Eat Like An Instagrammer: Singapore’s Coolest Cafés, Restaurants and Bars
A never-ending stream of new cafés, restaurants and bars are popping up in Singapore faster than you can say “avo on toast”, keeping all of the city’s Instagram foodie influencers on their toes – and iPhone 11 Pros.
When it comes to standing out as a hot new contender in Singapore’s hospitality scene, the food fight has never been quite so fierce. Restaurant owners can no longer rely on a tasty dish to make it to the top – instead, every corner of their establishment must be carefully considered through the eyes of an influencer. So, it’s no surprise more and more eateries are installing cheeky neon-lit quotes, adding pops of millennial pink, letting plants grow wild and making sure everything on the menu is ready for its #foodporn close-up.
These past few months, we’ve been particularly spoiled by new openings offering a seriously cool and unique dining experience. Opulent Japanese-inspired cocktail bars, juicy burger joints and hole-in-the-wall cafés serving oozy toasted sandwiches and fluffy donuts are just a few recent additions to every Singapore foodie’s newsfeed.
But just because you don’t have tens of thousands of followers to your name doesn’t mean you can’t jump on the latest trend and ‘gram your way around the best of Singapore’s food scene too (besides, you can always count on mum to like your snaps).
Lucky for you, we’ve stalked the latest trends to uncover 11 must-eat places in Singapore right now. No filter needed.
Explore Singapore’s hottest restaurants, cafés and bars…
1. Don Ho
Although Don Ho is not the newest kid on the block in Singapore, they’re sure doing a fine job of upholding a reputation as one of the coolest. Tucked away in a tropical paradise on Keong Saik Road in Tanjong Pagar, the restaurant and bar is built around the concept of social dining. To no one’s surprise, this philosophy translates perfectly into social media. Follow the in-the-know night owls for an exceptional dinner of shared plates inspired by the earth, land and sea, or rise slowly over brunch during the weekend.
Gram this**:** Snag a spot next to the jungle-inspired feature wall with a fresh, floral and colourful signature cocktail in hand.
Mon – Sat, 6pm – lateSat – Sun, 10am – 4pm
2. Three Buns
Warning. This next restaurant has food porn written all over it. If you’re looking to capture the best burger in Singapore, you’d be wise to run (don’t walk) to Three Buns. This hip, green and open plan home on Robertson Quay defies every convention of a traditional burger joint. With burgers that still have an irresistible ‘ugly delicious’ look that we love so much (particularly in portrait mode), Three Buns is clean in the rest of their approach. Every ingredient is well-sourced, from the high-quality meat to the artisan buns and everything in between. Get your chompers around one of these gourmet creations and we expect you’ll be back in no time at all.
Gram this: As a dog-friendly restaurant, we suggest going walkies with your four-legged pal down to Three Buns to hang out together on the comfy outdoor furniture.
Tuesday – Thursday, 5pm – 12amFriday, 12pm – 12amSaturday 10am – 12amSunday, 10am – 11pm
3. Live Twice
Brought to life by Jigger & Pony (a.k.a. #29 in the World’s 50 Best Bars), Live Twice is a sultry, low-lit cocktail bar that opened at the end of 2019 and already seems to be going the same way as its creator. Tucked away down a Chinatown alleyway, the bars interior is inspired by mid-century Japan, with warm panelling, vintage fittings and plenty of intimate booths and alcoves to get lost in conversation. Whatever your poison, be it whisky, non-alcoholic Seedlip mixes, natural wine or craft beer, Live Twice is a hidden gem that’s always there to catch you at the end of the day. The Japanese snacks are top, too.
Gram this: A moody shot of your martini against the polished wooden backdrop. All class.
Monday – Thursday, 6pm – 1amFriday – Saturday, 6pm – 2am
4. % Arabica
When it comes to Instagrammable coffee shops, Arabica has absolutely peaked. Blending a passion for high-quality beans and contemporary design, the independent coffee brand opened its very first shop in Kyoto in 2014. It is now regarded as one of the world’s greatest family of coffee shops, with 55 locations in 13 countries. As of last year, Singapore became home to three of those cafés. You’ll find a cool and sun-filled café on Arab Street, a quiet retreat in the suburbs of Holland Village in Chip Bee Gardens and a white, modern and industrial coffee corner inside 313@Somerset.
Gram this: The famous Arabica Iced Latte in one hand, a flakey pastry in the other. Perfection.
% Arabica Arab Street, 56 Arab StreetMonday – Sunday, 8am – 8pm
% Arabica 313@Somerset313, 313 Orchard RoadSunday – Thursday, 8am – 9pmFriday – Saturday, 8am – 10pm
% Arabica Chip Bee Gardens, 43 Jin Merah SagMonday – Sunday, 8am – 6pm
If you consider yourself a hardcore foodie, Preludio is one of Singapore’s best fine dining restaurants that you must tick off your list. Although located in the bustling business centre of Tanjong Pagar, the contemporary restaurant’s simplistic monochrome space is a heavenly escape into tranquility. At the helm of the kitchen is Fernando Arevalo, a phenomenal chef – and storyteller. Through set course lunches and dinners, Arevalo draws the eater into a delicious new chapter every season, where the narrative is inspired by personal stories and memories.
