The best restaurants in Bugis and Kampong Glam all combine 2 essential factors for creating a perfect place to dine: affordable prices and downright delicious food. The range of cuisines is as diverse as any other area in town: from Korean hotpot restaurants to Thai hawker stalls; German bistros to international set lunches – not forgetting a plentiful supply of quaint cafes specialising in Middle Eastern food for Kampong Glam’s significant Arab population.
While still relatively central in Singapore, restaurants in the Bugis and Kampong Glam area shy away from the prices you'll inevitably come across in the main tourist zones like Marina Bay, Clarke Quay or the Financial District. Instead, your Singapore Dollar goes a lot further here, whilst the quality of the food is rarely sacrificed.
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While 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 9am or 10.30am, ‘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: Monday from 10.30am to 9pm, Tuesday–Thursday from 10:30am to 11pm, Friday from 10.30am to midnight, Saturday from 9am to midnight, Sunday from 9am to 7pm
- Location: 9 Jalan Kubor, #01-01, Singapore
- Tel: +65 6291 9901
NOX – Dine in the Dark
NOX – Dine in the Dark is a 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 3-course set menu and cocktail list. NOX – Dine in the Dark is a few minutes’ walk from Bugis MRT Station.
- Opening Hours: Daily from 6pm to 10pm
- Location: 269 Beach Rd, Singapore 199546, Singapore
- Tel: +65 6298 0708
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 a 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: Tuesday–Sunday from 11am to 3pm and from 6pm to 10pm (closed on Mondays)
- Location: 44 Kandahar St, Singapore 198897, Singapore
- Tel: +65 6392 8628
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: Daily from 11am to 11pm
- Location: 9 Bras Basah Road, #01-01 Rendezvous Hotel Gallery, Singapore 189559, Singapore
- Tel: +65 6336 8675
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 merguez lamb sausage and grilled halloumi cheese on toast also impressing. Prices range from S$8-20 per dish.
- Opening Hours: Tuesday–Sunday from 4pm to 9.45pm, (closed Mondays)
- Location: 161 Middle Rd, Singapore 188978, Singapore
- Tel: +65 6336 6949
Golden Mile Complex
Whilst Singapore is home to many glamorous Thai restaurants, there’s no better – or cheaper – place to taste the real thing than at the Golden Mile Complex, as long as you aren’t put off by the slightly worn-out surroundings. Often dubbed as ‘Little Thailand’, this collection of restaurants, grocery stores, bars, and Thai discos welcomes Singapore’s ever-expanding Thai community with open arms, as well as a splattering of locals, expats and tourists wanting to get in on the fun.
For the best tom yum goong, pad Thai, papaya salad or thick massaman curry around, head to Nana Thai or Dindin Leluk Thai Restaurant (both within the main Golden Mile Complex) or try the Golden Mile Food Centre located on the other side of the road.
- Opening Hours: Daily from midday to midnight
- Location: 5001 Beach Rd, Singapore 199588, Singapore
Man Fu Yuan at Intercontinental Hotel
Man Fu Yuan inside the Intercontinental Hotel is a long-running Cantonese restaurant, ranked amongst the best of its type in Singapore. A stop here wouldn’t be complete without sampling their dim sum, while their stir-fried scallops and ever so light lobster noodles hit the spot perfectly.
The surroundings are bright and 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: Monday–Friday from midday to 3pm and from 6.30pm to 10.30pm, Saturday–Sunday from 11.30am to 3pm and from 6.30pm to 10.30pm
- Location: InterContinental Singapore, 80 Middle Rd, Singapore 188966, Singapore
- Tel: +65 6825 1008
Alaturka Mediterranean & Turkish Restaurant
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 vegetarian-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: Daily from midday to 11pm
- Location: 15 Bussorah St, Singapore 199436, Singapore
- Tel: +65 6294 0304