Kedah & Perlis

Flavours are sweet and spicy in this re­gion and, as the prover­bial rice bowl of the coun­try, here the grain is king. Cui­sine in Kedah and Perlis owes much to the sea and to Malaysia’s north­ern neigh­bour, Thai­land. On the main­land, stick to ex­plor­ing lo­cal

Time Out Malaysia Eating and Drinking Guide - - CONTENTS -

Kedah

Ji­tra Seafood

NEW Rung Reang Thai Seafood

Jalan Kelubi, Ji­tra, Kedah

Kaeng Som, a sour and spicy Thai fish soup, is one of the most highly re­garded dishes here. Come here on rainy evenings for some de­li­ciously com­fort­ing Thai fare, with must-or­ders in­clud­ing crab fried rice, tom yam, Thai-style otak-otak (fish cakes) and co­conut jelly – it sells out re­ally fast.

Daily, 6pm–11pm. $$

Langkawi The Amer­i­cas

Mex­i­can

3 Ami­gos Mex­i­can Restau­rant

Jalan Pan­tai Ce­nang, Langkawi (04 955 8646).

Shar­ing a kitchen with the Ital­ian place next door might sound a lit­tle odd but don’t write off this Mex­i­can restau­rant as just another bad pur­veyor of in­au­then­tic ta­cos just yet. They have a good range of dishes and, hap­pily for veg­e­tar­i­ans, a good se­lec­tion of bean dishes – and they are not al­ways easy to find in Malaysia. Be warned: they prob­a­bly won’t give you gua­camole, sour cream, or salsa with your meal. Like its Ital­ian sis­ter next door (see our list­ing for Viva Italia), ser­vice is a bit hit and miss.

Ha­lal. Child friendly. Kids’ menu. Credit cards ac­cepted. Dis­abled friendly. Free park­ing. Daily, 11am–11.30pm. $$$

NEW Lit­tle Mex­i­can Restau­rant & Café

Jalan Pan­tai Ce­nang (04 955 2042).

Friendly vibes and ex­cel­lent ser­vice make this lively joint a good place to bring the whole fam­ily. The own­ers worked closely with a chef from Mex­ico to get the most au­then­tic flavours but the kitchen is will­ing to ad­just the spice level if your stom­ach prefers some­thing milder. There’s plenty to choose from on the hu­mourtinged menu, in­clud­ing some solid veg­e­tar­ian op­tions. We tried the veg­e­tar­ian chimichanga, a filling deep­fried tor­tilla par­cel of kid­ney beans, but­ter beans, onion and cap­sicum, spiced au­then­ti­cally and served with a small salad, a mound of Mex­i­can rice, gua­camole, sour cream and pi­quant salsa. The beef taco was some­what less sub­stan­tial over­all but its beef filling was un­de­ni­ably juicy and chunky. And while you’re en­joy­ing good Mex­i­can food, we rec­om­mend or­der­ing some san­gria – Lit­tle Mex­i­can has a cou­ple of va­ri­eties to choose from. The stan­dard red san­gria has a mel­low, thin and fruity flavour but its tur­bocharged cousin, the san­gria Mexicano, is en­hanced with a shot of tequila and has much more bite.

Credit cards ac­cepted. Daily, 12noon– 12mid­night. $$$

Cafés

NEW

La Cho­co­la­tine

3 Jalan Teluk Baru, Pan­tai Ten­gah, Langkawi (04 955 8891).

Run by an ex­pe­ri­enced (but rather aloof) French pas­try chef, La Cho­co­la­tine of­fers tempt­ing dis­plays of but­tery crois­sants, rich brioches, and zingy tarts as well as a small se­lec­tion of light meals like sal­ads and omelettes. Dec­o­rated with the usual prints of the Eif­fel Tower and other knick-knacks, La Cho­co­la­tine boasts free WiFi and a quiet am­bi­ence in which to un­wind. After feast­ing our eyes on all the sweet pas­tries, we tried the tarte au cit­ron meringue and the crois­sant aux aman­des. The per­fect le­mon meringue pie bursts with in­tense le­mon flavour be­neath a cloud­like meringue while the flakey al­mond crois­sant is preg­nant with rich, sug­ary frangi­pane. It seems this bou­tique patis­serie puts most of its ef­fort into the baked goods, though: Cof­fee comes cour­tesy of a Ne­spresso Grands Crus ma­chine and our cap­puc­ci­nos were com­pe­tent but noth­ing spe­cial. On our next trip, we’ll stick to the re­port­edly lus­cious hot choco­late, made with real choco­late melted into warm milk.

Daily, 9am–9pm.

NEW The Loaf Lot C9 Per­dana Quay, Te­laga Har­bour Park (04 959 4866); Lot GF4C & GF4D Ce­nang Mall, Lot 2605 Jalan Pan­tai Ce­nang Mukim Kedawang (04 955 1641/www.th­eloaf.net).

Fresh baked loaves us­ing Ja­panese tech­niques and lo­cal and im­ported in­gre­di­ents, the bread at The Loaf is of great qual­ity. But it’s not all pas­tries and cof­fee—there’s also an à la carte menu if your stom­ach is grum­bling for some­thing for sub­stan­tial.

