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Penang Top 10s

  • Top 10 Restaurants In Georgetown

    Best places to eat in Georgetown

    If you are looking for good food, Georgetown is certainly one of the best places in Malaysia because at any time of year, its warm, sunny weather and variety of restaurants – and types of cuisine – makes it a great destination for gourmet travellers. Whether it is comfort food in a beautifully restored heritage mansion or a light meal among locals in a Chinese coffee shop, the capital of Penang Island is more than prepared to welcome you.

    Linger over a leisurely lunch at charming French bistro 42 La Boheme, visit the hawker stalls at New Lane Hawker Centre to enjoy local delights, or enjoy fine dining in an award-winning restaurant – in any case we are sure you will enjoy our list of island-state restaurants that have scored straight ‘A’ grades with us.

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    The type of place where you can expect the taste of the unusual, Chin’s Stylish Chinese Cuisine is a luxurious yet charming fine-dining restaurant with an award-winning pedigree and a menu of traditional Hunan and Sichuan recipes. Its interior design of modern artwork in gilded frames, crystal chandeliers, and richly-upholstered furniture, is almost as impressive as its unquestionably elegant and tasty food.

    Its first branch opened in New King’s Road, London in 1987 and the award-winning eatery quickly took England’s gastronomic scene by storm. In 2010, riding the waves of success, the owner, UK-trained graphic designer Dave Chin Hooi Meng, decided to set up a branch in Penang. The kitchen, helmed by Chef Wang Zhi Zhong, puts out standout dishes such as zhao pai xiang su ya – aromatic crispy duck and slices of scallion and juicy cucumber stuffed into a steaming pancake – as well as hot and spicy poached fish. Read More...

    • Opening Hours: 18:00 – late
    • Address: Tanjong City Marina, Church St Pier (Next to QE II), 8A Pengkalan Weld, 10300 Georgetown
    • Tel: +6016 555 1650 & +604 263 3331
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    Set in the Eastern & Oriental Hotel, the award-winning 1885 is a fine-dining restaurant with a kitchen serving classic yet contemporary western food in a timelessly-elegant English-like setting. Its decor of white linen cloth-covered tables, Victorian-era furniture, stately grand piano and soft lighting from crystal chandeliers makes for a pretty special dining experience.  

    This restaurant is something special from among Penang’s array of food offerings, and the food is certainly creative. Dishes like crème of mushroom soup, rich lobster bisque with spiced dhal emulsion and juicy baked wagyu fillet mignon are done well enough, but it is the pan-grilled cod fish that steals the show. Perfectly-seasoned with a drizzling of sesame oil, it is served on a bed of sautéed soba noodles and comes with a fat, crispy prawn tempura on the side – unquestionably one of the best dishes on the menu. Meanwhile, for meat lovers the 1885 chateaubriand – a juicy tenderloin steak that simply melts in your mouth – is another not-to-be-missed experience. Read More...

    • Opening Hours: 14:00 – 17:00; 19:00 – 23:00
    • Address: 10 Lebuh Farquhar, 10200 Penang
    • Tel: +604 222 2000
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    New Lane Hawker Centre
    New Lane Hawker Centre
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    Penang is known throughout Malaysia as the food capital of the country with some of the best hawker centres available right in the heart of Georgetown. While Gurney Drive is the most tourist frequented area for hawker specialties, locals love New Lane Hawker Centre. Taking place along Lorong Baru, it all starts out at 16:00 when the street comes alive with hawkers setting up along the avenue. The road closes down to traffic, and colourful plastic tables and chairs are placed out in front of individual stalls.   

    Almost everything is good here – if you like spicy food we suggest char kway teow (stir-fried flat rice noodles), which come with lashings of cockles, fat and juicy prawns, and bean sprouts. There is also barbecued chicken wings, chee cheong fun (steamed rice noodle rolls in sweet shrimp paste sauce), fried oysters and carrot cake, koay teow soup (pork-based broth with noodles) and so much more.

