Ten fabulous restaurants in Singapore to enjoy a unique and memorable meal
Singapore’s multi-cultural make-up means a veritable smorgasbord of culinary delights awaits the visitor. From vast Chinese banquets to fiery Indian curries, from fine dining French to local hawker stalls, you’re sure to find something to tickle your taste buds.
The large number of expatriates and visitors to Singapore means that European restaurants are plentiful, and are of a standard to rival any other major city in the world. The opening of the two Integrated Resorts in 2010 saw the city welcome new ventures from several world famous celebrity chefs, with three of these – L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, CUT by Wolfgang Puck and Punjab Grill by Jiggs Kalra – making our list. However it is Iggy’s – local chef Ignatius Chan’s restaurant – that makes our number one spot, for its continually innovative contemporary fusion cuisine.
As would be expected at the crossroads of Asia, Asian cuisine plays a strong role in the culinary scene here. Fabulous Chinese restaurants are a-plenty, and so we feature three on our 10 Best restaurants list – Min Jiang at One North, chosen for its tropical al-fresco atmosphere and sensational traditional Peking Duck; Crystal Jade Golden Palace for its high-quality dim sum, sophisticated surroundings and impeccable service; and Din Tai Fung, everybody’s favourite dumpling spot.
Japanese cuisine is also incredibly popular in Singapore, with a wealth of restaurants to choose from. Our number one pick is Aoki – a cosy authentic restaurant dishing up fabulous sushi and other favourites. Of course we couldn’t complete our list without featuring some local cuisine – and with Chilli Crab being Singapore’s national dish, the 10th spot goes to Jumbo Seafood at the East Coast Seafood Centre, one of the most popular spots for visitors to sample these delicious spicy crustaceans.
10 Jumbo Seafood
The East Coast Seafood Centre features several open-air seaside restaurants and remains one of the most pleasant places to sample local Singaporean seafood. Every Singaporean has their own personal favourite restaurant here, but Jumbo Seafood is undeniably one of the most popular of all. The undisputed dish of choice is Chilli Crab - Sri Lankan crabs smothered in a tangy chilli sauce and one of Singapore's national dishes. Also on your must-try list should be Black Pepper Crab, Cereal Prawns and Steamed Seabass. Whatever you choose, you are guaranteed great food, a sea breeze and a convivial atmosphere. Other branches are throughout the city, with the riverside branch at Clarke Quay an equally popular choice. (64423435)
9 Din Tai Fung
Din Tai Fung is the place to head to for heart-warming noodle soups and delicious dumplings. Started in Taiwan more than 40 years ago, Din Tai Fung has since gained a worldwide reputation, with the New York Times rating it as one of the world's top ten restaurants and the Hong Kong branch earning a Michelin star. There is a wide range of soups, appetisers, dumplings and rice dishes to choose from, but the restaurant is renowned for its Xiao Long Bao (Shanghai meat dumplings), which are meticulously created with 18 intricate folds in each one. No reservations are accepted, so be prepared to queue for up to an hour in peak time. There are eleven further branches throughout Singapore including those in Wisma Atria, 313 Somerset, Marina Bay Sands and Raffles City shopping malls. (68368336)
8 Min Jiang at One North
Housed in a colonial black and white bungalow, this stylish restaurant dishes up high-quality fine dining Chinese cuisine. The modern Chinese interior provides a stylish and refined dining ambience, but it is the timber decked al-fresco garden setting that really sets this restaurant apart from its peers. The restaurant has garnered much of its reputation from its highly acclaimed version of Peking Duck. Prepared according to an ancient Chinese recipe, these 'Legendary Wood Fired Crispy and Juicy Beijing Ducks' are roasted in a custom-made wood-fired oven. Other must-try dishes include Wasabi Prawns, Beef Tenderloin in Black Pepper Sauce, and their famous Durian desserts. (65 6774 0122)
7 Punjab Grill by Jiggs Kalra
Those looking for a cheap and cheerful curry should head to Race Course Road in Little India � for something more discerning though, look no further than Punjab Grill by celebrity chef Jiggs Kalra. His restaurant by the same name has won numerous awards in his native India for its gourmet versions of Punjabi cuisine. Favourites include Tandoori Lobster, Tandoori Duck, Salmon Tikka and four different types of Kebab. The restaurant takes its inspiration from the splendour of India's Maharajas, with abundant glass and high-polish metal combined with plush rich upholstery to give a modern slant on the glamour of Indian royalty. Choose a la carte or indulge in a five course avant-garde degustation menu. (66887395)
6 CUT by Wolfgang Puck
