European & British
English Tea House Restaurant
2002 Jalan Istana, Sandakan (08 844 8631/www.englishteahouse.org).
English Tea House Restaurant offers an extensive menu of traditional English cuisine as well as a great selection of Asian dishes. Menu items include classics like fish and chips and shepherd’s pie. They also have English tea sets with scones and mini sandwiches for a snack. There are monthly food and drink promotions.
Pork-free. Child friendly. Free parking. $$$
Mediterranean NEW Chilli Vanilla 35 Jalan Haji Saman, Kota Kinabalu (08 823 8098).
This relative newcomer to the KK dining scene sets itself apart with its home-style modern Mediterranean cuisine in a casual café setting. Its Hungarian owner and chef takes a lot of pride in serving fresh, healthy and quality meals at reasonable prices. The Aphrodite salad is delicious and we love the spicy duck tortilla. If you’re with good company, try the appetiser platter which comes with frikadelle, beef meatballs with cheese that goes remarkably well with their homemade tomato salsa. The dessert display is worth taking a look at for the one metre cake, the chef’s long time family recipe of chocolate ganache, sponge and custard delicacy.
Pork-free. Free parking at night. $$
Modern European NEW Kudos Jesselton Hotel, Jalan Gaya, Kota Kinabalu (08 831 3366).
Kudos has recently moved location from an affluent suburban mall to the historical Jesselton hotel, centrally located in the city. A favourite of KK’s expat community, Kudos markets itself as modern European dining and is a good choice for a fancier night out. Expect classic but sophisticated western cuisine – French onion soup, lamb shank, scallops, fish, steak – as well as good wines, decadent desserts and efficient service from this husband-andwife run operation. Pork-free. Disabled friendly. Free parking at night. $$$.
French NEW The Chateau Patisserie Block D, Ground Floor, Lot 8, Shop D-G-8, 88 Market Place (08 821 2323).
At this French bistro owned by a decorated French chef, you won’t be blamed for having high expectations. Find a small assortment of freshlybaked breads, delicate pastries, brunch and an all-day menu of classic European and French cuisine in a modern contemporary setting that stands out in this neighbourhood. We love the crème brûlée here. Prices won’t break the bank, but portions might not fill you up much either.
Pork-free. Free parking. $$$
Indian NEW Krishna Fish Head Curry 33, Grand Millenium Plaza, Jalan Pintas Penampang (08 872 7000).
Krishna’s inimitable friendliness and hospitality may possibly make or break your experience here. The outgoing owner is always on hand to ensure you ordered enough, that your banana leaf is placed correctly, and will even find you a mate if you came alone. Obviously, the fish head curry is to-die-for but try the deep-fried bitter gourd, the mutton soup and above all
else, wash it all down with their cendol. If you don’t feel like having a huge meal, their tosai is pretty good too. Their popularity has seen them expand from their first outlet to a double storey restaurant with the option of air conditioning upstairs. Krishna’s has been the most popular banana leaf spot in town for some 20 years now, and it’s easy to see why! Pork-free. Child friendly. Credit cards accepted. $$
NEW Sri Latha Curry House 28 Jalan Berjaya, Ground Floor, Bandaran Berjaya, Kota Kinabalu (08 825 3669).
Don’t let its location in an old and, at times, dodgy part of the city scare you. This (almost literally) hidden gem has been satisfying banana leaf rice lovers in KK with its affordable, fingerlicking good curries and generous servings. The banana leaf lunch sets are of particularly good value but we recommend the fried quail and chicken as well.
Pork-free. Child friendly. $
Kohinoor North Indian Restaurant 4 Anjung Samudra, Waterfront (08 823 5160).
Kohinoor has the perfect location on the KK Waterfront, the city’s tourist and entertainment strip. The restaurant serves up some mean chicken tandoori and mutton masala, just make sure to ask for “very spicy”! The naan basket has a good variety but our favourite is the butter and garlic naan that is a joy on the taste buds and highly recommended. Choose alfresco dining to enjoy the sunset if you happen to be there at dusk. Pork-free. Child friendly. Credit cards accepted. Disabled friendly. $$$
Italian Ferdinand’s, The Magellan Sutera Harbour Resort
Second floor, The Magellan Sutera Harbour Boulevard (08 831 8888/ www.suteraharbour.com).
Ferdinand’s floor to ceiling windows provide a view over the resort’s swimming pool and the sea, already providing the background for a lovely romantic meal. Service is said to be second to none and the Italian and fusion menu served here will entice the fussiest of eaters, although the prices can be a bit steep as expected of a fine dining restaurant. Pork-free. Kids’ menu (on special request). Credit cards accepted. Disabled friendly. Free parking. $$$$
Little Italy Pasta and Pizza Corner Ground floor, 23, Capital Hotel, Jalan Haji Saman (08 823 2231).
Locals claim it’s the best Italian restaurant in town and it’s evident from the frequently bustling lunch and dinner crowd every day of the week. A long list of homemade pastas and pizzas will leave you spoilt for choice. We recommend the ravioli, which comes in four varieties, but choose the trio platter and you can choose any three along with the sauce of your choice. The Salciccia Casereccia is a generous main course of homemade Italian lamb and beef meat skewers that are very good value for money while the tiramisu is worthy of any Italian mama’s kitchen. Maybe it’s the consistently good food, long serving and attentive staff, but whatever it is, we haven’t tired of Little Italy yet. Pork-free. Child friendly. Kids’ menu. Credit cards accepted. Disabled friendly. Free parking. $$$
Peppino Shangri La Tanjung Aru Resort, 20 Jalan Aru, Tanjung Aru (08 832 7888/www.shangri-la.com).
Peppino has a lot to live up to, not least because it is one of the tiny handful of fine dining restaurants in the city of Kota Kinabalu but arguably because it was one of the first. Peppino has exactly what you can expect from a five-star establishment – thoughtful and efficient service, stylish ambience, friendly and knowledgeable servers, and fresh, quality ingredients that shine in their food. Child friendly. Free parking. Daily, 6pm– 10.30pm. $$$$$
Good Taste Bak Kut Teh