Uh Oh: Straits of Malaya Closing on 18th St, NW

“Dear PoP,

We passed by the Straits of Malaya this evening and there is a large “Farewell” banner and a poster in the window about the charity they will be working with instead of running the restaurant.”

More sad news for the Dupont area. Last Friday we learned of Dunkin Donuts closing on 17th St, NW and now Straits of Malaya is closing at 1836 18th Street, NW. We had previously judged them to very strong reviews back in Jan. ’09. Indeed I checked out their Web site and it is no longer online. Sad news indeed. I suppose the silver lining is that it is nice to hear that they’ll be working with a charity in some capacity.

33 Comment

  • Their food was really not good. I’m not surprised they are closing.

  • WHAT!! i loved this place! i was always so sad that this place was always empty while the barfalicious POS restaurant Lauriol Plaza was always packed to the gills.

    SO SAD

    • Could not agree more with this post. Loved Straits. And whether they say it is for charity or not, I blame Louriol for this. Straits closing only increases my hatred for Louriol’s hour long waits, overpriced chex mex, and the VA crowed it draws to that neighborhood that take all the parking.

  • I’ve tried to go there all the time but they never seem open, I’m disappointed.

  • NOOO!! One of my favorite roof decks in the area. I’ll be sad to see them leave.

  • Does this mean Larry’s Lounge (gay bar next door that has same owners) will be closing too?

  • I hope Larry’s Lounge will stay open though.

  • I am always sad when a place closes. And the food was fine, and different. But…

    I think a lot of hipsters overrate this place wildly (because it’s the anti-Lauriol, which they despise with all their being because it caters to regular folks looking for a cheap hearty meal with a fun atmosphere). Straits was honestly a bad use of what is one of the primest spaces in DC. I think another restaurant or bar could activate the space much better than Straits (that rooftop is killer!!!). Straits could reopen as a tiny carryout/deliver operation and do just as well as they did before, with probably a third of the rent.

    My choice for this place- a Trader Vics style Tiki bar and restaurant.

    • “it caters to regular folks looking for a cheap hearty meal with a fun atmosphere”
      In what world does that describe Lauriol Plaza? You’d have to be one taco short of a combination plate to think that the the people there are “regular” or that the food is “cheap.”

      • “because it’s the anti-Lauriol, which they despise with all their being because it caters to regular folks looking for a cheap hearty meal with a fun atmosphere.” Although I appreciate the Sarah Palin-ness of this quote I’d have to disagree. Lauriol Plaza is expensive and the patrons can hardly be described as “regular folks.”

  • And ditto re: Larry’s. It’s a great neighborhood spot to have out, and they actually have some decent beers on tap.

  • Aww, I liked this place (although I usually ordered from their menu while at Larry’s rather than go in the restaurant itself). It’s nice to have an alternative to the usual Thai and Asian fusion places. I wonder what kind of charity they’ll be involved with? That part’s kinda cool.

  • Sad, but I suppose there won’t be any more mysterious dog disapearances from City Dogs next door anymore…

  • I’ve never understood why this location has such high turnover – but I’m sure whatever restaurant takes its place will keep the roofdeck. I agree with T – it’s one of my favorite roofdecks in the city.

    • High turnover? I think Malaysia has been there the whole 5 1/2 years I’ve lived in DC.

      • I think the current iteration of Straits of Malaysia has operated since around 2004. Prior to that, the restaurant (same concept, same management, very similar menu) operated in the same location from about 1989-2000. In the four years it wasn’t in operation, I believe there were three separate restaurants (a West African one called Wazuri, a Caribbean one, and a third I can’t remember) in the space.
        I’ll miss Straits of Malaysia. It was a good neighborhood restaurant. While the dining room and service often lacked polish, the food was well-prepared, interesting, and a good value. Plus, it was usually fairly easy to get a table there.

  • Does anyone know when they are closing?

  • Inti Peruvian restaurant is also closed down (across the street). Very sad.

    • We walk by there all the time and I’ve heard work being done on the inside…so not sure if something is soon to replace it but I’ve heard it!

  • First it was the Straits, then it was a really good African restaurant (I still recall their stuffed crab shell mmm) and then it was Straits again.
    Too bad it is closing but I;m sure whatever moves in will keep the roof deck open and continue to benefit from Lauriol’s terrible wait list.

    • jburka

      Actually, you missed a Cuban tapas-y place in there, too. Canvas, maybe? Something like that. I think it was after the African place closed, but before Straits came back.

      I hated that roof deck for a simple reason: closed in on three sides it did a lovely job of trapping cigarette smoke. Blech.

      But the Straits food was always tasty and in large portions. We tend to hit the place only a couple-few times a year, but always enjoyed it. (at least, when the cigarette smoke on the roof deck wasn’t putting me off my meal; we only made that mistake once!)

  • Did you just lump Straits of Malaya in with Dunkin Donuts? PoP, one is a friendly local restaurant serving reasonably priced mediocre food on a super-charming roof deck. The other one is a megachain selling donuts. Guess which one I will miss.

  • As much as I hate to see another place close, fact is, SOM’s food was pretty mediocre and overpriced. Having lived in the neighborhood for years I would eat there every year or so, but have to admit that I was always disappointed with the food.

  • We will miss this place. We always joked that the service was lousy but friendly, but when the food finally came it was well worth it – unique and tasty, a great mix of international flavor & comfort food, and good veggie options. It is one of our favorite spots, where we’d take folks from out of town to show them that DC food could be fun. They will be missed.

  • I won’t miss it at all. I live around the corner and went there at least a half dozen times. Never enjoyed my food. If some of the earlier folks think Lauriol Plaza is overpriced, they didn’t eat at Straits. Prices were virtually the same. It is the same ownership as Larry’s Lounge though so we could just be seeing another incarnation. I don’t know how Straits lasted so long. That is a primo spot and could print money like Lariol if they just put some good food on the table.

  • As vegetarians, we always enjoyed our meals there – relaxed, tasty but yes – a bit overpriced for what you got.

    However, I liked that it was a local place with what I thought was solid food. Hopefully Larry’s will stay open and serve the food. That would be OK to me!

  • I will miss this place. It was my favorite restaurant in DC. I don’t know what I will do without the Chicken Curry or the Curry Puffs. I loved them so much.

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