What to eat in City Square Mall and Komtar JBCC at Johor Bahru, Malaysia?
This article was first posted on 8 February 2018 and has been updated on 16 January 2019, 20 June 2019 to include new restaurants, and again on 19 September 2019 for new eats!
City Square Mall and Komtar JBCC are popular hangouts for Singaporeans who wish to indulge in cheap food over the causeway. Here are some of the restaurants in City Square Mall and Komtar JBCC that you can try if you're heading to Johor Bahru for the first time! Of course, there are also a lot of eateries and cafes outside these two malls, but this is a great start for not-so-adventurous (in braving the heat and traffic) travellers!
We recently visited JB again in January 2019 and Komtar JBCC seems to have gone through quite a revamp! Now you can find new and exciting restaurants like Four Fingers, Fatburger, and Oven and Fried Chicken which we have included in our list!
If you're wondering what is the best way to get there, consider taking a train! (Read our blog post on: How to get to Johor Bahru, Malaysia from Singapore by train?)
1. Kim Gary Hong Kong Cafe (Lot MB-06 At City Square Mall)
You can also find this restaurant in Singapore's Vivocity but the prices are much cheaper if you have them in JB. They have several outlets all over Malaysia so quality is assured! This place is one of our favourite Hong Kong Cafe for this particular dish - the Cap Kan Fried Nissin Noodles.
Although some may think it is just instant noodles, but the sauce mix and slight spice of the noodles is seriously addictive! If you head to Kim Gary for lunch, you'll even get a drink and a choice of soup - mushroom or borsch, to complete your meal!
The other dishes that we've tried include the Spicy Noodle with Beef Slice in "Typhoon Shelter", the Korean Mushroom Soup Cap Kan, the baked rice, and the Thai Basil Chicken with rice. The Spicy Noodle is really tasty, but too large a portion for me, and the Thai Basil Chicken is nice but not spectacular, as for the rest, you can give it a miss!
Price: About 13 SGD for two mains/set meals.
2. Wong Kok Char Chan Teng (MB-02A At City Square Mall)
This is another Hong Kong Cafe that tried to open outlets in Singapore but also quickly closed (e.g. the one in Bugis). It was great for its Mentaiko Baked Rice, but unfortunately the one in JB didn't have that? The one in City Square is located on the 2nd floor, within the Inner City.
For Wong Kok, our picks were the side dishes as well as the hot plate beef. Although it is slightly pricer, the hot plate beef steak set meal consists of a drink, soup, garlic bread, and a dessert (about sgd 10). Don't expect superb quality of beef though!
The side dish: Honey Roasted Char Siew (about sgd 5) was a steal for the amount of fatty goodness they served. It looks unassuming, but it was soft and very flavourful. We couldn't finish it!
The honey bacon meat? was delicious! The sauce is sweet and the minced meat was soft and very juicy. Yummy!
Price: About 30 SGD for two set meals, one additional drink, and two sides
3. Canton-i (Lot J3-05 at City Square Mall)
Another Hong Kong restaurant, Canton-i is our go-to for dim sum in JB. Order your usual siew mai and har kow generously as you wouldn't feel the pinch when you see your final bill. These are our three must-order dishes! The honey roasted char siew, fried tofu (shown below), and dough sticks with rice flour roll are simply awesome!
Price: About 30 SGD for two people. Lots of food included
4. Dragon-i (Lot 211, 212, 213 at Komtar JBCC)
Dragon-i is part of the same group as Canton-i but they have more la-mian dishes and is a Shanghainese restaurant. You can also find the fried tofu here! Do order the la mian and xiao long bao!
Price: About 30 SGD for two people
5. Arashi (Lot MB-03, 04 & 05 at City Square Mall)
Arashi is our go-to restaurant for sushi and japanese food. Although the one we went to was at KSL, JB City Square Mall also has one. It's japanese food is affordable and very delicious. Order up a feast and it would only cost about 40 SGD for two people. They have interesting sushi and very yummy cooked japanese food for those who do not enjoy eating raw slices of sashimi!
