Restaurants & Cafés

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

The best places for tea in KL
Restaurants

The best places for tea in KL

Nothing a hot cup of tea can't cure; from traditional Tieguanyin oolong with a bowl of tea eggs to modern tea the likes of chocolate chai, we show you the teahouses in KL for you to spend your afternoons in.

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The best nasi lemak in KL
Restaurants

The best nasi lemak in KL

We pick the best places in town for a satisfying plate of the country's pride and joy – the mighty nasi lemak. Hunt down these nasi lemak joints for breakfast, lunch, dinner or even supper, because our national dish doesn't restrict itself to a certain meal time – which is why we love it so much.

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The best milkshakes in KL
Restaurants

The best milkshakes in KL

Introducing the freakshakes. These epic milkshakes are supersized, monstrous concoctions, and can easily fix all your sugar cravings in one go. It has the creamy goodness of a milkshake, but piled high with salted mini pretzels, toasted marshmallows, ice cream, brownies, popcorn, macarons and a carnival of colourful toppings. Of course, we've also featured some more down-to-earth milkshakes in our list. Here’s where to go for your next fix.

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The best kopitiams in KL
Restaurants

The best kopitiams in KL

This is a tribute to the humble kopitiams, aka the city’s original cafés. Always the dependable option for a morning coffee, roti bakar and half boiled eggs, these old-school coffee shops have become an institution for their respective neighbourhoods.

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Latest restaurant reviews

Mak’s Chee
Restaurants

Mak’s Chee

This Hong Kong superstar has its share of Malaysian screaming fans, as the hype surrounding its opening proved. There were many blogger reviews, many full house nights, and many stylised Instagram shots. When the smoke settles many months later, I make my way to 1 Utama for many bowls of ‘authentic Cantonese wantan noodles’. It begins with the (soup) noodle with the signature sea prawn wantan (RM12.90). The highlight here is the wantan – plump, fresh, and filled with prawn instead of pork. I particularly enjoy the shrivelled, translucent skins around each morsel that so delightfully pop to reveal almost-crunchy sea prawns. They may look like embryonic terrestrials, but in taste, they’re far more pleasant. For good measure, I also order the same noodles with larger prawn dumplings (RM14.90), this time reinforced with bamboo shoots and mushroom. While tightly packed and well formed, they carry a bitter aftertaste that I can’t attribute to anything in particular. But the broth – made of dried halibut, pork bones and prawn roe – is sweet and clean. Meanwhile, the beef tendon and brisket noodles (RM15.90) carry an addictive peppery sauce that slicks the noodles nicely, while the meat itself is tender. One of my favourite things to order here are the dry prawn roe noodles (RM14.90), another Hong Kong speciality. The roe – dusted atop the noodles in powder form – are less crunchy than I expect, but when tossed with the sesame oil-dressed noodles, the dish as a whole is an excelle

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Classic Rebel
Restaurants

Classic Rebel

The surprise when you encounter a café in the Klang Valley with properly decent food is akin to discovering a fifty in your jean pocket. The very revelation has the power to redeem all the days wasted on café after café of tediousness and sheer soul-sucking duplication. Classic Rebel – our case study – is a saviour much needed in the current café climate, a modest operation that impressively veers from multi-stack pancakes, but manages to retain a sense of comfort and familiarity. All of it while completely zapping out pretention. You’ll run into squad-pose types, no doubt. But serving my table on a weeknight is a lovely lady who runs through the signatures with a tireless smile, like that of a kind stranger in a children’s fairy tale. In fact, she’s so lovely I think of all the extra stars I could’ve handed out in the past if all the ladies in all the cafés were as lovely. With her recommendation, I start with the salmon gravlax (RM28), a Scandinavian classic brought to the fore of the café scene by Nutmeg. Here, the fish is placed atop hash browns, looped within a crunchy bouquet of pickled onion, fennel, radish and dill, and upon it, dollops of sour cream. Texturally, it’s textbook perfect, but I wish for the hash browns to be less oily. The main of lamb confit pasta (RM28) knocks it out of the park. It’s spaghetti, threads of lamb, caramelised onion, coriander and tomato tossed in a punchy garlic and olive oil combo. It’s exactly the sort of pasta you’ll want to throw

