Dining in Downtown Kuala Lumpur (DTKL) has come a long way from the usual Instagrammable cafes and trendy brunch spots. While those are still aplenty over at the in-vogue heritage core of Kuala Lumpur, we shift our eyes to the more classic offerings. As Malaysians, we love food, and it doesn’t matter the kind – be it roughing it out at the side of the street for a cool cendol or dining in the sky for the best fine dining offers. Where there is food, we will surely go.
So, whether you’re looking for an understated yet opulent venue or just a casual upscale space for a laid-back bite and a drink, we’re sure you’ll find something for your dining needs here:
Restaurant Dominic, The Row
Tucked within The Row KL in Chow Kit, Restaurant Dominic brings French gourmet flair to the table in an intimate setting. Previously known as 2Ox, the restaurant was recently rebranded to Restaurant Dominic with its quality French eats (the likes of foie gras, truffles, and coq au vin) still remaining the same.
Helmed by Chef Phillippe Murray Dominic, who acquired his culinary training in France, Italy, and Austria, every plate displays dexterity and finesse, with no compromise on classic French flavours. Available in set menus, depending on the season, and an extensive a la carte menu, if you want to curate your meal, treat yourself to an evening at Restaurant Dominic.
Address: 54G & 56G, Jalan Doraisamy, Chow Kit, 50300 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: +603 2692 2233
Heritage Pizza at The Row, Jalan Doraisamy
From French bistros to common coffee grinds, the refurbished Heritage Row of the 1940s has many gastronomical delights to offer. Our next stop? Italy. With a Milan-born founder at its helm, Heritage Pizza strives to do justice to Italy’s ubiquitous export legacy.
And the flavours add up — with at least 48 hours of cold fermentation for that flavoursome dough, three minutes of mangrove wood-fired cooking to preserve the freshness of the toppings, and temperatures that surge to 360 degrees Celsius in its Verona-built stone oven in the kitchen.
The result? A slice of Italy with an unparalleled pizza crust with equal parts chew, crunch, and char.
Address: Lot 26-G, The Row, Jalan Doraisamy, 50300 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: +603 2602 1919
Quan’s Kitchen at Four Points by Sheraton, Jalan Balai Polis
Conveniently located in the heart of KL’s very own Chinatown, Quan’s Kitchen is a must-visit when in the area. Paying homage to the heritage neighbourhood, Quan’s Kitchen serves up all-day dining with traditional culinary specialities and Western favourites from an open theatrical kitchen. Savour classic local recipes amidst elegant Chinatown-inspired decor and get lost amidst familiar flavours that have been reimagined.
If you’re feeling up for a tipple in DTKL, head downstairs to Jann. With original and inventive cocktails, these concoctions include tinges of local flavours like rojak, asam laksa, Haw Flakes, and even tau fu fah. With a pretty circular bar, jewel-toned colours, floor-to-ceiling windows, and a killer view from the outdoor patio – this hidden gem is great to wind down with a drink after dinner.
Address: Four Points by Sheraton Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Balai Polis, 50000 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: +603 2035 7333
Private at The Chow Kit, Jalan Sultan Ismail
The Chow Kit is hands down among the favourite boutique hotels of Downtown KL. But besides being an excellent spot for city staycations, the hotel also houses delicious dining establishments, such as Private.
As its name infers, Private is an intimate dining experience planned and designed for those seeking a closed-door experience. Keep away from the crowds at busy restaurants and dine in the comfort and safety of a tastefully decorated guest room that can fit up to six guests.
Pick from the famous The Chow Kit platters (with mouth-watering dishes such as nachos, chicken wings, barbecue spare ribs, grilled tiger prawns, and more) or order a delightful 4-course Western menu.
Address: 1012 Jalan Sultan Ismail, Chow Kit, 50100 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: +603 2778 6688
Joloko, Jalan Kamunting
Love a good tropical-themed interior? Hit up Joloko. Located in Chow Kit, the space welcomes you with colourful murals and lush greenery in the concrete jungle that is KL. The bar-slash-restaurant is set in a beautifully renovated pre-war terrace, which exudes a distressed hip vibe with tropical touches here and there.
Eclectically decorated, the cosy hangout set in a little yellow heritage house spoils its diners with a mouth-watering selection of Caribbean-style food incorporated with African, Latin American, and Creole flavours. Pair your meal with a wide array of lush drinks ranging from mezcal, tequila, and wine to cocktails.
Address: 43 Jalan Kamunting, Chow Kit, 50300 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: +6011 6426 2645
Small Shifting Space, Petaling Street
Considering that Small Shifting Space (also known as SSS) finds a home in one of the hippest parts of Downtown KL, it takes style, panache, and creativity to stand out. This shifting space does that and more — with shiny metal doors that slide open to a compact area where diners can see directly into the open kitchen and barista bar.
Exposed brick and cement walls are the backdrops for the dining experience, and oh, did we mention that the menu is constantly evolving? Small Shifting Space is a location that tells a story. Similar to an artist in residence, this place hosts chefs in-house, usually for around the duration of a month. As such, it’s always an adventure, and it’s one that you’re more than welcome to tag along for the ride.
Address: 141, Jalan Petaling, 50000 Kuala Lumpur,
Contact: +6017 440 5591
Anjo, Petaling Street
The latest modern European fine dining restaurant to grace KL’s F&B scene, Anjo offers prix fixe menus specially curated by their experienced culinary team. Its black and gold exteriors may stand out against the heritage-heavy Petaling Street vibes, but it’s just a glimpse of the culinary delights that await behind its gilded exterior.
With each dish curated with a level of care and creativity, Anjo will have you returning for more, if not for its stunning (and not to mention highly Instagrammable) dishes, then perhaps for its elegantly opulent ambience.
Think elaborately designed seats surrounding a live kitchen, lit by glistening chandeliers reflecting off dark marbled floors.
Address: 142 Jalan Petaling, 50000 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: +6019 977 1010
Wildflowers, Petaling Street
Another new eatery across the street from the bustling Merchant’s Lane, Wildflowers expertly blends different cuisines to create a truly unique dining experience. From Japanese and Thai to Malaysian and French, all the way to Chinese and Mexican fusions, no stone is left unturned by the creative kitchen.
Whether you’re looking for small plates like Salmon Sashimi with Green Thai Sauce or bigger bites like the Stewed Beef Brisket Bourguignon, there’s something for everyone. Cap off the meal with classic desserts with a twist like the Coconut Panna Cotta or the Deconstructed Tiramisu.
Address: 153, Jalan Petaling, Kuala Lumpur, 50000
Contact: +603 2856 3369
The Attic Bar, Jalan Balai Polis
Hidden away in one of Chinatown’s hostels, Travel Hub Guesthouse, this rooftop bar has incredible views of the South of KL. Serving an array of drinks, including tuak (rice wine) themed drinks, beer cocktails, classic drinks with a twist, and much more, it’s on its way to becoming one of the hippest spots in town.
Address: 3rd Floor, 15 Jalan Balai Polis, 50000 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: +6012 393 8627