Penang is a tropical island, so sometimes you feel the need to eat with your bare feet in the sand, or at least with a view over gently lapping waves while enjoying a refreshing sea breeze. There are almost unlimited possibilities, ranging from hawker centres, fish restaurants and beach bars where you can do this. Here are a few of the better-known ones
Beach Blanket Babylon is the outdoor bar area of the elegant restaurant The Mansion at 32 Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah, right in the heart of George Town. Here you can sit at a table or sofa in a covered area, or take one of the shaded tables on the wood decking overlooking the beach below. The vibe is mellow, the staff polite, the cocktail list extensive, and the menu is available from noon until 10.30pm daily. It offers a choice of bar snacks, local and western dishes. Particular favourites are the house specialities of Vietnamese pho and Crab laksa. There is more information at: https://32mansion.com.my/beach-bar-penang/. Phone 04-261 0289.
Ocean Green is the only sea-side seafood restaurant in George Town. It is also located on Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah, behind the Paramount Hotel at number 48F. Opening hours are 12-3pm, and 6-10.30pm daily. Favourites include the steamed tiger prawns with homemade chili sauce, and the crab served in sweet and sour spicy gravy, with man tou (Chinese buns) to mop up the sauce. The seafood and fish are deservedly well-known, but non-fish dishes such as satay are popular too. Food is served family style, so it is best to go with a group and be able to try a number of dishes, but make a reservation first as it can get crowded. You can find out more here: http://www.paramounthotel.com.my/restaurant.html or call them to make a reservation on 04 227 4530.
Northam Beach Café is a hawker centre also located on Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah, at number 58. This street was formerly known as Northam Road, hence the name. It is l situated on the beach side of one of the bungalows that were once occupied by the wealthy of Penang. Rows of tables and stools and chairs crowd the space next to the sea, and hawkers sell popular local dishes such as fried oysters, hokkien mee and char koay teow. You may have to wait to get a table at the sea-front, but turnover is rapid so it shouldn’t be too long.
Moving North away from George Town, the suburb of Tanjung Tokong offers the next sea-front experience. Seawind Beach Café, at 515 , Jalan C M Hashim, is open from mid-day to 1am daily. Plastic chairs line the sea front to enable guests to enjoy the sea breeze and the sound of waves breaking on the shore while eating from the large choice of pizzas, burgers and other Western-style dishes. Bottled beer and red or white house wine by the glass is also available. The phone number is 04-899 7099.
In Tanjung Bunga, at 543-A Jalan Tanjung Bungah, is another seafood restaurant, Tsunami Village, named for the 2004 disaster that affected this part of the island in particular. The spacious open-air restaurant is open from 6pm until 10pm daily, closed on Mondays, and the phone number is 012- 487 2718. The restaurant specialises in seafood and fish dishes served family style, and also offers a selection of Chinese food. Its wooden deck juts out over the beach, with a great view of the Floating Mosque. There is no car park and the restaurant’s popularity means on-street parking can be a challenge, so it is best to arrive by Grab or Uber.
Bora Bora, a beach bar off the main road in the tourist resort area of Batu Ferringhi is a place where you can literally eat and drink with your feet in the sand. It is a large and relaxed restaurant, which is open daily from 12pm until 1am. If you want to secure a table on the sand to relax with friends and watch the sun go down, it is best to call ahead and book, as most of the tables are in the covered area set back from the beach. The phone number is 04 885 1313. Its extensive menu offers snacks and western and local food, plus cocktails and beer, both bottled and draught. https://www.facebook.com/boraborabysunset/