Singapore is indisputably a perfect foodie’s haven. The best part is the abundance of variety across cuisines and price point. You can get a Michelin-star meal for SGD2.5 at a hawker centre (read more here), or enjoy a refined 8-course tasting menu in the midst of Gardens by the Bay.
Local food is bursting with flavours and “wok hey” (fire), yet there’s also a huge array of creative cuisines, and different cuisines in general.
I had such a long list of favourite places, I had to write a separate post just for brunch and coffee. Check it out here: Top 10 Brunch and Coffee Shops in Singapore
1. Depot Road Claypot Laksa – Local Hawker Centre
Local food is generally cooked really well in a lot of hawker centres, but this bowl of claypot laksa (rice noodles in a seafood and chicken coconut curry broth) seriously stood out. The strong flavourful broth is unparalleled, although be warned: it’s quite spicy. I enjoyed this so much I also featured it in Local Eats & Tasty Treats Tour in Singapore – check it out for more local recommendations.
2. Por Kee Eating House – Local Food
When it comes to sit-down restaurants with good local food, I always recommend Por Kee Eating House. The friends I take here always end up taking other friends. But think plastic-covered outdoor tables and plastic stools; it’s quite the polar opposite to fancy and not all visitors are up for that. But if you do make it here, make sure you order the Thai style steamed fish (super well cooked, with a delicious citrusy soup) and champagne ribs. I’m also personally a huge fan of their cereal prawn – it’s a little more heavy and has a sweet twist, but devilishly good!
3. Momma Kong’s – Local Chili Crab
While the usual Chili crab recommendations (Jumbo, No Signboard and Red House) are all good, I found the seafood at Momma Kong’s exceptionally fresh. In spite of being lathered in black pepper sauce, the fresh natural flavour of the crab was sweet and very prominent.
4. Xiao Ya Tou – Local Fusion
When in Singapore, it’s inevitable to go a little hipster. Xiao Ya Tou is the perfect blend of local food and creative hipster-ness. You can get a delicious plate of char kway teow which is loaded with good quality ingredients. You can also get short ribs with sesame sauce or roast duck with black truffles. All of these satisfying and slightly creative dishes are served in a colourful laid back spot in town. See the full review here.
5. Luka – Italian Fusion
There’s also a healthy array of Western cuisines in Singapore and the quality of Italian food is definitely impressive. My personal favourite Italian restaurant has to be Luka. One interesting dish you have to order is the smoked egg wrapped with wagyu beef and topped with sea urchin, which sports an amazing burst of rich intense flavours. You’ll see that there are a couple of dishes which have a Japanese fusion twist to them. But their classic burrata pizza is also recommended.
6. Summerlong – Semi Al Fresco Mediterranean
There’s also a good offering of Mediterranean food in Singapore, with Artichoke being another one of my favourite restaurants (featured in Top 10 Brunch and Coffee Shops in Singapore). But I always go back to Summerlong – it’s where I discovered the surprising match of honey and burrata. The dishes here are simple, clean and delicious. Most importantly, it’s also beautifully decorated and has a nice semi-al fresco ambience by Robertson Quay.
7. Birds of a Feather – Sichuan Fusion
It’s probably misleading to label this restaurant ‘Sichuan fusion’ but it’s difficult to encapsulate the type of food served here given how creative the dishes are. There’s no bolognaise more exciting than the Spicy Oriental Bolognaise here which incorporates a touch of peppercorn-spice. The Hot and Sour Chazuke (an interesting fish, rice and soup combo) is also another personal favourite, but you definitely can’t go wrong with ordering the Truffle Orecchiette – it was the one dish we had to re-order.
8. Pollen – European Fine Dining in Gardens by the Bay
When it’s a fine dining restaurant within a tourist attraction, I’m always skeptical. But Pollen is one exception – which makes it the perfect spot for a special occasion. Although the tasting menu was quite pricey at SGD155, the portions were very substantial. The dishes we tried were the perfect balance between creative and delicious. It’s definitely one of my favourite fancy restaurants in Singapore.
9. Operation Dagger – Speakeasy Cocktails
It’s not difficult to agree on the F&B scene of Singapore’s largest drawback… alcohol prices. But when a gin & tonic cocktail at a regular bar costs about SGD18-22, then a carefully crafted inventive cocktail from Operation Dagger at SGD26 seemed pretty acceptable. If you don’t mind slightly sweeter cocktails, then you have to order the Hot + Cold cocktail which features a smooth white chocolate foam on top.
10. The Other Room – Speakeasy Cocktails
Another speakeasy bar which makes excellent cocktails is one hidden within the JW Marriott hotel on Orchard road. There’s an overwhelming choice of cocktails, but as long as you stay adventurous and open-minded, it’s hard to go wrong.
11. Atlas – Cocktails
While speakeasy cocktail bars are probably the trendy thing to do in Singapore, I never fail to be mesmerised by the beautiful decor at Atlas. The large interior space, high ceilings and grand feeling of the bar are reasons enough to check out this place. The cocktails are good too. It’s even more pricey than the other two options above, and you also need to book in advance.
12. Lantern – Rooftop bar with views
Lantern is definitely not my favourite place for drinks – their cocktails are pricey but not especially delicious. However, I think their view of the iconic Marina Bay Sands is an uncontested winner, which makes this place a must-visit at least once.