The best restaurants in Singapore

From street-food stalls favoured by Michelin-starred chefs, to fine-dining establishments, these are the best restaurants in Singapore

Words by Dannon Har
May 14, 2024
Soft shell crab served in a bowl on a wooden tabletop next to a small blue jug, at Kotuwa restaurant in Singapore.
Soft shell crab served at Kotuwa

That broad diversity extends to cuisine types. Whether Singaporean or French, Australian or Korean, the pinnacle of each category is well represented here. What’s especially neat is the way cultural influences meld together, resulting in cuisine combinations you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere else. So dine with an empty stomach and an open mind: Singapore’s restaurant scene is among the best in the world.

A ceiling display hanging over tables and chairs at Born restaurant, Singapore.
Inside Born

Born

Best for: French-meets-Chinese fine dining with narrative flair
Location: 1 Neil Road, #01-01, Singapore 088804
Price: Course menu at 368 SGD (~270 USD)

Born, the brainchild of progressive Malaysian chef-founder Zor Tan, offers a contemporary rendition of Chinese culinary heritage. Located in the historic Jinrikisha Station building on Neil Road, this one Michelin-starred restaurant exudes a unique charm best experienced at the central 12-seater counter that envelopes the quietly efficient open kitchen. The nine-course menu is themed “Circle of Life” and reflects the different stages of Tan’s story from childhood to fatherhood, showcasing the vast experiences under his belt from stints at top venues like Jaan and the now-defunct Restaurant Andre. You’ll want to set aside ample time (we recommend around three hours) to appreciate the storytelling elements and tableside theatrics that the staff deliver throughout the entire course: trust us, it’s worth it.

A long table at Burnt Ends restaurant, Singapore.
A long table at Burnt Ends

Burnt Ends

Best for: Flame-grilled perfection
Location: 7 Dempsey Road, #01-02, Singapore 249671
Price: Course menu from 180 SGD (~132 USD)

Keeping a restaurant alive in a fast-paced city like Singapore is a gruelling challenge. Yet Burnt Ends has not only been delighting diners for ten years now but has managed to remain a hot seat throughout – it even had to move to the current Dempsey location to increase capacity. Led by chef-owner Dave Pynt, the kitchen’s customised four-tonne dual cavity oven and four elevation grills continuously deliver what every diner has come here for: grilled meats cooked to juicy perfection and infused with Burnt Ends’ signature delicate smoky flavour. Steaks, mainly sourced from Australia, are the highlight, but you’ll find anything from quail eggs to aubergine getting the flame-kissed treatment here.

A salad served at Candlenut restaurant, Singapore.
A salad served at Candlenut

Candlenut

Best for: Elevated yet authentic Peranakan dishes
Location: 17A Dempsey Road, Singapore 249676
Price: Mains from 24 SGD (~17 USD)

When it comes to Peranakan cuisine, where Chinese ingredients meet Malaysian and Indonesian spices and cooking techniques, few can hold a candle to chef-owner Malcolm Lee’s Candlenut. A love letter to his mother’s cooking, the one-Michelin-starred venue uses Lee’s generations-old family recipes to create a menu that pays homage to Peranakan culture, while introducing innovative twists. Signature dishes like the Chef’s Mum’s Chicken Curry is exemplary of that. Have it with Candlenut’s buah keluak fried rice (made with an earthy, oily-black paste made from nuts of the Pangium edule tree) for the full experience. For those unsure of what to order, the “Ah-ma-kase” (a play on the word omakase; “ah ma” meaning “grandmother” in a Chinese dialect) menu takes diners on a journey with dishes inspired by the highly gratifying meals you might experience in a Peranakan matriarch’s household. For more on Peranakan culture, check out the Peranakan Museum (one of the best museums in the city).

Malay cooking at The Coconut Club restaurant, Singapore
Malay cooking at The Coconut Club, Singapore

The Coconut Club

Best for: The city’s best nasi lemak
Location: 269 Beach Road, Singapore 199546
Price: Mains from 18 SGD (~20 USD)

Nasi lemak is the name of the game here – a ubiquitous Malay dish of rice cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaves and served alongside an assortment of ingredients. At The Coconut Club, premium ingredients and more intricate cooking methods justify its heftier price tag (hawker stalls in Singapore can sell the dish for as low as 3 SGD). For instance, Kampong and Mawa coconuts are harvested daily then cold-pressed to create the fragrant rice used in the dishes. The signature ayam goreng berempah nasi lemak even uses fried organic chicken marinated for 12 hours in house-made rempah (a spice paste). For sides, definitely get a homemade otah to share – a charcoal-grilled fish cake with barramundi chunks, traditional herbs and spices, and wrapped in a banana leaf.

