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Jan 24, 2017|
There's no doubt that the touristy precinct of Marina Bay and the bustling Raffles Place area are both replete with delicious restaurants, which can make it kinda tough to decide on where to go for a quick lunch or a nice evening of winding down over dinner and drinks. To get you started, here are 21 restaurants in the area serving up well-executed French classics, fresh Greek sea bass, extravagant takes on Singaporean dishes and of course, Asian-inspired cocktail classics.
A newcomer to the hood, this place is all about sustainable Mediterranean food, with grassfed and hormone-free meats, and plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free options, too. You can’t forgo the raw bar, which is stocked with fresh seafood like halibut crudo and the Sturia caviar, with straciatella cream, dill cucumber and potato celery blini. Hot off the grill are the Greek sea bass, with Mediterranean spiced rub, and the milk-fed Dutch veal chop with roasted leeks and blackberries. A real highlight is the list of organic and biodynamic wines from the Mediterranean region, best enjoyed their terrace. 40/F CapitaGreen, 138 Market St. Make a reservation via Chope here.
It’s not the most innovative menu in these pages, but the chophouse-style dishes at The Black Swan are well-executed and consistently delicious. Add to that the appeal of dining in a 1920s-style heritage building, the affable but professional service, the intriguing cocktail list, a new selection of carefully sourced steak options and, now, their new garden patio, and it’s easy to see why it is one of the best (and best-loved) restaurants in town. The Quadrant, 19 Cecil St. Make a reservation via Chope here.
Easily among the best fine dining Chinese restaurants in town, the opulent and elegant Cherry Garden offers a wide selection of Cantonese cuisine presented with an artistic touch. Not too much has been shaken up here, but we can’t complain when the BBQ meat platter, wasabi prawns and double‑boiled soups are so good. The weekend dim sum brunches are also unmissable, featuring faultless food and service. 5/F Marina Square, Mandarin Oriental. Make a reservation via Chope here.
Clifford Pier is a lot like many other superpretty hotel restaurants with a colonial heritage aesthetic. But start things out with a drink in a rattan armchair at their outdoor terrace overlooking the water, and things get a bit magical. On the menu are upscale versions of familiar favorites and hawker reinterpretations with Western touches, such as wagyu beef rendang and classics like prawn laksa with quail eggs and beancurd puff. The Fullerton Bay Hotel, 80 Collyer Quay. Make a reservation via Chope here.
Michelin-starred chef Daniel Boulud’s restaurant is awash with soft lighting, dark wood accents, and a beige marble bar dedicated to oysters. The menu is dominated by well-executed French classics including bouillabaisse and traditional coq au vin, as well as delectables like the quintessential original db burger. There’s a dizzying amount of luscious seafood, too, covering the oyster bar, selection of tartares and ceviches and a handful of seafood cocktails. #B1-48 Galleria Level, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Ave. Make a reservation via Chope here.
Many hotel buffets feel same-y, but that is not the case here. For sure, they cover all the bases, but there is something to be said for the sheer variety this crowd favorite offers, and at such impressive prices. We’re talking seven different open concept kitchens, Japanese sushi and Thai salads, Indian curries and chargrilled satay, not to mention oysters, prawns, mussels and scallops made a la minute at the seafood station, as well as pastas, pizzas, steaks and of course, a dessert spread. This is the big hotel buffet blowout you’re looking for. 3/F Pan Pacific Singapore, 7 Raffles Blvd. Make a reservation via Chope here.
One of the most vibrant places to get dinner and drinks in the Raffles Place area, this modern Japanese bar and restaurant at Customs House boasts a funky space with bright-colored murals by Miami Ink’s Chris Garver, exposed pipes and a hip hop soundtrack. Dig into dishes like the signature sea bream carpaccio and the salmon ceviche with crispy friend gyoza skin. The food is a great match for their Asian-inspired cocktails such as the Peach Blossom Margarita and the passionfruit-heavy Geisha Sake-rita. Head up to their third-floor rooftop bar when you’re done for a nightcap. #02-02 Customs House, 70 Collyer Quay. Make a reservation via Chope here.
With floor-to-ceiling windows, a big focus on Southeast Asian flavors and a fun open kitchen, the sun-drenched lobby restaurant at ParkRoyal on Pickering is especially ideal for a weekday lunch or weekend buffet, where our favorites include their selection of Singaporean fare such as ayam buah keluak and kueh pi tie. There are a la carte options, too. Go for the Singapore “luxe-sa” which comes with Maine lobster. 1/F ParkRoyal on Pickering, 3 Upper Pickering St. Make a reservation via Chope here.
They have recently changed-up their menu, but the key pillars of a special night out here still remain the same: amazing views of Marina Bay from atop the OUE Bayfront Building, prettily plated classics made with premium ingredients coming out of three separate kitchens—French, Japanese and Chinese—and a gorgeous lounge bar with floor-to-ceiling windows. 19/F OUE Bayfront, 50 Collyer Quay. Make a reservation via Chope here.
It has been the year of casual barbecue in Singapore, but when it comes to classic, carnivorous glamour, this American steakhouse stalwart is still a sure bet, especially since it lightened things up after its recent-ish renovation. Have a “Mortini” or two at their brass-colored island bar before heading in for a big, fat juicy slab of steak the size of a baseball mitt. The stars are the onion bread and the USDA prime ribeye, as well as desserts like the hot chocolate cake. 4/F Mandarin Oriental, Singapore, 5 Raffles Ave. Make a reservation via Chope here.
