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The best tropical-themed cafes and restaurants in Singapore

Let's take tropical island life literally at these vibrant cafes and restaurants in town

By Delfina Utomo

Take island living up a notch and spend some lazy afternoons at an easy breezy tropical-themed cafe or restaurant in Singapore. Think lots of plants, sunlight, vibrant wallpaper and rattan chairs and fixtures. Whether it's for an acai smoothie, a spot of brunch or sharing some plates with your group of friends, kick back and take in the decor and tropical vibes at these places. 

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Merci Marcel

Restaurants French Tiong Bahru

We're all guilty of it. Mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, double tapping perfectly-styled #foodporn pics and putting the restaurant on our list of places to try, just because it looks good. It’s a strategy that brings in the crowd – so it’s understandable why the team behind Merci Marcel, which also runs Ô Comptoir and Ô Batignolles, has made this new French eatery as photogenic as possible. Potted plants line the rattan bar and there’s garden space out back that’s drenched in sunlight. It’s a beautiful place to kick back and while the afternoon away – as long as you don’t come with high expectations for the food. In the day, expect ’grammable brunch requisites such as eggs benedict ($21) and French toast ($17) alongside more uncommon imports like marinated crab tartine ($18) and ravioles de royans ($18). 

Don Ho Social Kitchen & Bar

Restaurants Contemporary Global Chinatown

The tropical theme takes on a cosier and intimate setting at Don Ho Social Kitchen & Bar. The moment you step into the space, prepared to get overwhelmed (in a good way) with the large palms, the jungalow-inspired wallpaper and mismatched collection of cushions on the seats. Food is served sharing-style which encourages diners to engage more with each other. Crowd favourites include the crispy eggplant ($14), baked open ravioli ($12) with goat curd, pumpkin, parmesan, sage-burnt butter and pinenuts, red snapper ($14) served on cauliflower puree and topped with puffed rice and herb salad, and larger sharing plates of steak with chimichurri ($174).

A Juicery
Photo: A Juicery


Restaurants Juice bars Raffles Place

Known for their cold-pressed juices, homegrown brand A Juicery has recently rebranded their retail store. Named Sugarfin, the café has extended operating hours and added new menu items like smoothie bowls and cocktails.  A Juicery was born when Audrey Teh and Lee Suyi started their own juicing outfit with a decidedly local point of view. Stymied by the lack of kale and collard greens that US hipsters have been sucking in for good health, and after receiving a Norwalk for her birthday last year – it’s the machine synonymous with juicing – Teh learnt that local fruits and veggies pack their own benefits. ‘I found out that all the recipes from the States asked for really expensive and hard-to-find vegetables in Singapore,’ she recalls. ‘I realised we had a lot of local and regional produce we could use, and so we did.’ Instead of feeding hyped-up, exotic-to-these-climes superfoods into a hydraulic press juicer at their industrial kitchen, the pair worked with a food scientist pal, Julia Lee, to experiment with tropical fruits and vegetables plucked from around the region. The result is a core range of 13 juices ($10/bottle) that carefully balance kai lan, chye sim, sweet potato leaves and bok choy with lotus root, watercress, turmeric, water chestnut and lemongrass. The produce is picked up at Pasir Panjang Wholesale Market and juiced to order to slowly chip away at our ‘international good, local bad’ biases. And, indeed, regionally grown does seem better. We’re generally not


Restaurants Outram

You'll be able to spot Loloku from afar, just find the shophouse along Keong Saik that's decorated with a flock of cardboard flamingos. Step inside and the theme continues bright jewel green colours and flamingos everywhere. The eatery specialises in poké bowls – they have signature and customisable bowls – that you eat next door in sister restaurant Don Ho. The signature bowls ($12-$18) on the menu are classified according to various types of meat: Nani (tofu), Wikiwiki (salmon), Pupule (tuna), Ono (hamachi) and Koa (braised wagyu). If you're on a low-carb diet, opt for the signature jars ($9) – salads in a jar that comes with various dressings and either salmon, tuna or hamachi. 



Restaurants Cafés Marine Parade

The East Coast precinct is known for a lot of famous local food, there's a handful of Katong laksa shops, Mr and Mrs Mohgan's crispy prata at Joo Chiat and more. If you're looking to take a break from the rich and flavourful stuff, make a quick trip to Beriwell where you can choose from a range of dairy-free, vegan and gluten-free acai desserts. On the menu, you can find smoothies, soft serves and the regular acai bowls. But the menu is not the first thing you will notice about this place. Get transported to an idyllic tropical island with rattan chairs, jungle-print wallpapers and botanical-themed cushions. We don't blame you if you want to stay a little longer even when you're done with your sweet treats. 

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