Tax-free booze and white, sandy beaches make Langkawi a highly favourable destination for young holidaymakers and friend groups. But if your lot struggles to make decisions, especially food-related ones, here are three restaurants in the vicinity of Pantai Tengah to check out.
Bites by the sea
Since Bali remains inaccessible due to the Covid-19 pandemic travel restrictions, we could pretend that we are someplace similar at this bijou hideaway, aptly named Hidden. The vibe can best be summed up as “Canggu meets Uluwatu”. The music is on the upbeat side (more electronic and less Casa del Mar) and the tagline of “Let’s get baked in Langkawi” could well apply to the pizza and pasta-dominated menu too. There are also tacos and cocktails, which are ideal after a quick frolic in the waves. The sea can be quite rough, depending on the time of year, so it is not uncommon to see surfers riding the waves here.
Hidden Langkawi, 2461, Jalan Pantai Tengah. 018 577 5722. Daily, 11am-11pm.
Meals with a view
It might be the main dining room of luxury boutique property Ambong Pool Villas but there is something exceedingly soothing about sitting down to a meal there. Set amid the treetops and overlooking nearby Pulau Tepor, Rimba emphasises fresh and simple food that spans Eastern and Western culinary traditions. Start with Vietnamese spring rolls or a gado-gado salad with tiger prawns before moving on to squid ink sambal spaghetti or creamy prawn and pineapple curry. If you are here for dinner, make it a point to come early so you can enjoy a sundowner in its stunning rooftop lounge, Monsoon. A tip: Order the sublime Pina Coladas. If you are a teetotaller, the virgin Pineapple Crush is equally delish.
Rimba at Ambong Pool Villas, Jalan Teluk Baru, Pantai Tengah. 013 559 3229. Daily, 12pm-10pm.
Fancy island dining
It might just be age, but there is something deeply comforting and soul-pleasing about tucking into authentic Japanese food after a whole day spent swimming or sun-worshipping. For Langkawi holidaymakers, Unkaizan is the undisputed place to head to if you are so inclined. Located at the foot of Ambong Ambong Rainforest Retreat, it is framed by bamboo and headed by owner-chef Katsuji Takebayashi, who used to helm The Andaman hotel’s Japanese restaurant. Everything on the menu is delicious (especially the creamy korokke) but it is the specials listed daily on the blackboard — a perfect showcase for the chef’s extensive repertoire — that should get your undivided attention. Imagine fresh seabass served four ways (from sashimi to grilled or deep-fried) to lovely pressed sushi and unagi kamameshi.
Unkaizan, Lot 395, Jalan Teluk Baru, Pantai Tengah. 04 955 4118. 6pm-11pm, except Wednesdays.
This article first appeared on Aug 10, 2020 in The Edge Malaysia.