Great local restaurants in KL are plentiful, especially considering the fondness of non-Muslims for Chinese hawker coffee shops, and all locals (particularly the younger generations) love 24-hour mamaks (Indian-Muslim restaurants). Expect to find a lot of outdoor seating with oscillating fans providing a gentle breeze, if you are lucky.
Everything works here. The food is fantastic – there is no way to downplay that – and RM15 will buy you a meal, complete with a main, side dish and drink. This list of 10 great local restaurants in KL, presented in alphabetical order, comprises a collection of places with delicious homemade eats, popular with locals who deem it the best of the best.
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Bakeri Joy is a charming café that serves up some of pretty famous dishes, including packed RM5 nasi lemak (coconut-flavoured rice, with fried anchovies, sliced cucumbers, chicken rendang or sambal sotong, and hardboiled egg), and RM8.50 curry laksa (yellow noodles in a curry-flavoured broth flavoured with fishcake, bean sprouts, prawns, sliced omelette, chicken and tofu puffs). What makes the food taste so good is the fact that it’s thoroughly-homemade taste, and you’ll be hard pressed to find a more reasonable price point in the centre of the city.
This pork free Kelana Jaya restaurant is easily accessible to tourists from the KL city centre. Simply hop on the KLCC LRT Station and alight at the Kelana Jaya stop: from there, it is less than a ten minute taxi ride. Service that’s all-smiles also adds to the pleasure of dining in here.
- Opening Hours: 7:00 – 18:00 Monday; 07:00 – 21:00 Tuesday – Sunday
- Address: No. 4, Jalan SS24/13, Taman Megah, Petaling Jaya
- Tel: +603 7805 5188
Set in Damansara Uptown in Petaling Jaya, Capital Nasi Dagang is about 15 minutes’ drive from the Kuala Lumpur city centre, but the food is well worth the visit. The star of the show is the dish of steamed rice, drenched with a mixture of curries, and accompanied by your choice of vegetables and meats.
The rice itself is delicately flavoured with coconut milk, ginger and onions, with accompanying side dishes regarded as the perfect spicy accompaniments to offset the balance of savoury sensations. Topping it all off, a heaping plate of rice, with two vegetables, three meat dishes and a drink will cost less than RM15 – a true bargain.
- Opening Hours: 09:00 – 17:00
- Address: 29 Jalan SS21/1A, Damansara Utama, Petaling Jaya
- Tel: +6012 921 5200
Being a monastery canteen, tourists will be able to combine two activities into one during a visit here – sightseeing AND eating. Located along Jalan Ampang, it functions as a food court and you’re likely to see hawker stalls selling local favourites like wan tan mee (noodles in black soy sauce with barbecued meat) and curry mee (noodles with spicy curry), but it is the chap fan (economy rice) stall that we love.
The menu is mainly vegetarian but there’s so much variety, plus, they even have mock meat such as fried beancurd. A plate of rice with three dishes will cost about RM7, and food is cooked without the use of white sugar, preservatives or MSG.
- Opening Hours: 11:00 – 14:30 Monday – Friday
- Address: 161 Jalan Ampang, KL City Centre, Kuala Lumpur
- Tel: +603 2164 8055
When you mention the Humble Chef to locals, they’ll most likely point you in the direction of a food truck. Don’t be confused – they’re run by the same operators and the food tastes exactly the same, and you’ll find even more varieties on the menu at its permanent location.
Set along Jalan Medan Setia in Damansara Heights, expect a pork-free western menu of perfectly-prepared RM5 pastas, served with your choice of carbonara, bolognese, olio and pesto sauce. Besides that, there are omelettes and pita wraps with chicken, lamb and beef fillings, priced at RM2.50 and RM4 respectively. Food is tasty, although portions are petite, making it perfect for small appetites.
- Opening Hours: 12:00 – 15:00 & 18:30 24:00 Mondays - Saturdays
- Address: 54-G Jalan Medan Setia 2, Plaza Damansara, Kuala Lumpur
A mamak (Indian Muslim) restaurant, Nasi Kandar Pelita has become a booming franchise with outlets all over the country. Nasi kandar is a northern Malaysian dish of steamed white rice, paired together with a choice of curries and meats, so you can expect food heavy on spice and rich in flavour. Since variety is the spice of life, just like any mamak restaurant, Nasi Kandar Pelita also serves varieties of thosai (a fermented crepe made from rice batter and black lentils), roti canai (Indian flatbread), noodles and more. A meal here should not cost more than RM15 per person – quite a steal, considering the restaurant’s location along Jalan Ampang, just outside the KLCC LRT Station’s entryway.
