Breakfast & Coffee
Toastbox / Ya Kun Kaya Toast / Kiliney Kopitiam (Local)
These establishments are true Singapore classics, and the upgraded version of the drink stall at any foodcourt… Go there once in a few mornings to grab your singaporean breakfast of soft boiled eggs, kaya or peanut butter toasts, and of course your favorite variation of kopi.
|Good morning, Kaya set!|
Old Tea Hut (Local)
This little beverage parlor on Robinson Road has managed to create an impressive following for their traditional teas and kopis at cheap fares, which is no small feat in the CBD.
House (Local / Fusion)
A cosy spot for a no-nonsense brunch or afternoon tea with friends, surrounded by lush greenery in a one of the former reconverted army barracks of Dempsey Hill. Their homemade ginger tea rocks.
The Katong restaurant / pastry shop has just the right vibe for me. Relaxed and minimalistic, whilst modern and elaborate. Their dessert selection is obviously AWFUL for chocolate lovers, and their brunch food also deserves kudos.
Chye Seng Huat Hardware
Do you know many coffee places that keep the previous owner’s building name? Me neither. CSHH has a nice coffee bar, a selection of cakes and decent brunch options. Their building also hosts coffee roasters Papa Palheta, and a design / accessories shop on the second floor. Craft beers are served at night in the courtyard. A nice little adress in the Jalan Besar area.
Foodcourt & Affordable dining
Lau Pa Sat
The most legendary foodcourt of Singapore, open 24/7, smack in the middle of the Central Business District (CBD). It gathers under one roof, a very large extent of what Singapore food has to open, and beyond, covering almost all South East Asian and Asian cuisines. On one side of the foodcourt is Boon Tat street, where a dozen of wooden stalls grill satay skewers for patrons in the evening.
Adam Road foodcourt (Local)
This hawker in the otherwise quiet area of Cluny / Adam road has a great selection of stalls, including an extremely popular Nasi Lemak.
no name (Chinese)
Between 2 blocs of Lorong 27 Geylang, you will find a popular eatery that seems to cater mostly to the local, chinese immigrant worker population of the neighborhood. It is always packed, so come a bit late to score a table (late to SG standards, like 8PM). Full + PRC = Good food + Super cheap. Try especially their dumplings, beancurd skin rolls, and cumin beef.
Kampong Glam Cafe (Malay)
Another institution, Kampong Glam Cafe sits at the heart of the touristic precinct of…Kampong Glam. It serves all kinds of mee & nasi goreng, and has also a ready-to-eat nasi padang selection. It has a very laid back atmosphere, and people come here to have long dinners and equally long conversations sipping teh tarik or iced tea.
Yes! Natural (Local vegetarian)
This company looks like they are slowly going to swallow the whole street, as they now sport, side-by-side, a bakery, a restaurant, and a supermarket with vegetarian, nutritious, organic, gluten-free foods and beverages. It’s not cheap, but it’s quality, hey. The restaurants has a 7$ set meal, but I would recommend that your try and share their cereal prawns, vegetarian curry and dragonfruit sago.
Relish Burger (Local / Fusion)
On the 2nd floor of the posh Cluny Court, right opposite Botanic Gardens MRT station, Relish has a good selection of (pricey) burgers, and healthy options.
Another good spot for salad, with a different twist. Here, the salads are already mixed (“chicken pesto”, low fat avocado, monster chicken,…) and you can choose from one to four servings mixing the mixed salads. Even faster than the above, and you can blend in some pasta too.
Before or after a shopping spree at Orchard Road, you might want to fix your cravings with some good food! Go find some at Basement 3 of the mall where you’ll find the Riverside Indonesian BBQ.
Just try their Ayam Penggang Set, and you’ll be back for more. A roasted chicken thigh, dipped in a sweet sticky dark sauce, with a side of thin omelette, and white rice topped with yellow curry sauce… Food deliciousness, the street-food way.
The Soup Spoon
Ahhh Soup Spoon. I always thought salad bars would be a fad and I have usually been disappointed by the quality of the soups… Soup spoon manages to get most right, especially if you go for their soup specials that rotate every month or so. Their menu with a regular soup, half a sandwich or wrap and a drink / apple / chips or friand is really excellent value. Damn, even the mini side coleslaw salad that comes with sandwich is delicious. Take their loyalty card!
The Quarters is a bit of an hybrid between foodcourts classics, western fast food, and a seated international restaurant. One thing is certain, every dish will feature a local twist. Value is decent and some dishes are really yummy, although not specially on the lighters side. Thinks salted egg aioli, rendang burgers, and chili crab pasta.
