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Two Men Bagel House
Photograph: @twomenbagelhouse/Instagram

The best cheap restaurants in Tanjong Pagar

Get a decent meal downtown for less than $20

Cheryl Sekkappan
Delfina Utomo
Written by
Cheryl Sekkappan
&
Delfina Utomo
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With Maxwell Food Centre and Amoy Street Food Centre nearby, there's no shortage of cheap eats in Tanjong Pagar. But sometimes we just want to indulge in a quiet lunch in an air-conditioned environment without breaking the bank – whether it's for a casual work meeting or laidback dinner with a friend that's not far from the office. In that case, we've got you covered with some of the best affordable restaurants in Tanjong Pagar. 

RECOMMENDED: 30 best cheap eats in Singapore and The best cheap drinks in Singapore

  • Restaurants
  • Vietnamese
  • Tanjong Pagar

This hole-in-the-wall joint was started in 2015 by a husband-and-wife team who are from Vietnam. You can expect tasty and authentic sandwiches starting from $5. Try classics like the Bami Sai Gon ($5) which is stuffed with pate, ham, pork floss and stewed pork or the very satisfying Bami Fried Eggs ($5) with eggs that a fried on the spot and chicken floss. Feel free to ask for additions in your banh mi – we recommend adding a fried egg to the Sai Gon or meatball banh mi for a hearty lunch. The banh mi baguettes are also baked fresh daily and the store supplies bread to several Vietnamese restaurants in Singapore. 

  • Restaurants
  • Fusion
  • Raffles Place
  • price 1 of 4

For a hearty and fairly healthy lunch, head to Doco Donburi at International Plaza. They serve up rice bowls in a small five-seater Japanese style shack. Popular on the menu is the Sh-nack Donburi ($10.90), which comes with teriyaki-marinated beef slices, onsen egg, crispy fish skin sprinkles and a generous amount of rice. Other bowls come with chicken ($9.90), shrimp ($11.90) or fish ($11.90), which you can choose to wash down with a refreshing coconut shake ($3 add-on). 

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  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Raffles Place

An offshoot of chef Chen Kentaro's one-Michelin-starred establishment Shisen Hanten, this casual eatery in Downtown Gallery merges the Japanese donburi concept with Sichuan cuisine. Its standout dish is the Mapo Don ($10.50). Tender cubes of silken tofu is cooked with minced meat in a thick spicy gravy flavoured with fermented soybeans and toasted peppercorns. The mapo tofu is then poured over sticky Japanese short-grained rice. This mild dish is a good introduction to Sichuan cuisine for those who can't quite handle their spice yet. Other popular options at the joint includes the Mapo Mien ($11.50) and the Dan Dan Mien ($10.50). 

  • Restaurants
  • Orchard

Dosirak serves healthy, sub-500 calorie Korean-style lunch bowls. Create your lunchbox by choosing a carb, a protein and several veggies. The standard serving packs white rice into the bowl, but add $1 and you get the option of brown rice and soba noodles to add heft to add-ins like beef bulgogi ($8.90), fresh salmon ($9.90) and kimchi tofu ($7.90), mixed with Dosirak's homemade Korean chilli sauce. All menu offerings are prepared with less oil and use natural ingredients like unrefined brown sugar and fruits.

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  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Tanjong Pagar

The menu is simple. Either you go with dumplings or noodles at this joint and even with the little choices it has on the menu, it's still difficult making choices. Noodle bowls start from $6 and come in delightful flavours like Miso mushroom and Sichuan pork noodles. The crowd favourites are the dumplings and for $8 you can get a whole plate for yourself. Try the pierogis ($8) which are stuffed with smoked bacon, truffle potato, caramelised onion, cheddar and sriracha cream. 

  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Raffles Place

Two Men Bagel House needs no introduction. Indulge in the bagel craze at this café tucked away in Icon Village. Whether you want it savoury or sweet, this place has something for you. Dense and chewy bread comes topped with cured salmon, cream cheese, red onions, dill, capers and picked beets in the Lox ($11.90). Meanwhile, the Gypsy ($9.90) puts a bagel twist on a French toast, complete with berries compote, cream and honey maple syrup. Wash them down with a soup of smoked tomatoes with mozzarella and pesto ($3.90), or drinks like cucumber juice ($3.90) or long black ($4).

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  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Tanjong Pagar

Did someone say fresh handmade pasta at less than $20? In fact, the pasta dishes at Pasteria Abate hover closer to the $15 mark. This laidback eatery on Craig Road is run by Mr. Gino Abate, which gives it some credibility when it comes to the authenticity of the food. Choose your pasta (top-ups apply for specialities like squid ink pasta or saffron pasta) and pick your sauce. They have classics like the marinara ($8.80) and bolognese ($12.80), as well as more interesting options like squid and butter ($14.80) and Sicilian anchovy ($8.80). 

  • Restaurants
  • Chinatown

The noodles at Brothers Ramen are made daily with a Yamato noodle-making machine from Japan, and the menu offers just five bowl options, each served in a broth that simmers pork, chicken, fish and vegetables. Try the signature Brothers Ramen ($12.90), a bowl topped with chicken and pork chashu, while spice chasers might appreciate the Spicy ($13.90) bowl that gets a drizzle of the in-house chilli oil. Upsized options include the Chashu ($14.90) with extra slices of meat and the Superman ($16.90) with more eggs and meat. Save some broth at the end if you're particularly peckish – Brothers Ramen offers free noodle top-ups.

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