Top Restaurants in Pantai Cenang, Langkawi
Out of all the locations in Langkawi, Pantai Cenang would top the list when it comes to number and diversity of dining choices in the island. As you stroll along the main road Jalan Pantai Cenang, you will notice the line of restaurants on both sides of the road.
During the day time, most of these restaurants remain somewhat lackluster. But in the evening, when the lights are lit up with hundreds of tourists and locals thronging the street, these restaurants and eateries spring into action, join the festivity and add to the amazing & colorful ambience.
There are several restaurants that extend down to the beach and offer beachside candle lit dining and bar services. And some of the open air restaurants on the road put on music that are clearly audible from the street. You will find all types of eateries and restaurants in Pantai Cenang. While there are several offering local (Malay) cuisine, you also have plenty of other options including seafood, Chinese, Indian, Thai, Italian, Western and more.
As you walk along the street, you will find restaurants either displaying live seafood like in aquariums giving choice of your pick, or many others displaying frozen seafood in glass cabinets. A common sight is a board displaying 'Ikan Bakar' meaning charcoal grilled fish or seafood.
I have also observed that many budget restaurants in Pantai Cennag which do not have bars of their own, actually allow you to bring your drinks from outside and consume it while you dine in the restaurant. However, some of them clearly display a board saying 'No Outside Drinks Allowed'.
Most restaurants in Pantai Cenang are open until late night, some even beyond mid-night during the high season. There are a few, that remain open round the clock.
Here are the best restaurants in Pantai Cenang. I have indicated their category (i.e. budget, mid range or upscale) as well as the cuisine along with each. Note that most restaurants would add a 10% service charge to the bill amount.
Top Budget Restaurants
(Category: Budget, Cuisine: Mexican)
Visit this restaurant to enjoy some great Mexican fare as you sit and watch the breathtaking sunset view. Good value for money, this is definitely our go to place for a proper Mexican meal when on the island. It is a great place for couples, families and groups. Dishes are fresh and tasty, the menu is simple with classic Mexican options, presented nicely, service very warm and welcoming and prices reasonable. The whole experience will make you want to come back for more!
(Category: Budget, Cuisine: Indian & Malay)
Located right on the main road, this is one of the cheapest eateries in the area serving good food. Indian dishes includes tandoor make items, but you also get nice Malay dishes here as well. You will always find the place full of tourists who are looking to optimize their food bills. Due to its continuous demand, the restaurant remains open 24 hours a day.
(Category: Budget, Cuisine: Seafood Bar-Be-Que)
You won't here much bout this unassuming restaurant, which has an open air dining on the front side. There are shades for individual seating spaces and with candle lit tables, the place looks quite nice in the evening. Right at the entrance, you can select your seafood from the frozen glass aquarium by weight and they will grill it for you. The grilling area is also located next to the seafood display tanks, so the area can become a little smoky at times. They also serve grilled chicken and other local dishes. Good value for money. The restaurant is located on the roadside on Jalan Pantai Cenang. It serves dinner.
Qiang Shi Fu Seafood Restaurant
(Category: Budget, Cuisine: Chinese Seafood)
This is a casual friendly eatery operating since March 2010. You can find many Chinese and local customers hanging around waiting to eat authentic Chinese preparations.... the specially here is the seafood. You have the option of choosing live seafood from aquariums including crabs, tiger shrimps, large ming shrimps etc. Live seafood is weighed and accordingly priced.
Some of the nice dishes to try here includes vegetable soup with pea shoots, Red Snapper with fried ginger, shrimp balls with raw noodles served in a brown broth, ham with bones, braised sausage with chicken leg served in a gravy and of course the lobster with butter cream. Prices are quite reasonable. They serve lunch and dinner (open from 3:30pm till 11:30pm). They are located opposite to Underwater World on the road Jalan Pantai Cenang. Phone: +60 17-561 2223
(Category: Budget, Cuisine: Asian & Western) X Closed
You won't get cheap & nice breakfast in too many places in Pantai Cenang as most of the small eateries and restaurants remain closed in the morning hours. Breakfast Bar provides a good relief and an a nice option for a budget breakfast. Other than eggs made to order, toast with ham, butter, jam, tea, coffee, you also get local choices like Nasi Lemak (a spicy local rice dish prepared in coconut water and pandan leaves and served with lamb curry, eggs, peanuts, vegetables etc). Breakfast Bar is located on Pantai Cenang main road (near Malibest Resort) and closes by 2pm.
