Back for its fourth year in the city, the Michelin Guide has unveiled its curated list of the best places to have a meal in Singapore. This year, a total of 44 restaurants have been conferred that elusive star – or, as the French call it, 'macaroon' – by the epicurean manual. The guide uses five criteria to assess these restaurants: mastery of technique; quality of ingredients; chef's personality; value for money; and consistency.
The list leans towards fine-dining restaurants that offer degustation menus that often cost upwards of $100, however, it also names some hawkers and casual spots like Putien if you don't want to break the bank. Alternatively, head over to this list of restaurants that earned a Bib Gourmand award, Michelin-recommended meals that cost less than $45.
Restaurants with one Michelin star
Swabian chef Juan Amador, whose now-defunct restaurant Amador in Mannheim once held three Michelin stars, brings his Asian-inflected Spanish-European cuisine to Goodwood Park Hotel. Food is prepared by chef Haikal Johari, who has cooked at Joël Robuchon and Les Amis. Diners can opt for the six- ($158) and eight-course ($197) degustation menus of Amador's signature dishes.
Following his departure from one-Michelin-starred Iggy’s, chef Aitor Jeronimo Orive has teamed up with hotel and restaurant group Unlisted Collection to open Basque Kitchen. Inspired by the cuisine of Basque Country, where meats are grilled over hot coals and stews are rustic and hearty – he elevates the homey dishes he grew up eating with techniques he's learnt cooking at some of the top restaurants in the world including Mugaritz and The Fat Duck. Pair it with an extensive range of Spanish wines, there's everything from heavyweights like Peter Sisseck to small-batch boutique producers plus Spanish gins, pacharáns and Basque ciders to choose from.
Chef Kenjiro Hashida, the man behind Hashida Sushi and Hashida Garo, fuses French and Japanese cuisines at this fine dining restaurant, which seats only 15 around an open kitchen. With an all-Japanese culinary team led by head chef Kenji Yamanaka, Béni serves a five-course lunch for $88 and nine-course dinner for $258.
For Italian fare reinvented with a modern twist, visit BRACI. The exclusive casual-luxe restaurant features an open kitchen and rooftop bar, all situated within a newly restored shophouse. The starter menu features a foie gras semifreddo with kumquats and fig vincotto ($30). Mains include sole fish with yuzu and zucchini ($48), and Miyazaki Wagyu with girolles and kale ($88). Finish off the night with a pumpkin pie with frozen yogurt and liquorice ($20). Alternatively, for $150 per person, book a surprise 5-course menu for the whole table.
There’s something incredibly honest about a solid slab of meat coaxed over open flames into a lovely charred outer while remaining tender and juicy on the inside. At Burnt Ends, this a thought that executive chef David Pynt brings to life effectively with the help of two well-insulated cement-walled ovens (be sure to look above it every once in a while – fire tends to escape in a tempered rage from a spout) and a series of impressive grills raised and lowered by an industrial-looking winch and pulley system designed by Pynt. The menu is split into snacks, appetisers and meat offerings – all designed with minimal frills.
Buona Terra’s vibe is as cosy and intimate as it gets, housed in the quiet colonial-era bungalows of Chateau TCC along Scotts Road (also housing Japanese Restaurant Ki-sho) in between the busy thoroughfares of Newton and Orchard. Helmed by chef Denis Lucchi, a Lombardy native and Garibaldi Group alum, everything is top-notch, from the whisper-level, formal service to the plates of beautifully-constructed food.
In keeping with the cuisine's penchant for borrowing influences from the East and West, dishes here are gussied up with premium ingredients. 'Ah-ma-kase' goes for $88 for lunch and $128 for dinner, and features dishes like laksa-scented hamachi heaped in a translucent pie tee shell and thick fingers of potently spicy lamb satay.
Three years, one Michelin star and plenty of other accolades later, Cheek by Jowl has run its last service. Thankfully, its replacement doesn't fall too far from what chef Rishi Naleendra initially set out to achieve. The update is warmer and more convivial than its predecessor, with a fresh coat of paint, indoor plants and art by the multi-talented chef adorning its walls. Its à la carte-only menu is unfussy and retains some Cheek by Jowl favourites.
