Where to sample some of the city’s best cuisine in style
Malaysia’s capital city is known the world over for its scrumptious cuisine, with plenty of restaurants, street food stands and casual eateries to suit every taste and budget. If it’s a special occasion, or if you’re in the mood to splurge on some fine-dining fare, then Kuala Lumpur’s impressive range of upmarket options has you more than covered. From local cuisine with a twist and delicate Edo-style Japanese sushi to modern Indian cuisine and rare cuts of steak, you’re sure to leave these establishments feeling delighted and satisfied.
Boasting ample awards – including a spot on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019, the first and only Malaysian restaurant to make the list to date – and a truly inspired menu of modern local cuisine, chef Darren Teoh’s Dewakan is a must-try when you’re in the capital. Its name is derived from two Malay words – “dewa” which means god, and “makan” which means “food” – and Teoh’s cuisine delivers on that lofty promise. The seasonal tasting menu highlights Malaysia’s bounty of native ingredients and fresh produce through a series of stunning dishes – such as charcoal-grilled grouper with cashews, coriander berries, bee pupa, vinegar and fermented wild honey; and a salad made with crab meat, picked torch ginger flowers, water chestnuts and a tangy mangosteen and lime leaf dressing.
Platinum Park, Level 48, Skyviews, Naza Tower, Platinum Park, No. 10, Persiaran KLCC
2. Taka by Sushi Saito
Located within The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur and spearheaded by Takashi Saito, Taka marks the esteemed chef’s first venture outside of Japan. Step into the restaurant and you’ll be greeted by a calming, design-driven ambience – expect plenty of light-wood furniture, a 300-year-old hinoki wood counter and delicate gold detailing on the walls. Sushi and sashimi fanatics will be in heaven here: ingredients for the Edo-style menu are specially selected by Saito and air-flown from Japan thrice a week, ensuring that you’re getting the freshest dining experience possible. The standard omakase experience consists of five appetisers, grilled fish or beef, 10 pieces of sushi and one sushi roll – all made with finesse by a team of chefs personally trained by Saito.
Level 3A, The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur, No. 6, Jalan Stesen Sentral 2
If you’re in the mood for progressive South Asian cuisine, make a beeline for Nadodi. Founded in 2017 and helmed by head chef Sricharan Venkatesh, the food here draws on the rich culinary traditions of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Sri Lanka. You’ll find inventive dishes on the degustation menu, with highlights including the I Am So Prawny (cumin and carrom seeds flat bread, sakura ebi and river prawn kheema); Nadodi Globe (short grain venison biryani, aubergine salna, yacon and cucumber raita) and Mind of a Coconut (Semai chocolate gateau, pradhaman ice cream, banana syrup and salted caramel). There’s also the option for a wine or cocktail pairing should you wish to imbibe along with your meal.
Lot 183, 1st Floor Jalan Mayang, Off Jalan Yap Kwan Seng
Read more: These cool new restaurants in KL are now open for dine-ins
4. DC by Darren Chin
Helmed by Malaysian-born and Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef Darren Chin, DC serves beautifully presented classic French fare with a Japanese inflection. Guests can enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail shaken by resident mixologist Sebastian Jeremy Edely in the restaurant’s ground-floor Le Comptoir area, before heading upstairs to the main dining space dubbed La Salle. Indulge in their seasonal tasting menu, which features dishes such as poached Brittany bleu rock lobster with sweet corn velouté and baby zucchini salad; and Japanese A5 Wagyu beef with cured aubergine and eggplant puree with garum. There’s also an equally impressive vegetarian tasting menu featuring a cacio e pepe with salted kombu and black summer truffle; and potato cake with shiitake, mushroom cream, black trumpet mushrooms and carrot ginger foam.
26A, Lorong Datuk Sulaiman 1, Taman Tun Dr Ismail
5. Marble 8
For meat-lovers, there’s nothing quite like an expertly cooked, dry-aged, well-marbled piece of steak. And if you’re in Kuala Lumpur, you’re bound to find all that and more at premium steakhouse Marble 8. The restaurant specialises in dry-aged Wagyu and Angus beef cuts, which are treated in their on-site, custom-built dry-aging cellar for a minimum of 21 days. If you’re here for dinner with a big group, we recommend going straight for the Tomahawk steak paired with moreish sides such as shoestring fries with truffle mayonnaise; baked Portobello mushrooms with garlic and chilli salsa; and grilled green asparagus with romesco sauce and apple balsamic.
Level 56, Menara 3 Petronas, Persiaran KLCC
6. Babe by Jeff Ramsey
For fun and creative modern Japanese tapas with a stunning view of the Kuala Lumpur skyline, look no further than Babe by Jeff Ramsey. Born and raised in Japan, Ramsey has trained under some of the world’s top chefs and opened Babe in 2015. Besides a la carte sharing plates, there are also three tasting menus on offer, with the Voyage option being the most decadent. It includes dishes such as a foie gras and chocolate ice cream sandwich; Hokkaido jumbo scallop with pumpkin, radish and citrus emulsion; and A5 Wagyu steak with sunchoke, shishito pepper, yuzu kosho and konbu butter. Ramsey was working on a new concept before Covid-19 hit, so expect something fresh from him in the near future.
11th Floor Work@Clearwater, Changkat Semantan, Bukit Damansara
7. ATAS Modern Malaysia Eatery
Another restaurant specialising in modern Malaysian fare, ATAS – situated at The RuMa Hotel – is where you’ll find chef Tyson Gee’s unique interpretation of local ingredients and flavours. Despite its name (a cheeky reference to the Malay word for upper-class) and the fact that it’s located in a posh hotel, the expansive dining space feels both casual and convivial. Food-wise, ATAS offers an a la carte menu plus a five-course degustation option. Highlights on the former include cured ocean trout with puffed tapioca, local herbs and sambal dressing; dry-aged duck breast with Shah Alam fig, kelulut honey and bronze fennel; and a durian ice cream sundae with pistachio, gula melaka and coconut.
The RuMa Hotel and Residences, 7, Jalan Kia Peng