Food + Drink

5 Must-visit cafes in Sabah for your brunch and dessert fix

A sweet time


By Marissa Chin

PHOTO: @araiaaliyka / Instagram | PHOTO: @chanellecsy / Instagram | PHOTO: @coastalcoffeeclub / Instagram
5 Must-visit cafes in Sabah for your brunch and dessert fix

Sabah may be known for delicious dishes like Ngiu Chap (beef noodle soup) and Ayam Bambangan (chicken with local mango), but that’s not all they have to offer in the local dining scene. The cafe culture has been blooming in recent years all over the country—and East Malaysia is no exception. Below, we’ve gleaned five of the best cafes in Sabah to have on your radar the next time you visit.


Nook Cafe


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One of the most popular cafes in Kota Kinabalu, Nook Cafe is exactly what the name implies: warm, cosy and inviting. With a boho-like aesthetic featuring beautiful rattan furniture and potted plants, the interior is perfect for lounging about, whether you’re there for a sip of coffee or a proper meal. Regulars swear by Nook Cafe’s homemade sourdough bread, hailing it the best in KK, so don’t miss out on trying their sourdough sandwiches. The menu also includes burgers, pastas and the like for those looking for heartier meals. For drinks, their Earl Grey Chocolate and Dirty Chai Latte are crowd favourites. 


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Address: 19, Lorong Dewan, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

Opening hours: 8am to 9pm daily 

Contact: 012 866 3900

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Coastal Coffee Club


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With its pastel colour palette and soft Korean-cafe aesthetic, Coastal Coffee Club offers an oasis of calm for patrons looking for an easy breezy time. The quaint cafe serves a perfect pairing of coffee and homemade cake that look (almost) too good to eat. Selections include seasonal fruit cakes, burnt cheesecake, yam cake, matcha mousse, and even churros. 

Address: Lot 2 Ground Floor, Block A, Lorong Damai Point, Luyang Commercial Centre, 88300 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

Opening hours: 11am to  7pm daily 

Contact: 011 1109 7000

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October Coffee Gaya


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One of the more established and popular cafes, October Coffee Gaya is the go-to for many locals and tourists alike. The cafe has its own house blend of coffee beans so expect each cup to pack a punch. Non-coffee lovers will also find an interesting selection of drinks from Iced Matcha with Yuzu to fresh fruit juice. Featuring wood-themed interiors, the cafe feels like a cosy cabin with its camping chairs, hanging tree branch, and low ceiling. Menu-wise, October Coffee Gaya has many sweet and savoury options such as french toast, classic scones, sandwiches, Korean toast, and specialty cakes.

Address: 13, Lorong Dewan, Pusat Bandar, 88000 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

Opening hours: 9am to 11pm daily 

Contact: 088 277 396

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From its giant W-shaped granite counter slab in the centre to its bird cage installation decorated with yellow neon LED strips, Woo is the perfect balance between subtle flair and quirkiness. Its facade is mostly grey-toned and industrial, but is quickly diffused by the big windows that let plenty of natural light in, giving the place an overall chic and comfy vibe. As the cafe serves several main courses, you can choose to have a hearty breakfast or brunch here, before finishing off with any one (or two) of their sweet treats.


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Address: 21, Lorong Dewan, Pusat Bandar Kota Kinabalu, 88000 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

Opening hours: 10am to 6pm (Monday-Friday), closed on Tuesdays | 9am to 6pm (Saturday & Sunday)

Contact: 016 818 4130

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Flow Coffee

Having only opened its doors earlier this year, Flow Coffee is the newest addition to Sabah’s cafe scene. Located in The Luma Hotel, this urban cafe offers a relaxing space away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The cafe’s facade is a charming mixture of industrial chic and tropical wilderness with its warm-toned furniture, shiny countertops, and foliage that match its accents of floral prints. Flow Coffee’s menu is quite limited at the moment to a small selection of pastries and cakes, so don’t expect to stay too long for a meal. However, with its comfy interiors and carefully brewed coffee, it’s still worth a visit for a quick pick-me-up.


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Address: Lot 2-5, Block A, Sutera Avenue, Jalan Sembulan, 88100 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

Opening hours: 8am to 7pm 

Contact: 088 286 916

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For more cafe-hopping locations, click here.

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