Updated: July 4, 2019
The 14 Best Places to Eat in Singapore
- Waku Ghin – $$$$
Head chef Tetsuya Wakuda creates a remarkable Modern Japanese dining experience for his guests inside the Marina Bay Sands. Twenty-five guests maximum are seated around teppan plates in small private dining rooms. This is an intimate dining for serious foodies (you can talk to the chef as he works in front of you), and quite possibly the most expensive meal in Singapore; many customers have described it as “the best meal of their lives”. There is no menu; Wakuda-san makes the most of the day’s fresh ingredients and serves mostly seafood dishes, such as the standout marinated botan shrimp with sea urchin and osietra caviar and braised Canadian lobster with couscous. At the end of the meal, guests are ushered into the common dining space overlooking Marina Bay for dessert. The sake list is second to none, and the bar serves expertly mixed signature cocktails. Dress code: smart casual. Advance reservations essential.
• 2 Bayfront Avenue, Marina Bay Sands
• Nearest transport: Bayfront MRT
- Candlenut – $$/$$$
Few restaurants represent Singaporean culture and cuisine better than this casual, minimalist place that specialises in Peranakan/Nyonya dishes. Peranakan cuisine is very distinctive; its techniques draw on traditional Chinese and Malay cooking, with plenty of heat from sambal (chilli paste), and pork and seafood dishes featuring heavily. Chef Malcolm Lee has won a Michelin star for his interpretations of classic dishes such as buah beluak (black nuts soaked for 5 days), babi pongteh (pork belly in soybean gravy) and sotong sambal (squid in chilli sauce). The dinner tasting menu (S$68) changes weekly and is worth the splurge. Reserve ahead.
• 17 Dempsey Road
• Nearest transport: Outram Park MRT
- No Signboard Seafood Restaurant – $$/$$$
It’s hard to get Singaporeans to agree on the best place to eat chilli crab, Singapore’s unofficial dish, but No Signboard usually pops up as one of the top favorites. This Singapore-wide chain started out as a hawker stall in the late 70s and the restaurant is still no-frills – very busy and casual – , but the Chilli Crab is very nicely done – the sauce hits the right balance between sweetness, tanginess and spiciness and eating it is a wonderfully messy, communal experience. No Signboard is also credited with the original recipe for white pepper crab; it has a nice peppery kick to it but doesn’t overwhelm the sweetness of the crab meat. Drunken shrimp and steamed bamboo clams are other menu favourites.
• Multiple Locations
• Nearest Transport: Aljunied MRT
- Tim Ho Wan – $$/$$$
This sleek outlet inside Citylink mall is a Michelin-starred Hong Kong export that serves terrific dim sum. Particularly popular with Orchard Road shoppers. The menu is divided into steamed and deep-fried dim sum, noodle and rice dishes and monthly specials. The place earned its Michelin star for its Big 4 Heavenly Kings: fluffy, gorgeous BBQ pork buns, pork liver vermicelli rolls, radish cake and steamed egg cake, but there are also such crowd-pleasers as steamed shrimp and spinach dumplings. They don’t accept reservations, so you have to queue up outside the entrance. Come early or late for the shortest queues. The wait is worth it.
• Multiple locations, including Citylink Mall
• Nearest transport: Dhoby Ghaut MRT
- Les Amis – $$$$
Stylish and refined, this restaurant serving contemporary French dishes with Asian influences is beautifully decorated with works by renowned Chinese artists. It’s been going strong for over 20 years just off Orchard Road, and chef Sebastien Lepinoy’s signature dishes include cold angel hair pasta with kombu, caviar and black truffle and eel with citrus compote and dashi. It’s well worth splurging on the 5-course tasting menu that makes the most of seasonal French ingredients. Service and presentation are faultless and the wine list – over 2000 labels, mostly Old World – is among the very best in Singapore, with some very rare tipples. Dress code: business casual; book ahead.
• 1 Scotts Road, Shaw Centre
• Nearest transport: Orchard MRT
- Corner House – $$$$
Creative international food served in a 1910 colonial mansion in the heart of the Botanical Gardens. The ambience is relaxed and tranquil, and the leafy location is very appropriate, since chef Jason Tan specialises in Gastro-Botanica – contemporary cuisine using lots of tubers, greens, fungi, fruit and herbs, as well as carefully sourced meat and seafood. The 5-course Lunch Discovery Menu is particularly affordable for a Michelin-starred restaurant – expect dishes such as Hokkaido scallop carpaccio, New Zealand cod with chorizo and savoy cabbage and durian pudding with evaporated milk. Smart casual; families welcome. Reservations advised.
• 1 Cluny Road, Singapore Botanic Gardens
• Nearest transport: Botanic Gardens MRT
- Jaan – $$$$
From the Murano glass chandelier that spans the whole ceiling to the floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Marina Bay District from the 70th floor of Swissotel The Stamford, this Michelin-starred place is designed to wow. This is where Singaporeans come if they have something to celebrate. The food is beautifully presented contemporary French with some ingredients shipped from the British chef’s homeland. Typical dishes include 55-degree egg with chorizo, maple-cured rainbow trout with beetroot, line-caught halibut with organic chicken – simple flavors that work well together. Ivory caramel and black truffle ice cream are standout desserts and the wine list is excellent. The 3-course lunch is a bargain. Dress code: smart casual. Bookings highly recommended.
