Restaurants in Singapore
With heavy influences from Malay, Chinese, Indonesian, Indian and British cuisines, the restaurant scene in Singapore is far from dull and fusion food is the order of the day. Street vendors are common in this bustling city for a tasty meal on the go, and most specialise in one dish with favourites including fish head curry or Mee Goreng (yellow egg noodles stir fried with ghee, tomato sauce, chilli, egg, vegetables and various meats or seafood). Seafood such as prawns, oysters, crabs and lobsters are also popular dishes on most Singapore menus and traditional dishes such as laksa (soup), popiah (spring rolls), and satay (barbecued meat skewers) are worth trying. Those with a sweet tooth will enjoy the sugary desserts like kuih (steamed cakes), bubur cha-cha (coconut milk soup), and ice kachang (shaved ice with sweet red beans).
Hawker centres are the cheapest places to eat, and come with their own unique atmosphere, which is somewhere between a market and a food court. Prices are low and the food is very good, so it's a great way to try a lot of dishes. Find a table first, and many stalls will deliver your food to you. Popular hawker centres include Newton Circus, Glutton's Bay, and Lau Pa Sat, as well as several options in Chinatown.
Singapore has its share of international fast food chains, but local takeaway options worth trying include Bengawan Solo's Chinese pastries, Old Chang Lee's deep-fried curry puffs, and the traditional Singaporean breakfast at Ya Kun Kaya Toast.
Singapore's more upmarket restaurants have a lot to offer as well, with plenty of variety. A special focus is on Chinese cuisine and seafood, however. Head to the Orchard Road area and the historic district for eateries of every nationality, or for a trendy night out a trip to Boat Quay or Clarke Quay along the riverfront is a must.
Restaurants will often display the prices with plus signs ($19.99++) indicating that service charges and sales tax are not included and will be added to the bill. Tipping is not practiced in Singapore, and is officially discouraged by the government.
The 'Grand Dame' of Singapore's restaurants is an experience in elegant sophistication, fine dining and colonial charm. Impeccably dressed waiters with a daunting display of culinary knowledge, attentive yet discreet service, and courteous efficiency are backed by the majestic décor and spotless tableware. The food is similarly outstanding, and dishes like the signature smoked Atlantic salmon, the roasted rack of suckling pig, and various exquisite desserts are stylishly presented. Raffles has one of the best cellars in the country and the cellar master can select a wine to complement each course. Lunch Monday to Friday and dinner Monday to Saturday. The dress code is 'smart elegant' and booking is essential.
Address: 1 Beach Road (Historic District)
Telephone: 6412 1816
Song of India
One of Singapore's best restaurants and the ideal place for Indian cuisine, Song of India transports diners to old-world colonial elegance in several ornately decorated dining rooms and a lovely garden area. Both a la carte dishes and set menus are highly praised by the Singapore dining world. A great way to experience Indian cuisine is the Journey Through India set menu option which includes six courses from different regions in India. Reservations are recommended.
Address: 33 Scotts Road
Telephone: 6836 0055
One of the best patio dining venues in Singapore, Il Lido offers seaside views from a chic modern interior and deck. It is also one of the best and most innovative Italian restaurants in Singapore with such dishes as champagne risotto with tiger prawns and asparagus. A classy lounge and bar also make a great getaway from the city. Reservations for dining are recommended.
Address: Sentosa Gold Club, 27 Bukit Manis Road
Telephone: 6866 1977
The appeal of Iggy's is the warm ambiance of a very small venue, comfortable as a friends living room, but with much better food! The internationally inspired meals are set according to seasonal ingredients so it important to check what they are serving for the night ahead of making reservations. Vegetarian replacement meals can be made if they are notified in advance. Reservations are essential.
Address: The Regent, Level 3, 1 Cuscaden rd.
Telephone: +65 6732 2234
This popular French restaurant, located in a restored shophouse, is well-known to both locals and tourists for its chic ambience, polished service, and memorable food. The waiters are ready to assist you in navigating the extensive winelist, as well as the selection of absinthes on offer! One of the pricier restaurants in town, it's a great place to celebrate a special occasion. Absinthe is open for lunch Monday to Friday, and dinner Monday to Saturday. Valet parking is available.
Address: 48 Bukit Pasoh Road
Telephone: 6222 9068
The understated décor of Li Bai is sleek and modern with a strong Chinese influence, with contemporary furnishings in red and black lacquer, jade table settings, and silver and ivory chopsticks. Large vases of elegant pussy willows add subtle opulence to the ambience. The Cantonese fare is traditional with a modern and innovative touch of class that includes creations such as the aromatic farm chicken smoked in jasmine tea leaves. The fresh seafood should not be missed; baked fillet of cod with honey, shark's fin sautéed with crabmeat, and Canadian cod sautéed with ginger and garlic, accompanied by the fabulous crab fried rice, are delicious. Reservations required. Open daily for lunch and dinner.
Address: Sheraton Towers, 39 Scotts Road
Telephone: 6839 5623
Become our Singapore Travel Expert
We are looking for contributors for our Singapore travel guide. If you are a local, a regular traveller to Singapore or a travel professional with time to contribute and answer occasional forum questions, please contact us.