Ha­lal. Credit cards ac­cepted. Daily, 8am–11pm. $$

NEW Sun Café 8 SUNMALL, Jalan Teluk Baru, Pan­tai Ten­gah (04 955 8300/ sun­grou­plangkawi.com).

Part of a chain of restau­rants, bars and a re­sort, Sun Café im­presses with its quasi-colo­nial styling, friendly staff, and a de­li­cious mix of western and lo­cal meals. Desserts in par­tic­u­lar re­ceive rave reviews: try the crêpe Suzette, the choco­late lava cake, or the crème brulée. This may sound odd but check out the bath­room – it’s quite beau­ti­fully de­signed and pro­vokes many favourable com­ments from vis­i­tors to the café.

Credit cards ac­cepted. Daily,12noon– 12mid­night.

Euro­pean & Bri­tish

Bri­tish

NEW Scar­bor­ough Fish 'n Chips

Lot 1388 Jalan Tan­jung Rhu (012 352 2236).

De­liv­ered pip­ing hot and crispy from the kitchen in this small and unpretentious restau­rant are quite pos­si­bly the best fish and chips in Langkawi. En­joy an un­ob­structed view of the sea (and the daz­zling pink Langkawi sun­set if you ar­rive later) at

Tan­jung Rhu as you chow down on such de­lights as pan-fried bar­racuda, deep-fried snow fish, or cala­mari paired with thick and crunchy hot chips and fresh salad. We were also very im­pressed by the sat­is­fy­ing, veg­e­tar­ian friendly salad with its mound of freshly steamed vegetables, crisp salad leaves and flavour­ful tomato and onion dress­ing on the side. The chips might come from a freezer packet and the ta­bles on the sand might be a lit­tle wonky but a meal at Scar­bor­ough, washed down with a cold beer or a cider, is our idea of a beach hol­i­day.

Pork-free. Tue–Sun, 11am–9pm. $$

Mediter­ranean NEW The Brasserie Restau­rant and Bar 27A Jalan Pan­tai Ce­nang, Langkawi (04 955 1927)

With breezy meals on the beach and clas­sic cock­tails, this swish restau­rant and bar spe­cialises in Mediter­ranean cui­sine served in chilled, laid­back style. Drop by on Sun­day for the bar­be­cue buf­fet or sim­ply kick back with a glass of white san­gria and watch the world go by. Most pa­trons swear by the juicy Aus­tralian steaks here but the sea bass also wins rave reviews.

Daily, 12noon–12mid­night. $$$

Rus­sian NEW USSR Restau­rant Per­dana Quay, Te­laga Har­bour Park (04 956 1023/017 560 1486).

Rus­sian food? In Langkawi, of all places? As a mat­ter of fact, the restau­rant is at­tract­ing some de­cent reviews. Dine on borscht, pel­meni, and beef stroganoff and wash it all down with some vodka or a Black Rus­sian. It’s an odd bed­fel­low for the sunny ma­rina but it kind of works.

Daily, 12noon–12mid­night. $$

Span­ish NEW Ta­paz Per­dana Quay, Te­laga Har­bour Park (012 329 4094).

Run by the peo­ple be­hind the in­fin­itely cool Tubo­tel in Pan­tai Ce­nang, Ta­paz of­fers a menu of Mediter­ranean-style mains and ta­pas selections, per­fect for munch­ing along­side a bot­tle of wine in the af­ter­noon sun­shine at Te­laga Har­bour. Bright, colour­ful walls and seat­ing and whim­si­cal strings of fairy lights cre­ate a lovely at­mos­phere. The food is prin­ci­pally Span­ish but you’ll find a se­lec­tion of Greek, Ital­ian, and Malaysian dishes. The san­gria is es­pe­cially popular and, in keep­ing with its is­land lo­ca­tion, the restau­rant serves a va­ri­ety of fresh seafood dishes.

Daily, 11am–11pm. $$$

In­dian Pa­padam Ria

Lot 1556, 1 Jalan Pan­tai Ce­nang (04 955 7775/www.langkawi-pa­padam-

restau­rant.com.my).

Pa­padam Ria spe­cialises in North and South In­dian as well as Ara­bic cuisines. Friendly ser­vice and charm­ing, ro­man­tic am­bi­ence cre­ate the set­ting for a feast of ex­cel­lent In­dian food. Great op­tions for veg­e­tar­i­ans.

Ha­lal. Child friendly. Credit cards ac­cepted for bills above RM100. Free park­ing. Daily, 11am–11.30pm. $$

Tulsi Gar­den Lot 1 and 2 Sunmall, Jalan Pan­tai Ten­gah, Langkawi (04 955 3011).

A re­cent re­lo­ca­tion has left the ev­er­pop­u­lar Tulsi Gar­den with a very swish out­door eat­ing area and bar. The friendly staff are happy to rec­om­mend dishes that range from au­then­tic In­dian cur­ries, breads and birya­nis to some sim­ple western fare. Stick with the In­dian menu. The Kash­miri naan is a mouth-wa­ter­ing blend of fruit and nuts within soft and mor­eish bread, which the makhani dhal com­ple­ments well.

Ha­lal. Credit cards ac­cepted. Daily, 6pm–11.30pm. $$

In­ter­na­tional

Break­fast Bar Pan­tai Ce­nang (04 955 6533).

