When it comes to gastronomic experiences, Gurney Drive is well-known as the all-day hawker food capital of Malaysia. However, it also offers some of the most tantalizing array of seafood and fine dining in Penang. Best of all, most of them operate well into the night, perfect for those who are craving some tasty delicacies at even the oddest hours.
From the tourist-friendly Gurney beachfronts to the peaceful fishing villages of Teluk Bahang, we have listed the ten most frequented eateries by both tourists and locals of Penang. Included in this list are a gourmet Japanese restaurant and an authentic Thai restaurant with a mesmerising sunset view.
- Traditional English Afternoon Tea at the Eastern & Oriental Hotel
- City Half-Day Tour
- EZhopper Sightseeing Bus Pass
- Georgetown by Night Tour
- Island Half-Day Tour
- Private Penang Hill & Temple
- Heritage Trishaw Tour
- Private Penang Hill & High Tea at David Brown's Restaurant
- Botanic Gardens & Tropical Spice Garden Tour
- Penang Hill & Kek Lok Si Temple Tour
Sesame + Soy
Sesame + Soy is a single restaurant featuring two concepts: Sesame caters to a fine dining clientele, while Soy directs its efforts to a casual-dining crowd. Set inside G Hotel, the simple, edgy and sophisticated restaurant has won multiple awards for food and service of exceptional quality.
Featuring contemporary furnishings and fixtures, it has an extensive menu of modern Chinese cuisine prepared in new, inventive ways. Examples of their quirky twists can be seen in the lobster with pineapple, prawn with salted egg, cod with kimchi-inspired sauce and black sesame bean curd. Diners with a sweet tooth will definitely enjoy the rich chocolate soufflé with almonds and pistachio ice-cream and mixed berries. Another popular choice is the gula Melaka crème brulee served with coconut ice-cream.
- Opening Hours: 12:00 – 14:30; 19:00 – 22:00
- Address: G Hotel, 168A Persiaran Gurney
- Tel: +604 238 0000
Ben's Kitchen - Gurney Paragon Mall
Ben’s Kitchen is a trendy yet laidback restaurant that offers a cosy environment with an extensive menu selection. Combining rustic chic and urban city loft decor, you have the luxury of choosing your preferred dining experience. Due to limited dining tables in the indoor area, making a reservation is your best bet to secure a good seat.
Whether it’s for a relaxed weekend brunch or hearty dinner with the entire family, Ben’s Kitchen offers a variety of pastas, sandwiches, burgers, and a handful of Asian dishes. Each meal is reasonably priced and can be shared thanks to the rather generous portions.
Our top recommendation is Ben's thick and juicy cheeseburger on sesame seed bun with cheddar slices and French fries. Finish your meal with Ben’s wide selection of desserts such as apple crumble tart with vanilla ice-cream and sticky date pudding with caramel sauce and vanilla ice-cream.
- Opening Hours: 11:00 – 23:00
- Address: 163C-1-03, 04 & 163C-2-02, Gurney Paragon Mall, Persiaran Gurney
- Tel: +604 228 8909
Bali Hai Restaurant
Bali Hai Restaurant captures your attention not only with its catchy tagline “If it swims, we have it”, but also with a huge and interesting array of fresh seafood. Lined up against a wall inside the restaurant are row upon row of aquariums housing live sea creatures, all waiting to be picked for dinner. Offerings include some truly exotic species that could not be found in other parts of Malaysia such as giant Australian lobsters, Atlanta spider crabs, huge mantis prawns and geoducks (saltwater clams).
Its Bali-themed setting provides a comfortable ambience to accommodate over 500 diners, with limited bamboo huts available for those who want a more private seating for dinner. It is situated within walking distance from luxury hotels surrounding Gurney Drive, making it a convenient eatery for tourists and locals alike. Fresh seafood is Bali Hai’s main speciality, but there are many pork-free and vegetable dishes available for Muslim diners as well.
- Opening Hours: Daily, 20:00 - Late
- Address: 90A-90D, Gurney Drive
- Tel: +604 228 8272
Bali Bali Cafe (formerly Coffee Island)
Marked by colourful neon lights, Bali Bali Cafe is more than just your ordinary kopitiam. Featuring a large al fresco dining area, it is really quite a treat sipping your coffee in the open air, under the stars, with the cool sea breeze as company. Equipped with Wi-Fi, it serves a wide variety of hawker favourites, as well as an array of Oriental and Western dishes.
The Vietnam Coffee (which can be served either hot or cold) and the variety of toasts available are considered this café’s specialties. Bali Bali Cafe also serves selected drinks with cute 3D coffee art for an additional RM3, so look out for cat logos on the menu. We definitely recommend heading there in the afternoon if you want to sit back and relax with a cup of iced or hot coffee and a slice of delicious Belgian cheese cake.
- Opening Hours: 15:00 – 02:00
- Address: 77 Gurney Drive
- Tel: +604 227 2378
Ke Ren Lai Restaurant
Formerly known as Corner Club, this restaurant is the favourite dim sum spot for most out-of-towners. Located in Gurney Drive right after Evergreen Hotel if you are heading towards Gurney Plaza, Ke Ren Lai Restaurant provides ample parking spaces with a standard parking fee of RM3. Your receipt can be presented upon meal payment for a refund of RM2.
Although reservation is unnecessary, it is usually packed during breakfast hours so be prepared to wait for a few minutes. The restaurant’s speciality is piping hot dim sum served fresh from the kitchen on a daily basis, with fresh prawn dumpling coming up top on our list of highly-recommended dishes.