Prive at Keppel Bay
Sitting right by the Marina at Keppel, chances are that Prive is not standing on your way… However, the posh yet family oriented and relaxed atmosphere makes for a nice location that will make you feel like you are on holidays if you don’t mind the detour. I remember having a very good, simple plate of pasta there. Pasta is not that easy to execute properly (and I am French with a big love for Italian food, just sayin’)
The king of all ramen in Singapore. Or maybe I’m just brainwashed by a very hip and efficient word of mouth epidemic, but try them for yourself. Keisuke’s ramen are excellent and it’s no wonder that they keep opening more and more outlets across the island.
Mexican burritos in a post-industrial hipster setting. Filling, wholesome, and an almost decent value for money. That sums it well I guess.
The Latin Quarter
Salads and Mexican classics are on the menu of this newly opened outlet in Church Street, very centrally located. Excellent value for money, and a lot of space to sit – but not for long, the word is out.
A very cosy decoration makes this restaurant serving contemporary thai food a good adress in the otherwise walt disneyish setting of China Square.
Reservation advised on weekends.
A very good adress for all things vietnamese (insert joke about vietnamese girl here…), Joo Chiat also sports a few good and simple restaurants. Long Phung is my favorite, both from a food and atmosphere standpoint. There Beef Pho was simply succulent for the price.
In the ever more popular Club Street, it’s rare to find small plates packed with flavour, with a great selection of wines. OK, maybe not, but the tapas from this joint stretch from the good to to-die-for range, and I have never been disappointed by their wines, so although it sits on the pricier side of tapas places, you have the assurance of quality in a classy but relaxed room.
Long standing Beirut grill masters its middle east cuisine from shish taouk to mixed grills, hummus and baba ghanoush. After dinner, if you finish late enough, it’s totally worth carrying on with the night at their shisha lounge / mini club on the second floor aptly named Magic carpet. It can get pretty fun and wild in this little place. Their sister outlet Cedar Grill on Boat quay is also one of the rare adresses worth eating at on this stretch full of tourist scamming seafood restaurants.
Melben Seafood at AMK
A very local seafood eating joint that has a selection of good value for money options
Probably the best casual italian restaurant in town. I even had my birthday there once.
For meat eaters, Carnivore brings the brazilian churrascaria to the island state, where huge skewers of various meats are brought to your table for you to say Yes, or No. Hint: you will say yes often and leave very full after this all-you-can eat meat buffet…
Guiga Korean BBQ restaurant
I have become a big fan of korean BBQ restaurants and this joint pleases my taste buds everytime. Melt in your mouth beef with garlic sauce? Kimchi? Done.
Din Tai Fung
A big classic of the SG/Asian dumplings restaurants, DTF can pride itself on a very consistent quality. Prices went up recently but it is still a safe adress for delicious dumplings.
A nice meat eating place in the east, Joo Chiat area. Good value for money.
French brasserie style done right. No fuss, no excessive sophistication, great taste. Love it.
Great ambiance at this italian restaurant. Dim lighting, comfy tables, and neat presentation. This is a great all-rounder restaurant whether you want a fine dinner with friends or a good date.
Their fresh pasta is really awesome. I like the “draw on the table cloth with chalk” concept. It has been a great ice breaker for me the first time I went to restaurant with my (now) partner.
Hilltop colonial setting, fusion thai food and great cocktails. Their happy hour is a best kept secret, if you can make your way there…
Meaning Ginger in Malay, Halia is a classic of the Botanic Gardens, with a varied, creative menu that has several fusion options
A refuge for french people missing their cheese & wine, Gavroche offers boards of the dairy crack and cold cuts that make for great “apero”
Dinner & Drinks
A replica of the successful Lucha Loco, Super Loco delivers great contemporary mexican.
At the end of Haji Lane, you will find Piedra Negra, a lively restaurant where you can indulge in some quality mexican foods and have loud talks with friends, Al Fresco.
I love their Salmon Ceviche, super fresh and tangy.
Hola! Awesome tapas and plancha food awaits at this joint on Craig Road. I particularly like the fact that the bar is open through some sort of a large counter which means that smoker friends can be on the outside whilst still talking with you, standing inside, at the same table. Their house red is excellent and well priced.
Established on the hype Duxton hill among other bars, I was amazingly surprised when the tapas came to our table and my mouth! It probably does not get as close to the real spanish tapas as here, with delicious patatas aioli, classic jamon iberico cold cuts, scallops in wine sauce, spicy prawns.
