The hip ‘hood of River Valley is where you can find everything from delish hawker and restaurant grub to cool boutique hotels to national monuments.
Located between Orchard Road and the Singapore River, River Valley may often be overlooked as an affluent spot populated with expats. But it’s not all condos and serviced apartments. The neighbourhood is filled with some of the best cafes and restaurants – and don’t get us started on the riverside views beyond Robertson Quay. This guide features the best dining spots, national monuments and places to explore from Martin Road to Killiney Road. Presenting our guide to River Valley!
River Valley guide: Cafes and restaurants
1. Toby’s Estate
Serious coffee aficionados can get a mean cuppa at Toby’s Estate. The cafe serves all-day breakfast and lunch plates, including eggs benny, French toast, roast beef sammies and rainbow fries, just to name a few. Of course, the star of the show has to be the local blends and single-origin coffee. You can pick up some, along with a range of brewing equipment at the store.
Toby’s Estate, 8 Rodyk Street, Singapore 238216
2. Dutch Colony
Another institution for solid brews and chill vibes, Dutch Colony is where it’s at. You can’t go wrong with the coffee here. With 10 to 12 carefully curated single-origin choices (some of which are roasted right here in Singapore), you’re in for a caffeine kick. The wraps and pies are worth trying too, with Asian influences like Thai chicken, beef bulgogi, rending beef pie and chilli crab pie.
Dutch Colony, #01-21, 81 Clemenceau Avenue, Singapore 239917
3. Little Farms Cafe
You might have gone grocery shopping at this speciality store but did you know Little Farms Cafe doles out great dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan dining options too? Have the whole family pop by for a healthy and filling meal followed by a round of grocery shopping.
Little Farms Cafe, #01-25, 491 River Valley Road, Singapore 248371
4. The English House by Marco Pierre White
Yes, it’s the restaurant by one of the most sought-after chefs in England. The English House offers classic British fare (duh) – the likes of Sunday roast, beef wellington and fish and chips – along with dim sum and Chinese cuisine. That’s not the only surprise you get. The atmospheric ambience and interior pay homage to Britain and Singapore’s heritage by blending both elements. Expect a fancy-schmancy meal with character.
The English House by Marco Pierre White, 28 Mohamed Sultan Road, Singapore 238972
5. Common Man Coffee Roasters
There are few cafes that consistently deliver and Common Man is one of them. Serving up locally-roasted and sustainably-sourced beans, you get a fresh and fine cuppa every time. Albeit on the pricier side, the brunch dishes like Turkish Common Man breakfast, fluffy pancakes and organic eggs Benedict always get us pumped and ready for the day.
Common Man Coffee Roasters, #01-00, 22 Martin Road, Singapore 239058
6. Fook Kin
Head over to this casual Cantonese-style restaurant for tender, crispy and perfectly charred char siew and melt-in-your-mouth fatty roast pork. It’s not the usual dishes you’ll find at a local hawker centre; neither is it an atas restaurant. But the neon light signages and graffiti wall art will remind you of a cool resto in Hong Kong and we’re totally fine with that. Go in a big group to sample other dishes like 24k golden black mala chicken, wasabi prawns with ikura and charcoal roast duck and minced meat mee pok.
Fook Kin, 111 Killiney Road, Singapore 239553
7. The Kind Bowl
Everything about The Kind Bowl is wholesome, and we’re not just talking about the plant-based menu. ‘Let food be thy medicine’ is its ethos so it’s no surprise that all ingredients sourced are sustainable. The team also believes that we can make an impact by switching to just one plant-based meal a month. Might as well have it here. Tuck into ‘The Kind Pho’ with spicy umami broth, shredded marinated ‘no chicken’ seitan, grilled oyster mushrooms and silky flat noodles. The BBQ Delight impresses with skewered mushrooms, mock meat, fried spring rolls and shredded carrots and radish. You’ll never notice the lack of meat as every bite packs a punch.
The Kind Bowl, 71 Killiney Road, Singapore 239527
8. Warung M. Nasir
Craving nasi padang at Somerset? Get your fix right here. Specialities include beef rendang, sayur lodeh, sambal goreng and chicken gulai. We’ll admit the prices are on the higher side, but it’s worth keeping in mind its prime location. Cool down with a refreshing cup of lime juice.
Warung M. Nasir, 69 Killiney Road, Singapore 239526
9. Zion Road Food Centre (or Zion Riverside Food Centre)
From xiao long bao to prawn noodles, satay to carrot cake, this open-space hawker centre has it all. Ok, so you don’t really get riverside views (it’s technically a canal) but we’ll take it. Well-known stalls include Mohamed Sultan Road Hot and Cold Cheng Tng, Soon Lee’s Pig Organ Soup, No. 18 Zion Road Fried Kway Teow and Seng Huat Western Food.