With a beach shack vibe, this is the per­fect spot for when you’re crav­ing a sim­ple western-style break­fast. It’s great for dishes like scram­bled eggs, toast with jam and but­ter, omelettes, and ba­nana pan­cakes. Not fancy but if you must have your eggs on toast, this long-run­ning Langkawi icon is a de­cent choice.

Ha­lal. Daily, 7am–2.30pm. $

NEW Cac­tus Pan­tai Ten­gah (012 407 7928).

For a place whose pri­mary mode of dec­o­ra­tion is foot­ball jer­seys, Cac­tus is a great choice for break­fast, lunch or din­ner. Break­fasts here, whether lo­cal or western, are par­tic­u­lar favourites among tourists. Prices here are af­ford­able to match the rus­tic and laid­back at­mos­phere. For din­ner, try the popular fried bar­racuda in pep­per sauce.

Ha­lal. Credit cards ac­cepted. $

NEW The Cliff Restau­rant & Bar Lot 63 & 40, Jalan Pan­tai Ce­nang (04 953 3228/www.the­clif­flangkawi.com).

Lit­er­ally cling­ing to the cliff and over­look­ing crowded Pan­tai Ce­nang, The Cliff is a great place to chill out with a cock­tail for an af­ter­noon. The bar, D’Reef, is stocked with a good se­lec­tion of beer, wine, spir­its and cock­tails, in­clud­ing their very own con­coc­tions. You can also dine on western and Malaysian dishes in the at­trac­tive ter­race restau­rant. Sig­na­ture dishes in­clude the ‘Cliff’ ren­dang tok and the seafood plat­ter.

Ha­lal. Child friendly. Kids’ menu. Credit cards ac­cepted. Dis­abled friendly. Free park­ing. Daily, 12.30–11pm. $$$

La Sal Casa del Mar, Mukim Kedawang, Pan­tai Ce­nang, Langkawi (04 955 2388/www.casadel­mar-langkawi.com/ la-sal-cock­tail-bar).

En­joy din­ner on the beach at Casa del Mar’s La Sal. Stun­ning mod­ern Asian and western cui­sine com­ple­ments the ro­man­tic at­mos­phere. The crispy soft­shell crab and the almost ar­chi­tec­tural deep-fried kataifi prawn dish stand out, as does the lime crème brulée.

Ha­lal. Child friendly. Kids’ menu. Credit cards ac­cepted. Dis­abled friendly. Free park­ing. Daily, 7am–10.30pm. $$$$

Man­goes Bar & Grill

End of Jalan Kuala Te­ri­ang (017 589 8117/012 564 0307/ man­goes­langkawi.webs.com).

Man­goes is some­thing of a lo­cal in­sti­tu­tion. The breezy restau­rant is com­fort­ably dec­o­rated with a vaguely nau­ti­cal theme, re­flect­ing own­ers Michele and Lutz’s in­ter­est in sail­ing. It’s sit­u­ated amidst a trop­i­cal gar­den be­hind the man­groves of sleepy Kuala Te­ri­ang, af­ford­ing it some lovely sun­set views. Around the cor­ner from the bar, a wall full of books (ready to be swapped) will de­light hun­gry book­worms. Popular with lo­cally re­sid­ing ex­pats and tourists alike, Man­goes is a cosy kind of place where every­body knows your name and it is suit­able for small groups. Browse the menu while pat­ting Honey the dog and you’ll find a va­ri­ety of Western dishes like lasagne (meaty and veg­e­tar­ian avail­able), shep­herd’s pie, fish and chips, and bratwurst sausage. We’ve tried the veg­e­tar­ian soups like pump­kin and ginger as well as the potato and leek, the veg­e­tar­ian lasagne, and even the sump­tu­ous Christ­mas spread. Ev­ery time the meal has been af­ford­ably priced and well pre­pared with good qual­ity in­gre­di­ents. Drop by early on Sun­day for brunch and linger over a glass of bub­bly as you de­cide be­tween a mod­est eggs Bene­dict with creamy home­made Hol­landaise or a break­fast plat­ter blowout of eggs, hash brown, sausages, ba­con (the real deal), beans and more. You know which we’d choose. There’s no kids’ menu but por­tions are gen­er­ous so it’s pos­si­ble to share or down­size the dishes for smaller stom­achs.

Child friendly. Dis­abled friendly. Free park­ing. Wed–Sat, 5pm–10pm; Sun, 11am–10pm. $$$

Nam Restau­rant Bon Ton Restau­rant & Re­sort, Pan­tai Ce­nang (04 955 3643/www. bon­ton­re­sort.com.my).

