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The 10 Best Restaurants In Penang, Malaysia

The 10 Best Restaurants In Penang, Malaysia

Picture of Helen Brady
Updated: 9 February 2017
In the food-obsessed area of Penang, Malaysia, restaurants favor simple and hearty meals over fancy expensive spreads. However, with the increasing prosperity fine dining is becoming more apparent and more chefs are creating innovative takes on classic Penang flavors, as these 10 outstanding restaurants reveal.
Seven Terraces
© Seven Terraces
Kebaya Dining Room – Seven Terraces

Kebaya Dining Room is the signature fine dining establishment of Seven Terraces, a luxury boutique hotel. The restaurant matches the hotel’s emphasis on refined quality and authentic local experience. It has a variety of classic Indo and Straits Chinese Nyonya dishes combined with French haute cuisine cooking techniques. Dishes such as the hong bak lamb, a New Zealand lamb cooked in a fusion of Indian and Chinese spices, and otak otak, baked red snapper and turmeric cooked in a surprising pie pastry, are particular favorites. They reveal the innovative take on classic Nyonya flavors of Chef Christopher Ong. A flawless dining experience awaits at Kebaya Restaurant.

Opening Hours
Mon - Sun :
6:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Budget
$$
Feringgi Grill

Housed in one of the most outstanding hotels in Batu Ferringghi, the Feringgi Grill is situated on the mezzanine floor of the Rasa Wing at Rasa Sayang Resort and Spa Penang. With its floor-length windows, the restaurant gives diners the most breathtaking view of the grounds and garden of the resort, along with the seemingly never-ending ocean. The Chef de Cuisine is David Pooley, an Australian with more than 10 years of culinary experience, predominantly in Melbourne and Sydney. Mixing many different ingredients, Feringgi Grill is committed to creating signature dishes for their loyal clientele. A particular speciality is Brik Pastry Cannelloni, a savory goats curd stuffed into pastry and served on a sweet cherry tomato bed. The Five Spice Quail dish combines Asian ingredients with Continental cooking methods to produce a five spice and salt cooked quail dish to perfection.

© Feringgi Grill

Opening Hours
Mon - Sun :
7:00 am - 10:30 am 6:30 pm - 10:30 pm
Budget
$$
Soul Kitchen

Soul Kitchen is an Italian-style eating establishment, which places emphasis on ‘soul food’. There are no printed menus, the prices are reasonable, the emphasis is on the steady clientele rather than haute cuisine and the service is casual. ‘Fresh, healthy and simple’ is the philosophy of Soul Kitchen and all meals are cooked from scratch as soon as you order them. The owners behind this restaurant are a MalaysianGerman husband and wife team whose international backgrounds influence the kitchen. Michelle Yim and Tonio Neuhaus spent many years in Berlin before deciding to move to Penang after a visit several years ago. Tonio is an ex-music band manager, and embraces his love for music by naming it the soul of this Italian restaurant. For extraordinarily good Italian home-cooked food and good music, don’t miss your chance to visit Soul Kitchen.

 

© Soul Kitchen

El Faro

El Faro is a tapas and wine bar which brings the best of Spanish cuisine to the Georgetown dining scene. It specializes in a refined take on the tapas tradition. Each dish reveals a meticulous attention to detail in conception and execution. The tapas are combined perfectly with stunning wines from Spain and Western Europe, as well as several New World varieties. Highlights of the extensive menu include the rustic paella, which is packed with locally sourced seafood, the barbecued prawns, charred with sea salt, and of course El Faro’s signature dish, the pork belly with sautéed cabbage, raisins and maple lime jus (pictured). This is highly recommended for anyone who fancies some Spanish spice in the heart of Penang.

 

© El Faro

Opening Hours
Mon - Tue :
3:00 pm - 11:30 pm
Thu - Sun :
3:00 pm - 11:30 pm
Budget
$$
Karaikudi Restaurant

At Karaikudi Restaurant each customer is presented with the best of North and South Indian cuisine in a brilliant blend of flavors, seasonings, nutritional balance, fragrance, taste and visual appeal. Deep in the south of India’s southernmost state, Tamil Nadu, is Chettinad — the land of the Nattukottai Chettiars. Karaikudi is its chief town and lies about 425 km from Madras, the capital of Tamil Nadu and the gateway to South India. Chettinad’s parched terrain may be some of the most inhospitable land in India, but man is at his most hospitable here and this is the ethos of Karaikudi Restaurant. Karaikudi’s chef’s signature dishes include the mutton chukka varuval (mutton cooked with onions, spices and curry leaves), Prawn malai curry (prawns with cashew nuts and cream) and the vegetarian meal set. They also do a great masala thosai — a tender crispy crepe stuffed with diced, spicy tomatoes.

