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RESTAURANTS


AKASHI
Basement, Tanglin Shopping Centre, 19 Tanglin Rd., Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6732-4438
S$20 to Over S$50
Orchard
Japanese
Japanese food lovers are praising the California reverse roll and grilled bamboo clams in chili. All the traditional kinds of sushi and sashimi are also here, fresh and tasty. There's an equally popular outlet at Citlink. AE, MC, V. Orchard.


ANNALAKSHMI
5 Coleman St., Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6339-9993
S$20 to S$50
Colonial Singapore
Indian
This restaurant in the Peninsula Excelsior Hotel is full of surprises. It attracts power-lunchers, but it's staffed by volunteers, and all the proceeds support medical charities in India. So, although it looks expensive, it has an "eat what you want, pay as you wish" policy. (If you feel uncomfortable doing this, suggested prices for various dishes are displayed near the counter.) The lunch buffet is very popular. For dinner the paper-thin dosai pancakes are delicious. Other staples are cabbage curry, channa dhal (chick-pea stew), kurma (a mild vegetable curry cooked with cream), samosa (deep-fried, vegetable-stuffed pockets), and jangri (a cold dessert). www.annalakshmi.com.sg. AE, DC, MC, V. Closed Sun. Raffles City.


AU JARDIN
EJH Corner House, Singapore Botanical Gardens, Cluny Rd., Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6466-8812
Over S$50
Tanglin
French
For an exquisite French culinary experience in a breathtaking setting, eat at this former colonial residence in the Singapore Botanical Gardens. With an outdoor terrace, just 12 tables, and a total capacity of 42, it's perfect for romantic moments and grand affairs. The menu degustation at lunch is a six-course selection of appetizers and main courses, followed by cheese or dessert, while the eight-course menu gastronomique at dinner involves an equally impressive amount of food, with selections such as chesnut soup with truffle cream and roasted venison loin with beetroot purée. The waiters are in black tie, and the service is faultless. Request a table on the veranda for an uninterrupted view of the lake and surrounding greenery. AE, DC, MC, V. Orchard.


BANANA LEAF APOLO
54-58 Race Course Rd., Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6293-8682
Under S$10 to S$35
Little India
Indian
This cafeteria-style spot has been transformed into a busy restaurant that specializes in fish-head curry (S$18-S$25, depending on the size). The food is fabulous, though it's often so hot that you may wind up with tears streaming down your face. You'll be given a large piece of banana leaf with steaming-hot rice, two papadam (deep-fried lentil crackers), and two vegetables, with delicious spiced sauces. If you don't want to try the fish-head curry, other spicy meats and seafood are available. Eating with your hands like the locals is encouraged, but cutlery is available. AE, MC, V. Bugis.


BARCELONA
11 Unity St., No. 01-30/31, Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6235-3456
S$10 to S$50
Clarke Quay
Spanish
Get a taste of Spain's most exciting city at this bar with a Catalan flavor. Barcelona serves up salsa music, fine wines, and tapas-style finger food and has plenty of plush, comfy couches to sink into. There's live music some nights. COST: No cover charge.


BELACHAN
10 Smith St., Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6221-9810
Under S$10 to S$20
Kreta Ayer
Nonya
Between the Peranakan trinkets on the walls and louvered blinds and the dulcet background tones of Nat King Cole, you'll wonder which era you're in -- the perfect setting for sampling traditional Straits Chinese food. The ayam buah Keluak (chicken in spicy gravy with a black Indonesian nut) is the house specialty. Portions are small, so order a few dishes. AE, DC, MC, V. Tanjong Pagar.


BLU
Shangri-La Hotel, Orange Grove Rd., Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6730-2598
S$35 to Over S$50
Orchard
Eclectic
Contemporary California-style food is the hallmark of Chef Peter Schintler's menu at the Shangri-La Hotel's revamped restaurant on the 24th floor. After a drink in the sleek bar known for its champagne cocktails, you can sit inside or enjoy an alfresco meal on the patio -- both have great views. The menu is light: goat cheese wedges coated with pine nuts with roasted red peppers, chilled foie gras terrine with Portobello mushrooms, and thyme-roasted hen, to name a few. The warm, crisp apple pie served with cinnamon ice cream is a delightful finale. Reservations essential. AE, DC, MC, V. Orchard.


