Taman Tun Dr Ismail, more commonly abbreviated into TTDI, is often considered one of the most covetable addresses to have in the Klang Valley area and it isn’t difficult to imagine why. After all, there aren’t that many leafy suburban enclaves that offer the same convenient access to both PJ, downtown Kuala Lumpur, and Subang left in the Klang Valley area, in addition to playing host to some of the most varied number of restaurants in the city.
Formerly a rural rubber estate prior to its development, TTDI was established in 1973 and had been named in tribute to Malaysia’s second deputy Prime Minister, Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman. At the time, only a small cluster of landed homes, townhouses, and condominiums dotted the township.
It later expanded with terraced housing and the construction of a wet market, which continues to operate to this very day. TTDI has since matured into a tight-knit and supportive community that comprises a melting pot of ethnic groups that have come to define its appeal for many homeowners.
Another boon that the neighbourhood has been especially known for is food, with a considerable number of hospitality entrepreneurs setting up shop within the vicinity. Predictably, this has made TTDI a popular dining haven for many city folks, which invariably also translates to a painful scarcity of available parking spots even on the best of days. But if you’re willing to brave the traffic and potential limbo of having to circle around for a spot, this quarter truly has plenty of gastronomic wealth to offer.
Here are some of our picks for the best TTDI restaurants that you simply cannot afford to miss out on when visiting the neighborhood.
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1. Restorante Porto Romano
A well-loved name not just in TTDI, but across the Klang Valley, Restorante Porto Romano has proven itself as one of the most consistently reliable purveyors of Italian and Mediterranian fare. Located along Persiaran Zaaba, diners are ushered into a place of homey comfort that has no doubt witnessed countless family gatherings, birthdays, and other special Kodak moments over its many years of operation.
The menu here is relatively unpretentious, offering a range of pasta, antipastio, and pizzas, coupled with a healthy selection of seafood and meat offerings for those with more voracious appetites. Reasonable prices further add to Porto Romano’s appeal.
Address: 28, Persiaran Zaaba, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, 60000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
Operating hours: 11AM – 11PM (opens daily)
Contact: +6 03-7710 0509
2. Dough & Dolce
For brunch aficionados, this one is an easy target to aim for. Found along Lorong Datuk Sulaiman 1, which in itself plays host to a number of other popular eateries, Dough & Dolce is best known for serving up hearty plates of comfort for vying diners in the neighbourhood. Keep your eyes peeled for a bright yellow door and a short flight of steps will take you up to the cafe proper.
A quick gander over the large chalkboard menu that dominates one side of the restaurant’s walls indicates a plethora of reassuringly familiar dishes, but don’t be fooled. Their grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup will have you coming back for second and thirds. Tables can be scarce during peak hours over the weekends, so plan ahead!
Address: 24A, Lorong Datuk Sulaiman 1, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, 60000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
Operating hours: 8AM – 5.30PM (Tuesdays to Fridays), 9AM – 5.30PM (Saturdays & Sundays, closed on Mondays)
Contact: +6 012-744 7880
3. Cafe-Bistrot David
A list of TTDI restaurants wouldn’t be complete without mentioning one of its most illustrious culinary luminaries: Michelin-winning Chef Darren Chin. With all of his restaurants populating the neighbourhood, his contributions on both a local and regional scale has indubitably elevated Malaysian gastronomy to a significant degree.
In which case, those looking to sample some of his creations in a more casual setting can turn to Cafe-Bistrot David, a venture that was made possible in collaboration with his father, David Chin of Dave’s Deli fame. Steering away from high brow offerings, Cafe-Bistrot David is considerably more approachable in its casual fare. Our pick of the lot would go to their Mixed Fish Pie, for the sheer face that you will be hard pressed to find it served anywhere else in the Klang Valley.
Address: 135, Jln Aminuddin Baki, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, 60000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
Operating hours: 12PM – 4PM, 6PM – 11PM (Mondays to Fridays, closed on Tuesdays), 11AM – 4PM, 6PM – 11PM (Saturdays and Sundays)
Contact: +6 018-912 0332
4. DC by Darren Chin
And speaking of Chef Darren Chin, it would be a crime not to mention the most significant restaurant in TTDI to bear his name: DC. Considered hallowed ground for culinary purists, the Michelin-starred restaurant’s menu provides an insight into Chin’s peerless culinary expertise, demonstrated through a carefully curated menu that juxtaposes French technique with Japanese influences.
The results speak for themselves through your choice of either a four or eight-course prix fixe menu, yielding delights such as exceedingly fresh Scottish diver scallops served with butternut squash ravioli and pistachio sauce, as well as Brittany blue rock lobster with caviar sauce and a celery emulsion.
