The Best Restaurants in Singapore
Call it crazy-delicious dining: Though it’s tiny, Singapore is a multicultural melting pot. Here are the best places to try Hainanese chicken rice, chili crab, noodles and much, much more.
Photo By: Candlenut and COMO Dempsey
Photo By: No Average Joe
Photo By: Liao Fan Hawker Chan (Singapore) Pte Ltd
Photo By: Picasa
Photo By: Simon Pynt
Photo By: John Heng
Photo By: Song Fa Bak Kut Teh Food Pte. Ltd
Photo By: John Heng "Daphotographer"
Photo By: Andaz Singapore
Photo By: Shangri-La Hotel
Photo By: Edmond Ho / Jambu Studio
Photo By: Li Ruifang
Photo By: Changi Airport Group
Photo By: Patrick Sgro
Photo By: John Heng for Iggy’s
Set inside the Asian Civilizations Museum, Empress serves traditional Chinese food in a warm, refined setting. The dining room has classic patterns and design, as well as an outdoor seating option next to the Singapore River. There are serveral set menus for lunch, dinner and Dim Sum Brunch, including a five-course sharing menu that features Deep-Fried Salmon Skin, Tofu and Salted Egg Yolk and Dragon’s Breath Angus Beef Hor Fun.
Kek Eng Kee Seafood
This family business originally started out as a series of Zi Char hawker stalls cooking up traditional, affordable Hainanese dishes. It became so popular that they opened their no-frills hawker-style restaurant, Kek Eng Kee Seafood, in 1975, racking up awards for Chinese dishes like claypot duck with sea cucumber, salted egg crab and coffee pork ribs.
The world’s first Michelin-starred Peranakan restaurant — showcasing flavors from descendants of Chinese immigrants in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand — Candlenut prepares some of the island’s best contemporary Straits-Chinese cooking in an open and stylish space. Chef Malcolm Lee takes influences from his own family dishes and tweaks them to create complex, elevated dishes like King Tiger Prawn Gula Melaka and Westholme Wagyu Beef Rib Rendang.
The Coconut Club
The Coconut Club’s specialty dish, Nasi Lemak, is so good that Singapore’s prime minister takes foreign dignitaries here to try it. Malaysia’s national dish, Nasi Lemak means rich rice, and features coconut rice with accompaniments. Here, the dish involves fried local chicken, anchovies fried to order and chile, peanuts and cucumber served on the side of the fluffy coconut rice. Save some room for their refreshingly sweet chendol for dessert.
Hua Ting has been one of the best places to try high-quality Cantonese food in Singapore since 1992. With a new multi-million dollar renovation inside the Orchard Hotel Singapore, the dining room is chicer than ever. The menu includes classics like Hua Ting’s Signature Crispy Roasted Duck and unique new dishes like Chilled Marinated South African Baby Abalone with Japanese Sake.
Liao Fan Hawker Chan
In 2016 Chef Chan became the world’s first hawker to be awarded a Michelin star. Since then, this small food stall has expanded to 15 restaurants in six countries around the world. To get the original Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle, visitors can line up in the Chinatown Complex. But save yourself an hour or two and head to one of his new Singapore locations. It will be the cheapest Michelin star meal of your life.
Violet Oon Singapore
There are several locations of Violet Oon Singapore, including at the new Jewel Changi Airport. Dedicated to home cooking and quality spices, the popular Peranakan and Singaporean mini-chain serves classic dishes like Kuay Pie Tee and Nyonya Poh Piah in a setting with elaborate, colorful Peranakan touches.
One of the hottest restaurants in Singapore, Burnt Ends is helmed by grill-loving Australian chef Dave Pynt who designed his own two-oven brick kiln. This means incredible steaks, seafood and vegetables cooked over coal and apple or almond wood for maximal flavor. The open-concept kitchen means you’ll also get a front-row seat to a show when they’re grilling up your 75-day aged Blackmore OP Rib (or bone-in rib-eye).
If there’s one Singaporean dish to try, it’s chili crab, and JUMBO Seafood is the place to try it. Their award-winning chili crab combines turmeric, lemongrass, chiles, tomato sauce and other ingredients to create a unique local flavor. Don’t forget to order mantou, an airy Chinese steamed bun perfect for scooping up the extra sauce.
During one of the most-inventive fine-dining experiences in Singapore, Chef Shigeru Koizumi guides diners through a seasonal journey of Japanese flavors using top-quality ingredients to create detailed works of edible art. Reserve a seat at the main counter of this minimalist heritage shophouse for a front-row seat as dishes are intricately assembled. Be sure to pair the meal with their unique and impressive tea program that will transport you to the tea houses of Kyoto.
Singapore’s heritage food is on full display at this unassuming restaurant inside the lobby of the contemporary Destination Singapore Beach Road. Local celebrity chef Damian D’Silva has created a family-style menu designed for sharing and reminiscing over vintage Singapore. Singapore’s blend of ethnic groups (Chinese, Malay, Indian and Eurasian) means you’ll find dishes packed with flavor like the salty and sweet Ayam Goreng, and spicy Beef Cheek Rendang.
Song Fa Bak Kut Teh
Bak Kut Teh is a classic Singaporean dish served in hawker stalls across the city. But Song Fa Bak Kut Teh has perfected the combination of tender pork rib in a peppery broth since 1969. What was once a pushcart is now a family business with several outlets around Singapore, including their latest at the new Jewel Changi Airport.
The one-Michelin-star restaurant Cheek By Jowl has recently reopened with a new name — CHEEK Bistro — and a more casual, family-style concept. Large- and small-plate dishes like Burrata with Heirloom Tomatoes, and Lamb Rib with Eggplant are meant to be modern interpretations of Australian flavors, ideally shared among friends and family in the inviting dining room.