Helmed by chef Ang Song Kang, Chef Kang's is an intimate five-table joint that serves traditional Cantonese fare. Signatures include deep-fried pork belly marinated in shrimp paste, a twist on the local favourite har chong gai as well as steamed empurau, a fresh-water fish known for its clean flavour and exorbitant price. Chef Kang's is constantly booked and certain dishes are only available with advanced notice so early reservations are highly recommended.
The cuisine is self-appointed as 'gastro-botanica', which takes influences from Mediterranean, Latin American and South-East Asian cooking to fire dishes that give equal reverence to veggies and protein. The entry-level meal here for a romantic night out is a five-course set ($208). Or splash some serious money on a special night out with the seven-course chef’s menu ($268).
You go to CUT for one reason: the steaks. Grilled over hard wood and charcoal, the hunks of beef come from a menagerie of sources. You've got USDA Prime from Illinois, Angus and wagyu from Australia, Red Poll from Suffolk, wagyu from Idaho, and even more wagyu from different prefectures in Japan. Each type is further broken down into different cuts, ranging from rib-eyes to New York strips to bone-in filet mignons ($75-$280).
Garibaldi is a chic, modern Italian eatery situated along the funky Purvis Street. The fashionable and sophisticated atmosphere as well as the stylish bar make this a popular venue to gather and socialise. With experienced Executive Chef Roberto Galetti from Brescia, Italy, calling the shots, it’s no wonder the award-winning restaurant has never failed to attract the crowds. His tantalising menu consists of authentic Italian dishes created from fresh, quality ingredients imported directly from Italy, and it includes specialties like crispy baked Italian sea bass ($58), breaded veal chop ($68) and linguine with crab meat and vodka sauce ($42).
A one-Michelin-starred meal for five bucks? That's what you're in for when you make the trek to this humble kopitiam in the heartlands of Lavender. The bak chor mee ($5-$10) here is arguably the best in Singapore: springy noodles, crispy fried fish, pork liver, minced and sliced pork and dumpings swim in a vinegary sauce that you'll be licking clean. Allocate enough time to queue up, though – it may look deceptively short, but with each order taking anywhere between 5 to 12 minutes to prepare, getting to the front is a bit of a wait.
Expect premium Japanese ingredients sourced by Tokyo-based runners and touches of Singaporean flavours – all pulled together with modern European techniques chef Aitor Jeronimo Orive honed cooking in avant-garde restaurants around Spain. Each meal ($105/lunch, $250/dinner) begins with a series of seasonal snacks. Not to be forgotten are also the wines at Iggy's.
Imperial Treasure opened its first outlet in 2004 at Ngee Ann City. Since then, the brand has grown to 30 restaurants across Singapore and Shanghai, with plans to expand to South Korea, Paris and London in the next two years. Imperial Treasure Fine Teochew Cuisine in ION Orchard is a more refined version of the original, with a spacious main dining hall and six lavish private rooms. Signature dishes include soon hock fish ($12/100g) served with Chinese rice wine, and a combination platter of sliced duck meat, duck tongue, cuttlefish and beef tripe marinated Teochew style ($34-$68).
With breathtaking views of the Singapore skyline, Jaan is an intimate 40-seat restaurant that takes you on a culinary journey to chef Kirk Westaway's hometown of Devon. The small seaside town off the south-western coast of England continues to be a source of inspiration in Jaan's menu, which focuses on fresh seasonal produce. A four-course lunch at Jaan is priced at $98 and allows you the choice of dishes like line-caught brill and salt marsh lamb. The most extravagant menu is reserved for dinner, where eight-courses go for $268.
Taking inspiration from the beauty and nature of Savoie in France, native herbs from the area are flown in and crafted into every dish on the menu by Chef Jeremy Gillon. Come in with an open mind and the mood to be inquisitive as you delve into surprising new flavours. Think a green apple sorrel sorbet with smoked eel and foie gras and a dessert comprising of pumpkin in all its forms – you can sample some of these dishes through the five- ($108), seven- ($168) or ten-course ($218). For the full experience, opt for wine pairings with every dish and if you want to continue the drinking sesh, head up to the bar area for some cocktails peppered with herbs from Savoie as well.
