Where and What to Eat in Chinatown
With its rich heritage, Chinatown is a veritable paradise for food lovers. Besides the sights, sounds and colours of this vibrant enclave, the culinary wealth offered here is immense, particularly so during the Chinese festivals. In the month preceding Chinese New Year, stalls sell delicacies such as waxed ducks, Chinese sausages, nian gou (sweet New Year cakes), mandarin oranges, candies and more. During the Mid-Autumn Festival, shops are adorned with lanterns and displays of mooncakes. Fortunately, the shophouses and old buildings have been preserved for posterity, providing a quaint ambience and setting for a novel dining experience.
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All Restaurants in Chinatown
The highlight here is the alfresco setting on the rooftop of The Scarlet, a hotel converted from a 1924 art deco building. Its Mediterranean menu abounds with barbecued meats, kebabs, tapas and seafood. Large platters are available for sharing. It’s a great place to unwind and absorb the views of Chinatown under moonlit skies.
- Address: 33 Erskine Road, The Scarlet
- Tel: +65 6511 3323
Broth restaurant was already here before Duxton Hill became cool, and goes to show that an oldie can still be a goodie. The restaurant’s full name is Bar Restaurant on the Hill, and it has been a popular night time spot for those in the know for quite a while. Tasty dishes on the Australian-inspired menu include some very sticky ribs with mash and risotto bolognaise during the day, with the unusual but flavoursome kangaroo loin for supper. Desserts stick with the Aussie theme: pavlova with fresh fruits and one of the best chocolate fondants we have ever tried. Service is fantastic, especially since unlike many restaurants they don’t automatically charge for it. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Mon - Thu 12:00-14:30 and 18:30 - 23:00,
Fri - Sat 19:00 – 23:00
- Address: 21 Duxton Hill, Singapore 089604
- Tel: +65 6323 3353
This Australian barbeque joint is an unusual concept in Singapore, and for this reason, alongside their delicious food, Burnt Ends packs in the crowds almost every night. At the centre of this restaurant is a large double-door oven that burns apple and almond wood, adding a smoky flavour. If you’re coming in a group with less than six people you’ll sit on the long counter, a front seat view of the action. There’s everything from pulled-pork burgers to a whole char grilled redfish, and even a smoked ice-cream for dessert. They don’t encourage bookings so you might have to wait, but if you’re a meat lover then it’s really worth it.
- Opening Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 11:45–14:00 and Monday to Saturday 18:00–00:00
- Address: 20 Teck Lim Road
- Tel: +65 6224 3933
Chinatown Food Street or Smith Street
Whilst it’s rare to find a bad hawker centre in Singapore in terms of the quality of the food, some do tend to be a little bit dirty and dingy. Chinatown Food Street is not certainly not one of them; this row of renovated shop houses and stalls can be found all under one shiny new glass roof, and is an extension of the popular Chinatown Night Market.
The emphasis here is firmly on the Chinese flavours, with roasted duck with rice or noodles being the choice dish. However, satay skewers as well as grilled meat and seafood also prove popular. The crowd is quite touristy so expect to pay one or two more dollars more than your average hawker centre in Singapore.
- Opening Hours: 11:00 - 23:00
- Address: 335 Smith Street, Singapore
The rebirth of Duxton Hill has created a new foodie street in Chinatown. New restaurants have opened in quaint shop houses and cool bars keep springing up in a neighbourhood whose reputation used to be far from squeaky clean. It’s now a real pleasure to walk around Duxton Hill, down tree lined lanes where you will also find independent boutiques and quirky cafes. Despite being so popular, it really has a village feel to it, and makes a great place for a night out. Head up the hill to the end of the road, this area is cobbled and car-free. The restaurants here include an Italian trattoria, seafood specialist and French steakhouse, and have outdoor seating. Read More...
Latteria boasts eleven varieties of Italy’s favourite soft cheese incorporated into this delightfully Mediterranean menu with not a pizza in sight. With space to dine both inside and out this sunshine yellow restaurant is a real taste of Tuscany in the middle of Chinatown. The menu includes southern style dishes, including the homemade gnocchi with fresh pesto and poached calamari salad, but the highlights are definitely the dishes that incorporate the restaurant’s namesake, where you can really appreciate the subtle flavours of creamy mozzarella. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Mon - Fri 12:00 - 14:30 (Lunch),
Mon - Sun 18:00 - 23:00 (Dinner)
- Address: 40 Duxton Hill
- Tel: +65 6866 1988
Lee Tong Kee Ipoh Hor Fun Restaurant
A quaint rice noodle shop with its roots in Ipoh, Malaysia, the outlet is ideal for a quick meal in a comfortable setting. Its staple is the homemade hor fun or rice noodles served in tasty gravy with chicken and prawn. Other specialty dishes are the crunchy bean sprouts with cuttlefish, wonton soup and chicken claws with mushroom. Its freshly squeezed lime juice and avocado blended with gula Melaka (palm sugar) has won fans.