Not far from the flight path of many an Air Asia take-off and on the banks of a swamp, Nam Restau­rant might seem to be in­aus­pi­ciously placed. How­ever, its lush fur­nish­ings and tra­di­tional wooden ar­chi­tec­ture cre­ate a tran­quil at­mos­phere evoca­tive almost of a ‘Deep South’ bayou. Nam serves a mix of cuisines in­clud­ing Malaysian, Thai and Western and many of the dishes are pre­sented as sump­tu­ous plat­ters, mak­ing it a good choice for spe­cial oc­ca­sions and get-to­geth­ers. Along­side com­mend­able ne­gro­nis and whisky sours, for starters we tried the In­di­anstyle samosas. Crispy shells par­celled a curry veg­etable filling and a spinach and feta filling, ac­com­pa­nied by a sweet chilli sauce and a mint sauce. While each was tasty in its own right, the com­bi­na­tion of flavours on the plate was over­all an un­suc­cess­ful one. This trend con­tin­ued into my main, the veg­e­tar­ian plat­ter. From the roast pump­kin to the herb yo­ghurt and the egg­plant and tomato jam, each item was full of flavour but over­all the dish didn’t seem to hold to­gether. My din­ing part­ner or­dered the seared fil­let of beef and found the meat cooked rare as re­quested and ac­com­pa­nied by creamy mashed pota­toes. How­ever, the dish over­all car­ried an oddly dom­i­nant note of sweet­ness. Dessert rounded off the meal ex­trav­a­gantly. The choco­late tast­ing plat­ter boasts a se­lec­tion of rich treats in­clud­ing the in­tense and smooth choco­late mar­quise and the firm and sweet choco­late caramel tart, enough to de­feat the most ar­dent of ca­cao lovers. With stom­achs full, the per­fect way to end the evening is to pat the well-be­haved cats, res­i­dents of Bon Ton Re­sort’s sanc­tu­ary and res­cue cen­tre, that roam the restau­rant in be­tween long, lan­guid naps on the floor and fur­nish­ings.

Child friendly. Kids’ menu. Credit cards ac­cepted. Dis­abled friendly. Free park­ing. Daily, 11am–11pm. $$$

NEW Pia’s the Padi Jalan Ulu Me­laka, Langkawi (012 493 3713).

For­merly known as Jimmy’s Café, this quiet and down-to-earth restau­rant is sur­rounded by emer­ald padi fields, of­fer­ing an au­then­tic ru­ral Malaysian ex­pe­ri­ence. Chef Jimmy, his wife Pia and their fam­ily wel­come guests with gen­uine warmth and hos­pi­tal­ity and will hap­pily tai­lor the meal to your tastes. The menu is eclec­tic but stand­out dishes in­clude beef but­ter masala and the mango kulfi with ice cream for dessert. Con­tact them to find out about their cook­ing classes. De­spite the homely and in­ti­mate sound of the place, Pia’s the Padi can ac­tu­ally ac­com­mo­date groups up to 500.

Child friendly. Kids’ menu. Credit cards ac­cepted. Free park­ing. Daily, 12noon–11pm.

Red Sky Restau­rant and Bar 6 Casa Fina Av­enue, Pan­tai Ce­nang, Langkawi (04 955 8734).

The menu ranges from tex-mex and burg­ers to curry and mee so it’s a lit­tle hit and miss but the ser­vice is very friendly. Head up­stairs to D’Up­stairs Lounge for drinks and live mu­sic from Dianne Guerzo and Tris­tano So­liano, who will cheek­ily drop your name into a song if you let him (and even if you don’t) while he croons all the clas­sics.

Credit cards ac­cepted. Free park­ing. Daily, 11am–2am. $$$

Red Tomato Restau­rant & Lounge 5 Casa Fina Av­enue, Pan­tai Ce­nang (04 955 4055/www.

red­toma­tolangkawi.com).

This colour­ful and funky restau­rant is not an easy place to find; it’s shaded by trees so you have to brush up on your scout­ing skills. The web­site asks you to look out for the bright pink VW Bee­tle parked across the street from McDon­ald’s; sure enough, it’s a re­li­able sign­post. The café serves some of the best and most af­ford­able western food the is­land has to of­fer. A wide range of pas­tas, piz­zas, sand­wiches and sal­ads are shot through with a healthy va­ri­ety of veg­e­tar­ian and gluten-free op­tions. Visit in the morn­ing for one of the is­land’s most popular break­fast menus.

Ha­lal. Child friendly. Daily, 9am– 10.30pm. $$$

NEW Sheela’s Pan­tai Ten­gah, Jalan Teluk Baru (04 955 2308/www.face­book.com/ shee­las­restau­rant).

It’s the se­cluded, se­cret gar­den am­bi­ence that pulls in the din­ers here. Ser­vice with a smile and a good range of western and lo­cal dishes fur­ther make this one a good choice for cou­ples on a ro­man­tic night out or fam­i­lies look­ing to re­lax over the reg­u­lar roast din­ner on Sun­days. Bring a hearty ap­petite and a good dose of mos­quito re­pel­lent.

Child friendly. Kids’ menu. Credit cards ac­cepted. Tue–Sun, 6pm–10pm. $$

NEW Tide The Westin Langkawi (04 960 8954).

This chilled-out and so­phis­ti­cated beach­side restau­rant serves fresh seafood and a mix of Western and Asian favourites across the lunch and din­ner menus. Dishes in­clude piz­zas, pas­tas, burg­ers, and sump­tu­ous ori­en­tal set meals.

Ha­lal. Child-friendly. Credit cards ac­cepted. Daily, 11am–11.30pm. $$$$

Ital­ian

NEW Ar­ti­san’s Pizza 59 Ban­dar Baru Baron, Kuah (04 967 1232); Lot 1230 Pan­tai Ce­nang (04 955 1232); 2, Per­dana Quay II, Te­laga Har­bour Park, Pan­tai Kok (04 959 1232/ar­ti­san­spizza.com).