Gram this: Trust us. You’ll want to document every single part of this unique dining experience. From the table settings to each plate of food, each feature of the restaurant would look right at home next to the masterpieces of a world-class art gallery.
182 Cecil Street, Tanjong PagarOpen Monday – Saturday, 11.30am – 2:30pm & 6pm – 9.30pm
Not everything in 2020 started out great, but the opening of Korio’s artisan sandwich, donut and coffee shop sure put our hope back in humanity – and carbs. Inspired by the baked goods that flood the streets of New York, Myron and Shaz are a husband and wife duo that decided to bring the taste of The Big Apple to their charming hole-in-the-wall takeaway shop on Amoy Street. Make any excuse to swing by for coffee and treats in the morning or a sourdough sandwich for the best lunch ever.
Gram this: Nothing gets Instagram feeds buzzing like a toastie or sandwich oozing with cheese and saucy goodness. Especially when it’s a killer stack like Korio’s signature Tuna Melt. Get amongst it.
Monday – Friday, 8am – 4pmSaturday, 9am – 3pm
7. Fluff Stack
A city can never have too many pancake restaurants – wouldn’t you agree? When you’ve got a hankering for something sweet around Marina Bay, strut into Suntec City and make a beeline for Fluff Stack. As the name promises, this new slice of paradise serves impossibly wobbly, cloud-like souffle pancakes. Pop over to the quick and easy self-service kiosk and pick between an array of different flavours, including the classic (doused in honey butter, maple syrup and chantilly cream), hazelnut chocolate, tiramisu, peanut butter, oolong boba and more. Then it’s just a matter of going to town on as many additional toppings as your heart so desires.
Gram this: The shop is coloured in with soft pinks and white, ensuring every stack of pancakes has its own perfect backdrop. We can almost hear them calling out to be snapped and captioned.
Sunday – Thursday, 11am – 9.30pmFriday – Saturday, 11am – 9.45pm
8. Strangers’ Reunion
So, you’re looking for the very best coffee and brunch in Tanjong Pagar? Boy, have we got the place for you. Having been on the scene since 2012, Strangers’ Reunion is definitely no stranger to Singapore’s café world. But it’s their timeless aesthetic and passion for innovation that keeps them at the front of the pack. This passionate team is best known for waking up Singapore with single origin brews and delicious brunch options.
Gram this: With a team made up of national barista champions – including a three-time latte art champion – you can expect each cup of coffee to be pretty as a picture. Make it extra snap happy and pair your brew with buttermilk waffles.
33 – 35 Kampong Bahru RoadMonday – Sunday, 9am – 6pm
9. Baker’s Bench Bakery
Baker’s Bench Bakery opened at the end of January and made their presence on Bukit Pasoh Road immediately known. In no time at all, foodies jumped on this new café in Tanjong Pagar. We like to think we’ve got quite an eye when it comes to picking out what’s a hype and what’s for real – and we’ve got no doubt that Bakers Bench’s humble bakery is the real deal. Retreat into this elegant and minimalistic space painted in soft neutral colours for baked goods made on site, excellent lunch options, cold-pressed juice and a lovely cup of Joe.
Gram this: You haven’t seen a croque monsieur until you’ve seen Bakers Bench’s which comes with thick slabs of housemade sourdough and torched Mornay sauce on top. Let’s just say it’s got a certain je ne sais quoi about it.
Wednesday – Monday, 8.30am – 5pm
10. MO Bar
If we were to count all the reasons MO Bar should be the next bar you visit, the internet might very well break. Soar to the fourth floor of Mandarin Oriental Hotel and take in the breathtaking views of the city’s skyline as you enter one of the city’s best bars. In the afternoon, MO Bar puts on a dainty high tea, where guests can relax over tea, cocktails and champagne paired with delicious and creative nibbles. As the sun goes down in Marina Square, the shaking and stirring turns up another level as glasses are filled with curated cocktails that’ll make you look twice.
Gram this: We know baristas love their latte art… But we’ve never seen bartenders get crafty with their cocktails like MO Bar’s ones do. Order the peacock-inspired ‘Harvest Queen’ cocktail and you’ll see what we mean.
Sunday – Thursday, 11am – 1amFriday – Saturday, 11am – 2am
11. Keong Saik Bakery
It was Keong Saik Bakery’s Sor Hei that first put them on Singapore’s food map. Since then, the team of bakers have been pulling masterpiece after masterpiece from the oven, inspired by a blend of traditional, nostalgic and contemporary ingredients. These days, all eyes are on Keong Saik’s Burnt Cheesecake: a perfectly creamy treat made using four different cheeses. As one of Singapore’s best dessert spots, you’d be mad to leave this hot bakery off your list.
Gram this: Keong Saik Bakery’s Burnt Cheesecake is available in an original flavour, but for photo purposes we suggest opting for the eye-catching Matcha or ‘Half and Half’ version.
Monday, 7.30am – 5pmTuesday – Friday, 7.30am – 8pmSaturday & Sunday, 8am – 8pm