NEW 16 Degree LG 27, Gurney Paragon Mall, Jalan Kelawei, George Town (012 488 7619/Facebook: 16 Degree Cigar Wine Bistro).
This bistro and bottle shop is on the lower ground floor of Gurney Paragon Mall. You’ll be won over by its spacious interior and easy-going ambience, if not the hearty menu and intoxicating wine. You're welcome to purchase the wine from the bottle shop and have it with your meal in the bistro at no corkage charge. The menu is that of a simple bistro with emphasis on high-quality ingredients and fresh preparation. There’s a good choice of starters like the Bacon Cigars – mini sausages wrapped in bacon and baked in a brandy and barbecue sauce, definitely a must-try for pork lovers. The 16 Degree Pork Burger with Bacon is a festival of flavours, topped with caramelised mushrooms, onions, cheddar and parmesan and served with fries – this is quickly becoming the house favourite, along with its beefy equivalent. Quesadillas with a choice of chicken or pork are fresh and filling (ideal with a glass of house wine). A selection of main courses include a thick cut pork chop and a seafood platter (a selection of fried seafood). Fine cigars are available here too but you won’t be lighting up in the restaurant itself – it's a non-smoking floor, after all.
Daily, 10am–10pm. $$$
NEW 32 at the Mansion 32 Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah, George Town (04 262 2232/Facebook: 32 at the Mansion Official).
Housed in a colonial mansion, this sleek restaurant is elegantly furnished with white linen tables, modish furniture and dim lighting. Its luxurious interior and top-dollar menu can be intimidating to the thrifty but if you have a pocketful of cash, give it a try. Chef Mathijs’ flavour style is subtle, light with a touch of resilience. For instance, from the appetiser menu of five choices, we picked the pan seared scallop with smoked duck and a ceviche of king prawns. All of which simply depend on their texture, freshness of flavour and mild vanilla-infused dressing to mesmerise. Now, to match the starter,
a plate of seared sea bass as a main dish will certainly dance well on the palate. Here, it’s served drizzled with kaffir lime sauce and a unique choice of carbohydrate of sticky rice galette. What stands out here is the texture of the starchy galette combined with the fleshy fish. For vegetarians, there’s a few choices for you guys as well. The tartlet of roasted fennel and baby carrot hits a fine balance between sweet and savoury. Almost jammy in texture, the buttery, flaky crunch of the pastry ties all the flavours together into a satisfying bite. Honestly, this one’s our surprise find on the menu. During hot, humid evenings, we recommend you begin your meal with the refreshing marinated watermelon salad with broad slices of green mango sprinkled with crumbled crispy fish and drizzled with pistachio toasted coconut dressing. It’s a play of cool, fruity and leafy flavours, balanced with the savoury crunch of crispy fish, at once exotic and familiar.
Halal. Child friendly. Credit cards accepted. Free parking. Daily, 12noon– 3pm, 7pm–12midnight. $$$$
NEW Dave’s Deli Lot LG-51, Queensbay Mall, 100 Persiaran Bayan Indah, Bayan Lepas (04 643 2268/www.davesdeli.com.my).
The hearty pies, rotisserie chicken and mashed potatoes from Dave’s Deli remind us of our childhood days. Dave’s beef rissole is pan fried to perfection with just a touch of crisp at the edge, while the roasted chicken comes with mash and coleslaw. If you have a more dainty appetite, try the medium-sized steak-and-mushroom or chicken-and-mushroom pie – also smothered in brown sauce.
Halal. Daily,10.30am–10.30pm. $
Delicious 3C-G-3 & 3C-G-3A, Jalan Seri Tanjung Pinang, Tanjung Tokong, Straits Quay (04 899 9555/www. thedeliciousgroup.com).
Nearly a decade after its inception as a quaint tearoom with a humble menu in the Klang Valley, Delicious has finally made its way to Penang, setting up in Straits Quay. The interior decor closely mirrors its other outlets, with a modern, oriental-meets-Victorian style. Chef Steve Allen has been working on revamping the menu and there are some choice new offerings. Mind you, the limelight has always been on the desserts; the tiramisu, macadamia cheesecake and peach frangipane with vanilla ice cream, for instance, have been favourites since the beginning.