- Opening Hours: Mon 10:00 - 15:30, Wed - Sun 10:00 - 20:30 (closed on Tues)
- Address: 278 South Bridge Road
- Tel: +65 6226 0417
If you fancy steak and frites the Parisian way then L’entrecôte is a great choice. Located in a small shop house, the thin restaurant has a bistro feel to it with grey polished floors and a line of tables and chairs along one side. The steak and chips come with a traditional walnut salad, but the rest of menu is also full of time-honoured French dishes including foie gras, snails and a fabulous dark chocolate mousse to finish the meal. Just like many of the bistros along the Seine, you can’t make a reservation, but you never have to wait long for a table. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Mon - Fri 12:00 - 22:30, Sat 18:00 - 22:30
(closed on Sundays)
- Address: 36 Duxton Hill, Singapore 089614
- Tel: +65 6238 5700
Grab a seat at the small terrace outside the restaurant and experience Brittany’s finest fruits of the sea. Le Petit Cancale focuses on seafood and imports fresh Fine de Claire oysters twice a week. The atmosphere inside the restaurant really replicates a northern French seaside brasserie, with art nouveau touches and turquoise walls. At lunch they serve some great quick bites and salads, including a delicious crabmeat and seaweed mayonnaise ciabatta as well as a set lunch for those who have a little more time on their hands. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Mon - Fri 12:00 - 14:30 and 18:00 - 22:30,
Sat 18:00 - 22:30
- Address: 37 Duxton Hill, Singapore 089615
- Tel: +65 6690 7565
On the ground floor of the New Majestic Hotel, the retro-chic Majestic Restaurant is renowned for its take on modern Cantonese cuisine served in individual portions. Its dishes are well executed from the crispy prawn with wasabi dressing and Peking duck served with pan-seared foie gras to the double-boiled lobster broth with lobster meat, asparagus and mushrooms and fried carrot cake. It’s well worth a visit for an avant garde dining experience.
- Address: 33 Bukit Pasoh Road, New Majestic Hotel
- Tel: +65 6511 4700
Maxwell Road Food Centre
One of the oldest hawker centres in Singapore, Maxwell Road Food Centre stands at the corner of South Bridge Road and Maxwell Road and is teeming with over 100 stalls. The locals flock to it for some of the best hawker food in town such as chicken rice, tapioca pastries, meat fritters and pork porridge to name a few. Lunchtime can be intimidating with long queues for food.
- Opening Hours: Daily 08:00 - 22:00
- Location: Maxwell Road food Centre is on the corner of Maxwell Road and South Bridge Road.
- Address: 1 Kadayanallur St
Qun Zhong Eating House
An unpretentious eatery, Qun Zhong is the place to go to for noodles and dumplings at down-to-earth prices. A short menu but oozing with delicious dishes of which the highlights are xiao long bao (steam dumplings with soup), gyoza, and red bean paste pancake. Dumplings are made from scratch and service can be surly but efficient.
- Address: 21 Neil Road
- Tel: +65 6221 3060
In 2012 Restaurant ANDRE was listed #68 Best restaurant on the San Pellegrino World’s 100 Best Restaurants, this humble establishment seats 30 diners and is the epitome of a personalised fine-dining experience. As exclusive as it gets, there’s only one menu, created by Chef André and his team: the eight-course degustation menu, prepared from market-fresh and imported ingredients that the chef hand-picks each morning. Each creation has a Mediterranean essence, but the presentation is French-inspired.
