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Tiong Bahru Bakery
Photograph: Tiong Bahru Bakery

The best alfresco restaurants and cafés in Singapore

Killer views or laidback vibes, take your pick and dine alfresco.

Written by
Nicole-Marie Ng
,
Fabian Loo
&
Dawson Tan
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When you are living in a city like Singapore, there are times when you just want to escape the confines of the four walls and the chilly blast of air-conditioning. Whether you’re in the mood to soak up some vitamin D, feel the cool breeze, or dine under the cover of the starry night, here are the best alfresco restaurants in Singapore for you to do so.

RECOMMENDED: The best alfresco bars in Singapore and the restaurants with the best views in Singapore

  • Restaurants
  • Fusion
  • Tanglin

Hidden in the lush hills of Dempsey is a cosy enclave fitted with leather and wood finishings that exude a rustic charm. Surrounded by lush greenery, kick back in the laidback al-fresco veranda over a casual mid-afternoon imbibe sesh with local fusion fare to pair. Gin-enthusiasts and cocktail lovers alike, you should be here.

 

  • Restaurants
  • Pan-European
  • Raffles Place

Live it up 100 metres up in the sky as this new Latin-European restaurant in the 51-storey CapitaSpring Building overlooks the entire CBD. Enjoy tapas, and even afternoon tea menus available for those who feel peckish throughout the day while you relish in glimpses of the Marina Bay waterfront with sprawling sunset views.

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  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Serangoon

Dining at Chu and Co feels like entering someone’s private backyard. Potted plants and random tchotchkes are strewn across the adjacent outdoor patio, guests are happily sitting on the pavement sipping coffee, munching on fresh bakes and in deep conversation. Orders are made at the counter which has a hole-in-the-wall vibe. Grab a coffee or beverage to go – there's dirty chai and even tepache on the menu if you want something different from your usual latte or cold brew – but the highlight is the warm bakes (both sweet and savoury) that are made fresh daily.

  • Bars and pubs
  • Changi 

Little Island occupies a warehouse-like space on the eastern reaches of Singapore, pouring out a range of ales, porters and stouts. The outdoor alfresco area is filled with wooden benches that invoke a sense of conviviality and as night falls, the fairy lights illuminate the space while you tuck into the classic western fare and smoky BBQ. Bonus points for its laid-back vibes and the ’60s psychedelic-inspired beer labels while the beach is just a stroll away for a romantic night's walk.

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  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • City Hall

This fairly new location of the long-standing Mexican taqueria boasts a fun yet laidback atmosphere that is accompanied by airy alfresco seatings, bodacious music, vibrantly coloured furniture, cultural adornments and motifs all around the space. With the surrounding trees lighting up in neon veins after sun-down, the entire place turns into a dreamy set for lovebirds or casual diners alike to chow down on taco specialities and boozy frozen margaritas.

 

  • Restaurants
  • City Hall

The seventh outlet of Tiong Bahru Bakery comes located within Fort Canning Hill – a bright, airy space that is flanked by lush greenery. Spot quirky motifs and design elements of lifeguard stands and donut floats that pay homage to the location’s history as the former River Valley Swimming Complex. Outlet exclusive creations include a sourdough croissant ($4.80) with a crémeux praline filling, nutmeg teh halia ($7), and the sourdough kvass ($5), a sparkling Eastern European beverage brewed with sourdough yeast.

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  • Restaurants
  • City Hall

The idyllic open-air hideout, located within the storied grounds of Raffles Hotel Singapore, is typically open only in the evenings. It runs an attractive Happy Hour promotion, with selected hour pours going for just $10. But now, with its newly launched brunch menu, the breezy space is also available for dine-ins during the day. Prices are kept affordable, too. Choose from classic all-day breakfast offerings, including tartine ($22) topped with smashed avocado, smoked salmon bowl ($12), and eggs with rosti (from $17), or opt for local favourites like the nasi lemak ($13) and the seafood mee goreng ($15). There’s also the Courtyard Brunch special ($28) that lets you put together a hearty meal with your choice of one main course, a hot beverage, and a cold beverage.

  • Bars and pubs
  • Chinatown

Cocktail bar Jekyll and Hyde might have shuttered its Tras Street outlet, but it has since reopened at a brand new location along Neil Road. With its new, bigger location comes a fresh all-day dining concept: in the two-storey shophouse, the first floor will house an alfresco café, and the second floor will play home to a speakeasy bar. Food offerings are centred around elevated hawker classics, such as the spicy ikura-topped chilli crab nachos and black sesame kaya on toast. There’s also a plate of orh luak made with freshly shucked oysters in the works. Read more about Jekyll and Hyde’s comeback story here.

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  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Tanglin

There is a hidden backyard garden café at Cluny Court; to uncover its entrance, you will have to first walk down a bamboo-flanked pathway. And those who make the trek will be greeted by the idyllic alfresco deck of Prairie by Craftsmen – a sunroom-inspired space filled with various potted greens.

 

 

Arbora Hilltop Garden and Bistro
Photograph: One Faber Group

Arbora Hilltop Garden and Bistro

Escape the city's metal towers and head up to Mount Faber Peak for a relaxing hilltop dining experience at Arbora. Enjoy the tranquil, lush scenery as you dig into Western classics and botanical-inspired drinks, with highlights that include the Fisherman’s stew ($32), herb-roasted half chicken ($19), and a kid-friendly menu of mushroom cream pasta ($12) and chicken nuggets with corn ($12).