One of the world's most celebrated chefs, Wolfgang Puck has joined other celebrity chefs in choosing the Marina Bay Sands complex for his first venture into Asia. This is the third location of his award-winning Beverly Hills steakhouse, CUT, which is widely acknowledged as one of the best steakhouses in the United States. Puck prides himself on sourcing the finest prime beef available, which is served up alongside an award-winning wine list, cutting-edge design and impeccable service. In addition to exclusive cuts of beef, guests can also enjoy a wide array of signature entrees such as "Indian Spiced" Kobe Beef Short Ribs and Pan-Roasted Maine Lobster with black truffle sabayon. (66888517)
Japanese restaurants are hugely popular in Singapore, and Aoki has managed to stake its claim as one of the best, through its reputation for outstanding Japanese cuisine. The unassuming street entrance makes way to cozy and authentic Japanese surroundings, complete with kimono-clad waitresses who greet you from behind the sliding door, and a sushi counter from which you can watch the chefs in action. Secluded booths allow for a more intimate space in which to enjoy your fine-dining Japanese fare, from sushi and sashimi to sukiyaki, shabu shabu and tempura. Great value set sushi and sashimi lunches are a hit with the local business and lunching-lady crowds. (6333 8015)
4 Crystal Jade Golden Palace
Crystal Jade Golden Palace is the flagship restaurant of the Crystal Jade restaurant group, a Singapore success story that now boasts multiple outlets across Asia. Despite its location in a shopping mall, this fine dining Cantonese restaurant provides a sophisticated setting for a high-quality Chinese meal. The red, black and gold décor with sympathetic lighting oozes class, service is attentive and a lengthy wine list accompanies a comprehensive menu. There's always a buzz at Crystal Jade, as it is hugely popular with families for dim sum lunches at the weekends, but is also a great choice for a business dinner or romantic meal at any time. (6734 6866)
3 Les Amis
Les Amis is highly acclaimed as one of Singapore's very best restaurants, serving up fine dining French cuisine in a plush and sophisticated setting. Diners can expect a flawless gastronomic experience with dishes such as Whole Poached Hungarian Goose Foie Gras with confit quince, almond dragées and crispy apple bread, and Homemade Pasta with crispy Japanese shrimps and black Périgord truffle floss. One of the highlights is the cheese gueridon service, allowing guests to choose from a large array of cheeses from the trolley. The restaurant also boasts one of the most extensive wine lists in Asia, with more than 2000 bottles on offer. (65 6733 2225)
2 L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon
Masterchef Joël Robuchon is a true legend in the culinary world, with a staggering 26 Michelin stars to his name, from his 22 restaurants which span ten cities across the globe. His two outlets at Resorts World Sentosa signal Mr Robuchon's first foray into Southeast Asia. While many will argue that the fine dining Joël Robuchon Restaurant is the jewel in the crown, the more casual L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon provides guests with a unique theatrical dining experience. Drawing inspiration from the simplicity of Japanese cuisine and the convivial atmosphere in Spanish tapas bars, L'Atelier immerses guests into the action, with only a counter separating them from the vibrant and creative kitchen. Settle into the black and red furnishings and take your pick from innovative classic and tasting portions, with dishes such as La Caille — caramalised quail stuffed with foie gras, or L'Os a Moelle — bone marrow spiced with a hint of mustard on toast. Alternatively, go for the blow-out with an 8-course Discovery menu. (6577 7888)
Named after its founder, award-winning Sommelier and restaurateur Ignatius Chan, Iggy's is often regarded as one of the very best restaurants in Asia. This intimate 28-seater restaurant dishes up some of the most innovative creations on Singapore's restaurant scene, on its degustation-only menus. Taking his inspirations from his travels, his dishes incorporate ideas from Europe, Asia and Australia and use only the freshest of seasonal produce. Whether you choose the 6-course tasting menu ($195+) or the 8-course Gastronomic Menu ($275++), expect the unexpected with dishes such as Sea Urchin with cauliflower and ponzu, and Cappellini with Sakura ebi, konbu and shellfish oil. (65 6732 2234)
About Marianne Rogerson
Marianne is a freelance travel writer, who has lived in Singapore for six years. She is the author of a travel guidebook to Singapore and has written about Singapore for a range of international magazines and websites. A self-confessed glutton, Marianne is always on the lookout for new restaurants and loves how Singapore has attracted some of the world’s most renowned chefs to its shores over the last few years. Being mother to a very active toddler means Marianne has also become an expert in entertaining kids in Singapore.
Read more about Marianne Rogerson here.