It’s not the most au­then­tic pizza you’ll ever try but on the other hand where else can you try a chicken or beef sa­tay pizza? There’s a se­lec­tion of more au­then­tic flavours as well as a lo­cally in­spired menu. There’s also a va­ri­ety of pas­tas and other mains such as cheese­bakes, omelettes, and even Hun­gar­ian goulash. Of course, they do de­liver but we have heard re­ports of them re­fus­ing to de­liver to ho­tel rooms.

Ha­lal. Kuah, Daily, 11am–11pm; Pan­tai Ce­nang, Daily, 10am–2am; Te­laga Har­bour, Daily, 11am– 11.30pm. $$

NEW L’Osteria

Lot 2863, Padang Mek Siam, Jalan Pan­tai Ten­gah (04 955 2133).

L’Osteria of­ten wins rave reviews for its ro­man­tic am­bi­ence and sim­ple, well-made fare. Ex­pect thin piz­zas made from good yeasty dough topped spar­ingly with flavours, pasta cooked al dente and, over­all, in­gre­di­ents that are au­then­ti­cally Ital­ian.

Credit cards ac­cepted. Daily, 12noon– 12mid­night. $$$

NEW Mare Blu B5-6, Per­dana Quay, Te­laga Har­bour Park (04 959 3830/www.mare­blu. com.my).

Sit­u­ated at the chic Per­dana Quay, Mare Blu is a great no-fuss Ital­ian op­tion for a leisurely lunch or din­ner. Look out over the sleepy and pic­turesque ma­rina and mar­vel at the su­per yachts as you dine on thin, crispy pizza (we like the sim­ple but well made margherita), rich pasta like the deca­dent ri­cotta gnoc­chi with gor­gonzola and radic­chio sauce, or en­joy a de­lec­ta­ble Ital­ian dessert. Many in­gre­di­ents are im­ported from Italy while oth­ers are bought di­rect and fresh from the lo­cal fish­mon­ger.

Ha­lal. Credit cards ac­cepted. Free park­ing. Daily, 11am–10.30pm. $$$

Ris­torante Viva Italia Jalan Pan­tai Ce­nang, Langkawi (04 955 8646).

Viva Italia shares a kitchen (and owner) with the some­what less suc­cess­ful 3 Ami­gos next door. With a laid­back vibe and chintzy checked table­cloths, this place at least of­fers a de­cent pizza with au­then­tic flavours and in­gre­di­ents – but we can’t vouch for the pasta dishes. Ser­vice is a bit hit and miss here too.

Ha­lal. Child friendly. Credit cards ac­cepted. Daily, 8am–12mid­night. $$$

Ja­panese & Korean

Ja­panese

The Ja­panese Restau­rant

Jalan Teluk Datai, The An­daman, Langkawi (04 959 1088/www. the­an­daman.com).

The Ja­panese Restau­rant is an el­e­gant and dis­creet com­bi­na­tion of creamy white walls and dark wooden pan­els, which carve the space into a gen­eral seat­ing area, two tep­pa­nyaki coun­ters, and tra­di­tional pri­vate tatami rooms. Show­cas­ing fresh seafood caught by lo­cal fish­er­men, the menu lists all the Ja­panese favourites. Our meal be­gan with del­i­cate pink slices of tuna sashimi and then be­gan again when we or­dered seconds. A healthy set menu of in­trigu­ing, fu­sion veg­e­tar­ian dishes beck­oned. Its salad was a crunchy stack of thinly sliced red cab­bage, car­rot, mango, cap­sicum, and asparagus, coated in a sweet sesame vinai­grette, a dish that bore no re­sem­blance to the menu de­scrip­tion but was pleas­ing to the palate nonethe­less. This was fol­lowed by the un­usual but tasty smoked heir­loom tomato and ri­cotta sushi and the clean and cool­ing zaru somen with sweet dashi sake broth. By this time, my din­ing part­ner’s mains ar­rived:

ad­dic­tive and evenly sea­soned garlic fried rice, salted mack­erel (re­port­edly cooked to moist ten­der­ness) with radish and pick­led ginger, and tep­pa­nyaki mixed vegetables. The set menu’s main was a sur­pris­ingly lush tep­pa­nyaki dish of mixed vegetables and silken tofu, each chunky slice main­tain­ing an in­ner soft­ness within its crisped skin. We ended the meal with another pleas­ant stroll away from the menu: dessert was a bowl of green tea ice cream, gluti­nous rice pieces and red bean paste rather than the fore­told chilled red bean jelly with co­conut ice cream.

Pork-free. Child friendly. Kids’ menu. Credit cards ac­cepted. Daily, 7pm– 11pm. $$$

Unkaizan Ja­panese Restau­rant Jalan Telok Baru, Pan­tai Ten­gah, Langkawi (04 955 4118/www. unkaizan.com).

The folks at Unkaizan guar­an­tee one thing about their food: fresh­ness. This beau­ti­fully built Ja­panese restau­rant re­put­edly serves the best fish, seafood and meat avail­able. The sushi and sashimi are def­i­nitely worth try­ing and the hand­made udon noo­dle is another favourite here. For dessert, don’t pass up the home­made green tea ice cream. The restau­rant sits on a hill­side over­look­ing the south-western shore of Langkawi so it’s the per­fect place from which to en­joy the sun­set.

