Kota Kinabalu restaurants are arguable the best in East Malaysia for variety and choice, with top quality expat-run European establishments rubbing shoulders with Chinese, local Malay and Indian eateries. The outdoor food stalls by the seafront are where backpackers should head for the cheapest eats in town, while Centrepoint Shopping Center is awash with international fast food joints plus some inexpensive local places as well.
Those with cash to splash will find the pier-side Kota Kinabalu restaurants by the fish market offer higher quality with exceptional sea views, while the promenade by the Filipino Craft Market are touristy places that are generally only frequented by tourists. SEDCO Square is probably the best value in town for evening dining with authentic ambience. Lobster dishes and jumbo prawns come highly recommended.
Recommended Kota Kinabalu restaurants and dining
Chefs Maurizio and Michele make this authentic Italian Kota Kinabalu restaurant one of the top tickets in town with some of the best pizzas and pastas to be found over the whole of Asia. There are great early evening offers for those that want to hit the town. (website: www.bellaitalia.com.my)
Fratini’s is undoubtedly one of the most authentic Italian restaurants in Kota Kinabalu where only the freshest local produce and top quality imported ingredients will do for the charismatic owner who prides himself on quality and service.
The tremendous pizza and pasta is great value while the wine list is one of the best in town. A real treat for anyone craving a true taste of Italy in the Borneo state of Sabah.
Brilliant north Indian food right on the waterfront is served up at this atmospheric Kota Kinabalu restaurant. The chef here lays claim to having invented ‘Chicken Cheese Tandoori Tikka’ and there is outdoor and inside air conditioned seating.
Kampung Nelayan Floating Seafood Market Restaurant
This seafood restaurant in Kota Kinabalu is situated within a botanical garden in a traditional Malay building. It is recommended for tourists due to the top quality seafood and nightly cultural performances plus weekend fire shows. (website: www.kampungnelayan.com)
Recommended Kota Kinabalu bars and nightlife venues
Cock & Bull Bistro
This award-winning Kota Kinabalu bar has an unrivalled position facing out on the waterfront with the cool breeze of the South China sea and stunning sunsets.
A live band, pool table and projector screens for live sports keep the mixed clientele entertained. (website: www.cocknbullbistro.com).
This claims to be the largest outdoor bar in Kota Kinabalu and is reasonably-priced with buckets of beer available for around RM25. Live sport is shown daily including NRL, AFL, rugby and cricket with live music at weekends.
Shenanigan Fun Pub
This mock Irish pub in the centre of town is found on the ground floor of the Kinabalu Hyatt Regency Hotel. There is Guinness and British pub food of varying quality here in air conditioned comfort. (website: www.kinabalu.regency.hyatt.com).