BLUE GINGER
97 Tanjong Pagar Rd., Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6222-3928
S$10 to S$35
Tanjong Pagar
Nonya
Singapore's most elegant Peranakan restaurant maintains a casual feel, thanks in part to local artist Martin Loh's colorful paintings of modern Peranakan life. Try the udang goreng tauyu lada (sautéed prawns with pepper in a sweet soy sauce), ayam panggang Blue Ginger (boneless chicken grilled and flavored with spiced coconut milk), and the mouthwatering ngo heong (homemade rolls of minced pork and prawns seasoned with five spices). If you're brave, sample a dessert made from the infamous durian (a large, thorny bit of fruit that smells like old gym socks but has a caramel flavor). Tanjong Pagar. Other location: The Heeren, No. 05-02C, 260 Orchard Rd., Orchard, PHONE: 6835-3928. Somerset. AE, DC, MC, V.


BREWERKZ
No. 01-05/06 Riverside Point, 30 Merchant Rd., Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6438-7438
S$10 to S$35
Clarke Quay
Eclectic
This microbrewery on the river across from Clarke Quay is ideal for indulging in some homemade lager and American food. Burgers, fried calamari, beer-battered fish-and-chips, and buffalo wings are served quickly and come in big portions. There are always six varieties of beer on tap plus an additional few during any given holiday season. The ample patio outside is well suited for kicking back, or you can play pool indoors. AE, DC, MC, V. Raffles Place.


CROSSROADS
Singapore Marriott, 320 Orchard Rd., Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6735-5800
S$10 to S$35
Orchard
Eclectic
This open-air eatery on the ground floor of the Singapore Marriottis a good place to take a break from the Orchard Road chaos. The large overhead fans will keep you cool, and the staff can arrange for shopping bags to be left with the hotel concierge. Western breakfasts are served until 1 PM, and both the lunch and dinner menus have a good range of global (read: recognizable) meals. You'll see numerous expats here; they come to get good, reasonably priced salads, pastas, and sandwiches. AE, DC, MC, V. Orchard.


DA DONG
39 Smith St., Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6221-3822
Under S$10 to S$20
Kreta Ayer
Chinese
Ask for a table near the window on the first floor of this converted shophouse for one of the best views of the lively neighborhood. Like the wooden floors, old-style floor-to-ceiling window shutters, and congenial service, the Cantonese food here is delightful but understated. Try the Peking duck, prawn noodles, or steamed fish head. Dim sum is served from 7 AM daily, so it's also a good place to begin the day. AE, DC, V. Tanjong Pagar.


DA PAOLO
80 Club St., Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6224-7081
S$20 to S$50
Kreta Ayer
Italian
Part-owner Judie Scarpa almost upstages the food as she glides around this elegant restaurant chatting to customers -- almost, but not quite. The homemade pastas and daily meat dishes make it a popular place for business lunches and intimate dinners. The house specialty -- spaghetti tossed with mussels, prawns, scallops, and fish in a tasty tomato sauce and wrapped in parchment paper -- emits wonderful aromas when unwrapped at the table. For dessert nothing beats traditional Italian sweets like gelati and tiramisu. AE, DC, MC, V. Tanjong Pagar.


DOC CHENG'S
Raffles Hotel Arcade, 1 Beach Rd., Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6331-1612
S$35 to Over S$50
Colonial Singapore
Eclectic
This is one of the few eateries in Singapore that can successfully claim to create fusion cuisine that works. Set in a splendid colonial meets Euro-style setting inside the Raffles Hotel, its food is light and superb. Try the Thai lobster roll, pan-seared tuna with soba, Szechuan rack of lamb, tempura of salmon rolled in seaweed, or venison marinated with Dijon mustard, yogurt, and five-spice powder. Save some room for dessert: the baked banana strudel with green cardamom ice cream and fruit salsa is a perfect finish. AE, DC, MC, V. City Hall.