- Address: No. 149, Jalan Ampang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur
- Tel: +603 2162 5532
This family-run Bangsar restaurant is beloved by locals, who come here for the nasi lemak – coconut-flavoured rice, with anchovy and onion chilli paste, fried anchovies, sliced cucumbers and hardboiled egg. Well regarded as comfort food, fine dining it isn't, but when you order the juicy fried turmeric-and-lemongrass-seasoned chicken (prepared on the spot) along with your nasi lemak, you’ll be sure to join the throng of regulars who swear that the place is magic.
Proving you don't have to spend a fortune to eat well, an average meal here costs less than RM10. What’s more, its location mere steps away from the bar and clubbing area of Bangsar contributes to its dramatic popularity and its raucous atmosphere is best experienced late at night, when it’s filled with tourists and expatriates huddled next to local customers.
- Opening Hours: 17:00 – 05:00
- Address: Bangsar Selera Food Court, Jalan Telawi 1, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur
Located along Jalan Petaling, Restoran Kim Lian Kee certainly possesses a popular location that provides the restaurant with a lot of customers who have come to the area to visit the Petaling Street Night Market. It is one of the best places in the city for hokkien mee (fat yellow noodles stir-fried and doused in delicious and thick soy sauce gravy). Popular with locals, the corner lot restaurant also serves economy rice, fried kway teow and luk ken thang (hokkien-style pork slices in corn flour cooked in cabbage soup). Read More...
- Opening Hours: 07:00 – 16:00 (chee cheong fun), 17:00 – 05:00 (Hokkien fried noodles) closed on Wednesdays
- Address: 49-51, Jalan Petaling, 55100 Kuala Lumpur
- Tel: +603 2032 4984
A great choice for hawker favourites, Tang City Food Court is set at the entrance of Jalan Petaling. Expect local specialties like fried kway teow (flat rice noodles fried with prawns, shrimp chilli paste and bean sprouts), Hainanese chicken rice and much more. By far the best is the chap fan (economy rice) – freshly prepared and reasonably-priced, the pork dishes come highly recommended. If you prefer a light snack, order up a plate of roti bakar – toasted bread that somehow manages to stay fluffy, with butter and kaya (coconut jam) spread: when paired with a cup of smooth, creamy coffee, it’s a local favourite that will have you coming back for more soon.
- Opening Hours: 07:00 - late
- Address: 55, Jalan Petaling, Kuala Lumpur
A restaurant specialising in chee cheong fun (rice noodle roll) and yong tau foo (tofu stuffed with fish paste), Yap Hup Kee is set along Jalan Pudu in the heart of KL, making it supremely easy for tourists to access this place. There’s indoor (air-conditioned) and outdoor seating, but no matter which you choose you’ll be cram shoulder-to-shoulder at Formica tables with other diners, particularly during lunchtime.
The chee cheong fun is served in two varieties – with creamy curry gravy, potatoes and chicken slices, and the traditional sweet sauce: we’re huge fans of the former as it adds a flavour-rich dimension to the rice noodle rolls. Conversely with the yong tau foo, you’ll have to peruse through the extensive selections available – we love that the fish paste used is really fresh, lending each piece a flavourful and springy texture, plus the restaurant has some unusual selections like fried wantans with bits of salted egg yolk. There's no attempt at décor, with customers sitting on plastic stools, but it's packed at lunch and dinner times and a filling meal here will only set you back around RM8.
- Opening Hours: 09:00 – 17:00 & 17:30 – 23:00 closed every alternate Tuesday
- Address: 45 Jalan Brunei Barat, Off Jalan Pudu, 55100 Kuala Lumpur
- Tel: +603 2148 9220
This Chinese coffee shop started out along Jalan Dang Wangi in central KL in 1928, but after 84 years in its original location, it sought a new home along Jalan Kamunting in 2014, just 400m away. The change in location has been a good move for the restaurant – it used to be packed to the gills, and now with more space, it is certainly turning over more tables than ever. The western and Chinese food served is a fantastic as ever – expect to encounter a menu of RM5.50 char siew (barbecued pork) fried rice, roti bakar and pork buns (RM7.50), but it is the Hainanese pork and chicken chops (RM10) which will leave have you returning time and time again. Slathered with brown sauce boiled with carrot, peas and corn, this excellent dish comes with a side serving of potato wedges.
- Opening Hours: 8:00 – 17:00 Tuesday – Sunday
- Address: Jalan Kamunting, Off Jalan Dang Wangi, Bandaraya, Kuala Lumpur