A crispy hopper served with a fried egg at Kotuwa restaurant, Singapore.
A crispy hopper served with a fried egg at Kotuwa

Kotuwa

Best for: Unabashed Sri Lankan cuisine
Location: 2 Dickson Road, Ground floor, Wanderlust Hotel, Singapore 209494
Price: Mains from 32 SGD (~23 USD)

Leave it to chef-owner Rishi Naleendra to deliver cuisine from his hometown of Colombo to the Singaporean masses in a highly palatable way. Market-fresh Sri Lankan mud crab is a highlight here. For the full experience, order the whole crab cooked in curry plus a side of hoppers (crispy bowl-shaped pancakes made with fermented rice) to mop up the sauce. Then have the kottu rotti for a taste of Sri Lankan street food, consisting of chopped up rotti (a type of flatbread), vegetables and eggs, mixed with gravy. You might fancy a drink or two from their cocktail menu to wash down the bold flavours.

A starter served on a leaf on a wooden block at Hashida, Singapore.
Hashida serves inventive Japanese dishes

Hashida

Best for: True-to-style Japanese omakase with engaging chefs
Location: 77 Amoy Street, Singapore 069896
Price: Chef’s omakase from 450 SGD (~330 USD)

When Hashida first opened its doors in 2013, the dining scene in Singapore was a very different beast. More than a decade later, Hashida has evolved along with the times, while maintaining its own recipe for success, with chef-owner Kenjiro “Hatch” Hashida treating customers to an authentic Japanese dining experience. A highlight is his signature showcase of a whole slab of raw tuna carved right in front of your eyes before being served with finesse as succulent sashimi slices. The eclectic tunes here, featuring oldies, jazz and modern pop-rock, mirrors Hashida’s vibrant personality, setting the atmosphere the way he intended.

JB Ah Meng

Best for: Communal wok-fried cuisine and celebrity spotting
Location: 534 Geylang Road, Singapore 389490
Price: Mains from 8 SGD (~6 USD)

Nestled within Singapore’s red-light district of Geylang is a local haunt loved by everyday folk and celebrity chefs alike. Bib Gourmand recipient JB Ah Meng needs little introduction, what with Anthony Bourdain once declaring he would like to incorporate its White Pepper Crab dish into his food market in New York City – an offer owner Wang Feng (nicknamed Ah Meng) subsequently declined. So the bustling zi char (wok-fry) restaurant remains the only place you’ll get a taste of its gently spicy and naturally sweet crab dish. Many also come for the crisp outside, soft inside san lou bee hoon, a thin noodle dish made famous in Johor Bahru (aka JB) in Malaysia, and which resembles a pancake.

Inside Lucha Loco Mexican restaurant in Singapore.
Inside Lucha Loco

Lucha Loco

Best for: Going loco over modern Mexicana
Location: 15 Duxton Hill, Singapore 089598
Price: Mains from 35 SGD (~26 USD)

Despite its name, the only wrestling action you’ll find here is the jostling for a table at this perennially popular spot in central Singapore. That should give you an idea of how busy this place can be, especially during after-work hours, when the CBD crowds throng in. Mexican staples like tacos and quesadillas are safe bets here, but definitely save space for the blue swimmer crab tostadas as well. It’s the kind of place where eating goes with the drinking, which Lucha Loco’s tequila- and mezcal-heavy cocktail list serves in abundance to get you in the right vibe.

A street view of Mustard Seed restaurant in Singapore.
A street view of Mustard Seed

Mustard Seed

Best for: Singaporean flavours meet Japanese techniques
Location: 75 Brighton Crescent, Singapore 559216
Price: Omakase tasting menu at 238 SGD (~175 USD)

Singaporean chef Gan Ming Kiat offers a Japanese twist on local cuisine at the small but mighty Mustard Seed. The restaurant, which began as a private-dining experience in Gan’s parents’ home, has since evolved into a popular dining spot on Brighton Crescent (an unusual neighbourhood for a restaurant like this) since 2019. Gan’s innovative menu combines Singaporean flavours with Japanese techniques, offering an omakase-style tasting menu that changes every two months. Watch the chef at work from one of only 13 intimate counter seats. Some of Mustard Seed’s inventive dishes include buah keluak mee pok (flat egg noodles), deep-fried turmeric frog legs and beef tartare kueh pie tee (crispy tart shell). Take note that reservations are required.

Wood-accented interiors at Nae:um restaurant, Singapore.
Wood-accented interiors at Nae:um

Nae:um

Best for: Innovative Korean fine dining
Location: 161 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068615
Price: Course menu from 218 SGD (~160 USD)

One Michelin-starred Nae:um offers contemporary Seoul cuisine, blending French techniques with Korean flavours. Chef-owner Louis Han’s seasonal menus, like the “After Work Hideaway” edition, draws inspiration from his memories, with this particular one inspired by time spent at lively, sometimes raucous pojangmachas (street-food tents) in Seoul. No matter the season, Han’s dishes are a proud showcase of elevated takes on traditional Korean cuisine that never stray far from his roots. It’s also nice that the staff here thrive on exceptional hospitality, with Han himself serving the petit fours and escorting guests to the door, adding a personal touch to the whole dining experience.

