With no signs of slowing down, the cafe scene in Kuala Lumpur is certainly thriving. Particularly in the Downtown Kuala Lumpur (DTKL) area–covering Chinatown, Pasar Seni, Pudu, Imbi, Chow Kit, and Heritage Row–where weekend bazaars and activities abound.

These cafes are such a nice respite while exploring the city, perfect for unwinding and fueling ourselves with food and coffee. Find out if you’ve checked in at any of these cafes recently, or perhaps you’ll find a new favourite coffee spot with our extensive list below!

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 too!

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. Luckbros Kopi, Jalan Panggong

In the same area of shop lots, just around the corner, you’ll arrive at another cluster of cafes and kopitiams. Luckbros 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 Luckbros 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, 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. Timothy Cafe, Jalan Tun HS Lee

Opening their doors for the early birds daily at 8am, this cafe embraces its building’s former life–a kopitiam serving the neighbourhood since 1909. Keeping to its roots, Timothy Cafe now serves all-day breakfasts and brunch meals for the city folks.

Address: 24 Jalan Tun H S Lee, City Centre, 50100 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
Contact: +6011 3992 8716

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20. LOKL Coffee Co, Jalan Tun HS Lee

LOKL is a clever play on the word ‘local’ and the abbreviation of Kuala Lumpur (KL). When you dine here, the wait staff will greet you with warm smiles, and your food will always arrive no later than 20 minutes. That’s their promise!

Address: 30 Jalan Tun H S Lee, City Centre, 50100 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
Contact: +6018 968 5515

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21. Kafe Kleptokrat, Jalan Tun HS Lee

If you’ve wandered along this street, you might have noticed the long line of foodies trying to dine at Kafe Kleptokrat. People love dining here as the cafe has an alfresco-style concept, and folks particularly love sitting by the pool.

Address: 18, Jalan Tun H S Lee, City Centre, 50100 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
Contact: +6017-642 8052

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22. Piccadilly Cafe, Jalan Tun Perak

First things first–the food portions here are HUGE! Occupying two shophouses along Jalan Tun Perak, you’ll have tons of seating options, as well as an array of food options to choose from.

Address: 62 & 64 Jalan Tun Perak, City Centre, 50500 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: +603 2022 1102

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Editor’s note: This article was originally published on 28 November 2021 and has been updated to include more locations.