Kapitan Restaurant is a real ‘dining institution’ in Penang. This cheap long running restaurant is a firm favourite with both the locals and tourists.
Kapitan Restaurant is open 24 hours day, every day of the year, and there are people eating in there even if similar restaurants nearby seem to be permanently empty. The distinctive exterior of this restaurant makes it something of a landmark in the centre of George Town in Penang.
About the Kapitan Restaurant
Kapitan Restaurant is famous for its Indian food. The name Kapitan, according to one version of local legend, relates to an English Naval Captain asking his cook what he was having for dinner on arrival in Penang. The answer was ‘Curry Kapitan’ and this name has stuck as something a joke of legend as well as the name of a distinctive Penang style of Indian curry to which the aromatic flavours of South East Asia such as lemon grass, kaffir lime, shrimp paste, and coconut milk have been added to traditional North Indian curry recipes. Curry Kapitan is not on the menu at Kapitan Restaurant by the way, but the reference to the long heritage of the cuisine they serve here is more than appropriate.
Kapitan Restaurant is a two level restaurant with informal seating on the ground level with a kitchen in one corner and a long glass chiller cabinet with food at the back of the lower floor. Upstairs are longer tables suited to large parties of diners and this is where you go if you reserve a table in advance. The seating downstairs is basic but comfortable enough with padded chairs and granite table surfaces. The food comes fairly quickly depending on the time you go though, although bear in mind that from mid-afternoon to early evening time some of the tandoori dishes will served luke-warm (a common practice in South East Asia) having been cooked at lunch time before the tandoor oven is reignited for the busy evening trade.
Food at the Kapitan Restaurant
Kapitan Restaurant has a wide and perhaps slightly eclectic menu to cater for people who come here but don’t like Indian food. These diners are clearly a minority and there are some pizza, meat and chips, and traditional Malaysian dishes that they can order. The majority of the dishes on the menu are tried and tested specialities of the Kapitan Restaurant and these are what the majority of diners order. The two big sellers at Kapitan Rerstaurant are the ‘Tandoori Sets’ and the ‘Claypot Briyanis’. Both are complete meals priced from 8 to 10 MYR a piece depending upon what you order. The Tandoori set (pictured below) is a piece of marinated chicken cooked in a tandoor oven with naan bread, a dhal and some spiced dipping sauce. The claypot briyanis feature distinctive yellow spiced rice with succulent meat on top.
There are some other good dishes on the menu, but these tend to be ordered less frequently. They have kebab, tosai, roti canai, prata, chicken vindaloo, chilli chicken, mutton rogan josh and some vegetarian curries you will recognise from India. Also worthy of a mention is the drinks menu here. They don’t serve alcohol but they do serve a pretty good mango lassi and an outstanding almond shake along with some more common soft drinks you can buy anywhere.
Location of the Kapitan Restaurant
- Kapitan Restaurant is located at 93, Chulia St, Georgetown, 10200 George Town, Penang, Malaysia.