The streets and beaches of Penang are lined with cafes, each having a theme and a menu of its own. The cafes in Penang range from traditional to fusion and modern, tiny to large and minimalistic to funky. Penang has something to satiate each craving, be it sweet, spicy or sour. Here are some of the best cafes in the region:
1. China House
China House is one of the most well-known cafes in Penang. A food lover's go-to hub, China House offers a versatile fusion menu, including over 50 types of cakes. The cafe is known for its antique and artsy vibe, which is enhanced by live band performances at night. China House's midnight menu offers to attract a large footfall every night.
Location: 153, Beach St, Georgetown, 10300 George Town Timings: 9:00 AM to 1:00 AM Must try dishes: Tiramisu cake
2. Urban Daybreak
Urban daybreak is a quirky cafe with an all-day breakfast menu, specializing in authentic Australian breakfast with a twist. It has been founded by a group of friends who are fond of cooking and eating. The ambience here is warm and cosy. Urban daybreak follows the open kitchen concept; visitors can see the food being cooked.
Location: 338, Lebuh Pantai, George Town, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang Timings: 7:30 AM to 5:30 PM (except Tuesdays) Must try dishes: Fried chicken waffle
3. Jio Cafe
This cafe is named Jio because of the Hokkien word which means "to invite". It also sounds like 'jiao' which makes banana. Hence, this pink and yellow cafe is filled with banana decorations and artefacts. There is a pink pool filled with balls and flamingo floats and a blow-up chair with a yellow wall of bananas. These funky items make this one of the most instagrammable cafes in Penang.
Location: 225, Lebuh Kimberley, 10100 George Town Timings: 12:00 PM to 11:00 PM Must try dishes: The lady in red (prepared by dipping a rose into liquid nitrogen, crushing it and letting the petals trickle down onto the cheesecake and macaroon)
4. Constant Gardener Coffee
As the name suggests, Constant Gardener Coffee is a speciality hub for coffee lovers. The owner of the cafe is himself a coffee enthusiast and is very particular with the quality of his coffee. He believes in imparting this enthusiasm to his guests. For non-coffee lovers, there is their signature Single Origin Madagascar Chocolate drink, which is sure not to disappoint.
Location: Ground Floor, Chinese Chamber Of Commerce Building, 9, Lebuh Light, George Town, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang Timings: 9:00 AM to 12:00 AM (except Mondays) Must try dishes: Espresso Tasters Menu
5. Black Kettle
Black Kettle is another popular tourist cafe, with a wide range of pastry cakes. The chefs of this cafe bake fresh bread every day, which makes the items of their menu clean and healthy. The cafe is a cost one with a fusion menu and must-try coffees. Solo travellers frequently visit it.
Location: 105, Beach St, Georgetown, 10300 George Town, Penang, Malaysia Timings: Sunday- Thursday: 9:00 AM to 11:30 PM, Friday and Saturday: 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM. Must try dishes: Hooi’s Original Salted Egg Yolk Pasta
6. Lavish Fusion Bakery
As the name suggests, Lavish Fusion Bakery is an eloquent cafe with a contemporary menu and bakery items. The cafe has lots of greenery and also a vertical indoor garden. Some of the most beloved elements from their menu are pasta and other brunch dishes, with cronuts topping the list. They offer cronuts in various flavours such as lemon booze, salted egg, etc. Each of these is paired with ice cream and sauce. The dessert drinks here are must-tries too.
Location: 214, Lebuh Victoria, George Town, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia Timings: Monday – Friday: 10:00 AM to 11.30 PM; Saturday: 9:00 AM to 12:00 AM; Sunday: 9 AM to 11.30 PM Must try dishes: Cronuts, Magnum Frappe
Sugaa is a chain of Chinese restaurants in Penang. Their speciality dish is mille-feuille, which is prepared using the traditional Chinese method. Another unique item is their swan-shaped pastries, which come in three flavours- scarlet durian, scarlet potato and scarlet cheesy. The fruit and milk teas at Sugaa are a popular accompaniment.
Location: 87, Jalan Nagor, 10050 Jelutong, Malaysia Timings: 11:00 AM to 12:00 AM Must try dishes: Mille-feuille
8. Bean Sprout Cafe
Bean Sprouts Cafe is a comparatively new addition to Penang's foodie spots. It is a vintage and warm breakfast spot. This cafe has an advantage over others because it is located within walking distance from all famous tourist spots. Passerbys visit this cafe mainly to try their avocado dishes and coffee because Bean Sprout is known for their latte art.
Location: 35, Pitt Street (Masjid Kapitan Keling) Penang, Malaysia Timings: 9:30 AM to 7:00 PM Must try dishes: Avocado toast
Acupaday is a place for relaxation. Visitors can come here and chill for as long as they want. To accompany their rejuvenating time is a list of fusion items, including tomyam spaghetti and rendang chicken burger. They also have other fascinating items such as ice cube coffee and tiramisu cake.
