Kuala Lumpur is known for many things – the architecture, the hospitality and technological advances – but arguably its most famous legacy is food. No matter where you are, there will be somewhere to eat – from a street food stall to a Michelin starred establishment. To celebrate the city’s rich culinary tradition, we spoke to travel experts, Destination2, to give us the ten best dining spots in Malaysia’s capital.
1. Mosaic at Mandarin Oriental – This is a sumptuously designed all day restaurant which overlooks the KLCC Park, and offers local and international cuisine. The restaurant has a much loved dessert bar which runs throughout the day and offers anything from fresh watermelon, lime and chilli salads to French macarons. From breakfast to late night supper, Mosaic is a great way of whiling away a few hours people watching and enjoying the great food on offer.
2. Tamarind Springs – No need to travel for hours to dine in a rainforest. Just head to this restaurant situated in Ampang’s natural forest reserve. This place is perfect for romance as you meander up a candlelit path to be seated in the tropical gardens. Food is typically Indochinese – plenty of crab and fresh fish with tamarind sauce, succulent beef and mangosteen salad.
3. Din Tai Fung Pavilion – If a dim sum buffet appeals, head to Din Tai Fung which offers a full range of Chinese, Taiwanese, Shanghai, vegan and gluten free options. The restaurant constantly wins rave reviews from diners who leave the restaurant with full bellies after enjoying freshly made soup dumplings, won tons and hot and sour soup.
4. Ah Koong Restaurant – Any KL inhabitant worth their salt will know about Ah Koong, one of the city’s most popular restaurants. Opened back in 1987, the place has made its name with its famous fish ball noodles and long list of soups. The restaurant itself is far from glitzy, but you’ll be reassured of its quality by the number of city workers tucking into their lunches and dinner everyday.
5. Marble 8 Steakhouse – This is the place to eat steak in KL. Everything from wagyu to filet steak is cooked to perfection in this two storey bungalow restaurant. Upstairs, you can enjoy the cigar lounge, but we recommend snapping up a table in the garden area and having views of the Petronas Towers at nighttime. Being a steakhouse, the red wine menu is unrivalled, but the night can only kick off with one of Marble 8’s famous cocktails.
6. Lot 10 Hutong Food Court – This takes the traditional food hawkers of southeast Asia and gives them a cool modern twist. It might not strictly be defined as a restaurant, but a whole hall dedicated to the best street food in Kuala Lumpur is well worth taking a date. Dine on rich beef noodles, fluffy char sui buns and Malay pancakes, while soaking in the unique and lively atmosphere.
7. Dining in the Dark – For a gimmick, dining in the dark doesn’t sound that great on paper. However, tables require booking in advance and there is a strict dress code that needs to be adhered to – despite the fact that no one will actually be able to see you. The food, although, completely in the dark, is of a high standard and well cooked, and once accustomed to your new environment, you’ll soon enjoy the experience.
8. Naughty Nuri’s Restaurant at Life Centre – For the best ribs in town, head to Naughty Nuri’s. This is the best place for a casual feed and Julia Roberts and Jet Li are just some of the celebs who’ve been spotted chowing down on the mouthwatering cuisine. Using a secret marinade of Balinese spices and sauces, even the New York Times has recommended this place as a must go-to restaurant when visiting Kuala Lumpur.
9. Nobu – Nobu is well known to provide Michelin-starred Japanese food around the world. The Kuala Lumpur branch is no exception, with a menu that encompasses eastern ideas with a South American influence. Recommendations come in the form of the Chilean sea bass marinated with red jalapeno miso as well as the tuna belly topped with caviar.
10. Marini’s on 57 – This Italian restaurant is on 57th floor of the Petronas Tower 3, so comes with views to remember. The floor-to-ceiling glass windows offer diners the sights of KL while they wait for their meal to arrive. Marini’s is fine dining and famous throughout the city for attracting sophisticated clientele who like their champagne chilled and their service five star.