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Best international cuisines for families

We went global to sample the best international cuisines without even leaving the country

Written by
Time Out Malaysia Kids

Embark on a culinary journey in our own backyard and sample flavours from the Middle East and Central Asia to Latin America with the family. 

  • Restaurants
  • Spanish
  • Hartamas
  • price 2 of 4

Who says you get the best Spanish food in Spain? Marta’s Kitchen gives the best paella a run for its money right here in Sri Hartamas! Tucked within The Signature Hotel & Serviced Suites, this popular restaurant serves homely Spanish dishes. When we say ‘homely’, we mean it – no great innovations, but you will be treated to perfect, fantastically fresh renderings of traditional Spanish cuisine.

The menu provides various options – tapas, platters, paella, salads and more. But don’t be overwhelmed by the numbers here, since you’ll rarely go wrong with whatever you order. The usual crowd-pleasers include patatas bravas (well-made spicy potatoes with spicy tomato sauce), juicy grilled prawns with olive oil, garlic and lemon, and the delicious tortilla de patatas, its signature Spanish omelette served with caramelised onions and potatoes in extra virgin olive oil. Cap your meal with one of the classic Spanish desserts on offer, including churros served with thick hot chocolate sauce.

If, by some miracle, you and your kids are able to squeeze anything else into your stomach at meal’s end, their croquetas are fantastico too! It’s easy to see why this little Spanish restaurant has become a favourite and how it upped the dining scene in the area.

Byblos Café and Lounge
  • Restaurants
  • Mediterranean
  • KL City Centre

There are countless great Middle Eastern restaurants in KL, but this Lebanese eatery really stands out. Named after the oldest city in Lebanon, Byblos stays true to its roots by dishing out the best of Lebanese flavours with a menu packed with fabulous shawarmas and mezze dishes. The cuisine relies on simple, fresh ingredients and lots of grilling so make sure you order the flavourful mixed grill and kofta.

For something more familiar, you can’t go wrong with a generous portion of falafel and lentil soup. When ordering here, don’t skimp on the pita bread, which are freshly baked and the ideal accompaniment to creamy, smooth moutabal (eggplant dip) and hummus. The portions here are huge, so come with empty tummies.

It’s located slap bang in TREC but don’t let that put you off. The restaurant straddles the line between fine dining and a casual family restaurant well, and faces the manicured green lawns of the Royal Selangor Golf Club so you won’t notice you’re in party central. It’s also a good spot for an adults’ only night out when you can end your meal with shisha and drinks.

  • Restaurants
  • Egyptian
  • Bandar Utama

Tucked away in a corner of 1 Utama Shopping Centre is the newly opened Tut’s Egyptian Eatery. Started by Egyptian brothers-in-law Mohamed Zein and Mohamed Tarek Diab, this casual eatery is a good place to bring the family for an introduction to Egyptian cuisine.

The picture-heavy menu is filled with a mix of Egyptian dishes alongside more familiar offerings like salads, roast chicken and side dishes like fries and garlic bread. For fussy kids who don’t know what they want, get the popular traditional Koshari mixed grain bowl – rice, pasta and noodles all in one dish. Other traditional dishes like the kofta, hawaoshi (baked meat foldover), molokhia stew (made with a vegetable native to Egypt) and the om ali bread pudding (for dessert!) all make an appearance as well.

While waiting for the food to be served, kids can amuse themselves with the placemats – colouring page on one side; interesting, informative illustrations about King Tut (whom the restaurant is named after), the food they’re about to eat, or the ingredients that go into their dishes on the other. The bright colours, funky hieroglyphics on the walls and friendly staff all add to the fun and casual vibe of the place.

El Maiz
  • Restaurants
  • Venezuelan

A welcome addition to the growing number of global eateries in KL, El Maiz specialises in typical Venezuelan cuisine and offers dishes unique to this Latin American nation.

Start the meal with the ajiaco, a Latin American take on the classic chicken soup, and a starter platter of mini arepas (maize bread), tequeños (cheese sticks) and empanadas (stuffed pastry). Try the tostones, fried plantain accompanied by tender pulled beef and guasacaca (green sauce). The combination may sound odd, but it totally works with the richness of the beef enhanced by the mild sweetness of the banana.

Arepas are typically eaten for breakfast and is basically corn bread; at El Maiz you can have arepas stuffed with a variety of fillings all day. For more traditional fare, order the pabellón criollo (a rice dish reminiscent of rendang) and asado negro (Venezuelan meat stew). End the meal with a slice of tres leches cake. There’s also a small play area for the little ones, which is always welcome when dining as a family.

Astana Restaurant
  • Restaurants
  • Russian

Sri Petaling is the last place you’d expect to find a restaurant serving an array of authentic Russian and Central Asian dishes. Both locals and foreigners in the know frequent the restaurant; and the cosy interior provides a comfortable setting for a family dinner. The menu is filled with regional classics like beshbarmak (a generous sampler of boiled noodles and cut meats), plov (Uzbek’s rice pilaf) and shashlik (grilled skewered meat), and the friendly wait staff will be more than happy to recommend and explain the dishes to first-timers.  

While there’s no specific kids’ menu per se, they can opt for the manty dumplings and khonym (steamed pasta roll with meat and potatoes). Astana also serves a variety of traditional desserts that will satisfy any sweet tooth. Adventurous parents can go for the meat platter comprising beef, cow’s tongue and kazy (cold cuts made from horsemeat) – truly global dining indeed.

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