Singapore's substantial Indian population has done the city proud with their contribution to the culinary scene, and there is a vast selection of Indian restaurants to choose from throughout the city.
Little India is the obvious place to head if you’re looking to fulfil a curry craving, where a wander along the bustling streets will leave you spoilt for choice. Race Course Road is lined with eateries, including Banana Leaf Apolo and Muthu’s Curry – two of Singapore’s most popular Indian restaurants and the places to head to try out Singapore's most famous Indian dish – Fish Head Curry. You’ll also find two outlets of Komala Vilas in Little India, dishing up cheap and cheerful vegetarian cuisine including some of the best masala dosai in town.
For a more upmarket experience, then look no further than our top four choices on the list. Punjab Grill by Jiggs Kalra at the Marina Bay Sands complex is a relative newcomer to the scene but has blown most completion out the water with its fine-dining fare from one of India’s most famous celebrity chefs. The Rang Mahal at the Pan Pacific hotel has long enjoyed the reputation as one of Singapore’s most spectacular Indian restaurants, as has the Song of India, tucked away in a black-and-white colonial bungalow on Scotts Road. Not to be outdone, the Tiffin Room at Raffles Hotel allows you to enjoy authentic Indian cuisine in a refined colonial atmosphere.
Samy's Curry Restaurant
Samy's is something of an institution in Singapore, having been dishing up cheap Indian cuisine in informal surroundings since the 1950s, making it one of Singapore's oldest Indian restaurants. The large mess-like brightly-lit hall sees groups of friends tucking into Signature dishes such as Masala Chicken, Mysore Mutton, Fish Cutlet and Masala Prawns. Whichever dish you choose, it will be unceremoniously sploshed onto your banana leaf along with as much rice, dahl and vegetable curry as you can manage. Don't expect any airs and graces, but do expect plenty of good curry and good times. (65 6472 2080)
Banana Leaf Apolo
Banana Leaf Apolo is a real crowd pleaser among a long line of popular Indian restaurants on Race Course Road. This lively restaurant has been serving up curries since 1974, and continues to pull in the crowds. As its name suggests, plates have been swapped for banana leaves as the serving dish of choice here. Choose from a selection of North and South Indian specialties, in addition to biryanis and fish head curry. Once you have made your choice the day's vegetable specials will be sploshed onto your banana leaf to accompany them. (65 6297 1595)
Komala Vilas is the Indian equivalent of a greasy spoon - a casual diner which has been dishing up cheap and cheerful Southern Indian vegetarian cuisine since 1947. Komala Vilas has the reputation of serving up some of the best Masala Dosai in town, which are best enjoyed washed down with a cup of ginger tea. Also on the menu is a selection of biryanis, thalis and pooris. A second branch on Buffalo Road is equally as popular. The best part is, lunch for two will still give you change from $10.00. (65 6293 6980)
Muthu's Curry Restaurant
Muthu's Curry is the self-proclaimed pioneer of fish head curry – fish head steeped in a spice-filled curry sauce together with okra, tomatoes and eggplant, widely regarded as Singapore's national curry dish. This modern 350-seater restaurant provides a stylish contrast to many of the canteen-style restaurants on Race Course Road and is a popular choice amongst locals and visitors alike. In addition to Fish head Curry, Muthu's specialises in Southern Indian favourites, although the open tandoor in the heart of the restaurant churns out good quality tandoori specialties such as kebabs and freshly prepared naan breads. (65 6293 1722)
Khansama Tandoori Restaurant
Located up a narrow staircase in the middle of bustling Serangoon Road in the heart of Little India, this little gem continually churns out fantastic-tasting, great value curries. Its incredibly comprehensive menu features everything from starters to mains, and chaats to dahls, to raitas. The Mixed Tikka starter is a good way to kick off as is the Paneer. Meat lovers can't go wrong with a Mutton Lababdar with its creamy tomato gravy, or everyone's favourite – Chicken Tikka Masala. Vegetarians won't be disappointed here either – the Gobi Manchurian – cauliflower in a spicy sweet and sour sauce should not be missed, nor should the Bindi Masala – okra cooked with tomatoes and spices. (62990300)
Ras the essence of India
Ras The Essence of India is one of the more popular restaurants in Clarke Quay, serving up a wide range of Indian dishes from the different states of India. Choose from outstanding dishes such as Tandoori Lobster, Kacchi Mirchi Ka Chicken or Palak Paneer and enjoy friendly and attentive service. If air-conditioning is your thing, then take a seat in the cosy indoor setting, otherwise enjoy the bustling al-fresco riverside tables where you can watch the Clarke Quay nightlife unfold. (65 6837 2800)
The Tiffin Room at the famous Raffles Hotel dishes up authentic Indian cuisine in a refined colonial atmosphere. The restaurant has been serving tiffin since the 1890s, when partaking of Sunday tiffin curry was an essential aspect of colonial life. As such, the stiff white tablecloths, white-jacketed waiters and gleaming silverware whisk you back to this forgotten era. The lunch and dinner curry buffets are hot favourites with tourists and should be on your essential list of 'to-dos' when visiting Singapore. Also popular is the daily High Tea, which includes an English High Tea stand and local buffet. (65 6337 1886)
The Song of India
Located in a black-and-white colonial bungalow, the Song of India enjoys the reputation as one of Singapore's finest Indian restaurants. Its opulent interior with modern art-strewn walls makes for a sophisticated setting to enjoy some fine-dining modern Indian cuisine. Choose from elaborate set menus, paired with wines, or go a la carte with favourites such as Lahsoona Jhinga (Jumbo prawns stuffed with spiced crayfish and shrimps in a garlic enhanced tandoor marinade) or Lobster Moiley (Lobster in pan seared lemon and chilli marinade with a delicate Kerals moily sauce). A buffet and four course gourmet set lunch is available Monday-Saturday, while a Gourmet Sunday brunch buffet runs from 12 noon to 3pm and includes unlimited servings of select dishes, with the optional addition of free flow beer, wine or champagne. (6836 0055)
Rang Mahal is an upscale Indian restaurant located at the Pan Pacific hotel, and has long enjoyed the reputation as one of Singapore's most spectacular Indian restaurants. Its elegant ambience, attentive waiting staff, extensive wine list and menu of haute Indian cuisine all go to make this a perennial favourite with the well-heeled local community. This is certainly no standard curry house, with dishes such as hot-griddled Tava Scallops drizzled in a green chilli and coconut sauce; Samrkand Prawns, tandoor-roasted filled with crabmeat, young ginger and garlic; Truffle Oil Naan and Roquefort Kulcha all gracing the menu. A great-value buffet lunch features a lavish spread of regional Indian favourites, complete with live cooking stations, every day except Saturday. (65 6333 1788)
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)
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.
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