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More insider guides for planning a trip to Singapore
Singapore is no longer just a street food paradise; today, it is a culinary capital heaving with gastronomic temples of high cuisine, and a constellation of Michelin stars. But should you want to veer off the beaten path of big-name chefs, options are plentiful. There’s everything from crispy roasted duck and hand-rolled sushi to French fine dining and a wagyu oxtail claypot. Discover the very best restaurants with Telegraph Travel’s Singapore expert, Evelyn Chen, as your guide.
Shinji by Kanesaka
Japanese restaurants are a dime and a dozen in Singapore, but the one Michelin-starred Shinji by Kanesaka – an outpost of the two Michelin-starred sushi bar from Tokyo – is one of the best. Visit to feast on exquisitely crafted zen dishes. The omakase shin (a Japanese tradition of letting the chef choose for you) will leave a sizeable dent in your wallet (SGD 450 or £251), but it’s a worthwhile experience for the pleasure of tucking into multiple courses of warm, hand-pressed sushi and a succession of seafood plates, such as botan ebi sashimi and steamed abalone.
Contact: 00 65 6884 8239; shinjibykanesaka.com
Opening times: Mon-Sat, 12pm-3pm, 6pm-10.30pm
This fine-dining stalwart reaches new heights in French cuisine with Joël Robuchon alumnus, Sebastien Lepinoy, at the helm. Expect several tasting menus with refined zen dishes, such as chilled angel hair pasta with caviar and black truffle shavings and la bisque de homard (a lobster bisque with black truffle shavings). A wine pairing from the restaurant’s expansive wine cellars is offered alongside the menu, and is specially curated by the in-house sommeliers. Do try the excellent dessert of le mikan by pastry chef Cheryl Koh, who runs Tarte by Cheryl Koh next door.
Contact: 00 65 6733 2225; lesamis.com.sg
Opening times: Mon-Thurs, 12pm-2pm, 7pm-9pm; Fri-Sun, 12pm-2pm, 6.30pm-9pm
Another place to try first-rate Japanese omakase is at Ki-Sho on Scotts Road. The restaurant is housed in a heritage black and white bungalow, and is home to a traditional kappo-style room with an L-shaped hinoki wood counter. Here, chef Kazuhiro Hamamoto weaves in just enough prized Western ingredients in his Kyoto-inspired tasting menu to really excite the palate; think French Gillardeau oyster in yuzu jus with ikura (red caviar), and a hint of white truffle shavings in the fugu shirako (Japanese pufferfish) with soy custard. An extensive sake menu completes the offering.
Contact: 00 65 6733 5251; ki-sho.com.sg
Opening times: Mon-Fri, 12pm-2pm, 6.30pm-10.30pm; Sat, 6.30pm-10.30pm
French cooking gets a Japanese makeover at this chic restaurant in the Mandarin Gallery shopping centre. Food arrives plated on either pretty Arita porcelain or handmade Sugahara glassware, and drink options range from Royal Blue Tea from Kanagawa to sakes and wines from the well-stocked cellar. Choose from one of the monthly-changing tasting menus, and you’ll see how well French fine dining and Japanese seasonal produce come together. One highlight may include the pan-seared tilefish that comes with Japanese spring vegetables in a creamy cabbage velouté.
Contact: 00 65 6235 2285; beni-sg.com
Opening times: Mon-Sat, 12pm-3pm, 7pm-10pm
There is no lack of Cantonese restaurants in Singapore – the ubiquitous Crystal Jade and Imperial Treasure restaurant groups are a fine example – but when it comes to refinement and consistency, Hua Ting at the Orchard Hotel delivers. It may be more than 20 years since its inception, but the restaurant still serves up consistently good Cantonese cuisine. Don’t miss the crispy roasted duck, wasabi-spiked fried prawns and collagen-rich, double-boiled shark’s bone soup.