6. Tony Roma's (Lot 203 at Komtar JBCC)
If you've tried Tony Roma's in Singapore and loved it? You've got to try Tony Roma's in JB. Everything's pretty much the same, but you'll pay in RM and you get to try BEEF RIBS that are not available in Singapore's outlets! These beef ribs are the softest ever! They will melt in your mouths as you taste the sweet savoury sauce.
Price: About 30 SGD for two
7. Paik's Pan Sizzling Korean Chicken (Lot MF-08 & 09, Level 3, City Square Mall)
This is almost like Yoogane, but cheaper and better! Choose your main protein (you can mix), and remember to add cheese and korean ramen! Look at the hot steaming pan of goodness! Yum yum!
Price: About 40 SGD for two
8. Nyonya Leaf (MK3-06 & 07 at City Square Mall)
This was a recent discovery. It was always very crowded and we were always too full to have kueh. We decided one day to try this because of the long queues and to have coffee with a bit of a snack! The must-tries are the Nyonya Chicken. It was crispy and very flavourful. The assortment of kuehs were very good too! The rendang nasi lemak and asam laksa also do deserve some special mention. If this outlet is too crowded, head over to Komtar JBCC as they also have another one there!
Price: About 10 SGD for two (OMG!)
9. Teochew Chendol (Level 3, Unit 19 at City Square Mall)
This is newly opened last year and I've tried it previously at Aeon Tebrau. The chendol is really good and many people seemed to love them for their Assam Laksa too! Not sure how their Assam Laksa tastes as I don't particularly enjoy them but it should be good! Have you tried them? Share what you think with us!
We've also tried their Rojak this time but still very much prefer the Singaporean tangy type of Rojak. Here, their sauce is a little too thick and sweet for our liking.
10. Four Fingers (Level 2, Lot 205, Komtar JBCC)
You've always had to queue up long for the four fingers in Singapore but in JB, there is no queue plus you get to have your favourite fried soy or hot chicken at a slightly cheaper price!
11. Oven and Fried Chicken (Level 2, Lot 202C, Komtar JBCC)
Another Korean fried chicken stall that we patronise quite regularly in Singapore and they have a branch in Singapore! Like Four Fingers, its cheaper and less crowded here! We have yet to taste it to give a full review but it is on our list. We'll definitely update this post once we've tried it!
12. Fatburger (Level 3, Lot 307, Komtar JBCC)
Pictures are from Fatburger in Singapore and they are by far our favourite burgers! Everything is good there. We've visited the Novena outlet a couple of times and tried almost everything on their menu. The onion rings are crispy and tasty, their burgers juicy and flavourful and on our recent trip, we've tried their wings and milkshake.
You really can't go wrong with burgers and we do hope the Johor Bahru version is just as good! Like Oven and Fried Chicken, give us some time to try this. On our previous trip to JB, we've already eaten all our favourites from City Square only to walk over to JBCC and found all these awesome new restaurants. We were simply too full to stuff ourselves further and can only bookmark these for the next trip. Nonetheless, this is definitely on our munchlist!
13. Bornga (Level 3, Lot MF-23, City Square Mall)
Located at the corner of Level 3 Inner City of City Square Mall, Bornga's a great restaurant for those who are looking for premium Korean barbecue at more affordable prices. We've had Bornga several times in Singapore but always find it quite pricey for an everyday meal. But in Johor Bahru, Bornga is a popular joint with great prices.
Like with every Korean restaurant, every dish you order grants you a range of tasty side dishes. We initially wanted a snack but the Spicy Pork Belly came as quite a huge portion and we enjoyed the onions and pork belly wrapped in lettuce and kimchi! (This dish is slightly cheaper during lunch as there is a lunch promotion). We also had a beef stew that was extremely rich and is awesome after shopping in the cold, cold mall.
We will definitely head back for more of their dishes, possibly for the barbecued meat the next time!
14. SDS Bakery and Cafe (Level B1, Lot MB 08/09, City Square Mall)
Located right opposite Shi Lin Street Snacks, SDS cafe is a little joint that also shares the same space as its bakery. Yes, although there is an Astons opened at City Square Mall, forget about that when you have SDS. You can get a decent chicken chop for about 6 SGD.