EQUINOX
Swissôtel The Stamford, 2 Stamford Rd., Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6431-5669
S$20 to Over S$50
Colonial Singapore
Eclectic
You can still see Malaysia and Indonesia in the distance from this restaurant on the 70th floor of the Swissôtel The Stamford, but that's where the similarities between it and the former Compass Rose end. The blinds have been removed for a better view, and modern Chinese carvings create intimacy without sacrificing light. There are two menus, Western and Asian, and the signature dishes of Yuzu marinated roast cod and seared Shanghai duck indicate a move away from quantity to quality. There's an indulgent brunch here on Sunday. Reservations essential. AE, DC, MC, V. City Hall.


GOLDEN PEONY
2 Temasek Blvd., Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6334-8888 Ext. 7482
S$20 to Over S$50
Marina
Chinese
You'll find the height of refinement at this Cantonese dining room in the Conrad International Centennial Singapore hotel. The deboned crispy chicken with bean curd skin and Yunnan ham, the steamed crab claw in Hua Tiao wine and ginger juice, and the steamed Canadian bass and salmon with mushrooms remain favorites with power-lunchers and locals celebrating special occasions. AE, DC, MC, V. City Hall.


GORDON GRILL
22 Scotts Rd., Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6737-7411
S$35 to Over S$50
Orchard
Continental
The Scottish country lodge look here is lightened with apple greens, light-wood chairs, and glass panels etched with delicate drawings of Scottish lairds. The decor is at once formal and casual, but above all comfortable. Tradition is served up here in the form of excellent roast beef and steak, but the menu also surprises with the more adventurous and delicious local pan-fried ikan kurau (similar to whitefish) served on a bed of spinach, and ratatouille with tapenade sauce. The lobster Thermidor keeps regular patrons coming back for more. The chocolate pudding is a must for chocoholics. Reservations essential. AE, DC, MC, V. Orchard.


HAI TIEN LO
The Pan Pacific, Marina Square, 6 Raffles Blvd., Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6826-8338
S$20 to Over S$50
Marina Square
Chinese
Sit in the right place at this 37th-floor restaurant, and you'll get a view of the sea, the Padang, and City Hall. The Cantonese cuisine, the decor, and the service are all extremely elegant: plates are changed with every course, and waitresses wear cheongsams (Chinese dresses with high collars and side slits) in black with gold trim. Decorated Cantonese master chef Simon Ho recently took over the reigns and toned the menu down to more subtle dishes; his specialties include a deluxe dim sum platter, lightly spiced vegetables served in a coconut husk, and fresh scallops sautéed with honey peas. AE, DC, MC, V. City Hall.


HOUSE OF MAO HUNAN HOT POT
Orchard Hotel Shopping, No. 01-09/10, 442 Orchard Rd., Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6733-7667
S$10 to S$35
Orchard
Chinese
The giant air-brushed canvases of children waving red books, party flags, wall-to-wall propaganda posters, looped video of the late dictator, and Red Army uniforms worn by the staff may make you wonder if this restaurant is only about kitsch, but the food is equally memorable. Choose your soup stock, condiments, sauces, vegetables, seafood, and meat, and then cook it in the large boiling pot recessed in your table. Noodle side dishes are also available. Note that finding this restaurant can be tricky -- some taxi drivers still refer to it as its previous name, Red Book. AE, DC, MC, V. Orchard.


HOUSE OF SUNDANESE FOOD
55 Boat Quay, Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6534-3775
S$10 to S$35
CBD
Indonesian
Sundanese food, from an isolated province in West Java, is different from the rest of Indonesian food. It combines raw fresh vegetables with meat and fish in a piquant sweet-spicy mix. Order several small dishes and one seafood entrée to share. You might start with keredok, a vegetable salad in a spicy peanut dressing; continue with taupok goreng isi (bean-curd-skin rolls stuffed with scallops, prawns, water chestnuts, and mushrooms); and sedap ikan snapper bakar (broiled red snapper in a sweet sauce). Raffles Place. Other locations: Suntec City Mall, No. B1-063, Fountain Terrace, 3 Temasek Blvd., Marina Square, PHONE: 6334-1012. City Hall; 218 East Coast Rd., East Coast/Katong, PHONE: 6345-5020. Kallang. AE, DC, MC, V.