Pork-free. Child friendly. Free park­ing. Daily, 6pm–11pm. Closed ev­ery sec­ond Wed of the month. $$$$ Korean NEW Ha­roo Off Jalan Pan­tai Ce­nang (opp. Un­der­wa­ter World), Langkawi (04 955 1981).

Open for break­fast, lunch and din­ner, this whim­si­cal lit­tle place is run by a Korean fam­ily. Friendly, smil­ing ser­vice and au­then­tic Korean treats stand out here. Lovers of kim­chi will lick their lips at the kim­chi fried rice and kim­chi soup but there’s also nour­ish­ing bowls of bibim­bap to tempt you. What’s more, there’s re­port­edly a good se­lec­tion of veg­e­tar­ian and ve­gan food too.

Daily, 8.30am–10pm. $$$

Malaysian

Malay

The Gu­lai House

The Datai Langkawi, Jalan Teluk Datai, Langkawi (04 959 2500/www.the­datai. com/langkawi/gu­lai-house).

Ro­man­ti­cally lo­cated in the heart of ver­dant rain­for­est, this rus­tic wooden kam­pung-style restau­rant is a tes­ta­ment to Malaysian hos­pi­tal­ity. The friendly ser­vice at The Gu­lai House be­gins from the mo­ment you ar­rive: greeted by name, din­ers who have made a reser­va­tion will find that their place cards are leaves from the jun­gle, stylishly in­scribed. The menu is dom­i­nated by Malay and In­dian dishes in­clud­ing Pun­jabi but­ter chicken, beef ren­dang, ayam per­cik, and the hum­ble and nour­ish­ing Bukhara dal with black urad lentils stewed with tomato, ginger and cream. En­trees here are par­tic­u­larly spec­tac­u­lar – try the cam­pur-cam­pur, a sam­pler of dishes such as soft-shell crab, sa­tay and mango salad. We tried the veg­etable pako­ras, art­fully pre­sented in an open bam­boo pipe on a plate scat­tered with spices. Th­ese crispy frit­ters were com­ple­mented well by cu­cum­ber raita and tamarind chut­ney. Stand­out mains in­clude the aloo gobi masala and the suc­cu­lent dag­ing kamb­ing ro­gan josh, but the high­light here has to be the su­perb jun­gle set­ting.

Ha­lal. Child friendly. Credit cards ac­cepted. Daily, 6.30pm–11pm. $$$$

Haji Pak Ya Nasi Ayam Restau­rant 82-98 Per­siaran Mu­tiara 2, Pusat Perda­gan­gan Ke­lana Mas (019 563 8320).

Haji Pak Ya Restau­rant is fa­mous for its chicken rice. Un­like other chicken rice restau­rants, it serves up a dish with a dif­fer­ence; there’s no chilli sauce to ac­com­pany the rice. Sounds dis­ap­point­ing, but it's sur­pris­ingly de­li­cious. The se­cret could be in the mari­nade but try as we might, we couldn’t pry the se­cret from Pak Ya. Come early, as the chicken rice is usu­ally sold out by 2pm.

Ha­lal. Free park­ing. $

Ikan-Ikan Restau­rant Four Sea­sons Re­sort, Jalan Tan­jung Rhu (04 950 8888/www.foursea­sons. com).

On the beach over­look­ing the An­daman Sea, this at­mo­spheric restau­rant mim­ics the breezy com­forts of a tra­di­tional Malaysian home.

The dark wooden, open-air pavil­ion plays host to au­then­tic Malay cui­sine, with spices toned down just slightly, per­haps to suit its pre­dom­i­nantly in­ter­na­tional clien­tele. Seafood is king here: fresh and well pre­pared, the fish, crabs, lob­sters and prawns burst with sweet and spicy flavours. Popular dishes in­clude the fried red snap­per with tamarind, honey and chilli sauce, and for dessert, the sticky hon­ey­comb cake, served up with hon­ey­comb cream and frozen hon­ey­comb.

Ha­lal. Child friendly. Credit cards ac­cepted. Daily, 6pm–10.30pm. $$$$

Priv­i­lege Restau­rant & Bar B8, first floor, Per­dana Quay, Te­laga Har­bour Park, Langkawi (04 956 1188).

Mod­ern Malaysian cui­sine can be tough to find but it’s pos­si­ble to find it at Priv­i­lege. Grac­ing the swanky Per­dana Quay de­vel­op­ment at the pic­turesque Te­laga Har­bour, this small, con­tem­po­rary restau­rant serves up Malaysian dishes with a twist. Chef Anuar de­lights in us­ing non-tra­di­tional in­gre­di­ents and you’ll find such quirky of­fer­ings as os­trich ren­dang as well as Western dishes with a lo­cal twist such as the gula Me­laka crème brulée.

Pork-free. Credit cards ac­cepted. Free park­ing. Mon–Sat, 12noon–11pm. $$$$

Restoran Siti Fa­timah Batu 5 1/4, Jalan Kam­pong Tok Senik, Kawasan Mata Air, Ulu Me­laka, Langkawi (012 473 7430).