Address: 44 Persiaran Zaaba, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur, 60000
Operating hours: 6PM – 11.30PM (Tuesday to Sunday)
Contact: +6 03-7731 0502
5. Gai by Darren Chin
Beyond artisanal French food and casual sit-down European dishes, Chin’s repertoire has subsequently expanded to encompass the Southeast Asian terroir by way of Gai by Darren Chin. As he describes it, the restaurant seeks to represent the best of both Isaan and Lanna cooking to Malaysians.
An homage to his wife’s roots, dishes served here take one’s tastebuds on a tour through the splendor of Chaingmai’s wet markets with staples such as grilled isaan style free range chicken with tamarind chili sauce, and a Burmese-influenced Gaeng Hang Lay curry with spice tempered by sweetness.
Address: 26A, Lorong Datuk Sulaiman 1, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, 60000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
Operating hours: 12PM – 3PM, 6PM – 11PM (closed on Mondays)
Contact: +6 03-7732 4406
6. Brasserie Leon
Time and time again, diners the world over are regaled by the sheer artistry of French cooking, as evidenced by Michelin stars and Le Cordon Bleu ribbons. While there can be no denying the legacy that the nation has where epicureanism is concerned, staples of French cooking can sometimes prove to be more deceptively humdrum than previously imagined.
And in TTDI, this is especially evident in the menu at Brasserie Léon, whose steak frites has earned them their claim to fame among Klang Valle diners. As the name suggests, the restaurant serves premium cuts of beef steak cooked to your preference, alongside a heaping portion of fries to fill up with. And you can rest assured that the simple pleasure of well-cooked, succulent beef will have you beaming from ear to ear.
Address: 1-1, Greens Terrace, Jalan Wan Kadir 3, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, 60000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
Operating hours: 5.30PM – 11PM (Mondays to Fridays, closed on Tuesdays), 11AM – 3PM, 5.30PM – 11PM (Saturdays and Sundays)
Contact: +6 03-2712 4481
7. Ember Modern Bistro
At this point, the bulk of Malaysians need no convincing of the inherent appeal of Japanese food, spanning from conventional sushi platters wrapped under cellophane to haute omakase experiences. In this case, those looking to add to their list of Japanese restaurants in TTDI should look to Ember Modern Bistro.
Its sleek facade belies a bustling crowd who watch on with gleeful curiosity at the deft handiwork of the kitchen team, who work in seamless synchronicity under the leadership of founder and head chef, Gary Anwar. The Far Eastern influences take centre stage here as evidenced by an almost disciplined approach to austerity, but surprises with its unconventional flavours and textures. Try the Eggplant Salad with Sesame Dressing to pique your tastebuds, featuring strips of fried eggplant as its base.
Address: 20, Jalan Wan Kadir 1, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, 60000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
Operating hours: 6PM – 11.30PM (closed on Sundays and Mondays)
Contact: +6 018-323 2786
Another brasserie on our list is Topshelf, which can be found in the Lorong Rahim Kajai part of TTDI. Billed as a no-frills French restaurant that is meant to fit seamlessly into the neighbourhood’s pace, its relaxed ambiance provides just the necessary amount of cozy comfort to encourage diners to leave their day’s toils by the door.
Seeking not to reinvent the wheel but to perfect foundational dishes from French cuisine, Topshelf’s menu serves up a medley of classic staples that both newcomers and seasoned returning faces will relish in enjoying. Their Roasted Duck Breast and Roasted Rack of Lamb are both key highlights, cooked to timed perfection with a crisp skin that yields a flushed centre.
Address: 61, Lorong Rahim Kajai 13, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, 60000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
Operating hours: 5PM – 12AM (closed on Sundays)
Contact: +6 011-6177 7277
9. ENOTECA Vino & Cucina
The word enoteca exists in the Italian lexicon as a reference to specialty wine shops that allow visitors to sample or purchase the region’s wine offerings at a modest fee. In the case of TTDI’s ENOTECA Vino & Cucina, the concept here translates to roughly a similar experience, albeit in a decidedly more upmarket space.
Beyond their extensive selection of wines from the Old Country, the establishment offers a robust feast of Italian dishes, chiefly anchored by pizza and pasta classics. The latter is especially noteworthy, as they are known to serve handmade chitarra pasta noodles, which are a variety of egg pasta found typically in the Abruzzo region.
Address: 65, Lorong Rahim Kajai 13, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, 60000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
Operating hours: 11.15am – 11.30pm (Sundays to Fridays), 11.15AM – 11PM (Saturdays)
Contact: +6 017-290 2402
10. La Suisse
Across the F&B industry, it’s no secret that some cuisines receive more than their fair share of fanfare from the public, with Japanese, Korean, and Thai restaurants aplenty in every other neighbourhood. But Swiss-French fare is often less ventured, so much so that only a small clutch of eateries boast apres ski-appropriate dishes in the Klang Valley.