IMPERIAL HERBAL RESTAURANT
41 Seah St., 3rd floor, Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6337-0491
S$10 to S$35
Colonial Singapore
Chinese
A Chinese herbalist will give you a quick checkup before recommending dishes to strengthen your health at the Metropole Hotel's restaurant. No matter what ails you, you're bound to find help here, as more than 100 dishes have been developed with specific therapeutic purposes in mind. For example, the braised Canadian codfish flambé with garlic and ginger is said to relieve fatigue. The candied sweet potato helps quiet stomachs upset from too many travels. Restorative tonics and teas are also served along with their Western counterparts, beer and wine. If you're really impressed with the results or need some extra help, take-home herbal remedies are also available. Reservations essential. AE, MC, V. City Hall.


INAGIKU
Raffles The Plaza, 2 Stamford Rd., Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6338-8585
S$20 to Over S$50
Colonial Singapore
Japanese
The Japanese expatriates who frequent this modern restaurant say it serves some of the best and freshest sashimi platters in Singapore, but why limit yourself to sushi? The tempura is light and crisp, while the teppanyaki comes with a heavenly prawn dipping sauce and savory garlic fried rice. AE, DC, MC, V. City Hall.


INDOCHINE
Asian Civilizations Museum, 1 Empress Pl., Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6339-1720
S$20 to S$50
CBD
Eclectic
Singapore's best Cambodian, Vietnamese, and Laotian restaurant favors calm above all: wicker chairs are strung along the waterfront, decorations -- mostly Indochinese artifacts -- are low-key, tea lights provide mood lighting, and soothing jasmine scents fill the air. The lemongrass, chili, mint, and curry flavors are just as subtle, though the beef ragout is far spicier than its French ancestor. The sea bass and Cambodian chicken are satisfying without being overpowering. Arrive by 7 to enjoy the sunset over the river. Reservations essential. AE, DC, MC, V. City Hall.


JIANG-NAN CHUN
190 Orchard Blvd., Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6734-1110
S$20 to Over S$50
Orchard
Chinese
On the second floor of the Four Seasons hotel, this avant-garde dining room serves Cantonese food accented by Thai and Japanese influences. Lunchtime dim sum is popular, as is the à la carte dinner. Highlights include chicken and seafood dumplings, steamed-scallop dumplings that are scented with coriander, and the standout -- deep-fried spare ribs in a chocolate-and-coffee sauce, sprinkled with thin almond flakes for additional crunch. The presentation is unusual and artistic and the service attentive. Reservations essential. AE, DC, MC, V. Orchard.


KEYAKI
Marina Square, 7 Raffles Blvd., Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6434-8335
S$35 to Over S$50
Marina Square
Japanese
On the rooftop of the Pan Pacific hotel, a Japanese farmhouse has been re-created in a Japanese garden complete with golden-carp pond. The waitresses in kimonos and waiters in happi coats serve a full spectrum of Japanese food -- kaiseki, kobachi, sashimi, shabu shabu, sukiyaki, sushi, tempura, teriyaki, bento, soba, and udon. The teppanyaki may be the best in Singapore. AE, DC, V. City Hall.


L'AIGLE D'OR
83 Duxton Rd., Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6227-7678
S$35 to S$50
Tanjong Pagar
French
Posh meets art nouveau at this small, cheerful restaurant in the Berjaya Hotel, which stands out among the more rough-and-ready pubs of the neighborhood. The tantalizing haute French menu is seasonal but might include monkfish in a saffron sauce, pan-fried loin of lamb, and some preparation of foie gras. AE, DC, MC, V. Tanjong Pagar.


LE JAAN
Swissôtel The Stamford, 2 Stamford St., Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6431-5669
S$20 to Over S$50
Colonial Singapore
French
As you enter the dining room, you may be distracted by the breathtaking views of the South China Sea or the 1,200-piece horizontal chandelier, but once chef Fabrizio Aceti's dishes are served, it'll be difficult to think of anything else. Try the oven-baked lobster or pigeon with gingered celery and zucchini in a five-spice sauce. Each plate is attended to and seasoned individually, so no two are exactly the same. AE, MC, V. City Hall.