Also available are ‘quickie’ lunch sets and a variety of other Oriental dishes. Another top-seller is the crunchy egg tarts: they run out almost immediately after leaving the oven so get a hold of them as fast as possible.
- Opening Hours: Daily, 07:00 – 15:00 & 18:00 – 22:30
- Address: 55 Gurney Drive
- Tel: +604 228 2888
Michelangelo’s Restaurant & Bar - G Hotel
Opening for the first time in Penang, Michelangelo's Restaurant & Bar has captured not only the stomachs but also the hearts of many who have been waiting for a trendy restaurant of this kind. Situated on the alfresco strip at G Hotel facing Gurney Plaza, the restaurant's dimmed exterior is complemented by the chandeliered interior with an elegant wine and liquor bar. True to its name, replicas of famous art pieces also adorn the restaurant for a truly Italian ambience.
The elegant and contemporary atmosphere has no reservations about dishing authentic Italian meals, like spaghetti aglio olio with prawns, and pan seared foie gras. We highly recommend starting off with Crema di Funghi, which is cream of three types of mushrooms with truffele oil and crotons before sinking your teeth in the Melanzane Parmigiana, a dish consisting of perfectly baked eggplants, topped with generous amounts of Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, tomatoes and herbs.
- Opening Hours: Sunday - Thursday 11:00 – 00:00, Friday & Saturday 11:00 – 01:00
- Address: Ground Floor, G Hotel, Gurney Drive (next to Gurney Plaza)
- Tel: +604 885 1189
New Gurney Drive Food Court
Gaining popularity over the years, the New Gurney Drive Food Court has taken over the original Gurney Drive Food Court as the area’s premier place for hawker food. Open from evening till late, this open-air food court plays host to a wide variety of hungry visitors on a daily basis.
Populated by stalls selling all sorts of hawker delights, the food court is divided into two sections – a Halal section and a non-Halal section (the latter offering mainly Chinese cuisine). Best of all, the food available here are so cheap that you can afford to go to each stall and try everything that takes your fancy. Some of the delicacies offered include Penang curry mee, assam laksa (noodles in a fish-based sour broth), ais kacang (a shaved ice dessert), cendol (a coconut milk based shaved ice dessert), and rojak (a fruit and vegetable salad dish).
Due to its location near a roundabout, we strongly advise visitors with a car to park at Gurney Plaza and walk for a short distance to avoid traffic congestion around the area.
- Opening Hours: Daily, 18:00 - Late
- Location: At the other end of Gurney Drive (Persiaran Gurney), towards Bagan Jermal (near the roundabout and parallel to Jalan Khidmat)
Miraku Japanese Restaurant – G Hotel
Offering a fine Japanese dining experience, Miraku in Japanese simply translates to a great place for customers to enjoy great food. Those who want to take a break from the usual hawker stalls and seafood restaurants in Gurney Drive can opt for this fancy establishment instead.
Its bamboo and wood decor as well as spacious seating allow guests to enjoy their meals in a comfortable environment. It has four main menus to choose from – appetizer, grand, course, and lunch set menu, aside from a monthly promotional menu. Miraku also serves a reasonably priced lunch buffet every Saturday but be sure to make a reservation beforehand.
A delightful dish to try is the Unagi (freshwater eel) – its soft and smooth texture is further complemented with the perfectly mixed sauce and a layer of aromatic fish oil, making it the perfect companion to the aromatic Japanese steamed rice.
- Opening Hours: Daily, 12:00 – 14:30 & 18:00 – 22.30
- Address: G Hotel, 168A Persiaran Gurney, 10250 Penang
- Tel: +604 229 8702
Open 24 hours with free Wi-Fi and beachfront seating, Mr. Pot serves a fine selection of sandwiches and toast for those who want a light-hearted brunch with friends. An assortment of cocktails and liquors are also available here, as well as an extensive menu which includes all-day healthy breakfast sets, weight-watcher snacks, oil-free dishes and comfort food.
The restaurant’s standout beverage is the blended white coffee with whipped cream: a smooth and creamy concoction that coffee lovers will enjoy. For health conscious diners, they can opt for a refreshing glass of dragonfruit juice or cucumber and mint juice to quench their thirst during the hot days. The relaxing and open air environment makes this restaurant a popular spot for casual gatherings as well as meals with the whole family.
- Opening Hours: Daily, 24 hours
- Address: 124C Gurney Drive
- Tel: +604 228 8303
Bagan Bar & Restaurant @ Jalan Bagan Jermal
A restaurant as well as a bar, this cosy, secluded place is popular with hip under-thirties and expats. There's a sultry jazz diva whose live performances enhance the décor of couches, giant mirrors, fairy lights and ceiling fans. With a spacious lounge and dining area that can accommodate 100 people at a time, Bagan Bar & Restaurant caters to any kind of evening affair from romantic dinners to informal gathering with friends.
Bagan Bar & Restaurant is well-known for its cocktails and mocktails, but it also serves delectable western cuisine such as smoked salmon Carpaccio, slipper lobster salad, French onion soup, cream of broccoli, pan seared sea bass fillet, lemon and caviar, grated potato pie with cheese, and sauté button mushroom. The classy ambience and great food makes Bagan Bar & Restaurant the perfect place for guests to sit back and relax after a long day.
- Opening Hours: Monday – Thursday 15:00 – 01:00, Friday & Saturday 15:00 – 02:00
- Address: 18, Jalan Bagan Jermal
- Tel: +604 226 4977