Kucina - Italian Restaurant island-themed setting at Penang Marriott Hotel

Kucina – Italian, Penang Marriot Hotel

Kucina – Italian Restaurant, Penang Marriot Hotel

Monica Tindall

Penang Marriott Hotel promises a slice of la dolce vita in its newly opened Kucina restaurant. Claiming to serve classic dishes prepared with fresh, high-quality ingredients, all within a stylish setting reminiscent of a Mediterranean island, we are excited about our dinner reservation.

Kucina – Italian Restaurant, Penang Marriot Hotel

The restaurant is truly a beautiful space, resembling more of an independent establishment than a hotel restaurant. Aquamarine accents complement an amber brick floor, and pale wood furnishings sit below a bamboo and grass ceiling feature. During the day, glass walls overlook the blue of the hotel pool, and soft downlights radiate a warm glow at night.

Service is friendly and efficient. We’re greeted and seated, and we have water on our table and a shot in our hands within minutes of arrival. Every day the bar team concocts a different beverage sampler to welcome guests. Today, it’s Bay Breeze – vodka, cranberry and pineapple – a perfect fit for the setting.

Welcome Shot at Kucina - Italian Restaurant Penang Marriott Hotel
Here Comes the Welcome Shot

Kucina Menu & Price

As this is our first introduction to the restaurant, we try the Italian Mediterranean Tasting Menu. It takes the drama out of decision-making and hopefully showcases the chef’s best. The kitchens at Penang Marriott Hotel are led by executive chef Lee Keen Suaan. Lee Mohd Azhar Bin Azmi has recently taken over the role of executive sous chef, bringing fresh pasta-making skills to the table.

The seven-course dinner is priced at RM388+ per guest. It changes with the best produce available, so check in with the restaurant to see their latest offerings. You can also include a wine pairing or order from their extensive list of well-known labels. Of course, we add some wine mates – food and wine alone are good, but put them together, and you get greatness. 

Kucina Tasting Menu & Prices
Kucina Tasting Menu & Prices
Kucina A La Carte Menu & Prices
Kucina A La Carte Menu & Prices
Kucina A La Carte Menu & Prices Premium Upgrades
Kucina A La Carte Menu & Prices


Our appetites are stimulated with the fine mousse of a glass of Santa Margherita Prosecco. Its balanced fruit and acidity make a fine start. A duo of small bites is presented as starters, aptly described by our dinner companion as “heaven on a chip.” The first is house-cured and smoked salmon with Sarawak pepper and sour cream on a sago cracker – we see the celestial resemblance. Its partner, Siberian Baerii Caviar with sour cream on house-made blinis, is equally delightful. Finally, a warm welcome is extended by the house-made focaccia. Fresh from the grill, it boasts a light, airy texture with a hint of smoky goodness. Drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, stopping at just one piece is a challenge.

Santa Margherita Prosecco, Valdobbiadene
Santa Margherita Prosecco, Valdobbiadene
A Duo of Small Bites Kucina - Italian Restaurant Penang Marriott Hotel
A Duo of Small Bites
House-made Focaccia
Kucina’s House-made Focaccia

Antipasti at Kucina

For the antipasti, we transition to a glass of Tomaresco Chardonnay 2022 from Puglia, Italy, its profile complementing the richness of the upcoming dishes. First up is the Parmigiana di Melanzane, with eggplant sliced into rounds and oven-roasted until tender. Layered with a vibrant tomato sauce – a marriage of Italian San Marzano tomatoes and local heirlooms, offering both sweetness and freshness – creamy mozzarella, and a touch of peppery arugula, it’s a true Italian classic reimagined.

Alongside it sits the Fritto Misto di Mare – delicate whitebait, plump silver mullet and tender calamari bathed in a light, semolina-infused batter. They’re crispy on the outside and yielding and juicy within. A vibrant mustard aioli adds a touch of piquancy.

Tomaresco Chardonnay 2022, Puglia, Italy
Tomaresco Chardonnay, 2022, Puglia, Italy
Parmigiana di Melanzane
Parmigiana di Melanzane
Fritto Misto di Mare
Fritto Misto di Mare at Kucina


The Zuppa di Pesce arrives, a steaming testament to the sea’s bounty. This rich seafood broth simmers with the essence of fennel and tomatoes, brimming with clams, mussels, shrimp, flakey cod, and fragrant basil. Lighter than a cioppino and less robust than a bouillabaisse, it’s a fine follow-up to the antipasto.