Halal. Child friendly. Kids’ menu. Credit cards accepted. Mon–Fri, 10.30am–11pm; Sat, Sun and public holiday, 9.30am–11.30pm. $$
34-C Batu Ferringhi (04 881 1193/ www.ferringhigardenrestaurant. blogspot.com).
Well known for its lush green surroundings, this restaurant has used a garden theme to enhance its ambience. There are long-stemmed plants gently swaying in the breeze and a long, elaborate water feature running through at least half of the alfresco eating area. By nightfall, glowing oil lamps cast soft shadows that give the place an air of romance, and there’s an extensive menu to match it all. There’s sure to be something here to please even the fussiest palate or appetite, no matter what part of the world your tastes incline towards. Take for example the baked fish, topped with a thick, spicy sauce and sealed with melted cheese: a surprisingly pleasing combination that plucks from Mediterranean and Asian flavours. And if that sounds a bit too risqué for you, you can always go for the familiar pseudo-Western staple: chicken chop in traditional flour batter, with fries and blanched vegetables on the side.
Pork-free. Child friendly. Kids’ Menu. Credit cards accepted. Disabled friendly. Free parking. Daily, 4pm–12midnight. $$$
Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa, Rasa Wing lobby, Mezzanine floor, Batu Ferringhi (04 888 8888/ www.shangri-la.com).
If Shangri-La's Lafite is KL’s fine dining institution, Feringgi Grill in Rasa Sayang is undoubtedly Penang’s. This restaurant has earned a stellar reputation for its refined flavours and a dining experience that makes it the perfect venue for a celebration. The few chefs who have helmed its kitchen have shaped the personality of the place, and today, Chef Matthias Tretbar is adding his own personal stamp with simple flavours that accentuate the freshness and quality of the ingredients. By keeping a light hand with the salt, Matthias brings a hint of the sea to the dining table with his starter of seafood delights, rustic richness with his oxtail ravioli, silky butter with his butternut cappuccino soup and cheerful textures with his poached halibut coupled with blanched yet crisp vegetables.
Pork-free. Child friendly. Daily, 6.30pm–10.30pm. $$$$$
Kafe Mews Muntri Mews, 77 Jalan Muntri, George Town (04 263 5125/www. facebook.com/kafemews).
Located at the entrance of Muntri Mews, this café offers an exemplary menu of Asian fusion delicacies. It’s usually quiet in the day, when walk-ins are a breeze. When you’re there, try the crispy beer-battered fresh garoupa, a bowl of Helen’s Curry Mee and a dessert of mango and sweet glutinous rice served with coconut ice cream. We suggest dining in the open-air area on a clear day for a view of the George Town streets.
Halal. Child friendly. Credit cards accepted. Daily, 7am–11pm. $$$
Kwong Sang House 36 Lebuh Leith.
For those with a penchant for the rustic charm of Penang’s past, Kwong Sang House offers a retrospective glimpse
into an authentic-looking tailor shop of the ’60s; its vintage collection includes a television, a fan, shelves of books, a chess set, a typewriter, a sewing machine and various memorabilia that will surely ring familiar with the older crowd of Penang. The Western set dinners of chicken cordon bleu, seabass fish lasagna and tiger prawn aglio olio, just to name a few, are merely the toppings to the incredible nuance invested in the interior detailing and the generally relaxed experience of dining here.
Pork-free. Child friendly. Kids’ menu. Credit cards accepted. 12noon–2.30pm, 6pm–11pm. Closed on Tuesdays. $$
Living Room Macalister Mansion, 228, Jalan Macalister, George Town (04 228 3888/www.macalistermansion.com).
The words chic, whimsical and cosy describe not only the interior of this all-day dining restaurant at the luxurious Macalister Mansion but the food offered here too. Try the breakfast menu dishes such as scrambled duck’s eggs (served all day), the good and thick mood-restoring smoothies or the delectable high tea and you will undoubtedly be satiated, if not addicted. Always looking for ways to improve, Macalister Mansion’s executive chef Lance U’ren has thought of delicate and equally irresistible bakery fare made in-house from scratch to add onto their menu of local and Western food. There’s a big variety of bread, pastries, cakes, jams and savoury spreads that are perfect to accompany a cup of freshly brewed coffee or a pot of premium TWG tea.