Contact: 00 65 6739 6666; millenniumhotels.com
Opening times: Mon-Fri, 11.30am-2.30pm, 6.30pm-10.30pm; Sat-Sun, 11am-2.30pm, 6.30pm-10.30pm
Jiang Nan Chun
This fine-dining restaurant sports an elegant Jiang Nan-inspired interior of traditional wood carvings, rich wool carpets and ceramic floor tiles, yet the food sticks to Cantonese specialities with an element of surprise. Peking duck is served with Avruga caviar, steamed cod arrives in a thin paper roll showered with black truffle shavings, and a wagyu oxtail claypot is braised for 30 hours in red wine and lemongrass-infused oil. The drinks experience is of a high standard too; think wine pairings in lovely Riedel glasses and a sophisticated tea menu.
Contact: 00 65 6831 7220; fourseasons.com
Opening times: Mon-Sun, 11.30am-2.30pm, 6pm-10.30pm
Civic District/Marina Bay
JAAN is widely regarded as one of Singapore’s very best fine-dining restaurants. Inside, the décor is minimalist and there are just 14 tables. As for location, it’s perched on the 70th floor of Swissôtel The Stamford and so delivers some of the city’s most awe-inspiring Marina Bay views through floor-to-ceiling glass-panel windows. And yet, the panorama plays second fiddle to the produce-driven cuisine of British chef Kirk Westaway, who has snagged the restaurant a Michelin star. The menu features signature dishes, such as the ‘tomato collection’, as well as seasonal options, such as Japanese saba mackerel with harissa-infused couscous and English horseradish. Vegetarians will appreciate the Jardin Gourmand menu.
Contact: 00 65 6837 3322, jaan.com.sg
Opening times: Mon-Sat, 12pm-2.30pm, 7pm-10pm; Sun, 6.30pm-9.30pm
Modern French chef extraordinaire, Julien Royer, calls the shots at this two Michelin-starred restaurant in the National Gallery (the former Supreme Court and City Hall). The pastel-bathed setting is dashing yet understated, and every bit as elegant and unpretentious as the artisanal French fare that the chef is known for. Expect returning Royer signatures from his days at JAAN, such as slow-cooked eggs with toasted buckwheat, matched with newer seasonal dishes, such as Scottish scallops with hazelnut crumble and Jerusalem artichoke crisps. Reserve well in advance as the restaurant is perpetually booked out.
Contact: 00 65 6385 0498; odetterestaurant.com
Opening times: Tues-Sat, 12pm-1.30pm, 7pm-9pm; Mon, 7pm-9pm
If you’re interested in Singapore’s street food, try one of the tasting menus at Restaurant Labyrinth in The Esplanade, where chef Han Liguang offers his progressive take on what is now known as modern Singaporean cuisine. The focus is on flavour and experience, and so you’ll definitely encounter the five tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami. Pick from the five-course Signature menu or the eight-course Degustation menu; both are excellent and will showcase the self-taught chef’s signature take on ‘chilli crab’. Chef Liguang’s rendition on the traditional street food dish bak chor mee (minced meat noodles) is also a must. The restaurant earned a well-deserved Michelin star in 2017.
Contact: 00 65 6223 4098; labyrinth.com.sg
Opening times: Tues-Fri, 12pm-2.30pm, 6.30pm-11pm; Sat-Sun, 6pm-11pm
Ola Cocina Del Mar
Former Santi head chef, Daniel Chavez, goes rustic at this buzzy eatery with an open kitchen at Marina Bay Financial Centre, where lush Spanish fare meets some of the best grilled seafood in this part of town. Don’t miss the grilled fish-of-the-day and the fisherman’s Catalan seafood soup. The two-pager menu of tapas, soup, paella and mains is short and concise, but everything that is on offer is excellent. If you’re in the mood for ceviche, chef Chavez, a Peruvian, will happily oblige.
