From now to the end of the year, we will publish an entry weekly, celebrating the best food in Singapore in 2015.
It’s difficult to put a price range to casual dining. Some people may spend $20 twice a week at restaurants but find it expensive to pay $40 at a restaurant weekly. Others may feel that paying $100 for a meal is casual.
I shall define “casual dining” as places you can go in shorts and people won’t stare at you. That said, I’ve been to fine dining where people wear shorts and they don’t even feel embarrassed. I feel ashamed for them.
Most restaurants on the list are between $20-$35. Only four restaurants cost more than $40, but they offer premium ingredients and have renowned chefs. Worth a visit now and then.
These are the Best Casual Dining Restaurants in Singapore (by ranking):
#10. Alt Pizza
Matthew White left Extra Virgin Pizza to start on Alt Pizza, which has become our go-to place for pizzas. We have already been there 5 or 6 times this year. They open another outlet lately, and, oh well, you know my dislike for chain restaurants. I hope the standards don’t dip.
On the surface, Lokkee may appear gimmicky with condom-napkins, and flaming pineapple. But the Sichuan-influenced American Chinese food is appetizing, and often has a twist that makes them intriguing. It scores highly in all areas, including value, decor, service and food.
With 80 years of history in Japan, Imakatsu serves deep fried crumbed meats. They deep-fry it twice: The tonkatsu is probably the best in Singapore, crispy yet oil-free. I bet it’s 0 calories.
#7. Meat Smith
Meat Smith is under the Unlisted Collection which houses upscale restaurants like Ember, Esquina, Pollen, Sorrel, etc. So you know Meatsmith has a certain standard. The concept here is American BBQ bar with the loud country music to match, set in a heavy metal theme. Rather good quality for the meats but the portions here aren’t Texan supersize. About $40/pax.
#6. Long Chim
Opened by David Thompson who once owned the title of Best Restaurant in Asia, Long Chim is a Thai bar/restaurant that took over the fine dining restaurant, Guy Savoy. The Thai food is slightly different from what Singaporeans are used to, but still good. Rather affordable at about $40/pax.
#5. Fix Grill
The halal Fix Grill restaurant is part of the Grub Group (Grub Cafe, Grub Noodle Bar, Cookyn, etc), so the people know what they are doing. I suspect they sous vide the meats before grilling. If not, how can the inside be so moist and the skin so crispy? Must order the whole fish and chicken wings, one of the best chicken wings in Singapore.
#4. Kok Sen
I ate at Kok Sen three times for 3 consecutive weeks because it is so shiok. But the standard at Kok Sen can be inconsistent, and I suspect there are different chefs on duty for different days; one chef’s specialty may be another chef’s doom. But still, this is one of the better cze char places and it’s at a convenient location.
#3. Bari Uma Ramen
Bari Uma Ramen should be more popular but isn’t because (1) it doesn’t do much publicity, (2) it is situated at the tail end of Orchard where there is no crowd, (3) people mistake it for the more well-known Uma Uma Ramen with a similar name, and (4) the ramen hype was over when it first came to Singapore. People already have their favorite ramen shop.
#2. Pizza Fabbrica
The boss of Pizza Fabbrica has immediate family that owns Michelin starred restaurant, so you know you’re in good hands. What impressed me most about this Italian restaurant when I was there was the wide vegetarian options. And the food was so good that I didn’t even notice it was vegetarian until the boss pointed it out.
The Italian food at Cicheti is cooked by a Singaporean chef, and he manages to give the food such rustic flavors. The setting itself is comfortable to boot. Sure to have a lovely time here.
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.