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  • Restaurants
  • Kent Ridge

It’s out-of-the-way location, at Gillman barracks, doesn’t make this outlet any less popular. In fact, many still flock to this alfresco Creamier outpost, thanks to its tranquil surroundings and free parking facilities. Scoops of its icy treats are also perfect to help chase away the mid-day heat – choose from a rotating menu of 12 signature flavours ($3.30/scoop), including the earl grey lavender, or have it alongside some stellar golden waffles ($6).

  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Tanglin

 After a day of exploring the Botanic Gardens, drop by Bee’s Knees to refuel with its hearty grub. Dine in the comforts of nature at its alfresco seatings, where views of lush greenery come as part of your meal. And all are welcome at this breezy space – it’s a pet-friendly location with kid-friendly options to choose from as well. Brunch classics of Eggs Benedict ($16), pizza (from $15), and cakes (from$7) are available while the sun is up. 

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  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Orchard

This pretty French café is a photogenic space located along the bustling Orchard shopping belt. The alfresco area features plush cushions and a boho-chic decor that’ll instantly soothe your tired legs after a long day of shopping. Classic French fare and 'grammable brunch requisites can be found on its menu, as well as platters of cheeses and cold cuts and warm bakes made with French butter.

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Raffles Place

Caffe Fernet is beautiful from the inside out: the shiny long bar beckons with warm tones of brown, brick red, and gold while the restaurant portion offers views of the glistening Marina Bay. The Jigger and Pony concept might deliver on the cocktail front, but its Italian plates are worth a try too, particularly so when paired with the scenic waterfront views.

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  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary European
  • Bukit Merah

Making the journey up to Dusk Restaurant & Bar, either by means of cable car or driving, ensures unobstructed scenic views of the city. Once you arrive, grab a prime spot located at the open deck, where you can catch the sunset as you dig into mains of duck confit ($33) with truffle oil and tiger prawn capellini ($28). You can also enjoy a romantic evening under the starry night with late-night happy hour promotions ($8 for a drink) running from 10pm all the way till midnight.

  • Bars and pubs
  • Tapas bars
  • Bukit Merah

On the ground floor of the grand Alkaff Mansion lies Txa, a Spanish restaurant that serves up meats served straight from the parrilla grill and tapas. Order a few to share, then settle down at the mansion’s spacious courtyard, surrounded by foliage and immersive architecture, and for a picture-worthy evening to remember.

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  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • Marina Bay

The luxurious Marina Bay Sands is home to more than just stuffy, upscale restaurants. In particular, Yardbird has a breezy outdoor patio that overlooks the water. And to go along with the views, opt for some of the eatery’s famous plates: the Lewellyn’s fine fried chicken ($34), chicken ’n’ watermelon ’n’ waffles ($40), or the chicken sandwich ($22).

  • Restaurants
  • Changi 

Located on the outskirts of Changi, this casual dining hotspot is a treasure trove of retro memorabilia. Think antique bicycles, vintage cameras, and kerosene lamps. The restaurant itself is spacious and airy, flooded with natural light due to its floor-to-ceiling windows, while surrounding greenery provides ample opportunities for an outdoor shot. The menu includes sharing plates like har cheong gai (prawn paste chicken) ($16) and mains of mala seafood pot ($32) and smoked salmon with rosti and sausage ($26). 

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  • Restaurants
  • Fusion
  • Raffles Place

Grab a seat by the Singapore River and tuck into Beast and Butterflies’ international offerings that range from chargrilled meats to local delights. Then, wash it all down with some pocket-friendly booze and enjoy the laidback vibes the neighbourhood has to offer. 

  • Restaurants
  • Tanglin

Its location within Singapore’s UNESCO World Heritage Site makes dining at The Halia a unique one to remember. Take in the views of lush greenery and pretty blooms, and tuck into a hearty meal filled with European-Asian plates. The menu, in particular, spotlights the use of ginger (‘halia’ is the Malay word for ginger) in dishes that include a tomato salad ($14) with pickled ginger emulsion, the Hainanese chicken chop with rice ($16), and chilli crab spaghettini ($26). 

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  • Restaurants
  • Tanglin

With its strong ethos in sustainability and going green, it comes as no surprise that you can get close to nature at Open Farm Community. It has the lush greenery of Dempsey to thank for, along with its blooming backyard garden where crops are grown, harvested, and finds its way into the restaurant’s eco-conscious menu.

  • Restaurants
  • Seletar

The palatial, colonial-style era that The Summerhouse occupies is a sight to behold. By day, the casual Wildseed Café offers all-day brunch and freshly pulled coffee, and by nightfall, the space transforms into Wildseed Grill and Bar with garden-inspired tipples and smokey plates. But if its privacy you’re after, splurge on the Wildseed Domes, a unique transparent structure that lets you dine under the stars.

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  • Restaurants
  • Greek
  • Raffles Place

You can easily fool yourself into thinking you’re dining in Santorini when at Zorba. It checks all the boxes: riverside views, an azure blue and white colour scheme as well as hearty Hellenic dishes. Its plates of seafood are the most impressive, with stand-outs that include the octopus ($30) and Tsipoura ($32) or grilled sea bream. Of course, classic food like souvlaki (from $20) and gyros ($22) are also available. 

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