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Sin Kee Restaurant
Restaurants

Sin Kee Restaurant

On my every visit to Sin Kee, nearly every table is adorned with a portion of the signature mun fan or steamed rice (RM9.50). Some go in at lunchtime, loyal patrons who walk in with a frayed pair of Japanese slippers and a copy of the papers, just for a lunch of gravy-laden rice and a cup of herbal tea. I’ve also had to share a table with a fair number of couples, and I now have compelling evidence that a dinner of braised meats is the best way to get to know someone. There’s good reason a dish so deceptively simple has brought so many people back time and time again. There’s a sense of innocence in removing the upturned plastic bowl to reveal a generous mound of rice, positively squelched beneath the pile of vegetables, stewed pork, lap cheong, prawns and egg. The sauce – a familiar blend of light soy sauce, oyster sauce and rice wine vinegar – binds every shortgrain into small, tight packs. Now to imagine it with glutinous rice… The chicken chop (RM13.50) too is something of an institution here. The meat is bashed for even cooking, breaded, fried and doused in brown gravy. Also on the plate are all the feel-good things you expect with Hainanese chicken chop – peas, fried potatoes and thickly sliced onions. At Sin Kee, I much prefer the chicken variety over the pork for the latter is curiously made with pressed mince pork rather than a large chop. If you’re after the more common dai chow dishes, I can safely report that the butter cream chicken (RM22) – also a Sin Kee fav

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Portofino
Restaurants

Portofino

Sometimes, the oldies are just what you need. That’s the case at Portofino, where everything seems to have come from a time long ago. The (upstairs) dining area is embellished with framings of Italian landscapes, the flooring a comforting wood, the hotel-style chairs stiff and heavy, and the music on a perpetual loop of your dad’s mixed tape of love songs. Even the menu design takes a nostalgic turn with dish entries printed over photos of rolling pins and flour-dusted counters. Suitably, both the food and its presentation sustain Portofino’s retro style. Amid so many Bangsar restaurants trying so hard without ever getting anywhere, Portofino is a little charmer with its heart in the right place. I start with the caprese salad (RM28) – a classic that’s been over-primped far too often in our city. This version – I’m happy to report – is well worth a mention. The tomatoes – although not of the sweetest variety – are juicy and on the firm side, the mozzarella both perky and milky, and the pesto blob is potent in its fragrance of fresh basil. Through it all, the saltiness from the Parmesan only but teases. However, the baked onion soup (RM16) – the chef’s recommended starter – is far too oily, gloopy and sweet. As much as I wouldn’t opt for the soup again, I would a hundred times for what comes next – spinach and ricotta ravioli (RM36). The paper-thin pasta is stuffed with a decadent ricotta mix speckled with chopped spinach. The basil and tomato sauce draped around each pasta

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

Peter Hoe Café
Restaurants

Peter Hoe Café

Peter Hoe was a stalwart in Chinatown where its much-lauded shop and café have been for the more than ten years – until its former home, the Lee Rubber Building, was closed off and put up for sale. This new café at The Row feels brighter and airier, thanks to the abundance of windows. You’ll find the usual Peter Hoe styling here: napkins made from batik prints, decorative tile motifs and more. In fact, this new location is fitting for Peter Hoe, as the restored old shophouse (the high ceiling, the exposed beams and bricks are highlighted as design details) is a nod to the brand’s old meets new philosophy. For now, the hot food menu (12noon to 4pm) is limited to pastas, soups and salads as the team works on additional items. The chicken and mango salad is very enjoyable, and rightfully one of the best sellers. Of course, Peter Hoe’s signature creamy quiches are available, along with a selection of cakes. Coffee is of the filtered variety. And while the café is only open in the daytime, dinner is also served on Fridays and Saturdays from 6pm to 10pm. When you’re done with your meal, hop over to the Peter Hoe shop next door. Expect a colour and sensory overload, as usual, with its kaleidoscopic collection of Malaysiana bags, accessories and home decor items. Both the café and shop are located on the first floor; to head up, look for the staircase next to skate shop Wheel Love.