Samy’s Curry Restaurant
Known as one of the best Indian restaurants in Singapore, Samy’s Curry Restaurant has been in operation since the 1960s. Over the decades, the humble family-run Dempsey Hill destination has won multiple awards for its legendary secret recipes including Fish Head Curry, Mysore Mutton and Masala Chicken — served on banana leaves.
Often rated the top restaurant in Asia, Odette in the National Gallery Singapore is helmed by French chef Julien Royer. Incorporating only the best ingredients from around the world, Royer and team craft impeccable dishes worthy of the restaurant’s two Michelin stars. The accolades help make it one of the hottest reservations in town, but well worth an advanced booking. While you wait, peruse the museum collections.
Hidden inside the durian-shaped Esplanade is Labyrinth, a restaurant with a story to tell. Chef Lg Han translates his favorite childhood food memories into elaborate, sophisticated platings to pay homage to his "Po Po" and Singapore. This one-Michelin-starred spot serves a Chef’s Tasting Menu celebrating local flavors and family recipes like his signature dish, crab and cherry tomatoes with chili ice cream, a play on the country’s iconic chili crab.
One of the city’s best steakhouses, 665°F is tucked away on 38th floor of the Andaz Singapore. With just 44 seats, the intimate space offers sweeping views of Singapore and an open kitchen where guests can watch the team prepares charcoal-grilled beef and sustainable seafood. Prime cuts include a tenderloin and a wagyu tomahawk for two. The garlic bread served at the start is pure magic, and their gummy bear cocktail is a must-try.
Five Spice By Food Junction
Inside the new food mecca that is the Jewel Changi Airport is an upscale hawker center. Peranakan tiles, trendy wallpaper and vertical gardens line this spacious hall showcasing 17 of Singapore's best hawkers. Try Li Xin Teochew Fishball Noodles or Huat Huat BBQ Chicken Wings and finish the meal at Xi De Li Fried Dough Fritters. Before you leave, visit the spice house by Anthony the Spice Maker, Singapore’s spice master.
Inside the elegant 5-star Shangri-La Hotel Singapore, Origin Grill is an award-winning restaurant with a sustainable, farm-to-table menu and a dining room inspired by a train station. As the restaurant’s name suggests, the kitchen focuses on the origin of ingredients, like a beef menu, which includes an exclusive wagyu sourced from Niigata, Japan. Bookend the evening with cocktails from the adjacent Origin Bar, which takes you on a journey through Singapore neighborhood by neighborhood.
Adventure? Discovery? Classic? Chef Emmanuel Stroobant wants to take you on a culinary journey with these three different prix-fixe menu options. A modern take on French cuisine using the finest ingredients has garnered Saint Pierre one Michelin star. Plus, this high-end French restaurant with Asian flare comes with fantastic views of the famed Marina Bay Sands.
545 Whampoa Prawn Noodles
Li Ruifang quit her corporate job to take over her father’s hawker stall and keep their famous prawn noodle recipe alive at 545 Whampoa Prawn Noodles. By 2:30 a.m., Ruifang is already prepping the noodles, shrimp and rich broth. This must-visit stall is open Mondays to Fridays from 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. or earlier if they sell out. You can spot this third-generation hawker stall by its long line in Tekka Centre.
This hidden gem is truly hidden. Inside Terminal 1 and 2 of Changi Airport, there are designated food courts for employees to grab their favorites during break time. But what most people don’t know is that it’s also open to the public. After you ask around and find these canteens, you can get your fill of Hainanese Chicken Rice, Nasi Lemak, Bibimbap and other dishes for less than you’d spend nearly anywhere else. It’s a truly local dining experience without ever leaving the airport.
Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice
Celebrities and dignitaries of all ilk flock to this famous Hainanese chicken rice stall to try one of Singapore’s most-beloved dishes. Located inside the popular Maxwell Hawker Centre, you can spot the stall by its massive line. The chef here has perfected the aromatic chicken rice, cooking the grains in chicken stock, with tender strips of perfectly steamed chicken, spicy chile sauce and soy sauce to balance it.
Mitzo Restaurant & Bar
On the fourth floor of the glamorous Grand Park Orchard Hotel, Mitzo Restaurant & Bar is a new kind of Cantonese dining experience. The huge menu of modern dishes — think Monkey Head Mushroom with Salted Egg Yolk — is paired with an impressive and creative cocktail menu, making for a uniquely Singaporean experience. Start or end the evening at the bar for a jellyfish tank backdrop.
True to its name, Meta is changing things up in Singapore’s culinary scene. Chef Sun Kim and his team take classic French flavors and give them an original Asian twist that has earned the restaurant a Michelin star. Diners can choose between five or seven courses for dinner, and three and four courses for lunch in a sleek, refined dining room.
Family recipes and labor-intensive slow-cooked dishes are the heart of Hjh Maimunah, a relaxed Malay and Indonesian eatery where Nasi Padang is the star. The cooks commence at 3 a.m. to properly render dishes like their Oxtail Soup, and Beef Rendang. This third-generation restaurant stresses the importance of high-quality ingredients and local seafood to cater to loyal customers at their two huge restaurant locations.
This one-Michelin-star restaurant has been a leader in Singapore’s fine-dining scene since it opened in 2014. Hidden inside the Hilton Singapore, Iggy’s intimate and elegant dining room has a massive glass window into the kitchen, where guests can see chefs delicately plating dishes like their signature Carabinero Bomba Rice.