One of them happens to be located in the very heart of TTDI, known as La Suisse. With a legacy spanning a quarter of a century (that’s 25 years, by the way), this restaurant has stood firm against the tides of food trends, resolutely adhering to founder Chef Mike Yap’s vision of introducing Swiss-French food to the Malaysian capital. Predictably, cheeses feature heavily in their menu, with deep-fried morsels of Cheese Malakows warranting seconds.
Address: 17, Lorong Rahim Kajai 13, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, 60000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
Operating hours: 12PM – 11PM (Tuesdays to Saturdays), 6PM – 10.30PM (Sundays, closed on Mondays)
Contact: +6 03-7733 6996
11. Cinq Dining
A considerably newer entrant on our list of TTDI restaurants Cinq Dining was established during the earlier part of 2023 by a group of seasoned culinary veterans who, after cutting their teeth in some of the city’s finest restaurants, decided to carve out a path of their own.
Aiming to provide a sensory experience that goes beyond mere taste, the menu is built upon the five foundational pillars of flavour: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and the ever-elusive umami. Wine pairings are available, courtesy of a seasoned in-house sommelier, for those looking to further elevate their meal experience.
Address: Unit 1-3A & 1-5, Menara KEN TTDI, 37, Jalan Burhaneddin Helmi, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, 60000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
Operating hours: 6PM – 12AM (closed on Sundays)
Contact: +6 012-318 8395
12. The Bread Bar
Our day-to-day associations with a humble loaf of bread tend to go no further beyond slices of charred toast slathered with butter and kaya for convenience on the go. But at The Bread Bar, baked goods are elevated to the marquee star, as opposed to the supporting cast to your meal.
While a plethora of pastries is to be expected in this shockingly sleek slice of the future, the sandwiches are arguably its biggest draw here, made of sourdough baked in-house on the daily to ensure consistent freshness. You can even order a sampling platter that comes complete with truffle butter to savour their bread offerings in their most unadulterated form.
Address: 57, Lorong Rahim Kajai 13, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, 60000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
Operating hours: 8AM – 5PM, 6PM – 10.30PM (closed on Wednesdays)
Contact: +6 011-1200 5626
13. Der Backmeister
A well-weathered and well-loved name in the TTDI neighbourhood since its inception, Der Backmeister has minted its popularity by bringing a taste of Germany to Kuala Lumpur. Over the years, little from their menu has changed, with most of their staples remaining faithful to its provenance.
Less common delicacies such as German-style meatloaf, freshly baked, Munich-inspired brezel pastry with cream cheese, as well as a belly-warming beef goulash soup are available for intrepid tastebuds, while more conventional sandwiches are available for those seeking familiarity on their plates.
Address: 40, Persiaran Zaaba, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, 60000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
Operating hours: 8AM – 5PM (closed on Mondays)
Contact: +6 03-2856 0613
14. Leen’s Middle East Kitchen
For a well-considered Middle Eastern menu in TTDI, look no further than Leen’s. Fortunately enough, it wouldn’t take much looking to suss out its location, for the delectable scent of baked goods and aromatics easily wafts down along Jalan Burhanuddin Helmi, courtesy of its own in-house brick oven churning out baked goods local to the region.
Classics such as hummus dip and breads, kebab khashkhash, and even grilled chicken are all elevated for contemporary palates, without losing any of its depth and character. And surprising reinterpretations of Middle Eastern flavour, such as their Crispy Syrian Rice, lend an added air of variety.
Address: 136, Jalan Burhanuddin Helmi, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, 60000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
Operating hours: 6PM – 11PM (Mondays to Fridays), 12PM – 3PM, 6PM – 11PM (Saturdays and Sundays)
Contact: +6 011-7020 7551
15. Peko Peko
A gastrobar unlike what many will have likely witnessed before in the city, Peko Peko’s infectious appeal takes root even before you step in. A wash of neon signage casts a prismatic glow over its chic dining space, awash with a choice selection of concrete, glass, and steel for a truly cyberpunk-approved flourish that calls upon Masamune Shirow and Katsuhiro Otomo’s finest works.
While Japanese food is predictably their raison d’etre, it is prepared with modern flourishes that playfully eschew from the rigid discipline of the cuisine’s typical expectations. The extensive sake selection here further adds to its appeal, making it a favourite for those looking to cut loose off the clock.
Address: 1-2, Greens Terrace, Jalan Wan Kadir 3, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, 60000 Kuala Lumpur
Operating hours: 12PM – 2.30PM, 5PM – 12AM (Mondays to Saturdays)
Contact: +6 013-627 8895
Feature and hero image credits: leens.kl/Instagram, cinq_dining/Instagram
This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Kuala Lumpur