Sabah Restaurants

Where and What to Eat in Sabah

Located on Borneo’s north-western flank, Sabah is Malaysia’s east coast capital. The state has 30 ethnicities and among these groups more than 80 dialects are spoken. The people of the Kadazan/Dusun tribes constitute the largest indigenous racial groups in the state; recently, along the east coast, there’s been a huge influx of Filipino and Indonesian immigrants.

Finding somewhere to eat in Sabah is usually not a headache – there are plenty of Malay, Chinese and Indian restaurants catering to all tastes. Sabah’s capital – set between the lush tropical hills and the South China Sea – is Kota Kinabalu. The best eateries are, of course, located in KK. Dining in the city can be expensive since the standard of living here is high but it also has a decent selection of hawker stalls. Unfortunately a lot of these restaurants close early so you’re probably going to have early dinners during your time here. Nonetheless it must be said that the variety of fare is extensive – fresh seafood is an especially popular menu selection. The numerous restaurants, stalls, and tamus (markets) offer specialties including indigenous dishes – each area offers a different type of cuisine as it depends on the dominant indigenous group.


@mosphere

Situated at the top of the Yayasan Sabah, @mosphere features a fun retro chic ambiance. This revolving restaurant boasts panoramic views of the Kota Kinabalu skyline and serves a range of Pacific Rim dishes ranging from tender grilled steaks to a medley of pasta dishes. The eatery’s menu doesn’t disappoint; try the grilled sirloin, tiger prawns, hinava – a ceviche of mackerel – and the beer battered fish pieces.

Opening Hours: 11:30 – 01:00 Sunday – Thursday; 11:30 – 02:00 Friday & Saturday
Location: 18th Floor, Menara Tun Mustapha, Likas Bay
Tel: +608 842 5100


 

Coast

Located within Shangri La’s Rasa Ria Resort, this restaurant has an extensive menu but it’s the seafood selection here that is most appealing; the eatery also boasts a vegetarian carte du jour. Signature dishes really worth trying include Coast blackened tuna, which comes with a sharp soy mustard butter, the Coast risotto and the lamb, which is accompanied by a tangy marmalade sauce.

Opening Hours: 18:30 – 22:30
Location: Shangri La’s Rasa Ria Resort, P.O. Box 600, 89208, Tuaran
Tel: +608 879 2888

Ferdinand’s

Considered to be one of Kota Kinabalu’s best restaurants for western fare, Ferdinand’s is a comfortable and unpretentious eatery with traditional settings. Serving up a variety of conventional dishes, the restaurant’s signature dishes are also worth a try – try the creamy and full-bodied tomato soup, oven-roasted rack of lamb, cod fillet as well as the numerous varieties of pizzas and pastas.

Location: 1 Sutera Harbour Boulevard, Sutera Harbour
Tel: +608 831 8888

Hinompuka Café

Located in Kota Kinabalu, this restaurant is one of the few places to offer indigenous fare and the cuisine runs out fast especially once the lunch crowd gets here. The eatery features a spread of no-frills Kadazan fare including hinava (a salad of raw fish with lime juice), kinotuan do mogirorot sinamaian do kinoring gipan (mixed local vegetables with dried prawns) and hinompuka (a sweet cake made of steamed black glutinous rice flour wrapped in banana leaves).

Opening Hours: 08:30 – 15:30 closed on Sunday
Location: Lot 7, Block F, SED-O Shophouses, Buhavan Square, Donggongon New Township, Penampang
Tel: +608 872 5996

Naan – Flavours Of India

The sister restaurant to the Coast, Naan – Flavours Of India is an upscale restaurant that serves traditional Indian favourites with a twist. The murg (chicken) tikka masala is a signature offering while the tandoori murg Rasa Ria is a house specialty; also try the onion bhajiya, gulab jamun and mango lassi.

Opening Hours: 18:30 – 22:30
Location: Shangri La’s Rasa Ria Resort, Kota Kinabalu, Pantai Dalit
Tel: +608 879 2888

Noble House

Pastel-hued Noble House serves up traditional Chinese cuisine without breaking the mould. There’s a decent selection of dim sum available and the Peking duck is a signature dish with a generous serving of plum sauce. Also try the sizzling beef with barbecue sauce and for dessert dive into the mango pudding.

Opening Hours: 11:30 – 14:30 and 18:30 – 22:30
Location: Nexus Resort Karambunai, Off Jalan Sepanggar Bay
Tel: +608 848 0888 ext. 6550

Olives

The beautiful Olives restaurant, located within Nexus Resort Karambunai, has a menu selection that satisfies. Start out with the seafood platter which consists of the customary medley of fruits de la mer, move on to the peppered beef and cap off your meal with the surprising gambazola cheese with chilli chocolate sauce.

Opening Hours: 18:30 – 22:30
Location: Nexus Resort Karambunai, Off Jalan Sepanggar Bay
Tel: +608 848 0888 ext. 6541

Peppino

This European fine-dining restaurant is the perfect setting for an aromatic romantic interlude. Serving up innovate Italian cuisine, the eatery also boasts an impressive wine list. Try the spaghetti vongole with Sabah chilli, poached scallops with a spice of vanilla and green-tea broth, Milanese minestrone and the goose liver on onion compote; sate your sweet tooth with a rhubarb and pear crumble.

Opening Hours: 18:00 – 22:30
Location: Shangri La’s Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, 20 Jalan Aru, Tanjung Aru
Tel: +608 832 7888

Stall

Located in Tuaran – a quiet one-street town 45 minutes away from KK – this stall has no name but locals make the journey here simply for the springy noodles at this successful hawker. The crowded shop serves up homemade eggy noodles, tossed in lard and soy sauce, available dry, fried and soup varieties served with char siew (slices of pork).

Opening Hours: 08:00 – 18:00
Location: No. 3, Jalan Jilang, Tuaran

Stall 9

Located in Sandakan – the gateway to some of Sabah’s best known attractions including the Sepilok Orang-utan Sanctuary and the Turtle Islands National Park – this eatery serves up tan kung mee (also known as rubber band mee). The noodles are basically a version of wan tan mee minus the wanton and vegetables; they are blanched and tossed with lard and dark soy sauce and topped with a generous sprinkling of char siew (sweetened pork slices) and char yoke (deep fried pork).

Opening Hours: 06:00 – 11:00
Location: Sandakan Central Market, Jalan Tiga

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