LEE KUI (AH HOI) RESTAURANT
46 Mosque St., Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6222-3654
Under S$10 to S$35
Kreta Ayer
Chinese
Not to be confused with the Ah Hoi restaurant at the Traders Hotel, this unpretentious storefront restaurant in the heart of Chinatown serves you at large tables (if your party is small, you may have to share a table with others); it's busy, noisy, and often crowded. The distinctive flavors of Teochew cuisine are evident: try the cold crab as a starter, followed by winter melon soup, prawns with young chives, and ngohiang (minced pork rolls). Your glass of tea will be constantly replenished. Reservations not accepted. No credit cards. Tanjong Pagar.


LEI GARDEN
Chijmes, No. 01-24, 30 Victoria St., Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6339-3822
S$20 to Over S$50
Colonial Singapore
Chinese
This two-level restaurant is known for its double-boiled tonic soups (highly prized by the Chinese), barbecued meats, and seafood (including a variety of shark's-fin dishes). Dim sum is available at lunch; must-tries at dinner include Peking duck, grilled rib-eye beef, and fresh scallops with bean curd in black bean sauce. This place is very popular with local office workers. AE, DC, MC, V. City Hall.


LEMONGRASS
No. 05-02A, The Heeren, 260 Orchard Rd., Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6736-1998
Under S$10 to S$20
Orchard
Thai
If you're particular about the chili level of Thai food, this is the place to come. Dishes will be made to accommodate your tastes, whether you like things mild or fiery. Either way, specialties like stuffed chicken wings and soft-shell crabs will not disappoint. The prawn patties are worth a try. AE, MC, V. Somerset.


LI BAI
39 Scotts Rd., Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6737-6888
S$20 to Over S$50
Orchard
Chinese
The dining room in the Sheraton Towers hotel is rich -- elaborate floral displays, jade table settings, ivory chopsticks -- without being overindulgent. The cooking is modern and innovative, yet firmly rooted in Cantonese tradition. The chef's unusual creations include deep-fried diamonds of egg noodles in a rich stock; fried lobster in black-bean paste; and double-boiled shark's fin with Chinese wine and jinhua ham. AE, DC, MC, V. Newtown.


MADRAS NEW WOODLANDS RESTAURANT
12-14 Upper Dickson Rd., Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6297-1594
Under S$10
Little India
Indian
This simple restaurant in the heart of Little India has a dedicated local following. The food is vegetarian, mainly northern style. For a full meal, order a thali: a large platter of dosai pancakes served with three spiced vegetables, curd, dhal, rasam (hot and sour soup), sambar (spicy sauce), sweet raita (chopped vegetables with yogurt), and papadum. Or ask for the paper dosai, which is crisp and comes in an enormous roll; it's served with two spicy coconut sauces and a rasam and is a meal on its own. Reservations not accepted. No credit cards. Bugis.


MEZZA9
Grand Hyatt Hotel, 10 Scotts Rd., Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6416-7189
S$10 to S$35
Orchard
Eclectic
Mezza9 is Zen-chic all over -- clean lines, subtle lighting, polished wood, and rock walls. This is where Singaporeans come to see and be seen. Sit anywhere in the restaurant and choose modern dishes from a variety of menus: there are a Western and yakitori grill, sushi and sashimi bar, Chinese steamboat, European Thai deli, crustacean bar, and patisserie. Crab cakes served with a lemon roulade and celery salad and duck spiced with aniseed and fennel are popular. Those with a sweet tooth will go wild for the signature dish: a sample of each dessert served on a silver tray. There are also a walk-in wine cellar and a martini bar. AE, DC, MC, V. Orchard.


MICHELANGELO'S
Chip Bee Gardens, 44 Jalan Merah Saga, Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6475-9069
S$20 to S$50
Holland Village
Italian
When a local newspaper mistakenly reported that this gem of a restaurant was closing down, larger-than-life chef Angelo Sanelli found dozens of bouquets and cards left on his front door. After eating here, you'll understand why patrons are so passionate about the place. The food is fresh and cooked to perfection. Classic fresco paintings and fabric-draped ceilings create a cozy atmosphere inside, or you can sit outside and dine by candlelight, with fans to keep you cool. AE, DC, MC, V. Commonwealth.


