Best Food in Singapore 2021

In alphabetical order, these are the 10 best eateries we dined at this year:

Bonding Kitchen
Orchard Gateway #02-18, 277 Orchard Road, Singapore 238858
T: +65 8860 9087
Tue-Sun 11.30am-3pm, 5.30pm-10.30pm

Kacang botol kerabu (winged beans) – Must order!

Danny Chew, a private home-chef at JB, is persuaded by his regular Singaporeans customers to open shop in Singapore. The Peranakan food menu here is rather extensive. They have some ubiquitous Peranakan food but also some innovative dishes. The set menus (6 courses $68 for 2, 7 courses $118 for 4) are worth the money. Must order dishes include: kacang botol kerabu ($16, wing beans tossed in a mint-lemongrass-calamansi lime dressing); and sotong masak hitam ($20, squid). Full review here.

Type: Peranakan casual dining
Average spending: about $30 to $40 per pax
Best for: groups, families

Buko Nero
126 Tanjong Pagar Road Singapore 088534
t: +65 63246225

buko nero reservation
Scallops with uni

Established in 2000, Italian restaurant Buko Nero is managed by Italian chef Oscar Pasinato and his Singaporean wife, Tracy. 3-course lunch sets start from an affordable $35. Degustation dinner starts from $158++ but one may also order a la carte. The Italian food here marry traditional Italian cuisine with Asian ingredients. A perfect example would be the burrata drizzled with kumquat vinaigrette. Everything from the food to service is perfect. Full review here.

Type: Italian fine dining
Average spending: about $100 if a la carte (without wine)
Best for: groups

Copper Chimney
Little India, 100 Syed Alwi Road, Singapore 207676
Tel: +65 94455663
11.30am – 10.30 pm daily

copper chimney reservation

Copper Chimney may possibly be my favourite Indian restaurant in Singapore. The Northern Indian food here is the Platonian ideal of what Indian food should be. The spices are strong, the gravy is thick, and the food is rich. Must order: butter chicken ($16), Salmon tikka masala ($18), mutton Roganjosh ($16), and palak paneer ($15). Full review here.

Type: North Indian casual dining
Average spending: about $25 to $30 per pax
Best for: groups, families

Craft Pizza (rebranded as Tuca)
35A Boat Quay Singapore 049824
t: +65 6235 6977
M-Sat 11am-4pm, 5pm-10.30pm, closed Sun

craft pizza reservation
Carne Rossa

A pity Craft Pizza (now rebranded to Tuca) doesn’t use wood-fired ovens, but despite that, they serve (probably) the best pizza in Singapore. The dough, which uses four types of flour, is fermented for 48 hours, resulting in a fluffy crust. Whenever possible, they make ingredients themselves such as tomato paste from fresh Italian San Marzano tomatoes and pickling their own chillis. There are other things (pastas and appetizers) on the menu, ignore those, and go straight for their pizzas. Full review here.

Type: pizza, casual dining
Average spending: $30 to $40
Best for: groups, after work

Dumpling Darlings
86 Circular Road, Singapore 049438
t: +65 8889 9973
11.30am – 3pm, 5.30pm – 10.30pm, Closed Sun

XO prawn noodles

Opened by the same people at Lola’s Cafe, Dumpling Darlings serves innovative Asian noodles and dumplings. The noodles are often a play on Singaporean hawker food: the Sichuan pork noodles is reminiscent of our bak chor mee and the XO prawn noodles is a dry version of our hae mee tng with its essence distilled and concentrated. The fried dumplings, with its different fillings, are delicate. Also: fantastic service. A well-rounded casual noodle bar. Full review here.

Type: Asian noodles, casual dining
Average spending: $25 – $30
Best for: young couples and students

Fire @ 1-Atico
Orchard Ion Level 55 & 56, 2 Orchard Turn, Singapore 238801
t: +65 6970 2039 
12pm-2pm, 6pm-10.30pm daily

fire @ 1-atico reservation

Taking over the Salt Grill on Ion Orchard rooftop, the Argentinian restaurant builds its concept around four fires using apple, oak, and almond oaks. For weekday lunch, the 3-course set starts from $48 and there are a la carte options. Weekend brunch from $98. Dinner set at $158+ but there are a la carte options. The flavour profile presented at this restaurant is vastly different from what we are used to: the food is deep and earthy. The food is not merely unique among Singapore’s foodscape, they are also delicious. Full review here.