Fre­quented by both lo­cals and tourists, Restoran Siti Fa­timah of­fers au­then­tic Malay-style mixed rice. The sig­na­ture dishes, ker­abu beronok and ker­abu manga are lo­cal spe­cial­i­ties that use sea cu­cum­ber and man­goes re­spec­tively. Dishes are served buf­fet­style with a range of 50 to 60 dishes, known as masakan kam­pung Me­layu. Dur­ing peak sea­sons, it may even go up to over 70 dishes. A few of the many dishes served in­clude ulam, fried ikan semi­lang, ayam masak lemak, stuffed scad, grilled fish flavoured in air asam, and gu­lai ikan talang masin. Go there as early as 11.30am as the good dishes sell out fast.

Ha­lal. Child friendly. Free park­ing. $

Ny­onya NEW fatCUPID 2273 Jalan Teluk Baru, Kam­pung Tasek Anak (04 955 1010/www. fatcupid.com.my).

Ad­ja­cent to La Pari-Pari, fatCUPID is the re­sort’s cos­mopoli­tan restau­rant, of­fer­ing western and Ny­onya dishes as dreamed up by its Aussie-trained chef, Keith. The Ny­onya spe­cial­i­ties in­clude nasi ayam pon­tay (warmly rec­om­mended) and Ny­onya laksa. If you’re in the mood for western faves, try out the beef burger, or fish and chips. The big­gest draw here is the friendly and fun at­mos­phere, mak­ing fatCUPID an equally good spot for a sump­tu­ous and sunny brunch or a chilled cock­tail in the evening.

Pork-free. Free park­ing. Daily, 8am– 2pm, 5pm–late. $$$

Seafood

NEW Is­lan­dish

Jalan Pan­tai Ce­nang, Langkawi (04 955 5528).

Sit­u­ated just past Un­der­wa­ter World on the Pan­tai Ce­nang strip, Is­lan­dish is re­ceiv­ing good reviews for the fresh­ness of its seafood and its friendly at­mos­phere. Popular dishes in­clude the sweet and sour deep-fried red snap­per, tom yam soup, and le­mon chicken, all washed down with a mug of cold beer.

Ha­lal. Credit cards ac­cepted. Daily, 11am–11pm.

Jala Jalan Teluk Datai, The An­daman, Langkawi (04 959 1088/www. the­an­daman.com).

Cast off your shoes and en­joy the sen­sa­tion of sand be­neath your feet at The An­daman’s ro­man­tic seafood restau­rant, which mar­ries the beach and rain­for­est with fine din­ing. The fresh menu is dic­tated by the luck of lo­cal fish­er­men and Chef Rene Knud­sen’s in­no­va­tive recipes. More­over, there are two ways to en­joy the Jala ex­pe­ri­ence. As you en­ter the restau­rant, on your left is an im­pres­sive dis­play of seafood over ice. In­dulge by choos­ing your seafood, the method of cook­ing, the sauces and sea­son­ing, as well as your side dishes. Al­ter­na­tively, take a seat at your ta­ble and pore over an à la carte menu, re­cently revamped and at­trac­tively writ­ten out on dark wood. Your meal will be­gin with fluffy and aro­matic com­pli­men­tary bread, served with three dips as well as the ‘herb col­lec­tion’, an as­sort­ment of greens and vegetables that comes clev­erly served in a flower pot with cream cheese cov­ered by minced olive as the ‘soil’. We’ve tried the bright, smooth ‘pump­kin, pump­kin and pump­kin’ soup, the in­tensely flavoured veg­e­tar­ian lasagna, and far too many of the desserts than is surely good for us (but our heart re­mains cap­ti­vated by the tart cala­mansi pie which is served with mor­eish ice cream made from lo­cally sourced buf­falo milk). Sig­na­ture dishes in­clude the vis­ually stun­ning Jalaksa, Chef Rene’s in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the Malaysian clas­sic, the spicy crab and black pasta, and garoupa with hoisin.

Pork-free. Child friendly. Kids’ menu. Credit cards ac­cepted. Tue–Sun, 6pm–10.30pm. $$$$

Orkid Ria Lot 1225, Jalan Pan­tai Ce­nang, Langkawi (04 955 4128).

Orkid Ria can get a lit­tle busy with the tourist crowd but it’s worth a visit for the ex­cel­lence of its seafood and cook­ing. Choose your fish from one of the tanks or the trays of ice, then re­lax as it’s cooked to per­fec­tion.

Credit cards ac­cepted. Daily, 12noon– 3pm, 6pm–11pm.

The Roof Restau­rant Lot 1751, Kam­pung Kuala Te­ri­ang, Mukim Padang Mat­sirat (012 423 9889/012 429 5889).

The old Seven Roof Restau­rant has un­der­gone a re­fur­bish­ment and name change but the menu re­mains. Food-wise, bar­be­cued seafood such as lob­ster, and the peren­nial favourite chicken sa­tay are very popular here. Bailer shell is the restau­rant’s sig­na­ture dish. It can be eaten stir fried, ei­ther with ginger and spring onions or with dried chilli.

Pork-free. Credit cards ac­cepted. Daily, 12noon–10pm.

Teo Seafood Restau­rant

30 Pusat Da­gan­gan Ke­lana Mas, Kuah (04 966 5520).

An unpretentious lit­tle place with some of the best seafood on the is­land. But aside from big juicy lob­sters and crabs, the crispy duck leaves many din­ers lust­ing for more. Be warned though, you might have a long wait for your dishes.