Helmed by Peruvian Chef Daniel Chavez, this is a homey spot with friendly service and simple, well‑executed food. Don’t miss the gazpacho, a cold tomato and cucumber soup with raspberry vinegar; ceviche, marinated fish with lime, chili and red onions as well as the roasted suckling pig with orange caramel and sweet and sour sauce. #01-06 Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 3. Make a reservation via Chope here.
The big hit of the il Lido Group this year has been Aura at the National Gallery, but we still adore this older one, which takes cues from traditional osterias and bars found in Italy. The menu is all about classics with dishes like beef agnolotti pasta with truffles, pappardelle with pork cheek in red wine and beef sirloin tagliata with asparagus and Parmigiano. The sexy and dimly-lit space is awash with lots of dark wood, marble top counters and a storied library-like vibe. 55 Market St. Make a reservation via Chope here.
Celebrity chef Mario Batali’s Singapore outpost is a sleek space with marble counters and dark wood. Italian comfort classics are created with refinement and premium ingredients, as in the orecchiette with fennel sausage and Swiss chard, and the sea trout with Umbrian lentils. Don’t miss the creamy burrata cheese with beets, horseradish, walnuts and rocket—and other combos—from the dedicated mozzarella bar. #B1-42/46 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Ave.
Gardens by the Bay may be touristy, but sitting back in a gorgeous, greenhouse-like space, surrounded by exotic flora while dining on chef Steve Allen's (who have worked in Gordan Ramsay's Claridge) modern French cuisine inspired by Mediterranean coasts like poached roasted French duck marinated in Chinese herbs and spices, prawn tartar that consists of red prawns with pickled tomatoes and prawn crumbs, and the light dessert with pumpkin, yogurt, white chocolate and blueberries; is more than worth the visit. Be sure to spare a few minutes for the action happening behind the nine meter-long dessert bar. #01-09 Flower Dome, Gardens by the Bay, 18 Marina Gardens Dr. Make a reservation via Chope here.
Breaking with the heavy, Mughal-inspired decor commonly found in many fine dining Indian places, this stalwart, around since 1971, is all about high ceilings, clean lines and minimalist decor. Even the presentation of the regional (North, South, coastal and other) dishes is delicate rather than hearty. Try the tandoori lamb chops, served on a hot stone, and tandoori salmon tikka. Vegetarians won’t feel left out with balanced, but flavor-packed dishes like the smoked eggplant bharta, paneer tikka and the palak paneer. There’s a brief list of mostly French wines, too, curated specifically for Indian flavours. 3/F Pan Pacific Singapore, 7 Raffles Blvd. Make a reservation via Chope here.
Han Li Guang has been quietly making some of the most exciting, molecular “Neo-Sin” food we have seen, first at his 20-seater space on Neil Road and now a much-bigger retaurant at Esplanade Mall. With unexpected combos, the degustation menus deliver plenty of surprises, like smoked bacon Hokkien mee and soft-boiled eggs that end up containing mango “yolks” eaten with sugary soya sauce and pepper made from ground almond. There’s a pre-theater menu, too. #02-23 Esplanade Mall, 8 Raffles Ave. Make a reservation via Chope here.
Veteran chef Emmanuel Stroobant moved his beloved Saint Pierre from Sentosa to One Fullerton this year, with a lighter touch and more of a market-to-table concept. The six and 10-course degustations involve seasonal ingredients and change often, divided into Earth (meat and seafood) and Nature (vegetarian). Expect upscale dishes with exciting touches like the langoustine puffed wild rice with winter melon, celeriac and green apple, and the purple artichoke with tumeric sauce, pine nuts and a herb crust. There’s also the option to go a la carte. #02-02B One Fullerton, 1 Fullerton Rd. Make a reservation via Chope here.
Around for years and with a steady following for both lunch and dinner, Shahi Maharani is a regal and reliable North Indian experience tucked in a quiet corner of Raffles City Shopping Centre. Doting service, lavish Mughal-style decor and live Indian band aside, the menu does solid tikkas and curries, some coastal and Bengali staples, fresh and warm naans and some exciting signatures like the spicy Soft Shell Crab Mirchiwalla. And even carnivores should try their vegetarian selection, including the kamal kakri (lotus root) kofta. #03-21B Raffles City Shopping Centre, 252 North Bridge Rd. Make a reservation via Chope here.
Perched atop Marina Bay Sands, the crazy view at this six year-old restaurant and its adjoining bar lounge alone makes a meal here worthwhile. But add to that the culinary fireworks by Singaporean celebrity chef Justin Quek, and you’re not likely to forget your meal here for a while. WIth a solid French training, Quek recasts Asian dishes with fancy touches and premium ingredients. Try signatures like the foie gras xiao long bao and roasted crackling suckling pig. 57/F Sands SkyPark, Marina Bay Sands, 2 Bayfront Ave.
If you've gone to 1-Altitude for sunset drinks but never stayed for the gorgeous dinner at sister restaurant Stellar, on the 62nd floor, you're really missing out. The six- or eight-course degustation from the new Constellations Gastronomic menu is all about seasonal ingredients, like the Carabineros prawn carbonara and the live Jade abalone with foie gras and morel. Save space for the desserts dramatically prepared tableside—part of their Dessert Art Experience. 62/F One Raffles Place, 1 Raffles Place.
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As recommended by Singapore's poets, novelists and non-fiction writers
Expect more degustation dinners, master classes and wine tastings this year.
New exhibitions, film festivals and a couple of parties to keep you going till the end of the week.