My friend from Australia is visiting for 3 days in Brunei and I was wondering – where would be the places I would be proud to take him to eat? We Bruneians are a very hospitable bunch and we love visitors! I sat down and thought of the places I could take him and narrowed it down to these restaurants. This post is meant as a guideline for visitors who want to explore the dining scene in Brunei and also for locals who want ideas on where to eat. Note: Not being included in this list does not mean the restaurants are not worthy. There are still plenty of good restaurants that won’t be listed in this list – in such a short time – and limited stomach space – I would narrow it down to a few of my favourites! So here goes ~~~ The best places to eat in Brunei!
Chop Jin Chiew
Located in Central Gadong. This restaurant has a very long history and is our nations pride. Delicious bread and buns made fresh daily and lot’s of variety of dishes to savour. Their Roti Kuning and Roti Cucur are must tries but my personal favourite is still their Roti Kacang Kahwin! A must try food in Brunei!
Pondok Sari Wangi (Gadong and Sengkurong Branch – *Updated Citi Square new branch!)
Indonesian cuisine at its best! The restaurant that sparked the Ayam Penyet craze in Brunei, copied by many but none managed to wrestle the title of best Ayam Penyet from this restaurant. The restaurant has managed to modernize some Indonesian classics while adding some Chinese influence to their menu. Good dishes one mustn’t miss are their Ayam Penyet, Ayam Rendang, Iga Penyet (beef ribs), Tauhu Telur, Gado Gado, Simply delicious Beef Satay (using Wagyu beef), Gulai Lamb Shank and many many more! I am especially a big fan of their Sambel Hijau (only available at Sengkurong branch). The restaurant you must visit in Brunei! **Update: Recently they opened a branch in Citi Square which serves bebek penyet (DUCK PENYET) and Gulai Iga (angus beef ribs in rich spicy gravy) - oh my Indonesian food!
Pasar malam Gadong
No trip to Brunei is complete without a tour around the night markets in Gadong. One can bring $5 and have a very very filling meal in these night markets. Grilled chicken, fish and satays are widely available here. Don’t miss Hati Buyah, a marinated and stir fried sliced beef lungs, Ayam Tongkeng (chicken butts!!), pulut panggang (glutious rice stuffed with beef or prawns, wrapped with banana leaves and grilled), Kuih Melaya (Malay style pancake with peanuts, condensed milk and raisins) and lots of good thirst quenching drinks like Samboi (sour plum) and coconut juice. Your trip in Brunei is not complete without a visit to our popular night markets! Oh My Food!
Tarindak di Seni
Situated in Kota Batu, Tarindak has great view of the Water Village as well as a showcase for Handicrafts for tourists to have a look. They also boast a great selection of local food and desserts in their affordable buffet, including the iconic Ambuyat, which is a must try for tourists. I personally like their spacious comfortable setting and good service.
One of Brunei’s main attraction is Excapade Sushi. People from Miri and KK actually put Excapade as their must go place for Japanese food when they visit Brunei. It’s very affordable yet good quality sushi. If you had tried budget sushi places in Malaysia, Singapore and Australia – you will be surprised that Excapade is pretty good value for money. They have many branches throughout Brunei but I always prefer the Gadong branch.
Kimchi Korean Restaurant
Located at Regent Square in Kiulap and it’s right next to a the most popular boutique Deseo, Kimchi has great range of Korean cuisine, BBQ and desserts. This is my go to place for my Korean Food cravings.
Sapphira Cake House
This cake house specializing in traditional Malay cakes is one of the best places for tea. There are a wide variety of really good traditional cakes to choose from and I must mention I am a fan of their Nasi Lemak Ayam (Braised chicken with coconut rice served with a spicy chili jam)
Curry House at Lambak Kiri (same row as KFC)
This place simply has the best murtabak. Good crispy fragrant texture, served with delicious condiments like sardines and corn beef, this place is my favourite place for Murtabak. It’s so good, friends from Singapore actually felt this is better than their native Roti Canai! Their Roti Kosong is simply good enough to eat on it’s own but even better with the condiments and curry! My personal favourite condiment is the sardine! A special mention goes to their Roti Pisang (Banana Murtabak) and be wowed!
Located in Sengkurong, Frangipani restaurant has great ambience for good coffee and French style pastries and cakes but I am more impressed with their Asian selections. One simply must try their Nasi Goreng Belutak (fried rice using local Bruneian style sausage), Lamb Mandi (a huge portion of Lamb Briyani) and their special banana fritters, served with Ice cream.