Location: 55, Lebuh Bishop, George Town, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang Timings: Mon- Thursday 12:00 PM to 11:00 PM Friday & Saturday: 12:00 PM to 12:00 AM Closed on Sundays Must try dishes: Tomyam spaghetti and Rendang chicken burger
10. Belle and Cream
Belle and Cream is one of the unique cafes in Penang. This is because they introduced the concept of burnt cheesecake to the Malaysian food industry. The burnt cheesecakes here are typical Basque styled; the crust is caramelized and crisp, while the centre melts in the mouth. Each of these are lined with tapioca pearls. Apart from burnt cheesecake, their bubble teas are beloved too.
Location: 16, Medan Lim Cheng Teik, Kampung Syed, 10250 George Town, Pulau Pinang Timings: Wednesday – Monday: 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM (Except Tuesdays) Must try dishes: Burnt cheesecakes, Bubble teas
Kafka is one of the newest cafes in Penang. It is the only cafe here to be built inside a bungalow. The space is green and minimalistic, with plants in every corner. The special items from the menu include coffee and snacks such as calamari bites with garlic mayonnaise.
Location: 15, Jalan Kelawai, George Town, 10250 George Town, Pulau Pinang Timings: 8:00 AM to 11:00 PM Must try dishes: Vegetable sandwich, sweet potato fries
Wheeler's is quite an old favourite in Penang and has recently undergone renovation. The interiors are attention, capturing and creating. The menu is a reasonable and innovative one with fusion dishes such as expresso chicken. The staff is friendly and attentive.
Location: Jalan Love Lane, Chinatown, Georgetown Timings: 8:30 AM to 1:00 AM except for Thursday and Friday, 8:30 AM to 2:00 AM Must try dishes: Avocado salmon, mushroom soup
13. Ice Cafe
Tired of the scorching sun and the heat? Dig in at Ice Cafe, an ice-themed cafe where the temperature is deliberately lowered to 10°C. The space is filled with ice-themed decorations and looks almost surreal. Ice Cafe serves only desserts.
Location: 193 (level 1), Lebuh Victoria, 10300 Penang, Malaysia. Timings:10:30 AM to 10:30 PM Must try dishes: Iced coffee
14. Rainbow Cafe
Rainbow cafe is known for its dessert menu, especially doughnut ice cream, which is a fluffy doughnut topped with ice cream and heart-shaped sprinkles. The perfect dessert for a date or a self date! The cafe also offers several options for cakes, with ever-changing flavours!
Location: The Prestige Hotel, 18, Gat Lebuh Gereja, 10300 George Town Timings: 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM (except Tuesdays) Must try dishes: Doughnut ice cream
15. Matcho Cafe
Matcho is a very dreamy place with all pink interiors, plants and antique wooden furniture. Their main speciality is matcha drinks and desserts. They also offer the option of made to order desserts, which allows guests to be demanding with what they want and satiate their taste buds perfectly.
Location: 99B, Lebuh Noordin, George Town, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang Timings: 10:30 AM to 11:30 PM (except Tuesdays) Must try dishes: Matcha toast
16. Norm @ Saw Emporium Penang
This restaurant has two menus- norm, which is served during the day and includes coffees, teas, cocktails, waffles and tiramisu; and noct, which is served after sunset and includes the infusion of alcohol to every item in the menu. This intriguing, diverse menu brings Norm to this list of best cafes in Penang.
Location: The Saw Emporium, 1, Gat Lebuh Macallum, 10300 George Town Timings: 10:00 AM to 12:00 AM Must try dishes: Coffee & Waffles
17. Macallum Connoisseurs
Macallum Connoisseurs is one of the biggest cafes in Penang. The cafe has a coffee academy within its premises, which makes it a coffee special spot. It is frequently visited by large groups of friends, rather than solo travellers. It is a prevailing party and gettogether hub.
Location: 1, Gat Lebuh Macallum, George Town, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang Timings: 9:00 AM to 12:00 AM Must try dishes: Ocean obsession
18. Caffeine Chemistry Coffee
Staying true to the name, this cafe specializes in serving coffee with a twist. They serve beverages in beakers and flasks, creating the vibe of being in a chemistry lab. Apart from beverages, they serve waffles and homemade gelatos of different flavours, such as rum and raisin, Kahlua coffee, etc.
Location: No. 27, Nagore Square, Jalan Nagor, Penang Timings: Monday- Thursday: 2:00 PM to 11:00 PM Friday- Saturday: 1:00 PM to 12:00 AM Sunday- 1:00 PM to 11:00 PM Must try dishes: Gelatos
19. Fuku Eatery and Desserts
Fuku Eatery and Desserts is one of the highly specialized Japanese cafes in Penang. Some of their beloved dishes include Tori Karaage Curry Udon, Chicken Katsudon, and Omurice, a dish recipe that went viral on the internet. For the main course, kakigori is a recommended option.
Location: 37a&b, Beach St, Georgetown, 10300 George Town Timings: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM Must try dishes: Chicken Katsudon
Kraffmen is an Australian themed cafe, with minimalistic interiors and one of the best brunch menus in the state. Their list is designed keeping Australian connoisseur in mind. This place is known for its presentation of food and a unique selection of milkshakes.
Location: 80, Jalan Zainul Abidin, George Town Timings: 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM (except Wednesdays) Must try dishes: milkshakes
With the state overflowing with cafes to the brim, any traveller would turn to a foodie, and every foodie will rejoice! Considering the number of options of diverse food, I think it definitely makes sense to dedicate at least one entire day to cafe hopping in Penang!