Back to Articles

Top Restaurants In Kota Kinabalu That You Should Try

Admit it, if you are visiting Sabah or its capital city for the first time, some of the first few things you will ask (or search on Google) are “What to eat in KK?” or “Best restaurants in KK”. This is especially true for food lovers and gourmet hunters out there! 

Well, you are in luck because SabahTravel has scoured the city and listed some of the top eats you can find in Kota Kinabalu and the nearby areas. Without further ado, check this out! 

(By the way, you can also click the map HERE for the locations of all the restaurants we listed here and more!) 


OITOM, celebrated for its fine dining excellence, clinched a spot in the top 100 restaurants in Malaysia at the 2022 Tatler Dining Awards. Drawing inspiration from the renowned Noma Restaurant, OITOM commits to offering gastro-tourists not just unparalleled culinary delights but also emphasises sustainability. Its founder works in tandem with local farmers, bringing the best of Sabah's ingredients directly to your plate. By marrying modern culinary methods with edible flower garnishes, OITOM invites you to explore Sabah's rich taste palette in an upscale dining ambiance. Book your experience now to indulge in Sabah's authentic flavours presented by OITOM and get a complimentary drink!

Must Try: IDEAS Full Experience Menu

Social Media: Facebook, Instagram

Operation Time: 7:00PM –11:00PM (Except Tuesdays) 


Book Here:

Aprileaf Bakery Café - Yummy Sweet And Savoury Pastries 

If you are looking for delicious pastries, look no further. Located at I Plaza Commercial Centre (nearby ITCC Shopping Centre), you can find some of the best-baked goods in Kota Kinabalu.  

Their main specialty lies in their wide selections of croissants—in addition to the plain version, they also have Almond Croissant and Orange Almond Croissant, as well as Chicken Ham and Cheese Croissant for a savoury choice. If you want something more unique, their Charcoal Chocolate Cube and Salted Caramel Cube offer a fun twist to your usual croissants. Aside from that, you can also pick their other pastries, such as Creamy Mushroom and Ham Quiche, Cheesy Tomato Danish, Chocolatine, and Vanilla Cream Puff. 

In terms of their drink selections, you cannot go wrong with choosing their newly-introduced Salted Caramel Café Latte. And if you want something refreshing during a hot day, try out their Sparkling Lemonade. 

Must Try: Orange Almond Croissant, Charcoal Chocolate Cube 

Social Media: Facebook, Instagram

Operation Time: 7:00AM – 6:00PM (Tue – Sun) 


Yam Yam Tawau – Yummy Supper Delights 

After a fun night out, most of us want to hang out somewhere for a delicious supper before heading back home. And this is where Yam Yam Tawau comes in.   

As the name suggests, Yam Yam Tawau takes inspiration from the unique Tawau culinary experience, where some restaurants are open until the wee hours of the morning, and patrons will come to enjoy some fried goodness before calling it a night. 

They have several outlets you can visit in KK—Beverly Hills, Damai Plaza, Harbour City, Cybercity, and Putatan—all open until quite late. The main draw of Yam Yam Tawau is their selections of freshly fried treats, such as chicken wings, seafood tofu, stuffed eggplants, and more. Pair these with their Fried Mee Hoon (rice vermicelli) or plain rice and you will get a satisfying supper that will leave you wanting more!  

For spicy food lovers, remember to try their hot sambal. Be warned, though: it's VERY spicy! 

Must Try: Fried Mee Hoon, Fried Chicken Wings 

Social Media: Facebook, Instagram

Operation Time: 10:00AM – 1:00AM (Daily) 


Tasty Place – Homemade Chinese Kopitiam Cuisines 

Those in the mood for homey kopitiam food will be in for a treat at Tasty Place. You can easily find the restaurant at Towering Koidupan Perdana, and they feature simple yet perfectly cooked Chinese dishes.  

The restaurant opened ten years ago after the owner won first place in a local cooking competition. The winning dish, aptly named Champion Chicken, has become the restaurant’s mainstay ever since. Another dish you should try is the Chilli Pan Mee, which they claimed to have introduced first in KK before anyone else. Their other selections include the Spicy Fried Noodle and Chicken Steam Rice. 

To wash it all down, definitely try out their Soya Special and Four Season Dessert (their version of ais kacang). 

