Our favourite Malaysian restaurants in Wellington

A plate of laksa on an orange table.

When you’re looking for dinner ideas, a hearty Malaysian laksa or fried noodles usually does the trick. Here are our favourite places to find Malaysian food in Wellington.

Words by: John Son

Photos: Anna Briggs & Stock by Nancy Zhou

Is there a more apt definition of ‘comfort food’ than a soothing bowl of Malaysian laksa - especially in the middle of a typical Wellington winter? Probably not. From hearty noodle soups to intricate rice dishes and more, Malaysian food is as delicious as it is versatile. 

And fortunately for Wellingtonians, the city is lined with top-notch Malaysian restaurants practically wherever you go. Here are some of our favourite spots for a Malaysian feed in the capital.

Satay Palace

165 Cuba Street, Te Aro

A tiny shop crammed among the myriad others on Cuba Street, Satay Palace is easy to miss - but once you stumble upon it, you’ll be coming back for more. The fit out may be plain and no-frills, but the food is anything but. Select from the full range of classic Malaysian dishes, cooked to authentic perfection and served in generous portions.

KK Malaysian Restaurant

54 Ghuznee Street, Te Aro

Another Wellington favourite whose popularity spans generations, KK Malaysian is one of the most frequented restaurants on the bustling Ghuznee Street. It’s not the largest restaurant, so you’d do well to book in advance, but once you’re seated and settled, you’re in for a fantastic feed. The curry dishes here are renowned, and their kung po chicken has its own cult following.

A staff member working behind the counter at Little Penang.

Little Penang

175 Victoria Street, Te Aro

This one needs little introduction, having been a local favourite for as long as anyone can remember. Packed at all hours of the day, Little Penang’s popularity is largely thanks to its comprehensive yet easy-to-navigate menu. Simply tuck into a Malaysian classic, build your own curry combo, or go for the special dish of the day. And, of course, don’t forget to stop by the cabinet on your way out for a sweet treat for the road.

Istana Malaysia

1 Allen Street, Te Aro

Nestled in a prime corner spot near Courtenay Place, Istana Malaysia becomes a hive of activity on Friday nights, particularly when crowds swarm here to kick-start their weekends with a quality Malaysian meal. With its spacious interior and rows of tables, it’s a popular choice for large groups planning a celebratory BYO dinner. With a long menu filled with tantalising options, make sure you pick your meal before the festivities begin.

A plate of beef with a side of a boiled egg.

Satay Malaysia

255 Cuba Street, Te Aro

Another top pick for those who love a vino or two to go with their rendang, Satay Malaysia is a BYO-friendly spot that offers a smaller, more intimate setting. With all the Malaysian classics, plenty of vegetarian options, and a selection of chef’s specials, there’s something for everyone. The beef rendang here comes highly recommended, as does the garlic roti.

Kanama Kopi Kadai

1 Rongotai Road, Kilbirnie

Unlike the other restaurants on this list, Kanama Kopi Kadai is a bit further out from the city centre, but the drive is so worth it. Head over to the Kilbirnie favourite and indulge in everything Malaysian (and not so Malaysian). The friendly husband-and-wife team are always on hand to serve up your favourite Malaysian delicacies, along with a few surprises such as chicken karaage and cheese wontons.

A bowl of laksa on a table.

Rasa

200 Cuba Street, Te Aro

A cosy little spot that’s also one of the most popular on Cuba Street, Rasa has been serving timeless Malaysian food to Wellingtonians for decades. If you’re lucky enough to secure a table in the compact space, tuck into as many dishes as you can, because there’s a lot on offer. The curries are a specialty and the dosa gets rave reviews, and if you head along for lunch, the specials are hard to beat.

Neat Wellington Places

Garage Project

Coloured framed art on wall.
Place Wellington
Goods key icon.

Situated in an old petrol station in the Aro Valley, Garage Project’s vibe is all about producing experimental beers in a perfect, yet unexpected setting.

Niche Textile Studio

Chair next to a loom.
Place Wellington
Stay and explore key icon.

Niche Textile Studio was set up by Christine Brimer to help share her passion with Wellingtonians - creating beautiful woven homeware with a focus on sustainability.

Staple Espresso

A woman pouring coffee.
Place Wellington
Cafes key icon.

Sleek and simple, Staple Espresso speaks volumes about letting a product do the talking – and in this case it’s the coffee that’s got people chatting

Ortega Fish Shack

Table by photo frames on wall.
Place Wellington
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A favourite amongst Wellingtonians, Ortega Fish Shack is a must go-to seafood restaurant within the city.