Lao Di Fang – Nostalgic Restaurant
Situated at Central Gadong, Lao Di Fang recently opened a nostalgic themed style restaurant. Tourists would enjoy the old school Chinese style décor while enjoying the good grilled satays(only available at night). A good place for photography while enjoying a good snack.
I-Lotus is a good place for a good family dinner or function because I like their posh décor and ambience while serving quality Chinese food. It’s a classy place to take someone special for a date, comfortable and romantic set up. I am quite pleased with their seafood dishes and a wide variety to choose from.
Creative Fine Dining - Spaghettini at the Empire hotel
One of the proper fine dining restaurants in Brunei. Spaghettini offers great fusion and molecular gastronomy style dining experiences. It’s actually quite good value for fine dining prices and if you have the Empire Select Card – you can get more discounts! I personally enjoy eating here because of the romantic atmosphere, great service and I know how much effort goes into the making of the dishes here. Not something your average home chef can make at home.
A dessert or main course? Can you tell? Delicious oxtail disguised as a dessert!
Glamourous Seafood Buffet at Pantai Restaurant at The Empire Hotel
Pantai seafood restaurant has recently went through a restaurant makeover and I must say I am very impressed with their new look! They also feature fresh seafood including Crabs and fresh oysters, Japanese style grilled satay, sliced ribs from the carvery, fried rice or udon noodles stations, great appetizers and their signature desserts like kueh batik!
For review of their buffet spread: click the link below.
Madbites Café at Peugeot Showroom
Fancy some good desserts and macarons while sipping coffee and chatting with friends. Be sure to try out their Hansel and Gretel and variety of drinks. Sit, chill and relax. This is a good place to bring your overseas friend for heart to heart catching up ~~
Famous for their Curry Fish Head, they are also the go to place for good Chinese cuisine. Be sure to check out their signature tofu, German Pork Trotter and Thai style soft shell crabs (my favourite soft shell crab dish in Brunei!) Delicious! Located in Gadong just behind the Mall.
Bahn Nucha at the Mall Gadong
There are many good Thai restaurants in Brunei and I personally like Bahn Nucha at the mall. One simply must try their Claypot Tanghoon Salad, which fully utilizes the coriander root to give a strong flavour.
Nur Wanita Thai Restaurant
Located in Kiarung. Nur Wanita feels like a classy Thai restaurant (Northern Thai and Chiang Mai style) and serves both traditional and modern creative Thai style cuisine. I personally loved their Crispy Deep Fried Kang Kong and their Spicy Green Curry Spaghetti. Good service and ambience – a must try if you love Thai Food!
Ocean Quarry Kolomee (now at NEW Sentosa Restaurant)
I had been eating this delicious kolomee since I was a young boy and this kolomee has become increasingly mobile lately, always moving and changing places. At the moment, it’s available at New Sentosa Restaurant which is next to Pizza Hut in Gadong.
Hing Nam Fong restaurant
Located near the workshop areas of Menglait. Hing Nam Fong has good kueh chap (pork spare parts soup), kolomee and one must try their Fried Indomie with Lap Cheong (Chinese Dried Sausage) and sunny side up egg
Delicious Indomie Goreng with Ba Teng (Spiced Pork Cubes) and eggs. Must try!
Lim Ah Siaw Restaurant
Regarded as the most HARAM restaurant in Brunei – this restaurant is located within the Pork Market behind terrace hotel. It has popular pork dishes such as Kueh Chap Soup (pork spare parts), pork leg Kolomee and I’m a big fan of their Nai Su Chicken (crispy milk powder chicken)
Renyi Filipino Restaurant
Filipino food has been hailed for it’s richness and comfort food. A visit to Renyi restaurant to sample their Filipino cuisine is a must! You won’t be disappointed! Just make sure you go during lunch time!
Honourable mentions: Tatys Burgers, Goldiana at Orchid Garden for their seasonal themed buffets. Good Hong Kong style dim sum and roasted pork can be found at Lucky Restaurant. Gold Leaf also serves quite good roasted and barbecued pork (suckling pig only on Sunday). Ideal Restaurant is another local franchise you should try - for their delicious honey chicken!
Disclaimer: There are probably some gems that I missed which should be in this list – especially restaurants in KB and Seria. It would be great help to suggest restaurants that should be in this list.