MIN JIANG
22 Scotts Rd., Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6730-1704
Under S$10 to S$35
Orchard
Chinese
In a re-created Chinese pavilion on the grounds of the Goodwood Park hotel, Min Jiang offers a restrained and elegant interpretation of Chinese style. It's always busy, thanks to its delicious Szechuan food and fast service. The camphor-smoked duck, chicken with dried red chilies, and hot-and-sour soup are favorites. Ask for a table near the window for a view of the tranquil Chinese garden. Reservations essential. AE, DC, MC, V. Orchard.


MOOMBA
52A Circular Rd., Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6438-0141
S$20 to S$50
Boat Quay
Eclectic
Named from the Aboriginal word meaning "to come together to have fun," this restaurant serves modern Australian food. Don't come here expecting a standard meat-and-three-vegetables. Instead, sample the kangaroo with wasabi mashed potatoes, Middle Eastern-inspired starters, meal-size salads, and some of the best wines from Western Australia. The large traditional Aboriginal dot murals that adorn the walls downstairs set the tone for a creative and colorful meal. MC, V. Raffles Place.


MORTON'S OF CHICAGO
Marina Square, 5 Raffles Ave., Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6339-3740
Over S$50
Marina Square
Continental
To the dedicated carnivore, Morton's is nirvana. Its old-world charm, played out in dark-wood paneling, linen napkins and tablecloths, and muted lighting are complemented by piped-in jazz music. The Morton's menu is known for its USDA prime aged beef, which is flown in from Chicago. The Morton's salad with blue-cheese dressing, and the porterhouse -- the signature steak -- are recommended. Portions are huge and pricey, so order extras, like veggies, to share. If you still have room for dessert, try the key lime pie or the Godiva hot chocolate cake. AE, DC, MC, V. No lunch. City Hall.


MUTHU'S CURRY RESTAURANT
72-78 Race Course Rd., Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6293-2389
Under S$10 to S$20
Little India
Indian
Renovations have added some polish to this famous eatery, and the menu has expanded to include set meals based on either fish-head curry, Sri Lankan crab, squid curry, mutton curry, fried fish, or sambal chicken. There's a hot debate over which sibling serves the better food: Muthu or his brother, who owns the Banana Leaf Apolo, down the street. www.muthuscurry.com. Reservations not accepted. AE, MC, V. Bugis.


NAAM
Plaza Singapura, No. 02-22, 68 Orchard Rd., Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6339-9803
S$10 to S$35
Orchard
Thai
If you like your Thai food spicy -- with a minimum of oil and coconut milk -- this restaurant is an ideal choice. Start your meal with a palate-cleaning lemongrass drink. Warning: the clear but spicy tom yam soup may bring tears to your eyes. For something more substantial, try the phad kra kai (stir-fried minced chicken). The kuay teow phad Thai (fresh rice noodles fried with seafood) is delicious. The staff is very friendly. AE, MC, V. Dhoby Ghaut.


NADAMAN
22 Orange Grove Rd., Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6737-3644
S$20 to Over S$50
Orchard
Japanese
There's nothing quite so exciting as watching a teppanyaki chef perform his culinary calisthenics. Nadaman, in the Shangri-La hotel, offers sushi, sashimi, teppanyaki, tempura, and kaiseki (a formal Japanese banquet). Try one of the bento lunches -- fixed-price meals (around S$35) served in lacquer trays and boxes. The service is discretely attentive; note that the staff may try to steer you toward tourist-friendly dishes. AE, DC, MC, V. Orchard.


NECTAR
87 Club St., Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6323-4544
S$20 to S$50
Kreta Ayer
Eclectic
Contemporary East-West fusion dishes grace the menu of this stunningly designed restaurant. Japanese and Thai influences are most evident in starters including the nori-wrapped tempura tuna with ginger salsa and sweet-sour macadamia sauce and soft-shell crab with smoked lime-tartar sauce. The thick, rich five-spice wine sabayon served chilled in a tall glass is a refreshing finale. If you're in a group and want to be noticed, request the large -- and internally illuminated -- alabaster table. AE, DC, MC, V. Tanjong Pagar.