    • Opening Hours: 17:00 – 23:00
    • Address: Lorong Baru (New Lane), Off Macalister Road, Georgetown, 10040 Penang
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    Nasi Kandar Line Clear
    Nasi Kandar Line Clear
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    This 24-hour restaurant merits a spot on our list because the food here is, simply put, phenomenal. There is such an impressive array of daily specials, ranging from fish curry to beef gravy, all of which comes generously portioned. Add in the fact that at Nasi Kandar Line Clear you only pay RM6.50 (the cheapest in all of Penang) for a plate of rice, fried chicken, egg, vegetables and a mix of gravies, and the whole meal is that much more satisfying.

    Located in a narrow alleyway along Jalan Penang, with wooden tables and plastic chairs, the surroundings may not be five-star, but the food certainly makes a trip here well worth the effort.

    • Opening Hours: 24 Hours
    • Address: 177 Penang Road, Penang
    • Tel: +604 261 4440
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    Macalister Mansion – a five-star boutique hotel, fine-dining restaurant, cafe, wine lounge, and cigar den combo – is a subtle tribute to Penang’s rich colonial past and its colourful present. Resembling the Great Gatsby’s mansion, the extensively-repurposed manor is the first Malaysian member of Design Hotel and was named after Colonel Norman Macalister, British Governor of Penang from 1808 to 1810.

    When it comes to food Macalister Mansion does not disappoint, whether you are looking for a full course meal or just light snacks. The kitchen at the Dining Room is headed by Chef Lance U’ren (trained in a Michelin-starred restaurant) and his menu of French haute cuisine (which changes every two months) is just so tasty, and his humble manner makes the meal a relaxed one. The decor is pure colonial couture with all-white furniture accented by a giant faux white tree in the centre of the room, flanked by a sky-blue stag and soft pink deer. Read More...

    • Opening Hours: 19:00 – 23:00
    • Address: 228 Macalister Road, 10400 George Town, Penang
    • Tel: +604 2283 888 0r +6012 632 7729
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    Joo Hooi Cafe
    Joo Hooi Cafe
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    Topping our list of best places in Penang for asam laksa is Joo Hooi Cafe, a typical Chinese coffee shop located along Jalan Penang (less than one km away from KOMTAR) in Georgetown. At less than RM3.50 for a bowl of laksa, it is especially reasonably-priced: fruity in taste and fragrant in aroma, what helps it reach top billing is the fact that the dark gravy is packed with ingredients (shredded lettuce, mint, lemongrass, onion, pineapple, chilli slices, tamarind and cucumber) and as a result the soup is thick, flavourful and spicy.

    We also like the fact that the asam laksa does not have that ‘fishy’ taste – largely because the poached shredded sardine has been simmered extensively with the tamarind soup. The accompanying sweet yet pungent shrimp paste adds a real kick to each bite. The coffee shop also serves classic Chinese hawker food such as fried kway teow (stir-fried slat rice noodles with seafood and bean sprouts).

    • Opening Hours: 12:00 – 17:30 closed on Wednesday
    • Address: 475 Jalan Penang, Georgetown Penang
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    The Sire Museum Restaurant is a relic of the past you should not overlook during your stay in Penang. It is an upholder of old-fashioned glamour on Penang’s dining scene that has prospered over the years by transcending trends. Loud and boisterous customers create an ambiance that is colourful to say the least, making it one of the most magical places to experience Penang’s colonial heritage. A poignant reminder of the island-state’s one time British occupation, The Sire Museum Restaurant has got a real turn-back-the-clock vibe, with interior design emphasising its colonial heritage.

    Besides its sumptuous surroundings, guests are also rewarded with thoughtful service and refined, retro dishes. Poached caramelized snapper (RM29.80) is fresh and juicy, with a side serving of steamed vegetables and creamy mashed potatoes. Meanwhile, black angus rib eye steak (RM105.80) has fall-off-the-bone tender meat, with little seasoning allowing the meat’s natural flavours to shine through – a simple yet effective strategy. Read More...

