Flying the flag for Turkey in what is Singapore’s main Arab enclave is Alaturka Restaurant, a compact little eatery tucked away down Bussorah Street. If you’re into your Turkish food, the size of the menu at Alaturka means that they’ll probably have what you’re looking for. Unlike some restaurants that boast thick menus, quality is definitely not sacrificed. Most of the delicious appetisers here are veggy-friendly, with their falafel and flatbreads particularly outshining some of the meat options on the menu. As for mains, try their marinated lamb chops, succulent eggplant casserole or go for their selection of kebabs and you won’t leave disappointed.
- Opening Hours: 12:00 - 23:00 Daily
- Address: 16 Bussorah Street
- Tel: +65 6294 0304
Known for its Middle Eastern and Southern Mediterranean dishes, Ambrosia is a quaint restaurant which uses only halal ingredients in its cooking. It is known for pollo Marrakech, kebabs, falafel, lamb shanks, hummus and more.
- Address: 19 Baghdad Street
- Tel: +65 6275 6274
Artichoke Café & Bar
Artichoke Café & Bar is yet another example of how many self-titled ‘cafes’ in the Bugis and Kampong Glam area are able to serve up food that’s fitting for any fine restaurant in town. This particular joint (commonly known as just ‘Artichoke’) has received numerous titles for having the best lunch around, and its scrumptious brunch menu has been winning over food critiques across Singapore for years. From simple scrambled eggs with fresh mushrooms or smoked salmon, to their huge ‘Self Destruction’ all day breakfast, Artichoke Café gets pretty much everything spot on both for freshness and flavour. Much of the menu is Mediterranean/Middle Eastern inspired with dishes such as their merquez lamb sausage and grilled haloumi cheese on toast also impressing. Prices range from S$8-20 per dish.
- Opening Hours: Tue - Thu 18:00 - 22:00, Fri 18:00 - 00:00, Sat 11:00 - 16:00 (lunch) and 18:00 - 00:00, Sun: 11:00 - 16:00
- Address: 161 Middle Road, Inside Sculpture Square (beside NAFA)
- Tel: +65 6336 6949
Although now boasting several other branches across Singapore, Bumbu’s original location on Kandahar Street in the middle of Kampong Glam remains the best. Quite stunning from both outside and in, Bumbu’s design team seem to have followed the same route as their Thai-Indonesian menu, with royal Siamese teak furnishings mixed in with classic colonial Indonesian artwork and antiques. Bumbu is no fusion restaurant however, with both their Thai and Indonesian dishes being kept more or less apart from one another. For Thai, try the chicken and cashew nuts, tom yam soup, green chicken curry or mango salad. If Indonesian is more your thing, go for the beef rendang or buah keluak chicken. Many dishes here come in at under S$10, meaning a lunch or dinner here with friends is never going to break the bank.
- Opening Hours: Tue - Sun 11:00 - 15:00, 18:00 - 22:00
- Address: 44 Kandahar Street
- Tel: +65 6392 8628
Cafe le Caire @ Al Majlis
Also a great teetotal nightlife spot due to its (almost) round the clock opening hours, Cafe le Caire is one of the best places in the Kampong Glam neighbourhood to enjoy some fine Middle Eastern food. Kebabs, hummus, falafel, salads and flatbreads all are in no short supply, and the whole place has a genuinely laidback vibe going for it. Split over three floors, diners can people-watch on the ground floor, find a more formal dining room on the second, or laze about in the sumptuous lounge area at the top. As Cafe le Caire @ Al Majlis is located on Arab Street, an Islamic hub of Singapore, don’t come expecting to find any cocktails, beer or wine. Instead, swap the alcohol for a fruity tea or a classic Turkish or Egyptian coffee for a pleasant change.
- Opening Hours: Sun - Thu 10:00 - 03:30, Fri - Sat 10:00 - 05:30
- Address: 39 Arab Street
- Tel: +65 6292 0979
Le Pont De Vie
A rare find in this Islamic hub, Le Pont De Vie is a modern European restaurant with a decor reminiscent of the 1900's. Its menu reflects the talents of the executive chef and wine expert. Highlights include pan-fried foie gras, grilled milk-fed veal chops and freshly baked soufflé among others.
- Address: 26 Kandahar Street
- Tel: +65 6238 8682
Liang Seah Street – Hotpot Restaurants
This quaint old Chinese road has so many great ‘hotpot’ restaurants that we couldn’t decide on our favourite - so we’ve just included the whole street as an outright entry in our top 10! For those still wondering what exactly a hotpot restaurant is, let us explain. Usually you pay a set price for a buffet which includes a range of fresh ingredients such as vegetables, meat, fish, seafood, eggs etc. (although some will charge per dish). You’re then presented with a big bowl of boiling water to toss in your raw food to cook yourself. You can also get pre-cooked noodles and rice as well as a range of Korean and Chinese sources to spice up your meal. The best of the bunch on Liang Seah Street includes Xian De Lai Shanghai, Tanyoto, Ting Yuan Hotpot and Sangkai Japanese. Most charge between $S20-40 for a set lunch or buffet.
- Opening Hours: Typically 12:00 - 22:00 Daily
- Location: Liang Seah Street
Man Fu Yuan
Man Fu Yuan inside the Intercontinental Hotel is a long running Cantonese restaurant, ranked amongst the best of its type in Singapore. After undergoing a refurbishment at the turn of 2011, the slightly dated interior received a new lease of life, whilst the restaurant still maintained its famously authentic Chinese flavours. A stop here wouldn’t be complete without sampling their dim sum S$5-7, whilst their stir-fried scallops and ever so light lobster noodles hit the spot perfectly. The surroundings are bright, fresh and considering you’re dining in a 5-star hotel restaurant, the prices at Man Fu Yuan aren’t too bad either.