PALM BEACH SEAFOOD
Leisure Park, 5 Stadium Walk, Kallang Park, Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6344-3088
S$10 to S$35
East Coast/Kallang
Seafood
What the place lacks in ambience, it more than makes up for in food quality, and the prices may well be among the best in town for seafood. The most popular dishes include chili crab served with French bread to mop up the sauce, prawns fried in a black soy sauce or in butter and milk with curry leaves, and calamari. Don't miss the yu char kway, deep-fried crullers stuffed with a mousse of squid and served with a tangy black sauce. Reservations not accepted. AE, MC, V. Kallang.


PATARA
No. 03-04 Tanglin Mall, 163 Tanglin Rd., Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6737-0818
S$10 to S$35
Orchard
Thai
This softly lighted, friendly Thai restaurant with marble-top tables is a calming respite where you can sample house specialties like green curry, pineapple rice, and deep-fried pomfret (a small, white fish) with tamarind sauce. And don't miss the garlic-and-pepper spareribs, which single-handedly keep this place on the map. AE, DC, MC, V. Orchard.


PETE'S PLACE
Grand Hyatt Singapore, 10 Scotts Rd., Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6730-7113
S$20 to S$35
Orchard
Italian
Pete's is well known for its pizza and pasta and enormous Italian buffet; it attracts a spectrum of diners, from families to businesspeople. The restaurant itself, located on the ground floor, is quite dark and cozy, but otherwise unremarkable; but never mind -- it's the food that counts. AE, DC, MC, V. Orchard.


PREGO
Raffles The Plaza, 2 Stamford Rd., Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6431-5156
S$10 to S$35
Colonial Singapore
Italian
This always-crowded, usually noisy restaurant is a firm favorite for families and late-night diners (you can order up until midnight on weekends). The menu is dominated by thin-crust pizza, hearty pastas, and fresh salads. The waitstaff is helpful and friendly. If you arrive without a reservation, be prepared to wait. Reservations essential. AE, DC, MC, V. City Hall.


SAMY'S CURRY RESTAURANT
Singapore Civil Service Club House, Block 25, Dempsey Rd., Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6472-2080 or 6296-9391
Under S$10
Holland Village
Indian
You'll show you're in the know when dining here -- there's no way to stumble on it by chance. The old civil-service clubhouse is a legacy of British rule. There's no air-conditioning (it's cooler in the evening), and the decor and service are no-fuss. The spicy south Indian curries -- served on the requisite banana leaves -- are excellent. Lunch is the best meal here; arrive before 7 PM for the best dishes. You may be asked to buy a temporary membership to the club for S$2. Reservations not accepted. AE, DC, V. No dinner Thurs. Orchard.


SENSO
21 Club St., No. 01-01, Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6224-0147
S$20 to S$35
Kreta Ayer
Italian
Have an appertivo at the bar in this converted shophouse before proceeding to either the courtyard or dining room. Chef Diego Chiarini's neoclassical menu changes regularly but includes dishes from across Italy. The homemade pastas are a standout. The waitstaff encourages you to consider the menu as a guide only: the kitchen is happy to whip up just about any Italian dish that you may be craving. AE, DC, MC, V. Tanjong Pagar.


SHANG PALACE
22 Orange Grove Rd., Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6737-3644
S$20 to S$50
Orchard
Chinese
Locals and expats alike frequent this festive Cantonese dining room in the Shangri-La hotel. The room, with its chandeliers and latticed pillars, is a perfect place to impress guests, though it can be noisy during a full house. The staff is very knowledgeable about the menu, which includes many traditional favorites -- with a modern twist. Try the stir-fry beef made with Chinese-style fritters or the eggplant with macadamia nuts, served in a crispy taro basket. Reservations essential. AE, DC, MC, V. Orchard.


SOUP RESTAURANT
25 Smith St., Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6222-9923
Under S$10
Kreta Ayer
Chinese
Singaporeans say they come here because the slow-cooked meals are like those their grandparents used to make -- hearty one-pot dishes. Even if you don't have such an emotional connection to the food, it is a good place to introduce yourself to basic dishes. The Samsui chicken, which is served with a zesty minced-ginger sauce, sliced cucumber, and a pile of lettuce leaves is a standout. This converted shophouse is right on a busy Chinatown street, which also makes it a great place to take a break from sightseeing and shopping. AE, DC, MC, V. Tanjong Pagar.


