Few tourists visit Brunei Darussalam apart from a handful on a Royal Brunei stopover. But those who do enjoy the city’s grand mosques, floating village and attractive waterfront. Here are our top restaurants in Bandar Seri Begawan for local treats, Western food and the chance to taste their national dish.
Singa Chicken Rice near the Waterfront serves fried chicken dishes. The restaurant is a favourite with locals for large portions at affordable prices. Expect a casual atmosphere in the perfect location to grab lunch after a morning of sightseeing. Apart from chicken-based meals (we recommend Butter Milk Sambal Chicken), the restaurant offers both Brunei-style Laksa and Nasi Lemak.
Nasi Katok is one of Brunei’s favourite dishes. A piece of juicy fried chicken comes with a scoop of white rice covered in a spicy, yet slightly sweet, sambal sauce. Locals will happily wait in a long line to get their meal which shows how good the food is. With 24-hour opening hours, you can eat here at any time of the day or night. Be aware that portions might not be as large as other restaurants in Bandar Seri Begawan and particularly hungry tourists might need to order two.
Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Late Night, All Day
Casual, Fast Casual
Restoran Semporna Enak
Located on the waterfront, this is among the best restaurants in Bandar Begawan for dining with a view. Everyone’s palates will be satisfied with their selection of Asian dishes as well as the mouth-watering buttermilk chicken. Sit outside and either grab a familiar fried rice or noodle dish or go for something more regional. We recommend the Sambal carrot cake for dessert. Head here in the early evening as the setting sun creates stunning views of Kampong Ayer.
Horizons Seafood along Jalan McArthur is one of the classier restaurants in Bandar Seri Begawan. Customers can order fresh seafood and barbequed meat as they dine overlooking the Brunei River. Expect high prices but a worthwhile dining experience. Food options include both buffet-style options and a set menu.
If you’re not sure what you want to eat, head to Big Papa’s Restaurant. The menu includes everything from fried rice and seafood to Brunei-style crepes. The lengthy opening hours make it popular with locals at all times of the day while retaining its laid-back atmosphere. Meal prices cater more towards those with a mid-range budget in Brunei.
Located in Kota Batu a short drive from the capital, this rates as one of the best restaurants in Bandar Seri Begawan for ambuyat. Brunei’s national dish consists of a starchy almost soup-like consistency made from the sago palm. The gooey dish comes with a selection of meat and vegetable sides. While this dish isn’t for everyone, we recommend trying it at least once when you’re in Brunei. Order the ambuyat set at Yasmalina Restaurant for the chance to try this delicious traditional food.
For buffet-style dining, head to Tarindak D’Seni near the Brunei River. Diners can choose between a selection of Malay, Bruneian and Singapore dishes. Compared to other restaurants in Bandar Seri Begawan, this is more popular with tourists. Sides include lamb, mutton and Nasi Kuning (yellow rice). Ambuyat, Brunei’s national dish, is available offering the chance to taste this regional delicacy. Expect to pay between B$20 to B$30 ($13.20 to $19.90 USD) per person.
Charcoal BBQ is one of the few Western-style restaurants in Bandar Seri Begawan. If you’re craving a meat feast, check out their menu of steaks and grills. You’ll find everything from succulent lamb chops and mashed potatoes to fresh prawns and calamari with Greek salad. Prices tend to be higher, but it does provide some of Brunei’s best Western food. We recommend reserving a private room for either a romantic evening or a quiet family meal.
Craving Thai food in Brunei? Head to Nurwanita in Bandar Seri Begawan. With a variety of northern Thai cuisine and Chiang Mai favourites, it provides an excellent spot for fans of spicy food. According to the locals, this is the only restaurant in Bandar Seri Begawan with Panang Chicken Curry and their must-try mango sticky rice pudding. A filling meal with dessert and drinks for two will cost approximately $B30 ($19.90 USD).
While Gadong isn’t one of the typical restaurants in Bandar Seri Begawan, it does provide local food at rock-bottom prices. The night market consists of several stalls under a tarpaulin-like canopy. Vendors cook endless types of rice, noodle and meat-based dishes. Grab a plate of Bruneian-style fried rice or something heavier such as the grilled fish or chicken. Gadong Night Market opens at 4pm daily until midnight.