Type: Argentinian fine dining
Average spending: About $100-$120 without wine for dinner a la carte
Best for: romantic dates, special occasions

Frieda Restaurant
Arcade @ The Capitol Kempinski #01-87, 13 Stamford Road, Singapore 178905
tel: +65 6715 6873
11.30am-2.30pm, 6pm-10pm, daily

frieda restaurant reservation
Baked camembert

Frieda, a German restaurant, has all that you expect of stereotypical German food, pork knuckles ($49), sausages and spätzle. But if you venture out of your comfort zone, you’ll find that they also have more refined versions of German food. Their lunch menu, 2-course ($21++) or 3-course ($26++), is a steal. It’s fine-dining food at casual dining prices. Full review here.

Type: German, casual dining
Average spending: $35 to $45
Best for: groups

41 Boat Quay Singapore 049830
Tel: +65 8201 2737
Lunch: Thu, Fri & Sun: 11.30am – 2.30pm
Dinner: Tues – Sun: 5pm to 10.30pm

JU95 reservation
Irish rock oysters

Having worked at several fine dining restaurants in Singapore, Chef Louis Lee opened JU95, a modern izakaya, after plans to follow a one-Michelin starred chef to Belgium folded due to the pandemic. The food here is exciting, interesting, delicious and unpretentious. Must order: parfait ju (mushroom on French shortbread biscuit, $15++ for 2 pieces) and grilled baby squid donabe ($45++). Full review here.

Type: modern izakaya, in between casual and fine dining
Average spending: About $80 without drinks
Best for: after work, couples

Red Eye Smokehouse
1 Cavan Road Singapore 209842
tel: +65 6291 0218
Tue – Sat 12pm – 3pm, 5pm – 10pm
Sun 12pm-3pm, 5pm – 9pm

red eye smokehouse reservation
Angus beef brisket

I recently cooked American smoked brisket (see instagram) which took 36 hours, so I appreciate this restaurant. Established in 2015, Red Eye Smokehouse at Jalan Besar smokes their meats with low heat over long hours so that the meats come out tender and moist. You may order individual portions of meat, such as beef brisket (200g) and pulled pork (200g), ranging from $18 to $55. There is also a selection of sides at $5 (half portion) or $8 (full). But it is better value if you order the tray for one ($29), for two ($60), for four ($98), or for 5-6 ($169). The two of us had the tray for two ($60) which consists of beef brisketpork ribssmoked chicken, and choice of two sides. It also comes with buns and pickles. Full review here.

Type: American BBQ, casual dining
Average spending: $30 – $40
Best for: couples

Umami 10
163 Telok Ayer Street Singapore 068616
Tel: +65 6513 5789
M-Sat: 11.30am – 2.30am, 5.30pm – 10.30pm, Closed Sun

Yuzu clams

New tapas restaurant Umami 10 at Telok Ayer Street serves contemporary Japanese-European cuisine with award-winning sakes that are sourced directly from Japan. Head Chef-Owner Mark Tay has over 30 years of culinary experience in Japanese, Italian and French cuisine while Executive Chef Victor Tan is no stranger to French, Asian and Mediterranean cuisine. The menu is two-page long, comprising of four categories – Bites, Cold Tapas, Hot Tapas and ‘Stressed’ (desserts spelt backwards).  Must order: yuzu clams. Full review here.

Type: contemporary Japanese-European cuisine, gastrobar
Average spending: About $80 without drinks
Best for: after work, couples

At a glance, the 10 best restaurants in Singapore for 2021 are
Bonding Kitchen (Peranakan, casual dining, Somerset)
Buko Nero (Italian-Asian, fine dining, Tanjong Pagar)
Copper Chimney (Indian, casual dining, Little India)
Craft Pizza now rebranded to Tuca (Pizzeria, casual dining, Boat Quay)
Dumpling Darlings (Asian noodle bar, casual, Boat Quay and Amoy Street)
Fire @ 1-Atico (Argentinian, fine dining, Ion Orchard)
Frieda (German, casual dining, The Capitol Kempinski/City Hall)
JU95 (Modern izakaya, fine dining, Boat Quay)
Red Eye Smokehouse (American BBQ, casual dining, Jalan Besar)
Umami 10 (Contemporary Japanese-European, fine dining, Telok Ayer)

Written by Dr. A. Nathanael Ho. With additional reporting from Cheang Shwu Peng and Vanessa Khong.

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