Zion Road Food Centre, 70 Zion Road, Singapore 247792
10. Cibo Italiano
This cosy dining spot at River Valley churns out fantastic antipasti, pasta, pizza and wines. The menu serves up traditional plates like the usual lasagna, burrata, vongole, as well as marghertia and quatro formaggi pizzas. Safe to say you’ll have a decent Italian meal here
Cibo Italiano, #01-01/2, Loft @ Nathan, 428 River Valley Road, Singapore 248327
11. Ju Shin Jung
Fancy Korean BBQ for dinner? The value for dollar special BBQ set (feeds three to four people) has wagyu beef ribeye, marinated beef rib, black pork belly, assorted veggies, a choice of seafood tofu, spicy kimchi, beef rib or soya bean paste soup; along with seafood pancake, rice wine or soju and dessert. A la carte options are also available.
Ju Shin Jung, #01-30/31, 11 Unity Street, Singapore 237995
12. The Book Cafe
Take a chill pill, and curl up to a book at this cafe. This little nook also serves up cafe grub, coffee, dessert and a side of reading material. Don’t be surprised to spend a full day here. You’ll easily lose yourself in the conducive space. We hear there are photocopying services and free Wi-Fi too.
The Book Cafe, #01-02, Seng Kee Building, 20 Martin Road, Singapore 239070
River Valley guide: Things to do
13. Great World
The swanky mall recently got a revamp, paving the way for exciting shopping and foodie adventures. Get your shopping fix at local brands Our Second Nature, Weekend Sundries and Ginlee, or a facial and wax at SpaEsprit and Strip. Countless dining options like Luke’s Lobster, Shake Shack, Imperial Treasure, PS.Cafe and The Oyster Bank will make you want to stay all day.
Great World, 1 Kim Seng Promenade, Singapore 237994
14. Amped Trampoline Park
Amp yourself up for lotsa jumping action at this trampoline park. The sprawling 5,000 sq ft space has enough interconnected trampolines, foam pits, basketball and dodgeball courts to make you work out a sweat. Tagging along with the kids but got weak knees? It’s free of charge for spectators.
Amped Trampoline Park, #02-11, 46 Kim Yam Road, Singapore 239351
15. Hong San See Temple
Built in the 1900s and established by Hokkien immigrants, the Hong San See Temple (translates to “Temple on Phoenix Hill” in Mandarin) is now a national monument. It may be small in size but the beautifully-restored temple still retains the traditional Hokkien style of architecture. Think curved ridges on roofs with carvings of colourful dragons, phoenixes and magpies.
Hong San See Temple, 31 Mohamed Sultan Road, Singapore 238975
16. Sri Thendayuthapani Temple
Fondly known as the Chettiars’ temple or Tank Road temple, this religious monument is one of the oldest Hindu temples dedicated to Murugan, the god of war and victory. In fact, it was established way back in 1859. During Thaipusam, devotees usually end their procession at this temple in a grand affair (when processions were still allowed before Covid).
Sri Thendayuthapani Temple, 15 Tank Road, Singapore 238065
17. The Singapore Buddhist Lodge
A serene spot for devotees and non-devotees alike, this temple is filled with magnificent statues of Buddha. It’s also one of the oldest charities in Singapore. There’s a dining hall in the basement where free vegetarian food is served daily.
The Singapore Buddhist Lodge, 17-19 Kim Yam Road, Singapore 239329
18. Fort Canning Park
Steeped in rich history, Fort Canning Park dates back 700 years. It was once known as ‘Forbidden Hill’ and later became a military base during WWII. Today, the small hill is a historical landmark that picnic fans, outdoor lovers and history buffs flock to. Remember when outdoor concerts, plays and cultural events like Shakespeare in the Park, Ballet Under the Stars and Films at the Fort were organised pre-Covid times? Ah, those were the days.
Fort Canning Park, River Valley Road, Singapore 179037
River Valley guide: Cool hotels
19. Lloyd’s Inn
Sure, it doesn’t have world-class amenities and a five-star status but what makes it so popular is its tranquil space that allows you to escape in the city. All rooms are bright, sleek and airy with minimal yet chic interiors. The outdoor patio room has a private deck with an outdoor dining area and bathtub to soak your troubles away.
Lloyd’s Inn, 2 Lloyd Road, Singapore 239091
20. The Warehouse Hotel
Formerly a warehouse from 1895, the meticulously restored boutique hotel boasts a sleek, modern design. The rooms feature double high ceilings, peaked roofs and authentic industrial details. And don’t miss the rooftop infinity pool! It’s the perfect spot to people-watch and enjoy views of the Singapore River.
The Warehouse Hotel, 320 Havelock Road, Singapore 16962
Now you’re all ready to explore River Valley’s best restaurants, cafes and other amazing spots like a pro.