Top Mid-Range Restaurants
(Category: Mid-Range, Cuisine: Chinese/Seafood)
This is a very popular restaurant with both locals and tourists, and located right on the road side with large seating area. Often packed, you won't care much about the ambience as you walk in, rather focus on the food. There are several glass tanks outside full of live seafood that you can choose from. However, frozen seafood are cheaper. Some of the heavily sought after items include the lobster and tiger prawn dishes which they prepare in different style to suite your taste. They are open for lunch and dinner.
(Category: Mid-Range, Cuisine: Mediterranean)
The restaurant is located right at the beach and steps away from the water. There is both indoor and al fresco dining provision. The view of the water and sunset from the outdoor space is awesome. They prepare a range of seafood dishes in Mediterranean style and also great steaks with authentic Angus beef. Overall the atmosphere is relaxed and friendly. There is an indoor room with pool table and plasma TV as well. Open for lunch and dinner.
(Category: Mid Range, Cuisine: Thai)
This is a great Thai restaurant located right on the Cenang beach stretch with an entry from the road. There are both indoor and outdoor dining with great view of the beach and the water. The Thai menu is quite exhaustive with great many choices in fish, chicken, prawn, lobsters, crab, squids etc. They serve lunch and dinner.
Jimmy's Cafe - The Padi Cuisine
(Category: Mid Range, Cuisine: Indian, Asian & Western)
This is a cozy restaurant located within Laman Padi and surrounded by green padi fields giving it a great tranquil ambience. If you want to enjoy good Asian food in a scenic environment without much noise & sound (which is so rare in this part of the island), then this is the place to go. Although the menu is a little pricey, Jimmy and his wife ensure that the food compensates for that. Try out the tandoor items (earthen oven baked) like chicken or lamb tikka kebab, or spicy gravy items like chicken butter masala. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner.
(Category: Mid Range, Cuisine: Indian & Western)
Located right on the beach, the main entrance from the road first leads to the indoor bar with dining area having a rustic look with a pool table and few scattered seats. Outside it stretches down to the beach. Tables here are laid out on the sand with wonderful view of the water and sunset. The restaurant offers nice Indian cuisine and western fares at reasonable price. Beer and cocktails are available till late hours.
(Category: Mid-Range, Cuisine: Italian & Western)
Located at one end of Pantai Cenang and near Pantai Tengah, this is a popular restaurant for those who love pasta, pizza and other Italian dishes. They also make several other western items. The entrance is on the main road but covered with many plants & trees making an open patio with a cool green ambience. There is also a nice inside seating. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.
(Category: Mid-Range, Cuisine: Japanese/Seafood)
A great Japanese restaurant located in a tranquil ambience surrounded by paddy fields, pond and herbal gardens. After you enter the Laman Padi Rice Museum complex, you will find the restaurant on the left. The Japanese couple make excellent dishes (not just Japanese or Sushi, but also Malay, Chinese and Thai). Seafood preparations are some of the best. Other unique offerings include Steam Boat which is a traditional Chinese dish. The restaurant serves lunch & dinner and the prices are very reasonable.
(Category: Mid-Range, Cuisine: Western & Eastern) X Closed
This restaurant is part of the Beach Garden Resort. The restaurant is located at the end of a short tree-covered pathway. The Beer Garden is right on the beach with an illuminated wired fence separating it from the public area. The indoor part of the restaurant is decorated with Balinese masks giving it a look of a typical Bavarian breakfast room. The Beergarden with its covered shades, coconut trees and wonderful view of the water is a lovely place to have a cocktail as you watch the sunset and dine. Other than great seafood prepared in local or western style, the restaurant also serves several pasta, pizza, chicken and beef dishes. It's open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Little Mexican Restaurant & Cafe
(Category: Mid-Range, Cuisine: Mexican)
The owner Danny and his wife Karima will make you feel at home the moment you walk in. This small restaurant is located on the road Jalan Pantai Cenang, and serves nice Mexican food. Some of the great dishes that we like here are the Fajitas (fresh guacamole), nachos, tuna tacos, beef burrito (very tasty but without black beans) etc. They prepare it fresh and therefore the service often seems to be a bit slow.