Free park­ing. Daily, 12noon–3pm, 6pm–11pm. $$$

South­east Asian

Thai

The Pavil­ion

The Datai Langkawi, Jalan Teluk Datai, Langkawi (04 959 2500/www. the­datai.com/langkawi/the-pavil­ion).

Serv­ing scrump­tious Thai food in the most beau­ti­ful of set­tings, The Pavil­ion is an open-air restau­rant high up in the midst of the rain­for­est. Chef Donny Hemna uses a lot of Thai herbs from his own gar­den and keeps the cui­sine light and healthy. Don't be sur­prised if you no­tice a shy dusky leaf mon­key peer­ing in from the trees as you en­joy your meal. We en­joyed the crisp and tangy young pa­paya salad, the flavour­some fried Chi­nese kale with yel­low beans and garlic, the hearty mas­saman beef curry, and the fried ba­nana dessert.

Ha­lal. Child friendly. Credit cards ac­cepted. Daily, 6.30pm–11pm. $$$$ Veg­e­tar­ian

NEW Re­vi­tacura Gar­den of Eva 35 Jalan Lubuk Semi­lang, Bukit Hantu (04 955 3991/019 447 0745/www. face­book.com/Re­vi­tacura).

This hap­haz­ard and colour­ful de­vel­op­ment at the base of the ma­jes­tic Gu­nung Raya ap­proaches healthy liv­ing as a mad sci­ence ex­per­i­ment. The kitchen and sus­tain­able projects here are run by vol­un­teers from around the world gar­nered through the Work­away web­site. All of the food is ve­gan and a good 50 per­cent of it is raw too. Dishes are ul­ti­mately de­pen­dent upon the skill and ad­ven­tur­ous­ness of the vol­un­teer chef. In ad­di­tion to meals at the café, cook­ing classes, pri­vate events and even kids’ birth­day par­ties can be ar­ranged. Reser­va­tions are strongly rec­om­mended. It is re­quested that you give staff 24 hours’ no­tice prior to your visit. Since the food is all ve­gan, the café is es­sen­tially ha­lal but there are dogs among the an­i­mals roam­ing around the prop­erty. An ex­cel­lent play­ground for kids of all ages, the Gar­den of Eva holds reg­u­lar events like Rum­ble in the Jun­gle (a bon­fire mu­sic jam), Ok­to­ber­fest, and soon per­haps, even cin­ema nights. Plans are un­der­way for an out­door cin­ema that will screen clas­sic movies.

Ha­lal. Child friendly. Dis­abled friendly. Free park­ing. Daily, 11am–3pm. Cook­ing classes ev­ery Fri­day or on re­quest.

Cheap eats

Hawker

Arked Ne­gara Padang Be­sar Padang Be­sar, near the Thai bor­der.

Padang Be­sar is a prom­i­nent one-stop tourist’s des­ti­na­tion for shop­ping, din­ing and en­ter­tain­ment. There’s a lot to be en­joyed here, from laksa Perlis and spicy grilled fish to ice creams flavoured with lo­cal fruits. You can choose to dine at hawker stalls or in a more for­mal set­ting. There are loads of choices and prices are pretty easy on the pocket.

$

In­ter­na­tional

Mai Café Herbal Ko­pi­tiam 9 & 10 Per­siaran Tuanku Syed Pu­tra, Jalan Kaki Bukit, Kan­gar (012 419 9772).

One of the few places to of­fer up western food in Perlis, Mai Café goes from strength to strength with its tourist- and lo­cal-pleas­ing menu. Mai Café of­fers great ser­vice and good food at rea­son­able prices.

Ha­lal. Child friendly. Kids’ menu. Daily, 6pm–12mid­night. $$

Malaysian

Malay

Laksa Kak Su

97 Jalan Si­akap 1 (012 550 0365/019 511 1464).

The laksa beras here is so fa­mous that it al­ways re­ceives praise from sat­is­fied cus­tomers. Owned by Kak Su her­self, the dish is made out of fresh and au­then­tic rice noo­dles im­mersed in a sweet-sour fish gravy and is best en­joyed with pu­lut pang­gang udang wrapped in ba­nana leaf.

Ha­lal. Child friendly. Free park­ing. Closed on Tues­days. $

Lynda Ikan Bakar 71 Jalan Si­akap, Off Jalan Perlis (012 401 0966).

Sink your teeth into a va­ri­ety of grilled or fried fish, crabs, squid, prawns and cock­les and dip with sam­bal bela­can or air asam. The grilled selections can also be eaten with plain rice, ulam petai re­bus and ten­der green brin­jals.

Ha­lal. Free park­ing. Daily, 5pm–2am. $

Seafood Hai Thien Seafood Restau­rant Jalan Jeti Baru (04 985 5149).

Feel the sea breeze on your face and watch the sun set as you dine here. The menu mostly fea­tures seafood cooked Chi­nese-style, although you’ll also find items like fried so­tong and sa­tay ayam.

Pork-free. Free park­ing. Daily, 5.30pm–11.30pm. $

Sun Café

Scar­bor­ough Fish 'n Chips

Man­goes Bar & Grill

Nam Restau­rant

Ikan-Ikan

The Pavil­ion

Re­vi­tacura Gar­den of Eva

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