Any Singaporean will tell you hawker centres are the best place to find local food.
But, don’t forget about these stellar local restaurants in Singapore, dishing out hawker faves, Mod-Sin fare, authentic Peranakan cuisine and more.
Check out these 12 local restaurants in Singapore that serve up some of the best local foods:
1. National Kitchen by Violet Oon
Most Singaporean households are familiar with food ambassador Violet Oon – and this is where to go for true-blue Peranakan delicacies. Robust flavours infuse dishes like Buah Keluak Ayam ($26.75) – a spicy chicken stew –and Beef Rendang ($26.75) – beef in a tangy tamarind gravy.
National Kitchen by Violet Oon, 1 St. Andrews Rd., National Gallery Singapore, #02-01, 178957
We would be remiss if we did not acknowledge the role of Mod-Sin pioneer Chef-Owner Willin Low. While his original Wild Rocket outlet on Emily Hill closed down in 2018 (and he’s now living in Japan, where he opened up Roketto Restaurant & Bar), his casual spin-off concept Relish lives on! At its two locations, enjoy local-inspired fare including Laksa Pesto Linguine ($17.80), Hae Bee Hiam Spaghettini ($17.80) and the surprisingly addictive Har Jeong Frog Legs ($10).
Relish, 182 Cecil St., Oasis of Frasers Tower, #02-12/13, 069546; 501 Bukit Timah Rd., Cluny Court, #02-01, 259760
3. The Quarters
This local restaurant in Singapore serves up locally inspired dishes, and is known for sweets like the Wonderffle, a waffle topped with gula melaka (palm sugar), lemongrass and pandan ice cream ($13).
The Quarters, 16 Enggor St., Icon Village, #01-09, 079717
4. Quentin’s Singapore
Try this respected resto’s fusion of Portuguese, Indian, Chinese and Malay cuisines, which has resulted in eclectic recipes like Curry Debal, a Eurasian-style curry (from $21.80). Finish with the Sugee Cake, made with butter, almonds and semolina flour ($7.5).
Quentin’s Bar and Restaurant/The Eurasian Restaurant,02 Gunner Lane, Mess Hall, Sentosa, Block 14, #01-08, 099567; 139 Ceylon Rd., Eurasian Community House, Level 1, 429744
5. Blue Lotus Chinese Eating House
A departure from the usual renditions you’d find at most other restaurants, the Blue Lotus‘ Signature Chilli Pomelo Crab is its menu star ($9.2 for 100g). Insider info: We also hear its Masterchef Asia (Season 1) finalist Lennard Yeong’s favourite rendition of chilli crab in Singapore!
Blue Lotus, 31 Ocean Way, Quayside Isle, #01-13, Sentosa, 098375
It can be hard to decide what to eat sometimes. Solve that by heading to this bombastic buffet, where you can sample local classics including Hainanese Chicken Rice, Laksa (spicy noodle soup) and plenty more.
StraitsKitchen, 10 Scotts Rd, Grand Hyatt Singapore, 228211
7. Kelly Jie Seafood (formerly Mellben Toa Payoh)
While chilli crab gets all the attention as Singapore’s national dish, the rich and umami Claypot Crab Vermicelli Soup is a favourite dish with the seafood specialists at Kelly Jie (price varies). We recommend going in a group to order as many dishes as you like!
Kelly Jie Seafood, Lor 8 Toa Payoh, Blk. 211, #01, 11/15, 31021
8. JUMBO Seafood
JUMBO Seafood is one of Singapore’s most recognisable home-grown restaurant brands, and rightly so. Die, die must-try dishes: Scallops Wrapped in Yam Ring ($14), Live Prawns Fried with Cereal (from $18) and other ocean-inspired delicacies.
This Michelin-starred restaurant has made a name for itself with its “new Singaporean” dining experience. Chef LG Han showcases local flavours, while combining culinary techniques from across the globe. One fan fave: the Claypot “Ang Moh” Chicken Rice (shown), a chicken rice dumpling with skin made of home-milled rice flour and braised chicken paired with his grandma’s chili sauce (Lunch for $98++ and dinner for $148++).
Restaurant Labyrinth, 8 Raffles Ave., Esplanade Mall, #02-23, 039802
10. Home of Seafood
For a restaurant so named, they’re promising a lot. And this local restaurant delivers – try their signature Black Pepper Crab (a popular one in Singapore!), a succulent crustacean doused in viscous, fragrant black pepper sauce.
Home of Seafood, 1 Joo Chiat Place, 427739
11. New Ubin Seafood
Despite its name, New Ubin Seafood offers much more than just seafood, including Black Angus Ribeye Steak ($82.50). Its all-rounded menu makes it an incredibly family-friendly option. Even better, they have various takeaway options for a truly Singaporean meal packed in a box, for example, the Ah Koon Scissor Cut Curry Rice ($15.80).
UbinEats, Level 6 Canteen, 63 Hillview Ave, 669569
12. Palm Beach Seafood
This gem goes way back (to 1956!), and it’s a familiar place for locals to host family gatherings even today. Classics like Sri Lankan crab can be prepared in 8 different ways, while signature dishes like the Honey Tangy Fish is great just the way they are.
Palm Beach Seafood, 1 Fullerton Rd., One Fullerton, #01-09, 049213
By Joshua Tan and Pinky Chng / Updated in The Finder, Issue 302, March 2020 / Photos: Courtesy of restaurants or Facebook pages / Updated by Isabel Wibowo, March 2021, images: courtesy of the respective business credited