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Farm to Plate
Restaurants

Farm to Plate

For satisfying grilled ribs (not just any meat, but ibérico de Bellota ribs from the famed acorn-eating Spanish hogs) and farm-fresh produce, Farm to Plate is Damansara Kim’s latest spot to gnaw on a bone or two. The clue is in the name – owner Chris Chew runs contract farming businesses in Spain and Cameron Highlands, which directly influences the freshness and quality of the produce in the kitchen. The menu focuses on ibérico ribs (either slow-baked for tender meat or grilled on high heat for smoky flavours), but there are also pizzas, salads, pastas as well as lunch dishes such as pork stew rice, handmade noodles and all-day breakfast on weekends.

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Menya Miyabi
Restaurants

Menya Miyabi

With three outlets in Hokkaido and one in Penang, Hokkaido-style ramen (special toppings include butter and corn) joint Menya Miyabi has opened its first outlet in Klang Valley. Located in Sunway Pyramid Hotel West, Menya Miyabi’s menu includes the usual suspects such as tonkotsu ramen and gyoza, as well as wildcard options chukadon and yakisoba. For RM4, you can supersize your ramen to share. Standout dish: the yaki miso ramen (made with roasted miso) with a hearty broth.

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Someplace Beautiful
Restaurants

Someplace Beautiful

A pet project of Joey Mah, the co-founder and coffee roaster of the famed Artisan Roastery, Someplace Beautiful is what you’d expect of a modern tea bar. A sleek white space offset by pale wood furnishings, there’s a minimalist calm to the space. A wooden frame of a house dominates the seating area, where there’s only a scattering of tables. There’s a lot of quiet space here, and it’s almost Japanese in vibe. Well-known tea specialist HOJO supplies the tea. There are currently 14 varieties to choose from, ranging from black tea to white tea, flower tea, oolong, green tea and pu-er. The latter is the most interesting of the lot, as Someplace Beautiful also offers raw pu-er – this unfermented variety has a slightly sweeter aftertaste compared to its darker and bolder fermented counterpart. Knowing Joey Mah, tea is given the artisanal treatment here. For instance, the Rose Damascena from the Xinjiang desert is brewed with white tea to give it extra depth and body. Milk tea is made by steeping whole tea leaves in cold milk overnight; as a result, you get a cold and creamy milk tea that’s richer and more refined in taste. There are also two types of soft serve ice cream (coffee and chocolate), and hats off to Joey for making a coffee soft serve that retains the nuanced flavours of the beans used. Besides the unmistakable coffee kick, there are also floral notes, much like a good medium-roasted coffee. In the near future, the tea bar will transform into a casual restaurant at ni

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The best restaurants and cafés in KL

Bakar
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
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Cantaloupe
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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Fuego
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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Mercat
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
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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The best of food and drink in KL

The best cafés in KL
Restaurants

The best cafés in KL

You’ve got to admit that a trip to a good café sets you in a cheery mood – the sun-soaked space, glorious sunny side ups and that tingling dose of caffeine. The Time Out KL team maps out the best cafés for every occasion, from Instagram eye candies to the brunch of champions.

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The best chai lattes in KL
Restaurants

The best chai lattes in KL

Gaining precious real estate space on KL café menus is the chai latte, an updated version of the masala chai available on the streets of India and in most Indian restaurants around town. Instead of espresso, the chai latte is made with frothed milk and concentrated spiced tea. The next time you crave chai, here’s where to go.

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The best teahouses in KL
Restaurants

The best teahouses in KL

Fancy a spot of tea? Whether you're looking for traditional Chinese tea over dim sum or prefer to take the English route with scones and clotted cream, head to these recommended teahouses in KL. 

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The best restaurants and cafés 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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The best banana leaf restaurants in KL
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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