• 2 Stamford Road, Swissotel The Stamford
• Nearest transport: City Hall MRT
- Tippling Club – $$$$
This trendy but casual restaurant and bar is popular with local office workers and known for its innovative cocktails and the playful, creative dishes presented in really unusual ways. Perch at the bar of the open kitchen and you get a succession of amuse-bouches and small, clever dishes served in test tubes, on slate, in wooden boxes, and on oyster shells. Expect the likes of lamb with pearl onions and bacon, ocean trout with beetroot, ale-braised pork cheeks with cabbage and roasted chicken with clams. The tasting menu is well worth a splurge. As for the cocktails, you choose them by smelling scented strips from the Sensorium menu; the scents trigger memories and the cocktails you choose are supposed to help you relive the happy ones.
• 38 Tanjong Pagar Road
• Nearest transport: Outram Park MRT
- Muthu’s Curry – $$/$$$
Given its large Indian population, it’s not surprising that excellent Indian food is very much part of Singapore’s culinary landscape. But if one Indian dish is known to be quintessentially ‘Singaporean’, it’s the South-Indian-style fish head curry at Muthu’s – a canteen-style restaurant with an open kitchen and a Chettinadu-themed interior that’s been going strong for almost five decades. The dishes are mostly South Indian, with a few tandoori classics creeping in. The signature fish head curry – meaty fish heads floating in a rich, tangy gravy with okra, pineapple chunks and tamarind – comes in three different sizes. Pour it over rice and the ‘small’ is plenty for two people. Other excellent dishes to try include the masala prawns – huge tiger prawns cooked in a mix of chillies, tomatoes and spices – and the lamb rack barbecued with pineapple.
• Blk 7 Dempsey Road
• Nearest transport: Little India MRT
- Burnt Ends – $$$$
Serving “modern Australian barbecue”, this buzzy restaurant was rated #14 among Asia’s Best Restaurants in 2016. Its focus is mostly on meat, cooked over coals either in the custom-made brick kiln or grilled. Specialities include flatiron steak with bone marrow and burnt onion, charred leeks with hazelnut and brown butter, and the pulled pork burger. Most of the seating is arranged along the bar, facing the open kitchen, with bearded chef-owner Dave Pynt alternately cooking and chatting to customers. The drinks list includes classic cocktails, craft beers, Australian wines from family vineries, and vintage wines. Fun atmosphere, sociable vibe. Two seatings for lunch and dinner; reservations essential. Dress code: smart casual.
• 20 Teck Lim Road
• Nearest transport: Outram Park MRT
- Maxwell Food Centre – $
One of Chinatown’s wet markets in the 1950s, this place became a Chinese hawker centre in the 1980s and remains extremely popular both with the office crowd and visitors. The must-try stalls include Tian Tian Chicken Rice – the chicken perfectly cooked and the fluffy, fragrant rice winning over the likes of Anthony Bourdain – and Zhen Zhen Porridge, serving thick rice porridge that’s anything but boring: try it with century egg, fish slices, preserved vegetables; the queue is justifiably long and they close as soon as sold out. Fuzhou oyster cake at the eponymous stall is a dying art: a crispy round snack with a tender mix of oyster and mixed pork inside. The folks at Fu Shun Jin Ji Shao la Mian Jia plate up large portions of Cantonese roast meats; the char siew (tender, smoky barbecued pork) on a bed of spongy noodles is particularly good. Finally, Jin Hua Fish Head Bee Hoon has been going strong for over 30 years with the version of milky noodle soup with tasty fish chunks.
• Corner of Maxwell & South Bridge Roads
• Nearest transport: Chinatown or Tanjong Pagar MRT
- Tekka Centre – $
Of Singapore’s many hawker centres, the food stalls at this large orange-and-yellow warehouse specialise predominantly in Indian food, served on banana leaf plates on stainless steel tables. The atmosphere is busy and a little chaotic and the air is thick with the smells of fragrant biriyani and tandoori meats. Ask a Singaporean what dish to go for, and most local foodies invariably say: “Biriyani!” Yakader Muslim Food does a superlative version of nasi briyani, with melt-in-your-mouth mutton. The rava thosai (crispy, lacy pancake made of a mix of rice and semolina flours) from the Anna Dosai stall, served with caramelised onions, is another great dish, while the garlic naan and chicken tandoori at the Al-Madinah Food Counter are wonderfully fresh and flavourful, emerging from their respective tandoor ovens.
• Corner of Buffalo & Serangoon Roads
• Nearest transport: Little India MRT
- Chinatown Complex Food Centre – $
Local, casual hawker centre on the second floor of the Chinatown Complex. It’s one of Singapore’s largest, caters primarily to hungry locals, but also to curious visitors, especially since in 2016 the Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle became the first hawker stand to win a Michelin star. Other local favourites include claypot rice dishes from Zhao Ji Clay Pot Rice, laksa (Malaysian spicy noodle soup) served by Terry Katong Laksa, and pork porridge from Tian Tian Porridge. Different stalls have different opening hours, but lunchtime is when you’ll find all of them open.
• 335 Smith Street
• Nearest transport: Chinatown MRT
- L’Atelier Tiramisu – $$/$$$
As with many niche eateries in the city that specialise in just one thing and do that one thing very well, “The Tiramisu Workshop” focuses on the classic Italian dessert. Apart from the spot-on classic version, they also do five other interesting variations. Macha (green tea) is a Singapore classic, dark cherry gives the tiramisu a Black Forest gateau twist, while pistachio is our personal favourite. Find this unprepossessing café on the basement level of the Central complex.
• 6 Eu Tong Sen Street, Clarke Quay Central
• Nearest transport: Clarke Quay MRT