    • Opening Hours: 11:30 – 15:00; 18:00 – 22:30
    • Address: 4, Lebuh King, George Town
    • Tel: +604 264 5088
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    A glorious recreation of an Anglo-Indian restaurant, 32 at The Mansion is a graceful and elegant fine-dining experience located along Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah in central Georgetown. The food, which largely falls under either classic haute French cuisine or Asian, is the star of the show – unsurprising considering the fact that the kitchen is helmed by the skilled Chef Mathijs Nanne who hails from the Netherlands.

    Opened in April 2000, there are a few standouts on the menu. Slow-cooked lamb shank is a delight to the palate – cooked to perfection the meat has a slight crisp texture on the outside, while inside it is almost pink, and stays succulent bite after bite. A light seasoning on the lamb allows its natural meat flavour to shine – and shine it does – with some help from a side serving of Portobello mushroom crowned with melted cheese. However, the real stunner is barbecued beef ribs, with melt-in-your-mouth meat, with a drizzling of thick barbecue juices that result in an explosion of flavours with each bite. Served with cube-shaped baked potatoes, lightly seasoned with salt and pepper, it really is a hearty and fulfilling end to the meal. Read More...

    • Opening Hours: 12:00 – 15:00; 17:00 – 24:00
    • Address: 32, Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah, George Town, Penang
    • Tel: +604 262 2232
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    Housed within the same building as the Suffolk House Arts and Cultural Museum, Suffolk House Restaurant is a charming fine-dining eatery under the same management as the successful 32 Mansion. The restaurant is richly decorated with the same period furnishing as the rest of the Anglo-Indian garden house located beside the Malaysian-German Society on Jalan Ayer Itam. Managed by Badan Warisan Malaysia and over 200 years old, the museum is called Penang’s first ‘Great House’. Reminiscent of Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, it is one of Penang’s most important colonial heritage landmarks.

    Worth a visit both for its food and fantastically preserved heritage design, food-wise try the restaurant’s classic char-grilled rack of lamb – tender and succulent meat, served with mint lamb jus and fettuccine pasta with spinach and juicy mushrooms. Also good is the pan-fried cod fillet in basil tomato coulis and garlic aioli: it is served on a bed of aromatic Basmati rice with flakes of basil, sautéed pea shoots and soft carrots. Read More...

    • Address: 250, Jalan Ayer Itam, 10460 Georgetown
    • Tel: +604 228 1109 or +604 228 3930
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    42 La Boheme
    42 La Boheme
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    42 La Boheme is a must-try compact French bistro set along Jalan Bahari in Georgetown and is a famous destination for pizzas, pasta, quiches and baked goods like cakes, tarts and pastries. Set in a quaint townhouse along Jalan Bahari (featuring a walk-up garden with overgrown hedges, lots of wildflowers and white fencing), it is an unassuming place, with just a hand-painted signboard hanging on its front gate proclaiming it to be a cafe. Meanwhile, its interior design proves to be even more charming with a mix of eclectic and ‘shabby chic’ styles – think vintage items accenting distressed furniture, landscape photos on the walls and colourful knick knacks (like a birdcage with felt birds in soft pastels) adding a feminine touch.

    The kitchen is helmed by Chef Mathieu Guegan, who along with his lovely wife Huvi, puts out comfort dishes like thin-crusted pizza oozing mozzarella cheese loaded with juicy mushrooms and crispy bacon strips. Another standout is salmon quiche – striking the right balance between egg, cream, and cheese, it is not too ‘wet’, making for a thick consistency with a rich, buttery filling of salmon strips, tangy cheese and slightly salty egg.

    • Opening Hours: 10:30 – 18:00 Tuesday – Wednesday & 10:30 – 21:00 Friday – Sunday closed on Monday and Thursday
    • Address: 42 Jalan Sri Bahari, 10050 Penang
    • Tel: +6017 976 2153
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