Contact: 00 65 6604 7050; ola.kitchen
Opening times: Mon-Fri, 11.30am-2pm, 5.30pm to 10pm; Sat, 6pm-10pm
When it comes to elevated Indian dining, this stalwart at Pan Pacific Hotel stands out. One could attribute its presence to the restaurant’s sheer grandeur, thanks to its gift of a towering ceiling and tastefully artsy furnishings. But don’t overlook the boundary-pushing Indian fare by Corporate Chef Millind Sovani, the brains behind the brilliant menu. Here, cirspy and airy papadum comes topped with green chillies, onions and tomatoes while butter chicken is disguised as a slider. For good old classics, Millind suggests the pineapple and cinnamon-marinated tandoori lamb chop.
Contact: 00 65 6333 1788; rangmahal.com.sg
Opening times: Mon-Sun, 12pm-2.30pm, 6.30pm-10.30pm
At Cure, a dark and minimally embellished ‘bistronomy’ on Keong Saik Road, produce from ‘local and global artisans’ are showcased in a seasonally changing modern European tasting menu curated by Ireland-born chef-owner Andrew Walsh. And just so that you know that you’re in Singapore, he starts you off on a teaser snack of squid ‘noodles”'(actually sous vide squid sliced and presented as noodles) basking in a piquant laksa foam that is guaranteed to pique your curiosity about this unique Peranakan offering.
Contact: 00 65 6221 2189; curesingapore.com
Opening times: Wed-Fri, 12pm-2pm, 6pm-10pm; Mon-Tue & Sat, 6pm-10pm
French dining needn’t always be a pricey affair and a meal at this counter-style eatery named for Alsace-born French chef-owner, Christophe Lerouy, is proof. An alum of Michelin star-decorated French chefs of old – including Guy Martin and the Pourcel twins – chef Lerouy eschews the à la carte in favour of a seasonally changing carte blanche menu featuring an unorthodox profiling of flavours. Trust us when we say that his signature of salt-baked cabbage with egg yolk purée, lardo and lime gel alone is enough reason to make a reservation.
Contact: 00 65 6221 3639; lerouy.com
Opening times: Tues-Sat, 12pm-2pm, 6.30pm-10pm
A visit to this Keong Saik Road restaurant by Korean chef-owner Sun Kim, an alum of Tetsuya’s and Waku Ghin, is a treat of bold Asian-inflected flavours assembled with the flair of a cook trained on solid French techniques. Your tasting menu will commence with a parade of tasty snacks (Kim’s steamed egg custard with a seasonally changing melange of ingredients such as kimchi, smoked caviar, cabbage and scallop tataki is one to behold) and it will scale new flavour heights with each succeeding course – the Jeju Island braised abalone with anchovies and a salad of lily bulb and garlic shoot on a bed of multigrain risotto in crab stock dashi is case in point.
Contact: 00 65 6513 0898; metarestaurant.sg
Opening times: Wed-Fri, 12pm-2.30pm, 6pm-11pm; Mon, Tue & Sat, 6pm-11pm
One of the city’s most interesting new openings, Preludio debuted at Frasers Towers with accomplished cooking by Colombian chef-owner Fernando Arevalo. The concept is to serve highly seasonal ingredients in a themed ‘chapter’ – at the moment, black-and-white dishes. To experience this unique monochromatic theme in all its glory, come for dinner – the jet-black ‘pata negra’ and white-as-snow ‘Gorbea mountain’ dessert alone are sublime.
Contact: 00 65 6904 5686; preludio.sg
Opening times: Mon-Fri, 11.30-2.30pm, 6pm-10pm; Sat, 6pm-10pm
The opening of Restaurant Zén brings chef-owner Björn Frantzén’s brand of highbrow ‘Nordic-Kaiseki with French perfume’, and with it astronomical prices, to tropical Singapore. Your ritualistic tasting menu starts with snacks in The Kitchen on the ground floor, builds up to an eight-course tasting menu in The Dining Room on level two and ends with a spread of sweets in the The Living Room on the third floor. Fans of Stockholm’s Frantzén will rejoice at the prospect of reuniting with the ‘French toast’ with Parmesan custard and white-truffle shavings.
