Wondering where to eat in Singapore? Here's our guide to great dining spots for Singapore's most amazing dishes
In the Lion City, you can find pretty much every cuisine you can think of Spanish, Cantonese, Japanese… they’re all here. But of course, you can’t possibly miss out on our excellent local offerings. These 12 great dining spots in Singapore won’t disappoint!
Singapore fried noodles (left) and beef short rib rendang (right) at Wild Rocket
There’s no better place to try Mod Sin (short for Modern Singaporean cuisine, a fusion of Western and local flavours) fare than Wild Rocket, where creator-chef Willin Low helms the kitchen. We liked the laksa (coconut milk-based curry broth) pesto risotto and the salted egg crab ball, but the menu changes every month so you’re always in for a surprise here.
Wild Rocket, Hangout Hotel, 10A Upper Wilkie Road, Singapore 228119, p. 6339 9448.
Maxwell Food Centre; image by LW Yang
Maxwell Food Centre
Have a taste of Singapore’s local hawker delights at Maxwell Food Centre. This massive dining enclave is home to over 100 food stalls, all with different specialties. Try chicken rice from Tian Tian (Anthony Bourdain’s a fan), wholesome congee from Zhen Zhen Porridge, and nasi lemak (rice cooked in coconut milk served with a variety of ingredients) from Lagi Best Nasi Lemak.
Maxwell Food Centre, 1 Kadayanallur Street, Singapore 069184.
Swee Choon Tim-Sum
Swee Choon Tim-Sum
Sample classic Cantonese delicacies at this heritage eatery, even well past midnight! Your dim sum order should include options like char siew pau (barbecued pork bun) and har kao (shrimp dumplings). If you love spicy food, order the Sichuan oil chilli wantons (dumplings) for that fiery kick. Don’t forget to finish with the liu sha bao (salted egg yolk custard buns)!
Swee Choon Tim-Sum, 191 Jalan Besar, Singapore 208882, p. 6225 7788.
Jumbo Seafood Restaurant
Singapore’s number one culinary export to the world is none other than chilli crab, and this restaurant chain is the go-to place for the national dish. The gravy accompanying the flavoursome crab at Jumbo is doused in chilli sauce and richly layered with egg. If East Coast isn’t part of your itinerary, check out other outlets in Riverside Point, The Riverwalk and Dempsey Hill.
Jumbo Seafood Restaurant, #01-07/08, East Coast Seafood Centre, Block 1206 East Coast Parkway, Singapore 449883, p. 6442 3435.
Patatas bravas at FOC
New Spanish tapas and cocktail bar FOC – run by Michelin- starred chef Nandu Jubany – serves up addictive Catalan and Mediterranean-inspired offerings like black mediterranean paella, patatas bravas, and mixes such as the Good Old Diplomatic Pal (made with Diplomatico Rum and house-made coffee vermouth blend).
FOC, 40 HongKong Street, Singapore 059679, p. 6100 4040.
Fine dining establishment Fuku is the first restaurant in Asia outside of Japan to serve fugu, also known as pufferfish. The potentially fatal delicacy can be enjoyed a la carte (fugu steamed egg, fugu milt), or as a multi- course dinner (six courses from $150 per person).
Fuku, #01-01, 14 Mohamed Sultan Road, Singapore 238963, p. 6235 8216.
The Black Swan
Housed in a historic Art Deco building, The Black Swan oozes sophisticated-chic with 1920s-centric brass-heavy, Great Gatsby-inspired décor. Enjoy Modern European mains like a duck leg confit, or small plates like pan-seared foie gras in the main dining hall before heading up to the swish Powder Room on the mezzanine floor for aged whiskies and classic cocktails.
The Black Swan, 19 Cecil Street, Singapore 049704, p. 8181 3305.
Satay by The Bay
Pay this dining spot a visit to feast on a dizzying array of local dishes. There are eight pushcarts serving up satay (grilled skewered meat), as well as a number of other stalls selling favourites like barbecued chicken wings, popiah (vegetable-filled spring roll), and chicken rice.