Pork-free. Credit cards accepted. Daily, 8am–1am. $$$
Starz Diner Hard Rock Hotel Penang, Batu Ferringhi Beach, Batu Ferringhi (04 881 1711).
Starz Diner is decorated very simply – a no-fuss white-and-purple colour palette, and smooth timber flooring. The same can be said for Starz Diner’s menu of Asian and international cuisine; the food isn’t going to be breaking any culinary ground, but it’s straightforward and tasty. The Moroccan spiced lamb, roast duck crêpe, sumac spiced chicken breast and seafood brochette are prepared expertly. On Fridays and Saturdays, Starz runs a buffet dinner of dishes that span the range of cuisine types, from sashimi to risotto.
Halal. Child friendly. Kids’ menu. Wed-Sat, 6.30am–11am; Sun–Thu, 6.30am–11am, 5.30pm–11pm
Suffolk House Restaurant
250 Jalan Air Itam, next to the Malaysian-German Society (04 228 1109).
Suffolk House, inaccessible from the main road, is known to most Penangites as once being the home of the island’s founder, Captain Francis Light. Since Suffolk House’s stint as a school and its subsequent restoration, it now doubles as a heritage site for tourists and locals to visit, and a restaurant. The restaurant serves a blend of Eastern and Western cuisine in the form of five-course set meals, with the main courses ranging from the char-grilled rack of lamb with mint lamb jus and fettuccine with spinach and mushrooms, to the pan-fried cod fillet with garlic aioli and basil tomato coulis with basmati rice pilaf.
Pork-free. Child friendly. Credit cards accepted. Disabled friendly. Free parking. $$$$
Terrace Café Holiday Inn Resort, Kampung Batu Feringgi (04 881 1601).
Having recently undergone a multimillion ringgit renovation, the Holiday Inn Resort in Penang is ready to reopen its doors to what it hopes will be an eager tourist crowd, and part of the refurbishment is the Terrace Café. Sporting a laidback, rustic flavour, the Terrace Café affords diners a magnificent view, and offers selections of local and international dishes as well as a barbeque menu for dinner. Curry fans can rejoice as Terrace also boasts a whole menu of traditional Indian dishes, including the chicken tikka masala and the chicken Makhani.
Uncle Zack By-The-Beach Park Royal Penang, Batu Ferringhi (04 881 1133 ext. 8207/www. parkroyalhotels.com).
Uncle Zack By-The-Beach is exactly what its name proclaims it to be – a restaurant by the beach. It serves a variety of predominantly Western dishes, including designer pizzas, steaks, seafood platters, tapas and desserts. Its equally mixed crowd of locals and tourists check in for dinner to enjoy the vista of the sunset as they feast at tables scattered across a boardwalk. Of late, Uncle Zack has started offering a buffet of lobsters, wagyu beef, mussels, scallops, salmon and the like on weekday nights. As the dark of night draws closer, the candles are lit and Uncle Zack asserts itself as an ideal place for a quiet family dinner, or for a romantic date.
Halal. Child friendly. Kids’ menu. Credit cards accepted. Disabled friendly. Daily, 6pm–11pm. $$$
NEW Violet House Café 188, Sri Sayang Apartment, Jalan Batu Ferringhi, Batu Ferringhi (04 881 1209/www.facebook.com/ VioletHouseCafe).
Offering reasonably priced food coupled with a splendid location by the pool, Violet House is a good place to while away the hours in Batu Ferringhi. Helming the kitchen of Violet House Café is Chef Kong, who adds personal touches to the menu of modern Western and fusion cuisine. So, what you’ll get are neatly plated dishes like Alaskan king crab with pomelo salsa, pan-fried sea bass and celeriac purée. Another dish not to be missed is the lamb shank with potato purée, honey, lemon, thyme and red wine sauce.
Halal. Credit cards accepted. Mon-Fri, 8am–3pm & 6pm–10pm; Sat & Sun, 8am–10pm. $$