Contact: 00 65 9236 6368; restaurantzen.com
Opening times: Mon-Sat, 7pm-late
Five years after introducing his brand of avant garde cuisine to curious diners from the wooded reaches of Dempsey, Ryan Clift transplanted Tippling Club to the heart of the CBD. The restaurant is set within conservation shophouses, but the food is anything but traditional. Clift’s playful 20-plus-course cuisine (including an excellent Toriyama wagyu with horseradish-infused burrata) takes centre stage, fully paired with wines and cocktails, in a soothing green space with handsome green tiles and heaps of recycled wood. If you have time for just one indulgence in Singapore, make a date with Clift – he promises to dazzle.
Contact: 00 65 6475 2217; tipplingclub.com
Opening times: Mon-Fri, 12pm-12am; Sat, 6pm-12am
If you ever tire of classic Italian, try this restaurant by Japanese chef-owner Seita Nakahara, who cut his teeth in Tokyo, Tuscany, Sicily and Piedmont before settling in Singapore. Driven by his connection with his Japanese roots, Seita is a pioneer in this brand of ‘Tokyo-Italian’ gastronomy. Here, pristine Japanese ingredients come to the fore in delicious and light dishes such as chilled capellini with Hokkaido uni, tonburi and the chef’s homemade fermented lemon dressing, and Shizuoka wild scampi with sun-dried Japanese tomatoes and seasonal Japanese vegetables. While set dinners are available, it’s best to ask for Seita’s omakase. Come with a healthy appetite.
Contact: 00 65 6221 5159; terraseita.com
Opening times: Mon-Fri, 12pm-3pm, 6.30pm-11pm; Sat, 6.30pm-11pm
This cool eatery at Club Street includes a 13-seat bar on the ground floor, a communal dining table in the basement and an alluring menu of produce-driven small plates. Apart from the à la carte fixtures of squid ink pudding with uni and tomato salad, there are some lovely daily specials that can be ordered from the chalkboard; think dishes such as Norwegian scallop served with tomato fondue, gremolata and the shellfish’s own coral blended with bacon. Don’t miss the award-winning wine list here either; about 20 types of grower champagnes and fine wines are available by the glass.
Contact: 00 65 6423 1228; lolla.com.sg
Opening times: Mon-Sat, 12pm-2.30pm, 6pm-11pm; Sun, 11.30am- 3pm, 6pm-10.30pm
If you’re seeking a brasserie experience that teleports you momentarily to Paris, Brasserie Gavroche is your ticket. The chef-proprietor, Frédéric Colin, is the former executive chef of St Regis Singapore and he has spared no expense in recreating an authentically French dining experience – from the high-ceilinged dining room adorned with gilt mirrors to the original Café de la Paix main bar. The menu, too, plays the part, with rustic fixtures such as terrine of Perigord duck liver with toasted country bread, and seasonally changing creations such as warm salad of sautéed bamboo and venus clams with hunks of artichoke.
Contact: 0065 6225 8266; brasseriegavroche.com
Opening times: Mon- Fri ,11.30am-2.30pm, 6.30pm to 10pm; Sat, 6pm-10.30pm
Arguably Singapore’s most popular casual restaurant at the moment, this modern Australian barbeque eatery in Chinatown by David Pynt – an alum of Asador Etxerbarri – boasts just 18 seats at the counter (no reservations except at 6pm and 6.30pm) and a reservations-only table for six. Understandably, it’s almost always packed with foodies who flock here for the quail’s eggs with runny yolks and grilled leek in brown butter sauce decorated with crushed hazelnuts, all cooked in the eatery’s custom-built brick kiln. Come early to secure a seat.