Must Try: Champion Chicken, Chilli Pan Mee 

Note: Non-Halal 

Social Media: Facebook

Operation Time: 7:00AM – 3:00PM (Daily) 


Pak' Mund Laksa - Penang Laksa With A Sabahan Twist 

A good Penang laksa was hard to come by in Sabah, but that is not the case anymore! Pak' Mund Laksa's brings the iconic dish to the Land Below the Wind with a slight flavour tweak that caters to Sabahans' tastebuds—they are slightly less spicy than the usual variety you find elsewhere.  

Every sip of the broth will take you to a flavour wonderland—you can taste the rich seasonings from the ground spices, the umami from the fresh fish, and the slight acidity from tamarind and lemongrass. Aside from laksa, they also have other local favourites, including Nasi Ayam Penyet, Nasi Ikan Boulu Tanpa Tulang, Keropok Lekor, Asam Prawn Ball, and more!   

Their flagship store is at Inanam Capital, but you can also find them at other locations, such as Gaya Street, Keningau, Papar, and Labuan. They plan to expand more in the future, including Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia, so you can look forward to that! 

Must Try: Penang Asam Laksa, Asam Prawn Ball 

Social Media: Facebook, Instagram

Operation Time: 9:30AM – 6:30PM (Daily) 


Happy Macaron Day - The Perfect Korean Dessert Place 

Fans of all things Korean, you are in for a treat! Located in Lintas Plaza, Happy Macaron Day offers a wide selection of delicious (and cute!) Korean-inspired desserts. 

Their main highlight would be the macarons, or the Ddung-Caron as they call it. The difference between this and the usual macarons you see in other cafes would be their size—the ones here are larger with different cute designs that will satisfy your taste buds and your eyes! 

If you're into some creamy delights, we highly recommend their Cookie Choux. Made with soft pastry and fluffy cream, it is the perfect dessert for someone who prefers something light and not overwhelmingly sweet.  

Their other selections include Bingsu (Korean shaved ice), Injeolmi Waffle (rice cake waffle), Meringue Cookie, and Bulgogi Sandwich. For drinks, they have a wide selection of coffees, lattes, and fruit ades. 

P/s: They also prepare Macaron Cake and Merangue Cookie Bouquet for a unique gift idea. 

Must Try: Ddung-Caron, Cookie Choux 

Social Media: Instagram

Operation Time: 9:00AM – 9:00PM (Mon - Sat) 


Hearth - Great Wine, Tasty Food, And Excellent Hospitality 

Spend a quiet and intimate dinner at Hearth in Sutera Avenue! Branding itself as a casual, semi-fine dining outlet, Hearth sports an open-fire concept where delicious food and superb services take centre stage. 

Looking at the menu, you can see they offer a wide variety of international delights with a local twist, incorporating traditional ingredients such as pandan and bunga kantan (ginger flower). You should try out their signature Charcoal Grilled Steaks, where you can taste the natural juiciness and sweetness one can only achieve through skillful meat cooking. 

Another highlight of this place is the extensive wine collection, specially curated with the main focus on Spanish wines. With more than 70 selections, wine lovers will have plenty of reasons to visit. But if you are looking for other beverages, they also serve coffee, tea, beers, and cocktails—we recommend the Hearth Boocha! 

Must Try: Charcoal Grilled Steaks, Hearth Boocha 

Note: Serves no pork 

Social Media: Facebook, Instagram

Operation Time: 6:00PM – 10:00PM (Wed - Mon) 


Teppanya Cafe & Bar - Japanese-Inspired Urban Fusion Delights 

When we hear about Japanese cuisine, sushi immediately comes to mind. Well, Teppanya is here to change that. The main highlight of this restaurant is their Teppan food, or food served on iron griddles—it will be served sizzling hot to your table, which makes customers feel more involved in the cooking of the food itself.  

Some of their signature teppan food options are Beef Rice, Cheesy Chicken Katsu, Japanese Curry Rice, and Teriyaki Chicken Rice. But their selections are not limited to Japanese cuisines—they also have Kimchi Beef Rice, Spicy Gochujang Chicken Rice, and Smoked Duck Aglio Olio. When you are here, you should also try their selections of udon, ramen, donburi (rice-bowl dish), and steak. 