TANDOOR
Holiday Inn Park View, 11 Cavenagh Rd., Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6733-8333
S$20 to S$50
Orchard
Indian paintings, rust and terra-cotta colors, and dim lighting make you feel like you're in a Moghul court. After you order, sit back and watch the at chef work in the open kitchen complete with impressive tandoor. The garlic naan is justifiably famous. Spiced masala tea is a perfect ending to the meal. Service is exceptionally attentive. AE, DC, MC, V. Somerset.


TIFFIN ROOM
Raffles Hotel, 1 Beach Rd., Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6331-1612
S$10 to S$35
Colonial Singapore
Malaysian
For a taste of nostalgia and of a typical British curry tiffin, part of the Malay colonial tradition, a visit to the Tiffin Room in the landmark Raffles Hotel is a must. The light, airy restaurant with its marble floors is gracious; the service is courteous if a fraction slow during busy lunches. The lunch and dinner buffets are tempting spreads of largely Indian dishes. There's a large array of spicy vegetable, meat, poultry, and seafood dishes, and far more pickles, chutneys, and other condiments than a genuine Indian meal would provide. www.raffleshotel.com. AE, DC, MC, V. City Hall.


TUNG LOK SEAFOOD GALLERY
1000 East Coast Pkwy., Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6246-0555
S$20 to Over S$50
East Coast
Seafood
The daily catch here is imported from all over the world: it's not uncommon to find Maine Atlantic lobster or Alaskan king crab as choices among crayfish, grouper, green rust, barramundi, and sturgeon. The iridescent green dipping sauce that comes with the prawns is a bit of a shock, but all is forgotten when they melt in your mouth. The seafood platter can be quite large; however, you can take a stroll along East Coast Boardwalk after dinner to work it off. AE, MC, V. Eunos.


UDMC SEAFOOD CENTRE
East Coast Pkwy., Singapore, Singapore
Under S$10 to S$35
East Coast
Seafood
You must visit this place on the East Coast Parkway to get a true picture of the way Singaporeans eat out, as well as to enjoy a real value (prices here are cheaper than in most other seafood restaurants). Walk around the eight open-fronted restaurants before you decide where to eat. If you plan to sit outside, bring insect repellant. Chili crabs, steamed prawns, steamed fish, pepper crabs, fried noodles, and deep-fried squid are the specialties. Restaurants include Chin Wah Heng (PHONE: 6444-7967), Gold Coast Seafood (PHONE: 6448-2020), Golden Lagoon Seafood (PHONE: 6448-1894), Jumbo Seafood (PHONE: 6442-3435), Lucky View Seafood Restaurant (PHONE: 6241-1022), and Red House Seafood Restaurant (PHONE: 6442-3112). Reservations not accepted. AE, DC, MC, V. No lunch. Tanah Merah.


VANSH
Singapore Indoor Stadium, 2 Stadium Walk, No. 01-04, Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6345-4466
S$20 to S$50
East Coast/Kallang
Indian
Modern Indian food served in a groovy lounge atmosphere makes this waterfront restaurant an ideal place to relax. Even the waiters -- who virtually lie on side couches to take orders -- and the chefs working in the open stainless-steel kitchen have a serenity that comes from unhyped professionalism. The food is presented in a unique way; you can order numerous dishes from the Indian tapas menu, or try the tandoori and teppan main meals, which also come with dhal, basmati rice, a daily side dish, and baby naan. If you choose to sit outside, wear insect repellent. AE, DC, MC, V. Kallang.


YE SHANGHAI
Kings Centre, 390 Havelock Rd., Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6836-6866
S$20 to S$50
Havelock
Chinese
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This huge restaurant tries to re-create a chic 1930s Shanghai dining experience with colorful period decor and a singer crooning classic Mandarin tunes. The extensive menu changes regularly, including soups, rice, noodles, seafood, meats, and dim sum. Request a table away from the stage if you want to talk. AE, DC, V. Orchard.

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