Jiang-Nan Chun evokes the artisanal culture and rustic livelihood of the Jiang Nan region’s river villages through its decor and authentic Cantonese cuisine. Signatures include the peking duck, which undergoes special preparation methods for 14 hours before being roasted in the mesquite wood-fire oven, mains like the baked sea perch on egg white, and claypot dishes like the wagyu beef oxtail with lemongrass-infused oil that’s cooked for over 30 hours, soon hock with pork belly, and king prawns with glass noodles. The dim sum menu is particularly good with the crispy silky turnip pastry with dried shrimps and ham, and the steamed pork dumpling with baby abalone.
What is Singapore cuisine? That's a question chef-owner Han Li Guang – who quit his high-flying desk job in the banking industry to become a chef – has struggled to answer since he first launched Restaurant Labyrinth. Over the past year, he's been discovering more of what Singapore has to offer through its farm and local producers. The result is a new menu comprised mostly of locally-sourced ingredients, like the Labyrinth rojak which comprises 12 different herbs from Edible Garden City tossed in with natural stingless bee honey and served with a cempedak and jackfruit sorbet. Inspired by the flavours he grew up with – his grandmother's cooking, favourite hawker dishes and the abundance of underappreciated ingredients – he's created an homage to his Singapore we can all be proud of.
With so many of its branches earning Michelin stars in Hong Kong, it comes as no surprise that Singapore's sole Lei Garden has earned a nod from Michelin inspectors here, too. Compared to its counterparts, this restaurant in CHIJMES has a more European look and feel to match its surroundings. The menu, however, is largely the same as the other outlets: expect traditional Cantonese fare like dim sum and roast meats.
The free-form counter hints at what to expect: en ever-changing menu that changes with the ingredients that pass through the doors. Sit back and enjoy the full view of the open kitchen – chef Christophe Lerouy and his team serve up modern French cuisine that starts from $46 for lunch and $108 for dinner.
The star of the show is the soya sauce chicken ($7 half, $14 whole). The soft skin absorbs all the flavours of the marinade, giving way to tender and succulent meat as you take a bite. We recommend having it on a bed of rice with a helping of steamed nuts and dark sauce ($2). And don't be afraid to pile on juicy and moreish char siew, too. The stall also serves up roasted pork rice ($2.50), pork ribs rice ($3) and dumpling noodles ($3). Vegetable dishes include bean sprouts ($3-$4) and leafy greens cooked in oyster sauce ($4-$5).
With over 600 labels and 3000 bottles of wine on offer in its leather-bound tome of a menu, Ma Cuisine has cemented itself as a gastro wine bar for the serious connoisseurs. That's not to say that only the stuffy Bordeaux sipping elite are welcomed here – the restaurant's young owners Anthony Charmetant and Mathieu Escoffier want to share their passion for wine with beginners and experts alike, all within a casual setting that also serves homey French food.
The strapping head chef, with K-Pop good looks on show from the open kitchen, is Sun Kim, who trained at Tetsuya Sydney and Waku Ghin. The cuisine is the right kind of marriage between French presentation and Asian flavour. Lunch is available from $88 while dinner changes according to the season and is priced at $148 and $188 for its five-course and seven-course respectively.
Time Out's best new restaurant of 2017 clinced a Michelin star after its first year of operation. Chef-owner Ivan Brehm has us hooked on what he dubs as ‘crossroads cooking’ – food that takes inspiration from around the world, draws parallels between cultures, and creates an understanding that all of us are fundamentally the same. The idea is to connect people over a meal, as evidenced by the handsome marble counter that runs through half the restaurant. The flavour combinations are inventive yet oddly familiar, and the technique is flawless. Case in point: the acarajé and vatapá is a nod to Brehm’s Brazilian heritage, except that the dish also recalls Indian, Thai and Singaporean influences.
The first PUTIEN opened on Kitchener Road in 2000 as a humble coffee shop specialising in Heng Hwa cuisine. Today, the brand has expanded and now has ten outlets in Singapore, but the food retains its hearty, home-cooked feel on the palate and plate. As its name suggests, this casual Chinese restaurant has its roots traced to Putian, a coastal town in the Fujian province of the Middle Kingdom. It still imports ingredients like its clams and sun-dried bee hoon from the town, creating a sustainable farming community for locals there.