For some sweet treats, they have several options, including Strawberry Yoghurt Smoothie, Ice Matcha Cheese, Blue Lemonade, and Dark Chocolate Brownie.  

If you planning to visit, you can either go to their Imago Shopping Mall outlet or Plaza 333 outlet. 

Must Try: Beef Rice, Cheesy Chicken Katsu 

Note: Serves no pork 

Social Media: Facebook, Instagram

Operation Time: 11:00AM – 10:00PM (Daily) 


Awan Restobar - Fun Hangout Spot In The City 

If you are looking for somewhere with a chill party atmosphere for special celebrations or to spend time with your friends, Awan Restobar is your answer. 

Located at Sutera Avenue in Kota Kinabalu, you can enjoy a wide variety of western and Asian cuisines here, including their signature Soft-Shell Crab Aglio Olio, Trio Sliders, Awan Fried Rice, and Chicken Quesadilla. As for the drinks, you will love their selections of wines, beers, and cocktails—we recommend their Awan On Eleven, an Instaworthy cocktail with cotton candy topping!  

One of the highlights of Awan Restobar is its Outdoor Sky Bar that has a spectacular view of the surrounding cityscape. For music lovers, the restaurant has live band entertainment from Wednesday to Sunday at 8 pm, featuring different bands each night. Awan Restobar has the same owners as the SixtyNine Bar just next door, so you can head to the club to continue partying for the night right after your meal! 

Must Try: Soft-Shell Crab Aglio Olio, Awan On Eleven 

Note: Serves no pork 

Social Media: Facebook, Instagram

Operation Time: 3:00PM – 2:00AM (Weekdays), 3:00PM – 3:00AM (Weekends) 


Borenos Fried Chicken - Sabah's First Fast Food Brand

There is nothing much to say about Borenos Fried Chicken except for being the best place to get your delicious fried chicken. True to its slogan "Great Taste, Anytime!", they source their chicken locally and fresh, which means no frozen chicken is being used here, guaranteeing deliciously-made fried chicken like no other! 

One of their main signature dishes is the Full Spring Chicken—a whole chicken cooked in the fryer that locks in its natural juiciness and essence without the oiliness. Another signature dish you should try is their Premium Chicken Burger, prepared with charcoal buns with chicken thigh drenched in sweet and smoky barbecue sauce. If you feel like eating something other than chicken, they also have Fish & Chips, made using premium Alaskan pollock. 

Aside from their variety of fizzy drinks, Borenos also introduced several healthier, non-sugary options—Green Tea (Ayataka) and Chinese Tea (Da Hong Pao)—if you are looking into cutting down your daily sugar intake. They also serve Ginger & Wild Honey drink, perfect for warming your body during cold and rainy days. 

Their flagship outlet is at Asia City Complex, but they also have other branches at Alamesra in KK and Plaza 22 in Papar. 

Must Try: Full Spring Chicken, Premium Chicken Burger 

Note: Halal 

Social Media: Facebook, Instagram

Operation Time: 24 Hour (Daily) 


JF Borneo Sinalau - Hearty Home-Cooked Cuisines 

We all have one of those days where all we want to eat is food that reminds us of home, and JF Borneo Sinalau at Plaza 333 is precisely that. The name stands for Jia Fan, which means "home-cooked meal", and you will know why when you look at the menu. 

JF Borneo Sinalau mainly serves Chinese dishes, which means you will find Ngiong Chap (vegetable stuffed with meat), Kon Lao Mee (dry sauce noodles), Lihing Chicken (chicken cooked in rice wine), Nyonya Seafood, and Pai Kut Wong (sweet and sour pork ribs) and Salted Egg Chicken Wings. However, the main highlight would be the Vinegar Pork Leg—the broth's sweet, savoury, and tangy taste is best paired with a serving of hot rice. Simply irresistible! And for the drinks, you cannot go wrong with ordering a cup of Kopi-O or Teh Tarik Ping to complete the whole experience. 

As the name suggests, they also have Sinalau Bakas (smoked wild boar) in their menu. Unfortunately, they had to pause it at the moment due to supply issue. 