© Karaikudi Restaurant

Opening Hours
Mon - Sun :
11:00 am - 11:00 pm
Budget
$$
Western Spices

Just a short distance from the historic Fort Cornwallis, Western Spices is based on the values of traditional Western hospitality and service — ‘delivered with style, panache and distinction’. The menu is a stunning repertoire of haute cuisine reflected in the presentation of exquisite delicacies. The venue is run by another husband and wife team, Nick Lau and Ally Tan and the couple take their culinary inspiration from their experiences of world cuisine. One month may be dedicated to French-style dishes, and in the next they’ll serve up delicious selections from the Caribbean. Lau runs the kitchen and he puts his international experience to good use with specialities such as grilled duck with peach sauce and vegetarian marinara spaghetti. Nick’s Special is a Caribbean-style chicken with a side of rice, beans and spicy sauce. Also, don’t forget that every Wednesday evening comes with live jazz performances to accompany the tasty food.

© Western Spices

Opening Hours
Tue - Sun :
11:30 am - 10:30 pm
Budget
$$
House of Udang Galah

Udang Galah are typically known as ‘Giant River Prawns’ and are native to Southeast Asia – specifically Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. Many years ago when Udgang Galah were very common, the natives would capture and cook them fresh to preserve the aromatic taste and texture of the fleshy fish. Today, Udang Galah is no longer known to many Malaysians even though it lies in their national food heritage. The large-sized freshwater prawn can only be found on very few local menus and come at a high price. This is where The House of Udang Galah comes in with its unique concept restaurant that provides unrivaled fresh Udang Galah cuisines in a variety of styles.  Italian, Western, Malay, Indian, Chinese are among the choices at Udang Galah.

© House of Udang Galah

Opening Hours
Mon - Sun :
11:00 am - 3:00 pm 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Budget
$$
NR Sweets

Opened in 2003, NR Sweets was the first stand-alone Indian sweets retail shop in Penang. NR Sweets have recently expanded into a cafe, which serves the best in vegetarian meals and authentic Indian sweets. Specializing in a ‘thali’, the large plates consist of various dishes — ranging from dal, rice, vegetables roti, curd and small amounts of chutney or pickle. The well-crafted Indian desserts are a rarity in Penang where there isn’t a great emphasis on the sweeter flavors. In India, it is very common to see large crowds in sweet shops, eating the sugary delights during breakfast, lunch and dinnertime. It is also a customary practice to buy sweets as gift giving. The sweets of NR Sweets balance the textures, spices and flavors expertly, and offer some of the best Indian sweets in the whole of Asia.

© Tomas Belcik/Flickr

Opening Hours
Mon - Sun :
7:30 am - 10:00 pm
Budget
$$
Jawi House

For a truly cultural dining experience, Jawi House Gallery and Café is not to be missed. Combining a gallery featuring a range of incredible Malaysian heritage crafts with a cafe specializing in hearty local favorites, Jawi House embodies the best of cultural and culinary Penang. Jawi House celebrates the diversity of Malaysia’s ethnic community, and the varied waves of immigration which led to such diversity. The term Jawi is actually a term used by Arabs to mean ‘ Muslims of Southeast Asia’ and many of the antiques on display in the gallery bear the hallmark of Middle Eastern influence. The food on offer is authentic Jawi Peranakan cuisine, with punchy flavors typical of Penang cuisine. The old world ambience completes the package.

© Jawi House

Opening Hours
Mon :
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Wed - Sun :
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Budget
$$
32 at the Mansion

For a true taste of royalty, make a reservation at 32 at the Mansion. Located in Leong Yin Kean mansion along the north beach, this restaurant prides itself on a wide variety of cuisines and flavor combinations. New Chef Mathijs Nanne has influenced the style of cooking at 32, and his menu is both subtle and endlessly surprising. The appetizer menu includes five choices, such as a platter of seafood with pickled crab, a ceviche of king prawns and lightly seared calamari. With a perfect lounge setting, the restaurant offers a great view of the beach. During the hot and humid evenings, 32 offer a sensational watermelon salad with broad slices of green mango and crumbled crispy fish. Offering more unusual fare and Western favorites, a night at 32 is sure not to disappoint.

Opening Hours
Mon - Sun :
12:00 am - 3:00 pm 7:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Budget
$$