Zuppa di Pesce  Kucina - Italian Restaurant Penang Marriott Hotel
Zuppa di Pesce

Kucina Pizza Menu

The Tuscan red Castiglioni Chianti 2022 begs to be savoured with the next pizza course. The Pepperoni Pizza is fantastic! I dare say it is one of the best hotel pizzas I’ve had in Malaysia and could very well stand alongside many independents. With a hint of olive oil, the crust boasts a perfect balance – crisp at the base, yielding in the centre, and sporting those coveted leopard spots along the puffy edges. On top, there’s a rich tomato sauce, creamy mozzarella that pulls in delicious strings, fresh basil, and a tasty combo of beef pepperoni and smoky chillies. We’d happily order it again, perhaps venturing into the world of their other enticing topping options.

Pepperoni Pizza Kucina - Italian Restaurant Penang Marriott Hotel Pepperoni Pizza
Pepperoni Pizza
Castiglioni Chianti 2022, Tuscany Kucina - Italian Restaurant Penang Marriott Hotel
Castiglioni Chianti 2022, Tuscany


We transition to a Col di Sasso, Toscana IGT Cabernet Sauvignon Sangiovese 2021 Banfi to complement the earthy flavours that are about to unfold. The Risotto al Funghi is based on al dente rice, studded with earthy king mushrooms and more delicate button mushrooms, and covered with generous shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano. There’s an unexpected texture from dehydrated mushrooms, adding a surprising crunch. 

Kucina - Italian Restaurant Penang Marriott Hotel Col Di Sasso Toscana Cabernet Sauvignon Sangiovese Red Wine by Banfi
Col di Sasso, Toscana IGT Cabernet Sauvignon Sangiovese 2021 Banfi
Kucina - Italian Restaurant Penang Marriott Hotel
Risotto al Funghi


A chilled heirloom tomato consommé shifts us to the main course, which features Roma tomatoes, pickled watermelon, and a touch of green apple. The unexpected combination works beautifully, whetting our appetites for the star of the show: Tagliata di Manzo.

The main course is introduced with a ceremonial selection of steak knives, where guests are invited to choose from a treasure trove of Le Thiers knives by Jean Dubost. These knives, distinguished by their stainless steel blades and quality wooden handles, embody a rich heritage of French cutlery craftsmanship. Crafted with high-quality materials and a unique blade shape, they are both beautiful and functional heirlooms.

Kucina - Italian Restaurant Penang Marriott Hotel -  Le Thiers knives by Jean Dubost
Le Thiers Knives by Jean Dubost Selection at Kucina

But the true centrepiece is the Tagliata di Manzo. The MB6 Wagyu striploin is charred brown on the edges and vibrant pink in the centre. The texture is the cliché that lives up to the hype—melt-in-your-mouth perfection. We prefer our steak naked, but there are several seasonings for those who like to explore—red wine jus, garlic confit, arugula, balsamic vinegar, and caponata Siciliana. 

Tagliata di Manzo
Tagliata di Manzo

Dolce at Kucina Restaurant

Kucina’s Italian Mediterranean Tasting Menu concludes with a dessert sampler platter, celebrating classic Italian flavours with a modern twist. The ricotta tart holds a rich, dense filling reminiscent of frozen nougat, offering a cool contrast to its flaky crust. Alongside it sits a light and elegant tiramisu, presented in a beautiful ring of chocolate. Finally, a creamy panna cotta flecked with fragrant vanilla bean completes the trio.

Italian Dessert Sampler Platter at Kucina - Italian Restaurant Penang Marriott Hotel
Italian Dessert Sampler Platter

Kucina Review

Reasons to visit Kucina—Italian Restaurant, Penang Marriot Hotel: Start with the tasting menu to sample the chef’s selection and get a feel for the menu; return for the pizza and hand-made pasta.

Kucina – Italian Mediterranean Restaurant Penang
Penang Marriott Hotel
55 Gurney Dr, Georgetown
10250 Penang, Malaysia – Link to Google Map
*Vegan and vegetarian options
**Limited gluten-free items
****Smart casual attire

Kucina Opening Hours
Monday: Closed
Tuesday to Sunday: 12 pm – 2:30 pm & 6:30 pm – 11:30 pm

Find more recommendations for travel to Penang here and stay up to date with the latest gourmet happenings around Malaysia here and here.

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