Contact: 00 65 6224 3933; burntends.com.sg
Opening times: Tue-Thur, 6pm-12am; Fri-Sat, 11.45am-2pm, 6pm to 12am
Reservations: Walk-ins only
A first in Singapore, this nose-to-tail wagyu restaurant by chef Nobuaki Hirohashi serves different cuts of Ozaki wagyu – a beef from the Miyazaki prefecture – in varying styles (raw as beef tartare, torched and rolled up with sea urchin and sukiyaki style amongst others) over a seasonally inspired kaiseki meal that concludes with cold somen in dashi with blobs of oxtail jelly. Dessert is specially made with Hokkaido Tokachi fresh milk from the Shinamura Farm, which uses au naturel cow raising techniques. This restaurant is strictly for wagyu lovers only.
Contact: 00 65 6221 6379; ushidoki.com
Opening times: Mon-Fri, 12pm-2.30pm, 6pm to 10.30pm; Sat, 6pm-10.30pm
Years after its debut as Cheek by Jaw, chef-owner Rishi Naleendra and his wife and maître d’ Manuela Toniolo have turned the space into a bistro (a fine-dining restaurant is in the works in the same neighbourhood). Judging by the packed house, the well-executed bistro fare –try the slow-cooked lamb ribs glazed in honey and balsamic with burnt eggplant and yogurt purée – is a hit.
Contact: 00 65 6221 1911; cheekbistro.com
Opening times: Mon-Fri, 12pm-2.30pm, 6pm-10.30pm; Sat, 6pm-10.30pm
Perched at 282 meters above ground level, Stellar is Singapore’s tallest restaurant and comes with a breathtaking view of the Central Business District. Its constellation-themed tasting menu by executive chef Chris Millar lives up to its name indeed with stellar courses like the pasta-free ‘carbonara’ – think wood fired Gamberi prawn with Parmesan cream, bacon ash and egg yolk poached in smoked oil. At this restaurant, progressive Australian gastronomic cuisine is brought to a new height in terms of taste and texture. Thankfully, you won’t have dip too deeply into your pockets to dine here.
Contact:00 65 6438 0410; stellarrestaurant.sg
Opening times: Mon-Fri, 12pm-2pm, 6.30pm-10pm; Sat, 6pm-10pm; Sun, 6pm-9pm
Singapore Botanic Gardens
Befitting its location in the heart of the Singapore Botanic Gardens, Corner House serves ‘gastro-botanica’ cuisine by chef-patron, Jason Tan. There is no à la carte menu here and the only choice you are afforded is the basic or the more extensive Discovery tasting menu, a highlight of which includes a course that showcases Tan’s delicious interpretation of his favourite vegetable such as the Cevennes onions done four ways.
Contact: 00 65 6469 1000; cornerhouse.com.sg
Opening times: Tues-Sat, 12pm-3pm, 6.30pm-11pm; Sun, 11.30am to 3pm, 6.30pm – 11.30pm
This was the first Peranakan restaurant to be awarded a Michelin star, and so 33-year-old Malcolm Lee is Singapore’s poster boy for modern Peranakan cooking. Located at COMO at Dempsey, Lee dishes out Straits Chinese classics such as braised chicken with buak keluak (Indonesian black nut), augmented by a clutch of contemporary creations such as beef short ribs with buah keluak. If you’re curious about what Lee has in store, come for Lee’s daily-changing ‘Ahmakase’ menu that features the chef’s deliciously experimental take on Peranakan classics such as the buah keluak broth with beef cheek.
Opening times: Sun-Thur, 12pm-3pm, 6pm-10pm; Fri-Sat, 12pm-3pm, 6pm-11pm
If you like local seafood, step off the beaten track to find this Chinese restaurant at the serene Quayside Isle on Sentosa. For classic Chinese dishes prepared with an innovative twist – with a beautiful view of the Marina – this place is not to be missed. They are known for their signature chill crabs strewed with succulent pomelo pulp and a side serving of deep fried man tou (Chinese bun), but also look out for the Boston lobsters served Szechuan style with tongue-numbing peppercorn.
Contact: 00 65 6339 0880; bluelotus.com.sg
Opening times: Mon-Fri, 6pm-10pm; Sat-Sun, 11.30am-3pm, 6pm-10pm