Satay by The Bay, #01-19, 18 Marina Gardens Drive, Singapore 018953, p. 6420 6848.
Established in the 1950s, this long-standing South Indian restaurant is well known among locals and tourists for its signature creations, such as masala chicken and the iconic fish head curry. Other must- tries include the fish cutlet, and mysore mutton.
Samy’s Curry, 25 Dempsey Road, Singapore 246970, p. 6472 2080.
The Prawn Star
Zi char (Chinese home-style dishes) gets a modern, sophisticated update at this cool eatery, where you can order several dishes from the extensive menu and go communal by sharing them. Menu highlights include king prawns in miso kimchi butter, stir-fried spicy flower crabs, and curried mussels.
The Prawn Star, 21 Duxton Hill, Singapore 089604, p. 6323 3353
Pince & Pints
Pince & Pints
Lobster – that’s the only thing you’ll get here, though in this case, less is more. Have the crustacean whole (steamed or grilled), in a lobster roll or doused with chilli, all at $48 a pop. Wash down the seafood with a refreshing pint of craft beer from the restaurant’s selection, which includes Brew Dog’s Punk IPA.
Pince & Pints, 32-33 Duxton Road, Singapore 089496, p. 6225 7558.
Ah, brunch – can’t live with it, can’t do without it. For some satisfying, comforting brunch bites, hit up this Aussie-inspired café, which serves plates like breakfast burger with pork belly, broken omelette, spinach and chilli jam, as well as a mean roast beef sandwich. The coffee, made with The Lokal’s very own Slayer espresso machine, is worth seeking out, too.
The Lokal, 136 Neil Road, Singapore 088865, p. 6423 9918.
Sample classic Indonesian nasi padang (rice with a variety of side dishes) at this decades- old eatery that offers a huge selection of over 40 dishes, including favourites like tahu telur Jakarta (deep-fried tofu and egg) and beef rendang (beef braised in a spicy combination of coconut milk, spices and chilli). Don’t forget to make a stop at the dessert counter to try sweet classics like the ondeh-ondeh (rice flour dumplings filled with palm sugar).
Hajah Maimunah, 11 & 15 Jalan Pisang, Singapore 199082, p. 6297 4294.
Lau Pa Sat
The grande dame of hawker centres in Singapore, Lau Pa Sat boasts a heady mix of local and international cuisines within its striking colonial structure. Feast on favourites like tender beef satay (grilled skewered meat) and Hainanese chicken rice, then wash all that goodness down with kopi (coffee with condensed milk), teh (tea with condensed milk), or a mug of ice cold, frothy Tiger Beer. Warning: be prepared to queue if you’re there at lunchtime!
Lau Pa Sat, 18 Raffles Quay, Singapore 048582, p. 6220 2138.
Ranked 11th on the prestigious Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants List this year, this fine-dining establishment is an intimate 40-seater serving modern French cuisine. Its opulent interiors and breathtaking views of Singapore’s landscape perfectly complement the artisanal menu of prettily plated dishes. Savour innovative mains like the heavenly crispy skin amadai and the Hokkaido sea urchin – all made using the freshest seasonal produce.
JAAN, 70/F Equinox Complex Swissotel The Stamford, 2 Stamford Road, Singapore 178882, p. 6837 3322.
Get your hands dirty when you chow down on the various crab dishes at this local-approved zi char (Chinese homestyle cooking) restaurant. If you’ve tried the city’s famous chilli crab, then go for the claypot crab vermicelli soup – legendary for its thick, milky broth and sweet crab essence. The buttery Golden Sands Crab, doused in salted egg sauce, is also terrific.
Mellben Seafood, #01-11/15 Block 211 Toa Payoh Lorong 8, Singapore 310211, p. 6353 3120.
Violet Oon’s Kitchen
A treasure trove of Peranakan (Straits Chinese) cuisine, this retro-chic bistro by renowned local food connoisseur Violet Oon celebrates Singapore’s rich cultural diversity. Staples like buah keluak ayam (braised chicken with keluak nuts, a piquant, black-coloured nut) are must-haves, but do leave room for dessert; the durian chendol (a popular coconut milk, palm sugar and pandan flavoured dessert) panna cotta is to die for.
