’s lesser-known banana leaf restaurants, plus a few old favourites.

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Restaurants

The best brunch meals in KL

The elusive hybrid of breakfast and lunch has never tasted this good. So kickstart your lazy weekend with these best brunch dishes in town.

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Restaurants

The best coffee shops in KL

Need a coffee fix? In this ultimate guide to coffee, we explore KL's third wave coffee culture, experimental brews, best coffee shops and the dying kopitiam culture. Go ahead and click on an article below to find out more.

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Restaurants

The best bakeries in KL

From sturdy European-style breads and buttery pastries to nostalgic Asian soft buns, these are the best bakeries in town for freshly-baked goods. 

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