Little Mexican Restaurant & Cafe, Langkawi
But Danny's friendly chat and the cafe's inviting atmosphere makes up for it. You are after all on a laid back holiday. They have nice selection of cocktails as well. Good value for the happy hour drinks. You will get Corona and other beers here as well. Although the restaurant is small, it often gets crowded and the prices are not cheap either.
Open Hours: 12noon – 12midnight
Address: Lot 22, Baron Walk, Jalan Pantai Cenang; Phone: +604 955 5100
(Category: Mid-Range, Cuisine: Arabic, Indian, Western)
This is a casual friendly restaurant located on Jalan Pantai Cenang roadside and opposite to the Langkawi Boutique Resort. Tandoor items are nice and so are the curry items like Chikken Tikka Masala. You will find a lot of Indian tourists here having hearty meals at reasonable price. They also serve both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Rakhmal from Bangladesh is the smiling man at the counter and also doubling up as a waiter. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner.
Top Upscale Restaurants
(Category: Upscale, Cuisine: Asian & Western)
This restaurant is part of Casa Del Mar hotel and extends to the Pantai Cenang beach. The beach side dining is a special experience here with a lovely view of the sunset as you sit next to coconut trees. There is also an inside dining. The restaurant has great selection of wine and beverages. It serves breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner.
(Category: Upscale, Cuisine: Malay & Continental)
Sitting right on the rocky cliff that separates Pantai Cenang and Pantai Tengah beaches, this restaurant is known to provide an amazing view of sunset. It has three sections - a restaurant, a cocktail lounge that has a bar at the center, and a garden seating by the water. All three sections have great views of the water. The seafood preparations in authentic Malay style are top class and so are the continental and tapas dishes.
(Category: Upscale, Cuisine: Asian & Western)
This is located inside the Bon Ton resort and is meant for those having good amount of money in their pocket and wanting a superlative fine dining experience. Other than many eastern and western dishes, they also serve Tapas, pasta and even Nyonya (Chinese & Malay fusion) dishes. Great cocktail selections. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner with separate menus.
(Category: Upscale, Cuisine: Asian)
This is one of the standalone restaurants in Pantai Cenang which falls in the category of being up-market and elegant, and offers a nice alternative. The ambience and the seating inside is really nice and so is the food. Best bets are prawns and fish which they prepare in one of the several Asian styles including Malay, Thai, Chinese etc. You will get many items in the starters as well including Scallops, Chicken Satay etc. The staff here are well trained and courteous.
Karen Goh (October 2014)
Worst Thai foods we ever had in our life. That's because Langkawi is near to Thailand. We believed that Thai foods should as delicious as Thailand. We were full of excitement needed some Thai foods in Langkawi. We went to Sawadee Thai Restaurant which is near Pantai Cenang with empty stomach. It was so disappointing! The foods are disgusting! We totally spent nearly RM90 for worst foods in our life. The special squid was made from fishy squid with only black pepper on top, gosh! The bean curd dish also just with some Thai Chilli sauce on top. Mango kerabu also sucked! Taste too sour, salty and fishy with ikan billi head and peanuts with skin. We were totally unable to swallow at all. White Tom Yam was very very fishy, could smell the fish before putting into our mouth. Staffs also with bad service. Do not recommend dining in this restaurant at all.
Afroz Riyazal (July 2014)
I would like to stay in Pantai Cenang for 3 nights but I would like to know nearby HALAL certified restaurants. Could you please share any information on this as I would like not to travel to long distance in search for this. Regards,
Raj (langkawi-insight.com) July 2014
You can try Tomato Nasi Kandar in Pantai Cenang.