Words like “spicy”, “rich” and “flavourful” are best described for the local Malay cuisines. Classic dishes like nasi lemak, asam pedas, ayam masak merah and patin tempoyak are among the dishes available in many restaurants in Malaysia. But let’s narrow down into two places as we list down our Top 10 Malay Restaurants in KL & Selangor.
1) De.Wan 1958 by Chef Wan
It’s a symphony of Malay cuisine brought together by De.Wan 1958 by Chef Wan. Boasting a lavishly elegant interior and top-notch services, this upscale restaurant chain with three branches including The LINC KL, Bangsar Shopping Centre and Bangi Resort Hotel, delights your taste buds with its impressive choices of foods. Start your meal with the savoury, deep-fried Cucur Udang served alongside a special peanut sauce dip. Or go for the appetising Kerabu Pucuk Paku with Kerang. When comes to the entrees, hearty dishes such as Daging Rendang Tok Wan, Chef Wan’s Spring Chicken Panggang and Asam Pedas come highly recommended. Don’t forget to leave some room for desserts, namely the rich Cendol De.Wan or the house-favourite Nangka Madu Custard.
2) Bijan Bar & Restaurant
Operating since 2003, Bijan Bar & Restaurant welcomes you with its fine-dining experience of Malay cuisine. Their menu consists of mouthwatering appetisers like Otak-Otak, Satay and Cucur Udang. Or indulge in the share-worthy Aneka Pembuka Selera, offering different textures and flavours of Bijan’s four eclectic starters (cucur udang, popiah goreng, daging bungkus kukus & pegedil). Meat and poultry lovers can look forward to the likes of traditional slow-cooked Rendang Tok and the sweet & spicy Ayam Masak Merah. Not to mention their seafood options like Ikan Siakap Sos Asam, Udang Galah Panggang and Sotong Sambal Hijau. Finally, end your meal with one of their delectable desserts such as Bijan’s homemade ice cream and Gula Melaka Cake.
3) Hidang KL
Dine in the comfort of a homey setting in the bungalow-set Hidang KL. Their menu focuses on authentic Malay cuisine, all full of flavours and spices to tantalise your taste buds. If you love spicy food, they have Masak Lemak Cili Api with choices of meat or seafood such as daging salai, udang galah and kepala jenahak. Other traditional choices like Udang Sambal Petai, Gulai Ikan Masin, Jenahak Asam Pedas and Patin Tempoyak bring you the feel and taste of home-style dishes. Cool down with one of their classic beverages like Sirap Limau Ais and Teh Lemon Ais.
4) The Roomah Restaurant
The Roomah Restaurant showcases its wealth of Malay cuisine in its elegantly chic and comfortable interior. One of their must-try dishes has to be the Oxtail Asam Pedas. The umami richness of the oxtail complements well with the spicy-sour gravy made from assorted ingredients such as homemade red chilli paste, tamarind juice and tomato. They also serve other dishes like the spicy coconut milk-enriched Masak Lemak with a choice of meat, poultry or seafood and homemade curry dishes, namely Chicken Curry and Beef Curry. Wash down with one of their signature juices, namely Apple Asamboi and Tembikai Laici.
5) Gamelan Restaurant
The family-run Gamelan Restaurant specialises mainly in the East Coast side of Malay cuisine. They have been around since 2013 and some of their signature dishes include Nasi Dagang, Nasi Minyak and Nasi Kerabu Ayam Rempah. Their menu also features familiar dishes like Asam Pedas Ikan Tenggiri, Tempoyak Ikan Patin and Lemak Cili Api Ayam. They also serve various local snacks from Daging Bistik to Pulut Lepa, Keropok Lekor and Temosa (karipap ikan). You can enjoy your meal indoors or in an outdoor setting.
6) ADU Sugar Restaurant
Serving the lunch and dinner crowds, ADU Sugar Restaurant offers an eclectic choice of Malay and Asian fusion cuisines. Chef Adu showcases his expertise in making foods that are rich in flavours and textures, even the vegan version of Pasembur. Open up your palate with the sour and fragrant Pucuk Paku Urab and dig into one of the restaurant’s must-order main dishes: the spicy-licious Laksa Johor loaded with ikan parang (wolf herring) and the spicy-sour goodness of Ikan Asam Pedas. Good foods aside, ADU Sugar Restaurant also excels in its colourful, retro-chic decor designed for the ‘gram.
Serai needs no introduction, particularly if you frequent many malls like Pavilion KL, Jaya Shopping Centre and KLCC. It’s a crowd favourite among many locals and it’s easy to see why, given its wide range of Malay and fusion cuisines. For appetisers, take a bite at the Serai Tasting Platter consisting of satay (chicken/beef), Gado Gado salad, deep-fried crispy squid and fish crackers. Moving on are some of Serai’s specialities such as Nasi Campur Serai, Nasi Ulam Ayam Bakar and Serai Platter. The latter combines serai rice with oxtail asam pedas, honey squid, fresh acar and ayam goreng berempah. Lastly, cool down with a bowl of Ice Kacang or the refreshing Milky Bandung mixed with pandan-infused rose syrup, ice cream soda and fresh milk.
8) Restoran Rebung Chef Ismail
The eponymous and renowned chef, who owns Restoran Rebung Chef Ismail, specialises in traditional buffet-style Malay dishes. The warm and inviting interior offers a homey ambience as you enter the restaurant and yes, you need to book a reservation beforehand. The buffet menu begins from breakfast onwards, with familiar dishes like Nasi Lemak Set, Lontong and Roti Canai. As for the main buffet during lunch and dinnertimes, satisfy your craving with classic choices such as Nasi Ulam, Rendang Pucuk Ubi, Asam Pedas Ikan Pari/Tenggiri and Patin Masak Tempoyak.
9) Ilham Nasi Kukus
Ilham Nasi Kukus adhered to the tradition of serving its signature nasi kukus (steamed rice) individually in a single-serving bowl. You’ll get nice, hot and fluffy rice paired with succulent dishes including ayam goreng or ayam berempah. The gravy and sambal help elevate the nasi kukus dish with an added spicy kick while the pineapple acar makes it all the more appetising. Best paired with one of their many cooling drinks such as Coconut Shake, Teh O Limau and Jagung Cincau. A friendly reminder, though as Ilham Nasi Kukus tends to be crowded with a long queue during peak hours.
10) Déli Wau
Craving for some Pantai Timur (East Coast) dishes? Try their signature Nasi Kerabu — a potpourri of butterfly pea flower rice with ayam percik, ayam berempah or sotong celupu tepung. Each plate comes with textural add-ons like coconut flaked fish, salted egg and crunchy fish crackers. Or enjoy their Déli Wau Platter, offering a robust combo of white rice, whole-leg ayam berempah and honey squid. They also serve other local dishes like nasi lemak, nasi goreng and roti canai.
That’s not all! More Top 10s in Malaysia are waiting to be discovered!