Moosehead Kitchen – Bar
Delicious bites and small plates of Mediterranean foods await at this groovy kitchen at the corner of Telok Ayer St and Cross Street. We had tzatziki, crunchy feta, burrata stracciatella, and chicken bulgogi bites – all very well executed. Plus, they play some Wu-Tang Clan in the back ground. Loved it.
My Awesome Cafe
Great place for salad in the Telok Ayer area. A favourite for lunch time and afterwork too, thanks to good prices.
You find a nice selection of beers and western snacks and the place is huge, so you should be able to find a
spot anytime during the week. Weekends are populated with locals from the north who probably don’t have so much of a choice in this area…
Who knew there could be a cider specialised place in SG? Well, there you have it, in Joo Chiat area.
A very successful chain of wine shop-cum-wine bar-food place, ‘WineCo’ is undoubtedly where to go for wine ‘On the cheap and lively’ in SG. Some will not appreciate the very loud music at their biggest location.
The Spiffy Dapper
Cocktail bar that will surprise you with its ambiance
A very solid cocktail bar at the ground floor or Fairmont hotel. While it’s not the most gorgeous location, Anti:Dote serves delicious concoctions in a comfortable, elegant setting.
Blu Jazz Cafe
Some say all paths lead to Blu Jazz. At the heart of the Haji lane area, Blu Jazz has been pleasing crowds of locals and visitors alike for years, with their open air large terrasses, affordable pints, and decent food options.
Certainly one of the nicest views of the Marina you can get. Prelude is a great rooftop bar, if you can afford it…
Stuttgart Blackforest S-Cafe
A bit of an oddity, the blackforest S-Cafe attempts to teleport you to Southern Germany, for beer-fueled conversatio.
A bespoke cocktail bar in Haji Lane. We like the quiet of the place, it’s unpretentious, but we warn you, cocktails here are going to hurt your wallet.
As a gin aficionado, this is a favorite. With the largest selection of gins in Asia (the world?), Atlas would already stand out on its own if it were not situated in the hall of Parkview hotel, a flamboyant, rococo architectural feat. I also found that the music played to be awesome. Upbeat, elegant and conducive for good talks.
Drinks & Dance, Rooftop Bars
y jaw-dropping and breezy. Musically sepaking? Mehhh, it depends… Quite commercial in general.
One of my favorite rooftop bars in Singapore, Loof sports a pleasant view over Raffles Hotel and the city, with some creative south-east-asia-influenced cocktails, in a classy setting. Good tunes are being spun there. Happy hours there are good value.
Canvas has probably the longest lasting, indie music & art program from all clubs in Singapore. Drinks are not always cheap, but if you find your music style, you’ll have a good time there. Quite a landmark for the LGBT community as well.
A very lavish rooftop bar on top of Fullerton hotel.
Brunch & Tea time specialists
A laidback place for a sunny weekend brunch. It is located a bit outside city center, in farm-like (SG-style though…). Horses lovers will just love it.
Another classic brunch location, PS Cafe quality is always there, but comes at a price…
Jones The Grocer (Western / International)
For their awesome shop and cheese selection. You can also walk around and look for antiques in the surrounding shops lodged in the revamped military barracks of Dempsey road, which makes for a pleasant afternoon stroll.
Spize Mediterranean Grill (Local, Indian, Mediterranean)
Probably the most famous joint for preventive anit-hangover food. The 2 locations (River Valley and Bedok) of Spize are open 24/7 during the week-end. The East Singapore an open-air local restaurant that has taken over many of its neighbors to cover a long stretch of street. It has a large selection of foods to cater for everyone’s taste. One of the best place to eat meat at a low price and taste some good local stuff (Nasi Kampung, Roti John,…). A favouritte among malays and chinese alike, this place is far from fine-dining but pleasant and good-value for money.
An old cinema has reborn! A team of movie fanatics crowdsourced the revamping of 2 old theater rooms at Lavender / Bugis. Showing classic movies, indie movies that will not make it to SG cinema mainstays, specific topics (bands, german cinema, etc…), this is a huge gust of fresh air that The Projector blows on Singapore cultural scene.
Not to mention that the interiors are tastefully decorated with vintage cinema tools, that the access to the toilets is like walking into a mural art exhibition, and that beers and food are available at the bar and the new available rooftop bar at the carpark…
Look out for the Tests & Tastes sponsored seat in the Red Room 🙂
BONUS… 4 NO GO places…
Pasta Mania: terrible pasta
MOS burger: awful burgers
Boat Quay Seafood Restaurants: total ripoff
Orchard Road on Saturday afternoon: unless you like crowdbaths
Agree or Disagree with the above list? To be fair, I started it years ago… Things change quickly at restaurants and especially in Singapore… Still, I would love to know your thoughts!
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