A selection of dishes served on a black table at Nouri, Singapore.
A selection of dishes served at Nouri

Nouri

Best for: Borderless cuisine that lives up to its promise
Location: 72 Amoy Street, Singapore 069891
Price: Chef’s tasting menu from 328 SGD (~241 USD)

Chef Ivan Brehm’s crossroads cooking concept explores the intersection of cultures from around the world through food, evident in every detail from welcome rituals to dish presentation. Each dish offers a journey of discovery, showcasing flavours and traditions from different locations and time periods. For example, dumplings – found in various forms across many cultures – are reinvented with confit chicken skin, served in a light beef consomme alongside a Wagyu ’nduja roll. As with the food, the interiors and overall experience also defy easy categorisation as well. All of which is elevated with a fantastic wine list and knowledgeable sommeliers available to recommend unique wine and sake pairings.

A pigeon dish served at Odette, Singapore.
A pigeon dish served at Odette

Odette

Best for: Modern French gastronomy
Location: 1 St Andrew’s Road, #01-04, National Gallery, Singapore 178957
Price: Chef’s tasting menu from 348 SGD (~256 USD)

The shining star of Singapore’s fine dining scene, three-Michelin-starred Odette has maintained its position as top dog for years now, thanks to its flawless execution of modern gastronomy. Clever use of sustainable produce from Southeast Asia and Japan, prepared in a modern French style, demonstrates chef-owner Julien Royer’s fascination with Asian flavours and ingredients in the kitchen. It is evident in dishes like the amadai fish from Hokkaido, steamed to enhance its sweetness, and served with a pink garlic veloute and mussel reduction for added umami. Another signature dish, the Kampot pepper-crusted pigeon, is perhaps the best of its kind. Once sated by the many courses, walk it off with a tour of the beautiful National Gallery, within which the restaurant is located.

Minimal interiors at sushi restaurant Shoukouwa, Singapore.
Minimal interiors at sushi restaurant Shoukouwa

Shoukouwa

Best for: Sushi as good as it gets
Location: 1 Fullerton Road, #02-02A One Fullerton, Singapore 049213
Price: Chef’s omakase from 520 SGD (~382 USD)

Renowned for its Ginza-style sushi, Shoukouwa is where you head to for the freshest seafood, flown in four times a week from Japan’s famed Toyosu Market. Using these premium ingredients, Japanese chefs craft ever-changing omakase menus featuring delicacies like uni, abalone and seasonal fish. Go for the top-tier En Omakase and see the kitchen team meticulously prepare a comprehensive menu, including appetisers, nigiri sushi, cooked items and a chef’s special highlighting the catch of the day. Be sure to sit at the sushi counter for front-row views of the chefs at work. The extensive selection of fine sakes and wines, curated by Singapore’s first Master of Wine, will please any oenophile.

A chef cooking in the kitchen at Willow, Singapore.
A chef cooking in the kitchen at Willow

Willow

Best for: Pan-Asian cuisine and Japanese ingredients with French flair
Location: 39 Hongkong Street, Singapore 059678
Price: Course menu from 228 SGD (~168 USD)

There’s lots to like at one Michelin-starred restaurant Willow, whether it’s the contemporary Asian approach, an exciting and unexpected blend of flavours, or the use of seasonal premium ingredients (many sourced from Japan) that inform a menu that is cohesive despite its myriad influences. Chef Nicholas Tam and his team present dishes like the standout koshihikari rice served with fatty kuromutsu (a deep sea fish from Japan) and roasted bone broth. By unleashing each seasonal ingredient’s full potential in creative ways, Willow effectively demonstrates its commitment to sustainability.

Sarawak laksa bouillabaisse served at Wine RVLT Singapore.
Sarawak laksa bouillabaisse served at Wine RVLT

Wine RVLT

Best for: Minimal intervention wines and fun sharing plates
Location: 38 Carpenter Street, #01-01, Singapore 059917
Price: Mains from 36 SGD (~26 USD)

What’s a natural wine bar doing on a best restaurants list? It could be the vino talking, but RVLT serves up some of the best food in town. These aren’t dainty, fine dishes but casual, hearty and darn satisfying plates as unadulterated as its wines. Expect to find homemade chicken nuggets served with fermented sriracha, cod fish otah fritters served with burnt garlic aioli, and glazed short ribs accompanied by homemade banchan (Korean small side dishes). Many of RVLT’s minimal intervention wines are unique, too, as its owners also operate artisanal wine distributor Raw Wine. So pop open a bottle or two and be assured that none of those sickly sulphates are in your glass.