100 Best Restaurants 2008: Malaysia Kopitiam
No. 99: Malaysia Kopitiam
Reviewed By Todd Kliman, Ann Limpert, Cynthia Hacinli, Dave McIntyre
Comments () | Published January 1, 2008
Cheap Eats 2010
Malaysia Kopitiam
Address: 1827 M St. NW, Washington, DC 20036
Phone: 202-833-6232
Neighborhood: Dupont Circle, Downtown
Cuisines: Malaysian/Indonesian
Opening Hours: Open Monday through Thursday 11:30 to 10, Friday and Saturday 11:30 to 11, Sunday noon to 10.
Nearby Metro Stops: Dupont Circle, Farragut North
Price Range: Inexpensive
Dress: Informal
Noise Level: Chatty
Reservations: Not Needed
Best Dishes Green mango and squid salad; po pia, spring rolls; chicken satay; curry puffs; stuffed lotus root; roti canai; stir-fried watercress with fermented tofu; skate in curry sauce.

Cuisine: The 100-plus-item menu of Malaysian fare—a cuisine influenced by the cooking of India and China—ranges from street food to elaborate preparations such as baked herb chicken, which must be ordered 24 hours in advance. The menu includes photos of every dish.

Mood: Owners Leslie and Penny Phoon—Penny is the chef—have created a quasi–South Seas oasis in this underground eatery with straw-hut decor.

Best for: Office lunches and celebrations; dinner with a crowd; eating cheaply and well in the high-priced heart of downtown.

Best dishes: Crunchy okra with dried-shrimp paste; roti canai, Indian-style flatbread to dip in creamy chicken curry; sambal shrimp with peppers; lo bak, a crispy roll stuffed with pork and jícama; a wonderfully chewy oyster omelet; crispy Raja Chicken with vermicelli; herb chicken stuffed with shrimp, Chinese sausages, herbs, and mushrooms.

Insider tips: If you’re dining with a group or celebrating a special occasion, ask Penny Phoon to create a customized banquet. Even if it’s not a special occasion, prices are so low that you can experiment and fashion your own mini-banquet. Noodle dishes are the menu’s weakest link.

Service: ••

Subscribe to Washingtonian
Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 01/01/2008 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Restaurant Reviews