Sign up for the SDS card for more discounts and save more money for your next meal! :)
15. Meng Meng Roasted Duck (Level 3 MF21A-22, City Square Mall)
If you're a fan of Dian Xiao Er or Ya Wang, you'll have to try Meng Meng Roasted Duck. Especially since it is now conveniently located within city square mall. You can find Meng Meng Roasted Duck right next to Bornga. Besides the roasted duck, they also serve amazing char siew and roasted pork in a beautiful "duck platter".
We also tried their chicken feet and it was so tender with lots of collagen goodness. Their fish head curry in a claypot was also quite a unique one. Instead of the usual fish head curry that is more tangy, this had a savoury, spicy, and very rich broth. When we were there, the fish used was really fresh and we especially loved the beancurd skin served in the curry. What's special is that they also gave us fried buns (mantou) for dipping.
If you like Meng Meng, you can also find them at The Mall, Midvalley South Key and KSL mall.
16. Isaac Toast (Level 3, Inner City, City Square Mall)
Isaac Toast is THE go-to for breakfast when we were in Korea. Located also in the Inner City, you could grab a toast as brunch right after entering Johor Bahru, Malaysia before you head to your destination.
Although you wouldn't feel like you're in the land of K-pop, the special sweet sauce within the toast is still as good when prepared in Johor Bahru's City Square Mall.
17. Amphawa Thai Tea & Co. (Level 3, Lot M3-04, City Square Mall)
Amphawa Thai Tea & Co. serves up Thai street food like your favourite Tom Yum Noodles, Mango Sticky Rice, Thai Fried Fish Cake, Thai Milk Tea, Coconut Shakes, and even unique drinks like Durian Coffee. The bright orange shopfront invites you in with a good variety of food and drinks.
The Amphawa Signature tom yum noodles (RM7.90) are springy and chewy and pairs really well with the fiery soup. We absolutely love the fried garlic bits that they sprinkle into the tom yum soup which gave additional garlicky goodness. We think we have found our favourite tom yum in JB!
For those who do not like overly sweet Thai Milk Tea (RM8.90) can request for less sugar which really helps wash down the spicy tom yum soup. The mango sticky rice (RM9.90) is alright, while we wish that the coconut milk was more creamy and thick, it is certainly the closest taste to those you can find in Thailand!
18. Family Mart (Level 2, Lot J2-18, City Square Mall)
If you haven't had enough Tom Yum at Amphawa, head over to Family Mart to grab some Oden. We especially love the Daikon that has been simmered in the soup for ages.
19. Ming Ang Confectionery (Level 3, Lot MF03-04, City Square Mall)
We would always make a trip to Ming Ang Confectionery before exiting Johor Bahru and heading back to Singapore. We absolutely love their pastries - we've tried almost everything! They make their pastries fresh each day, sometimes you'll even get piping hot ones to bring home!
They also have some other confectionery such as honey, banana chips, sauces, et cetera that are also worth a try!
20. Lavender Bakery (Level 2, Lot J2-36, City Square Mall)
Honestly, we never knew what's the hype with Lavender Bakery until we decided to join the long queues... And yes, so far, everything we've tried were sooooo good! Chocolate lovers must get their Nama Chocolate Cake and their Messy Buns. The chocolate was so rich and not overly sweet that would leave you wanting more... nuff' said, you've got to try it!
Extra: Kapitan Grocer is opened in Komtar JBCC! (Level 3, Lot 313A, Komtar JBCC)
You know how annoying sometimes when you can't find a supermarket to buy your cheap groceries in JB? Now you can! Although it is not that much cheaper, Kapitan grocer is now opened on the third floor of Komtar JBCC.
Other places to explore in Johor Bahru, Malaysia
Where to stay in Johor Bahru, Malaysia?
After filling your stomachs with all that food, you may want to consider staying a night in JB. There's a newly opened Amari Hotel Johor Bahru across Komtar JBCC and close to City Square JB. We've had a great one-night stay and you can read all about it here at: An alternative to Staycations in Singapore: Amari Hotel Johor Bahru. Now with the opening of Kapitan grocer, you can packet some snacks into your hotel room just opposite the mall at Amari Hotel Johor Bahru!
What's your favourite restaurant in City Square Mall and Komtar? Share with us in the comments below!