It’s very hard to find fault with a restaurant like Rhubarb, so earnest about the fine cuisine and not greedy about its prices. The French restaurant provides a four-course meal from $138 and five-course for $168. And with just seven tables in its space, it's hard not to feel special.
There's a sense of hushed reverence that befalls anyone stepping into Shinji – you're about to worship at the altar of one of Singapore's best sushi bars, after all. Slide open the shoji door and be greeted by three chefs standing behind the counter. With one chef preparing a meal for only three to five people at a time, you're guaranteed an intimate dining experience.
The second outlet of the revered sushi bar is every bit as good as the original in Raffles Hotel. Lunch starts from $125 for 12 pieces of sushi and includes stellar slices of chutoro, otoro and anago over lightly vinegared rice with a firm bite. For people looking to have a more extravagant lunch, there is a 15-piece Yuki set at $180 and omakase Yume set at $250, which has both sushi and cooked dishes.
The Summer Palace, one of the grandes dames of Singapore Cantonese restaurants, shows no sign of slowing down. The service remains smoothly choreographed, everyone speaks Cantonese and its fried rice – perfumed by wok hei and each grain falling separately – is still the one to beat. Begin the meal with a fragrant pumpkin soup, and pair the fried rice with cubes of seared Wagyu beef or braised vegetables. If you’re throwing political correctness out of the window, the shark’s fin soup is appropriately unctuous and sweet.
Restaurants with two Michelin stars
Fancy eating Saint Pierre-style is played out in a long room on the second floor of One Fullerton, where tables of twos and threes get shimmery vistas of the Bay. Bigger groups of six can book a private room, or settle into one of the nooks carved out at the back of the echoey space. Meals are served in seasonal tasting menus: the classic ($198), the discovery ($248) and the adventure ($298). Lunch with the full works is priced between $88 (three courses) and $110 (four courses), and a tasting menu ($85/four courses) for kids – each dish highlights one of the four tastes – has also been carved out by Stroobant, a father of two.
The à la carte menu features chef Chen Kentaro's specialties, such as the stir-fried wagyu beef with green pepper ($42). It also has a selection of dim sum dishes that include Peking duck and other signature selections. In addition to the cuisine perfected by the three celebrity chefs, indulge in a rich dining experience in Shisen Hanten's multi-million dollar interior.
‘Delicate’ seems to be Shoukouwa’s calling card. The flavours of its sushi are refined, balanced and feminine – even when compared to other high-end omakase bars. Lunch starts at $180 while dinner escalates to a princely $380. On the sushi train, look out for: tender marinated maguro whose flavours simmer then bloom; a subtly sweet sea eel; a plump slice of tai; and a firm, almost crunchy, halibut. Even the appetiser of tiger prawn, water lily and shiso flower in a vinegar dashi doesn’t so much as hit the right notes than it does hint at them.
Sample a taste of Scandinavia here. Restaurant Zén is an offshoot of the three-Michelin-starred Frantzén in Sweden, and made its debut on the two-star list this year. Like Frantzén, look forward to uncommon ingredients that aren’t easily found elsewhere in Singapore.
Helmed by acclaimed chef Tetsuya Wakuda, Waku Ghin features Japanese cuisine with a European twist. Think ten-course degustation menus featuring ingredients sourced from the region and beyond, with dishes such as marinated botan shrimp with sea urchin and caviar, and wagyu with wasabi and citrus soya.
Restaurants with three Michelin stars
Before Singapore became a hotspot for celebrity chef openings, there was Les Amis. The kitchen team, headed by executive chef Sebastien Lepinoy, now works on Sundays and adds new lunch menus, making Les Amis a little more accessible for the wallet-conscious diner. The two-course express option is $128, a full works degustation is $420 for six courses.
Described as honest food with a steep respect for ingredients cultivated from his farming family in France, Julien Royer’s cuisine prides itself on keeping up with the provenance of its produce. And it’s clear that Royer is one of the few chefs who manage to measure up to the lofty introductions they pen into their menus. Throughout our meal, the heartfelt quality displayed in his ode to his grandmother – after whom the restaurant is named – is fervently palpable.