The Best of Malay Restaurants in Kuala Lumpur

The Best of Malay Restaurants in Kuala Lumpur | The capital and largest city of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur is the gateway to the nation and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the region. This buzzing metropolis is known for its stunning architecture, markets and shopping malls, and incredible dining scene.

The Best of Malay Restaurants in Kuala Lumpur
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In fact, there are tourists from all over the world that visit the Malaysian capital for the food alone; the city boasts a range of dining options – from street foods and hawker-style stalls to fine dining establishments.

While the Kuala Lumpur dining scene is quite diverse, it would be a shame for you to miss out on the best Malay restaurants in the city. The local cuisine is reflective of the country’s multi-ethnic population, particularly from the Malay, Indian, and Chinese ethnic groups. To get a real taste of local food at its finest, we’ve put together this list of essential Malay restaurants to try in Kuala Lumpur.

Pro tip: For a hassle-free dining experience, leave your shopping bags, backpacks, or suitcases at a luggage storage locker in the city before you dine out.

Founded in 2013, Bijan Bar & Restaurant has quickly become one of the top dining establishments in the Malaysian capital. The award-winning restaurant specializes in traditional Malay cuisine created using recipes that have been handed down over generations but with a modern and innovative twist. 

Some of the signature dishes at Bijan include the Rendang Itik Bijan (fried duck with rendang sauce), the Ikan Siakap Sos Asam (sea bass in peanut and tamarind sauce), and the Rusuk Panggang (char-grilled short ribs). To end your meal on a sweet note, order the bestselling dessert of durian cake.

Bunga Emas Restaurant
Located in the renowned Royal Chulan Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Bunga Emas is a fine-dining establishment that serves modern Malay dishes that are expertly-crafted and elevated. Don’t let its posh look fool you; the menu at Bunga Emas features classic, authentic flavors that you know and love about Malay cuisine. 

Some of the must-try dishes at the restaurant include Malay staples such as gulai ikan karipoley (fish curry) and ayam dara panggang (grilled chicken with coconut turmeric gravy) as well as fancier options such as crab soup with lemongrass and seared scallops. Pro tip: Order the bubur pulut hitam (sticky black rice pudding) with vanilla ice cream - you won’t regret it!

This hidden gem can be found in the neighborhood of Bangsar and is one of the most popular local restaurants because of its selection of traditional Malay cuisine. Established by local celebrity chef Ismail Ahmad, Rebung is a cozy and casual dining restaurant that offers meals in a buffet-style setting.
The Best of Malay Restaurants in Kuala Lumpur
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For the price of one, you get to sample a vast range of Malay favorites; highlights at Rebung include the nasi lemak (rice in coconut milk with meat), rendang daging (beef rendang), and asam pedas ikan pari (stingray in sour and spicy sauce). 

Enak Kuala Lumpur
To sample some authentic Malay dishes, head over to the upscale dining spot Enak Kuala Lumpur. Found on the ground floor of Starhill Gallery in the famous Bukit Bintang district, Enak KL boasts a menu filled with dishes created using age-old family recipes. In fact, the restaurant even stays true to the Malay dining tradition of serving large sharing portions with heaps of rice. 

Although you cannot go wrong with any of the meals served at Enak, some of their signature dishes include the rendang padang (beef in spice curry and coconut sauce), sambal tumis udang (sweetened prawns in chili and tamarind juice), and their satays (meat skewers). Additionally, diners can choose the level of spice to appease those who have more sensitive taste buds.

Although it is relatively new to Kuala Lumpur’s dining scene, OpenHouse has quickly gained a reputation for being one of the best Malay restaurants in the city. Situated inside the Suria KLCC shopping mall, the restaurant prides itself in recreating the “open house” experience that locals love, thus the name. 

Like most of the local restaurants in KL, the recipes used in OpenHouse have been passed down from generation to generation. Some must-try options at OpenHouse include the beef rib kuzi, smoked duck with ciku salsa, and soup ekor kepayang (Australian oxtail soup with herbs and spices).

Dewakan (a portmanteau of the Malay words dewa, meaning “God”, and makan, meaning “food”) is one of Kuala Lumpur’s most progressive restaurants and a definite must-try when in the city. Dewakan owns the distinction of being the first and only restaurant in Malaysia to be included in the list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, an impressive feat that only adds to the dining spot’s popularity. 

Headed by molecular gastronomy expert Darren Teoh, Dewakan has two tasting menus that include dishes such as banana heart with kerdas, prawns in starfruit juice and goat tartare.

Found in the heart of the city, Songket Restaurant is a truly traditional Malay eatery with some of the best local food you’ll ever try in Kuala Lumpur. The dining experience here is truly authentic – from the kampong-style interior of the restaurant to the traditional live performances. 

The food here is also Malay through and through; the menu features the most renowned dishes from all parts of Malaysia, such as the rendang daging (beef rendang), ikan siakap masam manis (sweet and sour sea bass with kaffir lime sauce and turmeric) and masak lemak udang nanas (prawn and pineapple in coconut milk).

Capital Café
Considered a dining institution that has served the locals since 1956, Capital Café is a casual, no-frills eatery that serves old-fashioned Malay cuisine. Diners get to choose from a selection of pre-cooked traditional meals such as sambal-stuffed fish, dendeng (beef cooked in spices), ayam kalio (chicken in coconut milk, lemongrass, and turmeric), and chicken or beef satay (skewers) served with a side of rice. 

The Best of Malay Restaurants in Kuala Lumpur
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Other options include rojak (vegetable salad in peanut sauce) and mee goreng (spicy fried noodles), which can be served in a rush to hungry diners on the go. Note that the place could get really busy, especially during lunchtime when workers from nearby offices flock to the café to get a satisfying Malay lunch. 


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