- Opening Hours: Tue - Sun 12:00 - 14:00 and 19:00 - 23:00
- MRT: Outram Park
- Address: 41 Bukit Pasoh Road
- Tel: +65 6534 8880
In 2012 there was an explosion of tapas restaurants in Singapore, but none of them are cooler than Sabio. The tiled monochrome restaurant opens out onto Duxton Hill, with a handful of tables on the small terrace and plenty of seating indoors, including along the counter where the delicious dishes are displayed. Again, you can’t book ahead, so it’s advisable to get there before 18:30 if you don’t want to wait. The best thing about Tapas restaurants is that you can try a little bit of everything, and there are plenty of hot and cold dishes that you will want more of. Recommendations include traditional Spanish potato omelette, croquetas with manchengo cheese, prawns in olive oil and garlic and the platter of Spanish ham, sausage and cheese. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Mon - Fri 12:00 – 00:00, Sat 17:00 – 00:00
- Address: 5 Duxton Hill
- Tel: +65 6223 4645
Senso Ristorante & Bar
Nestled between Chinatown and the CBD and lodged in an old convent around a courtyard, Senso has built up a reputation for authentic Italian fare and stellar wines. Its signature dishes include mozarella senso, linguine senso and the carote dessert. The wine list is equally impressive with quality Italian vintage dating back to 1924 as well as non-vintage. Over 500 selections are available by the glass.
- Address: 21 Club Street
- Tel: +65 6224 3534
The cherry-coloured Loft Café on the corner of East Coast Road and Smith Street is a great find and a haven from the busy lanes and cramped shop houses of Chinatown. This light and airy restaurant serves a wide selection of breakfast, lunch and hearty dinner options. With plenty of magazines, books and free Wi-Fi it keeps customers returning for chilled afternoons and lazy coffee mornings. The decor is simple, with a series of white tables and chairs lining the walls and four coveted comfy sofas at the back, where you can watch the world go by. Open every day from 09:00 it closes early on a Monday afternoon, but stays open till 22:00 every other day. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Mon 09:00 - 15:00, Tue - Sat 09:00 - 22:00,
Sun 09:00 - 18:00
- Address: 268A South Bridge Road (off Smith Street) Singapore 058817
Tiong Bahru Market
Tiong Bahru Market is famous for being one of the best hawker centres in Singapore for breakfast and brunch. Many of the stalls here open as early as 07:00 and close quite early too, meaning it’s the ideal spot for your first meal of the day.
That said, you might want to wait until lunch time to indulge in the best of what Tiong Bahru has to offer as it’s mostly meat based. Go for the roasted duck, pork ribs with noodles, boiled pork leg or stick with a simple Hainanese chicken over rice and you can’t go wrong. Prices are cheap too, with basic noodle and rice dishes starting from $S3.00.
- Opening Hours: 07:00 – late (depending on stall)
- Address: 30 Seng Poh Road, Singapore
This attractive restaurant and cocktail bar draws you into to their wondrous world with a traditional exterior which takes over three shophouses and a quirky design inside. There’s plenty of comfortable bistro style seating around the open kitchen and the friendly face behind the bar is one of the city’s top mixologists who creates out of this world cocktails. The food is innovative, and to get the best of the chef’s creations try the tasting menu, which includes razor clams with purple garlic, venison and an interpretative dessert based on Terry’s Chocolate Orange. Without pairing the menu is 160 SGD.
- Opening Hours: Monday-Friday & Sunday 18:00–00:00, Saturday 12:00-15:00
- Address: 38 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088461
- Tel: +65 6475 2217
Yixing Xuan Teahouse sits behind one of the picturesque old-fashioned shop-house fronts in the heart of Chinatown, offering some of the finest Chinese tea and appreciation classes to those who want a taste of days gone by. With around 25 years’ experience in the business you are in good hands. Staff members are welcoming and will give you a much deeper understanding of the history and culture of tea drinking and its ceremonies. This teahouse is so well-regarded that even Queen Elizabeth II popped in for a cuppa during her trip to Singapore in 1991. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Mon - Sat 10:00 - 21:00, Sun & Public Holidays 10:00 - 19:00
- Address: 30/32 Tanjong Pagar Road
Yum Cha Restaurant
For all-day dining in the heart of Chinatown, Yum Cha is the place to go to. On the second level of an old shophouse, Yum Cha, which means ‘drink tea’, is the quintessential experience for a Chinatown dining experience. Besides the shark’s fin soup, fried beef noodles, champagne pork ribs, spicy lamb rack and other specials, it is known for its dim sum dishes which are also offered in a daily high tea buffet.
- Opening Hours: Mon - Fri 11:00 - 23:00, Sat - Sun & Public Holidays 09:00 - 23:00
- Address: 20 Trengganu Street (Off Temple Street) #02-01
- Tel: +65 6372 1717