- Opening Hours: 11:00 - 14:30, 18:00 - 22:30 Daily
- Address: 80 Middle Road, 2F Intercontinental Hotel
- Tel: +65 6825 1062
NOX – Dine in the Dark
NOX – Dine in the Dark is restaurant that takes unique dining concepts to a whole new level. At Nox, ‘dining in the dark’ doesn’t just mean gloomy lighting or a lack of windows: it means purposely built rooms that totally block out all light. The experience doesn’t stop there. When it comes to eating the food (in pitch black), you are served by waiters who are actually blind or visually impaired themselves – the idea being that they can reassure you and guide you throughout the dining/tasting session. The concept takes the emphasis away from the presentation of the food, allowing you to truly appreciate the flavours throughout their ever-changing three-course set menu and cocktail list. NOX – Dine in the Dark is a few minutes’ walk away from Bugis MRT Station.
- Opening Hours: 18:00 - late daily (Lunch available for group bookings)
- Address: 269 Beach Road
- Tel: +65 6298 0708
The buffet at Park Royal’s impressive Plaza Brassiere has become synonymous across Singapore for its quality selection of premium seafood, which come both cold and raw or cooked and warm. Several live cooking stations dot the restaurants, with diners able to pick out their fish, crab, lobster or any other type of crustation that takes their fancy.
You can choose how you want your catch to be cooked and which sauces you want. Don’t forget to look out for Plaza Brassiere’s featured themed buffets, which in the past have included crab festivals as well as massive meat carvaries.
- Highlights: Seafood – cooked how you want
- Address: Park Royal Hotel, 7500 beach Road
- Tel: +65 (0) 6505 5710
- Price Range: Lunch S$40++, Dinner S$60++
Stuttgart Blackforest Boutique S-Cafe
For a little slice Germany right in the centre of Singapore, look no further than Stuttgart Blackforest Boutique S-Cafe. Walking distance from both Bugis and Bras Basah MRT Stations, this German cafe-cum-bistro serves up some feel-good German affair with an emphasis firmly on the meat, including juicy sausages, meatloaf, meat platters, and their centrepiece: pork knuckle served with sauerkraut and potato salad. It’s not just the food the gives a tip-of-the-hat to Bavaria; Stuttgart Blackforest Boutique S-Cafe is decked out with some nice wooden touches giving it that ‘log cabin’ kind of feel, whilst staff are clad in traditional German attire. They also sell imported beer and cigars to take away – so it’s worth a visit even if you’re not dining.
- Opening Hours: 08:00 - 21:30 Daily
- Address: #01-01 GSM Building, 141 Middle Road
- Tel: +65 6336 8675
Whilst serving up a great lunch, dinner and a fine range of drinks, Symmetry on Jalan Kubor Road is synonymous for one thing only: brunch. As the place only opens at 11:00, ‘brunch’ is a loosely used term to describe the food that they specialise in. Think massive all day breakfasts (using only high quality ingredients such as maple glazed bacon, smoked salmon and sauté mushroom) plus an excellent range of waffles, croissants, and eggs done any way you want. The classic white-washed building with contrasting bright green shutters is easy on the eye from the outside, whilst the inside colour scheme is far more complicated, yet just as satisfying. You can get to Symmetry from either Bugis or Lavender MRT Stations.
- Opening Hours: Tue - Thu 11:00 - 23:00, Fri - Sat 11:00 - 00:00, Sun 11:00 - 19:00
- Address: 9 Jalan Kubor, #01-01, Singapore
- Tel: +65 6291 9901
Restored to its former glory as a fine colonial home, Tepak Sireh is located next to the Istana Kampung Gelam, the grand palace of the Sultan in 1800's. Today, it acts as an authentic dining room for traditional Malay meals with speciality dishes such as nasi bryani dham (rice cooked in spices and herbs), nasi kuning (yellow rice), rendang (braised spicy beef) and udang galah (prawns).
- Address: 73 Sultan Gate
- Tel: +65 6396 4373
The international wine wholesalers and importers Wine BOS have their own bar on in Kampong Glam (after their previous haunt at North Bridge Road, and it happens to be a particularly cheap place to drink. Glasses of quality red, white and sparkling wine from around the world start from less than $10, and they also have a $25 free flow every Wednesday evening.
Food is also available; their recommended pork knuckle is half price on Mondays ($12), steaks on the weekend are from $9 and pizza is $12 on Tuesdays.
- Opening Hours: Mon - Fri 18:00 - 24:00; Sat - Sun 18:00 - 02:00
- Address: 17 Jalan Klapa, Singapore
- Tel: +65 6538 7886
Many cheap bars in Singapore are located in backpacker hostels, and Working Title in the Arab quarter is one of the coolest of the bunch. Big with local hipsters, fashion-conscious expats, and the budget backpackers staying in one of the rooms upstairs, this artsy cafe/bar specializes in two things: ales and coffee. Bottles of often difficult-to-find ales and ciders go for as little as $7 and they have an ever-changing selection coming straight from a micro-brewery.
The food menu, just like the seating options, is sparse but interesting. You can get homemade pies, custom made sandwiches and a generous slice of their ultra-cheesy pizza all for around $5. Find Working Title on the middle of Kampong Glam’s busting Arab Street.
- Opening Hours: Mon - Thu & Sun 09:00 - 22:00; Fri - Sat 09:00 - 24:00
- Address: 48 Arab Street Singapore 199745
- Tel: +65 6298 8721