20 Cafes In Downtown Kuala Lumpur For Your Cafe-Hopping Day Trip

Café-hopping remains all the rage, and they’ve not stopped popping up everywhere. So, if you’re looking to spend a day in downtown Kuala Lumpur for some cafe-hopping, here are 20 for you to check out. (Left: Image by @natasya_yusof_. Right: Image by @limkeecafe.)

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By now, we should all know the term ‘café-hopping’. It’s similar to bar-hopping but, you know, with cafés! And it seems like the industry is showing no signs of slowing down, with new spots opening up reasonably frequently. Especially in downtown Kuala Lumpur (KL) that covers Chinatown, Pasar Seni, Pudu, Imbi, Chow Kit, and the Heritage Row areas.

Of course, now with local MCOs lifted for all us Malaysians, it looks as though the café business is back in full swing after trying to stay afloat throughout the various lockdowns. If you’re looking to support the economy, as well as check out new places to have coffee (or tea) and some food, here’s a list to guide you on your quest.

1. Niko Neko Matcha, Chinatown

Niko Neko Matcha is one of the hottest matcha speciality cafés in Malaysia right now. With a minimalist white interior, the sight and aroma of the tea and pastries stand out even more. If you’re a true matcha fan, you should check out our list of matcha cafes!

2. Café etc., Jalan Tun HS Lee

Right opposite Niko Neko Matcha in Chinatown is Café etc. A rustic and chill café that offers an array of foods, from breakfast to waffles, pasta, burgers, and even rice.

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3. leaf & co., Jalan Sultan

leaf & co. brings you the old kopitiam (traditional coffee shop) charm with modernised fusion flavours and local food.

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4. Merchant’s Lane, Petaling Street

Located on the first floor of an old shophouse in Chinatown, the interior of Merchant’s Lane is a true blend of the old and new. Every corner offers you nostalgia and photo opportunities. Their food choices are pretty interesting as well, with a lot of fun fusion dishes.

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5. Pandan Republic, Lorong Panggung

The Pandan Republic is a cute little café located in Kwai Chai Hong that serves rice and pasta dishes and local kuihs (bite-sized snacks or desserts) and cakes. Their pandan (screwpine) ice cream is a must-try! Perfect for a quick cool down while you’re taking a stroll in the city.

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6. Bunn Choon, Lorong Panggung

Pastries and dim sum (range of small dishes typically served at Chinese restaurants)! What’s not to love? Another quaint place in Kwai Chai Hong, this family business has been passed down since 1893 – that’s about three or four generations! Not going to lie, but everything on their menu looks (and is) delicious.

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7. The Hungry Tapir, Petaling Street

Need your vegan or vegetarian food fix while you’re out and about in the city? The Hungry Tapir, located along with Kwai Chai Hong, has all your plant-based food needs sorted.

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8. Da Bao, Petaling Street

If you’re looking for a bar and café feel, Da Bao is the right place to go. Their neon lights and red lanterns make the area a perfect backdrop for photos. Make this your last stop for the night, and sample their bestselling Sirap Limau (lime syrup) gin cocktail.

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9. Malaya Garden Jalan Balai Polis

Marrying green chic with a local flair for their interior, Malaya Garden lives up to their neon sign and tiles that proclaim, “Local is the New Luxury.” They have a wide range of food, including local favourites like nasi lemak (fragrant rice cooked in coconut milk and served with condiments) and dim sum all the way to fusion pasta.

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10. Ho Kow Hainan Kopitiam, Jalan Balai Polis

Located right next to Malaya Garden is Ho Kow Kopitiam, another heritage café that has been in existence since 1956. They’re known for their coffee, toasts, and breakfast foods, and it’s the perfect way to start the day — though you’d have to be there early to beat the queue.

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11. Luckin Kopi, Jalan Panggong

In the same area of shop lots, just around the corner, you’ll arrive at another bubble of cafes and kopitiams. Luckin Kopi is one of the hotspots for food in downtown KL, so be prepared to wait in line!

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12. Kaffe 16, Jalan Panggong

Right next to Luckin Kopi, you’ll find Kaffe 16! This relaxed and comfortable café offers coffee, food, and chill vibes. Check out their bestsellers Beef Hamburg Steak Curry Omurice and Buttermilk Chicken Karaage Spaghetti.

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13. Kafei Dian, Jalan Balai Polis

Across the street from Kaffe 16 and Luckin Kopi, you’ll find Kafei Dian — located in a building formerly a Malaysian post office dating back 100 years. Here, you’ll find local delicacies in a semi-outdoor dining environment.

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14. Lim Kee Café, Jalan Sultan

Lim Kee Café is part of Tian Jing Hotel, a beautifully simple and quaint boutique accommodation in Chinatown. A great place to chill for their selection of coffee, tea, and cakes (alcoholic and non-alcoholic).

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15. Momo’s Burgers and Hot Dogs, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman

Meat lovers, stop by Momo’s Hotel for burgers and hot dogs! This hip little boutique hotel in Chow Kit fires up their grill daily for you from 12pm to 7pm.

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16. Common Grind, Jalan Doraisamy

Along Jalan Doraisamy, or what’s popularly referred to as Heritage Row, and a two-minute walk from Medan Tuanku Monorail Station is where you’ll find a food haven. For simple (but delicious) café food and coffee, Common Grind is the place to go.

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17. Lima Pulo: Baba Can Cook, Jalan Doraisamy

As you can tell by the restaurant’s name, Peranakan (Straits-born Chinese) food is in order! Take a seat in their cute little café run by the baba (male Straits-born) himself, Uncle John, but be prepared for food to sell out fast — because that’s how much KL folks love their Peranakan fare.

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18. Heritage Pizza, Jalan Doraisamy

More of a restaurant and bar than a cafe, we thought we’d add this to the list since it’s on the same row as Lima Pulo and Common Grind — just in case your stomach craves authentic Italian pizza. Founded by an Italian gentleman, Heritage Pizza uses fresh ingredients and a wood-fired oven imported from Italy to make sumptuous pies.

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19. Cureé, Changkat Thambi Dollah

Craving for Japanese Curry Katsu Rice while exploring KL’s Golden Triangle? At Cureé, the dish is yours to customise: portion size, level of spiciness in the curry, and type of katsu (panko chicken) you prefer. They also have curry in the form of soup if you’re looking for something lighter.

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20. Mori Kohi, Jalan Aman

Mori Kohi is the newest café addition in KL, with the tagline to, “Enjoy a cup of Kohi (coffee) in the heart of Mori (forest).” True to their motto, they have indoor and al fresco seating with greenery surrounding you. It’s a great place to escape to without actually needing to leave the heart of the city.

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(they/them) River is a pawrent to 2 cats and an introvert. Part of the UBI (Useless Bits of Information) brain club, inspiration usually strikes when they're in the shower, on the toilet bowl or during commutes.