Violet Oon’s Kitchen, 881 Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 279893, p. 6468 5430.
Embark on a one-of-a-kind gastronomic adventure at this avant-garde fusion restaurant, which dishes up a spread of experimental creations inspired by local cuisines. Your tastebuds will be treated to an onslaught of sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami flavours, brought on by innovative plates like the chilli crab ice cream served with tempura soft shell crab, and the Hainanese curry rice, made with a curious yet decadent mix of chicken mousseline coriander sponge and curry quinoa risotto.
Labyrinth, 5 Neil Road, Singapore 088806, p. 6223 4098.
Open Door Policy
Irresistible plates like the English breakfast with smoked pancetta and roast wagyu rump are on offer at chef Ryan Clift’s popular brunch spot Open Door Policy. But what’s even more tempting is their weekend Champagne deal: the first glass starts at the price of $20, and each glass that follows is reduced by $5. Essentially, you’ll be paying a total of $50 for five (or more) glasses of Champagne.
A partnership between Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton (who’s trained with big names like Ferran Adrià and Gordon Ramsay) and local hotelier Loh Lik Peng, this cool tapas establishment features innovative and modern Spanish small plates created by executive chef Carlos Montobbio. The menu is themed according to six sections – snacks, soil, sea, land, desserts and classics, and you’ll find items like a grilled Spanish octopus that’s slow cooked for two hours then charred on a Josper, a to-die for Spanish omelette, pigeon with forest berries and escabeche, and burnt rosemary polenta and crisp shallots.
Esquina, 16 Jiak Chuan Road, Singapore 089267, p. 6222 1616
Master Crab Seafood Restaurant
Singaporeans certainly love their seafood, and this is especially true for crab. If you’re looking for a great spot where the locals go to enjoy the freshest catch, head to this open-air coffee shop-style outlet for a dizzying array of crab creations. From the iconic chilli crab to other classics like crab bee hoon (thin rice noodles) and salted egg crab, you’ll find them all in one place.
Master Crab Seafood Restaurant, #01-229, 19 Ghim Moh Road Singapore 270019, p. 6314 1868
Geylang Lorong 9 Fresh Frog Porridge
Game for some smooth frog meat? This well-known joint offers chunks of frog legs in two variations – the spicy version is cooked in dried chilli and dark sweet soya sauce, while the sweet, non-spicy version has ginger and spring onions. Order a bowl or two of piping hot porridge to go with your main dish for a real treat your taste buds won’t forget.
New Lai Lai Hong Yun Food Centre, 235 Geylang Road, Singapore 389294, p. 8136 9858
The Bedok Marketplace
For a hawker experience like no other, head to the hip Bedok Marketplace. Here, stalls are designed to look like mini shophouses, and local favourites like chicken rice, roti prata (Indian flat bread), and laksa (spicy coconut-based noodle soup) are replaced with modern food concepts that serve dishes such as yakitori (The Burning Oak, #02-16), meatballs (Ballistic, #02-02/03), and pies.
The Bedok Marketplace, 348 Bedok Road, Singapore 469560
SOI 60 Thai
Helmed by award-winning chef Martin Boetz (formerly of Sydney’s Longrain Restaurant & Bar), Soi 60 brings a fresh taste of Thailand to the bustling foodie haven that is Robertson Quay. Dig into Chef Boetz’s contemporary creations like crispy duck pancake, grass-fed sirloin steak salad, and a bowl of tantalising Panaeng beef rib curry with peanuts and basil. Be sure to finish your meal with one of Soi 60’s refreshing Thai- inspired cocktails!
SOI 60 Thai, 60 Robertson Quay, #01-04 The Quayside, Singapore 238252, p. 6635 6675
Singapore Insider is published quarterly, in partnership with Singapore Tourism Board. Pick up the printed edition for free at Singapore Visitor Centres island-wide, including Orchard (junction of Cairnhill Road and Orchard Road), orchardgateway, ION Orchard (Level 1 Concierge), and Chinatown Visitor Centre (2 Banda Street), or download the digital version.