Must Try: Vinegar Pork Leg, Salted Egg Chicken Wings 

Note: Non-Halal 

Social Media: Facebook, Instagram

Operation Time: 10:00AM – 9:00PM (Tue - Sun) 


Co. Express - Fresh Brewed Coffee On The Go 

What better way to start the day than a good cup of coffee for a little pick-me-up? At Co.Express, you will get a fresh cuppa that will give you the caffeine boost you need! 

First opened in September 2021, their flagship outlet is at Asia City Complex in KK, offering delicious selections of well-brewed delights, including latte, salted caramel coffee, espresso, and cappuccino. For tea lovers, they have houjicha latte and matcha latte, while non-caffeine options include chocolate drinks and steamed milk. If you need some treats to go with your fresh brew, they also have cookies that you can get. 

If you are an avid coffee drinker, you should definitely get their exclusive coffee coupon, where you can get eight drinks of any flavour for only RM60. More bang for your buck! 

They also recently opened their second branch, Co. Lounge, at Lintas Plaza. Here, you can sit down to enjoy their brew while indulging in delicious meals. 

Must Try: Salted Caramel Coffee, Houjicha Latte 

Social Media: Facebook, Instagram

Operation Time: 7:30AM – 4:30PM (Daily) 


Gabion Bistro & RE-Bar - All-Day International Delights

Get ready to tantalise your tastebuds with delicious international cuisines at Gabion Bistro. Located on the ground floor of ibis Styles at Inanam, the restaurant offers yummy meals inspired by Western, Japanese, Malaysian, and even Sabahan cuisines (try out their crunchy Fried Basung!), which are perfect for families and groups of people.  

Some signature dishes you can try here are Aglio e Olio Gambero, Gabion Bistro Burger, and Chicken Confit. But if you feel like getting something with a local flavour, we recommend ordering the Lamb Shank Assam Pedas, Fried Mee Mamak, and Meatball Rendang. 

As for the drinks, there are plenty of choices here, ranging from brewed coffees, teas, smoothies, fresh juices, and mocktails. For alcoholic options, you can head to the hotel's RE-Bar for some happy hour delights. 

Must Try: Lamb Shank Assam Pedas, Meatball Rendang 

Note: Halal (Gabion Bistro) 

Social Media: Facebook

Operation Time: 6:30AM – 11:00PM (Daily) 


Aldamasqy Arabic Restaurant - Authentic Arabic Cuisines 

Arabic food is a fantastic treat—each dish is a flavour bomb with its rich spices, deep aroma, and smooth creaminess. And there is no better place to get them in KK than Aldamasqy! 

Make your way to Cyber City near Kepayan for wonderfully authentic Arabic cuisines, such as hummus, falafel, manakish, kebab, and shawarma. Many ingredients, such as foul (fava beans) and Turkish delight, are imported from the Middle East, ensuring the taste is as authentic as it can be.  

Their main highlight would be the Roasted Chicken Rice—they marinated their chicken with an aromatic blend of herbs, which they then roasted to perfection. Their Zaater Pastry is the perfect choice if you are into rich spices, and for some creamy goodness, their Cheese or Cream Kunafah should be on the top of your list. To wash it all down, the sweet and fragrant Adani Milky Tea should do the trick. 

Must Try: Roasted Chicken Rice, Kunafah 

Social Media: Facebook

Operation Time: 12:00PM (Noon) – 10:00PM (Wed - Mon) 


Airport in Shanghai 1950 - Local Delights With A Shanghainese Twist 

Walk down memory lane and treat yourself to good food and fun performances of the olden days. As the name suggests, Airport in Shanghai 1950 is a Shanghai-themed bistro that showcases unique singing and dancing performances throughout the night. The restaurant can hold up to 350 tables sitting capacity, making it a great place to hold large events and gatherings. For those preferring somewhere more private, they also have VIP rooms and private lounges that customers can pick. 

In terms of food, their selection is made up of Chinese, Malaysian, and Western cuisines. Definitely try out their signature dishes: Coconut Chicken Hotpot and Flaming Claypot Char Kuey Teow! 

Must Try: Coconut Chicken Hotpot, Flaming Claypot Char Kuey Teow 

Note: Serve no pork 

Social Media: Facebook, Instagram

Operation Time: 10:30AM – 12:00AM (Midnight) (Daily) 


Check out our Kota Kinabalu Food Map HERE!