Without the demand of impeccable manners and Sunday’s best, Restaurant Ibid is one stylish abode, worthy enough for first dates, anniversaries and anything in between. Industrial chic is the best way to describe the restaurant, where its concrete floor is left untiled but polished till shiny, and dark teak fixtures and other chinoiserie adornments furnish the space. But of course, it is Restaurant Ibid’s ‘Nanyang-style, contemporary Chinese’ delights that command all the attention. Think mod-sin cuisine, but still boasting other culinary influences from beyond our sunny shores. Offered in four-($78), six-($88), and eight-course ($118) menus, dishes to expect include mozzarella cheese-oozing spring onion shaobing, a re-imagination of a tea egg, comprising a jiggly sous-vide egg yolk laying snug on a bed of onion puree, before doused in a broth of aged Mandarin peels and pu-er tea leaves, and steamed lotus rice that conceals a wedge of foie gras in its sticky grains.
Afterwards Now that you’re done with luxuriating in each other’s company, it’s time to soak up the night revelry at Clark Quay, just a 15-mintue stroll from the dinner venue. But if rather not jostle with the crowds, you can head down to the more intimate bars such as 28 Hong Kong Street and RVLT for a nightcap or two.
Many have already gazed up in awe at the man-made marvel of Gardens by the Bay’s towering Supertrees. Others may have taken a step further by strolling across the 128-metre long walkway that connects two Supertrees. So complete one’s bragging rights by making proclamation of dining on top of the iconic Supertree. Located at the top of this blooming architecture, IndoChine beckons with both an alfresco rooftop bar and a fully air-conditioned dining space that come with a stunning view of Singapore’s cityscape. Food served is a mix of Indochinese and Western cuisines, with dishes such as Supertree Platter ($88), comprising an assortment of stuffed rolls and other delicious bites, and Seafood By The Bay ($108), featuring a spread of oceanic treasures, indicate dishes are served in a communal style.
Afterwards Where else better to go than staying in the flora-centric vicinity? From Flower Dome to Cloud Forest, the grove is brimming with attractions for you to be on with nature. Look out for the Garden Rhapsody, where light and music transform the Supertrees into light show every evening at 745pm and 845pm.
Designer furnishings, gleaming tableware, elegant art-décor embellishments and feel-good music in the background are the ingredients of a romantic setting. While Preludio ticks off all the boxes in this very aspect, the restaurant heightens time spent together with its gastronomic spoils that surely ignite conversations to last the evening. We’re talking a menu not confined by labels, markers or a specific cuisine, but instead one that follows a theme, inspired by the author’s creative expression. So in other words, Preludio determines what you should eat that night. Changing every 12 to 18 months, the debut theme, or chapter as described by the restaurant, revolves around monochrome. So expect the an eight-course meal that boasts dishes in the black and white colourway, including yoghurt foam-encased burrata, smoked eel with a rice cracker and iberico pork shoulder.
Afterwards Since dinner has been decided for you, have control over your nightcaps at one of the bars along Amoy Street or Telok Ayer Street. Or why not head to Park Bench Deli for a sweet conclusion with its famous peanut butter and jelly sandwich?
An abandoned church restored to a dining hall surrounded by lush greenery, what could be more romantic than that? This fairytale setting is a perfect spot for special dinners and romantic gestures. You know what they say about oysters so get half a dozen from Kelly Galway ($46) alongside other decadent treats like uni custard ($28), pan-seared foie gras ($32) and lobster and kombu linguine ($52). Diners also return for their delightful desserts so if your date has a sweet tooth, you know what to do.
Afterwards Don't have to go far, the chic outdoor bar, The Rabbit Hole, await you and your date. Order a couple of its signature gin and tonics, the perfect respite from Singapore's balmy climes.
When it comes to romantic meals, it's always important to pick a place with good lighting and good food, of course. The Summerhouse excels on both counts. It sources ingredients from local, Malaysian and Australian farms and growers and celebrates farm-to-table dining. Dine in the spacious dining hall of the colonial bungalow or book one of three air-conditioned domes strategically placed in the garden. They fit up to six guests – there's a minimum spend of $300 – and are themed in different styles. We can't think of a more romantic place to pop the question.
Afterwards Stick around for house pours and wine or head to the nearby Wheeler's Estate for ice cold beer and some live music.
Got a date who appreciates things with a little bit of heat? The perfect botanical and lush greenery of Birds of a Feather might shout romance and chill but wait till you feast on the Western dishes with a Sichuan twist on the menu. Inspired by the laid-back teahouses of Chengdu, the place is the perfect spot for a quiet lunch or dinner and getting to know each other more. And there's plenty to talk about from the delicious chewy yam noodles in Good Slime Shine ($23) and Sweating Mussels ($29) to the delightful starters like Bird's Not Sticky Tofu ($16) and Baked Eggplant ($14). But if spicy food makes you work up too much of a sweat, save this spot for when you're about five dates in.
When it comes to dates, first impressions count. Caffe Fernet would impresses easily with its gorgeous decor. The shiny long bar beckons with warm tones of brown, brick red and gold, and the restaurant portion offers views of glistening Marina Bay – so don't be surprised if you see people popping the question. They might be drunk on love or Caffe Fernet's happy hour promotions: frosés at $12, spritzes for $13 and specialty cocktails going at $15. It's all served alongside hearty modern Italian fare like cacio e pepe and veal meatballs.
Show off how much you know by taking your date to The Ottomani, an opulent, Middle Eastern-inspired restaurant hidden behind The Fat Prince. Luxuriate on a plush couch and enjoy a meal fit for royalty. kick things off with a plate of thinly sliced Hokkaido scallops ($24) served with fennel, mojama (salt-cured tuna) and pomelo amba, a tangy that gives a dish some acidity. The cabbage sprouts ($28) cooked over charcoal is another winner.
Afterwards Go back into the light by having drinks at the bar at The Fat Prince. It specialises in cocktails made with Raki, an anise-flavoured spirit popular in the Middle East. Take a stroll around the corner to Jigger and Pony for their signature cocktails.
Seal the deal by bringing your date to Monti, at Fullerton Pavilion with a breathtaking view of Marina Bay. Tugboats sail right past your table as you tuck into traditional Italian fare like risotto cacio e pepe ($39), finished tableside in a wheel of Parmesan and topped with freshly shaved black truffle.
Afterwards With resident DJs spinning ’til late, you’ll find it easy to stay at Monti all night long. Alternatively, make your way to Kinki’s rooftop for a selection of Japanese sake and bar snacks.
Nestled in the heart of the Botanic Gardens is The Garage, a new two-storey F&B concept with a café named Bee’s Knees on the ground floor and restaurant/bar Botanico on the second. Bee’s Knees is more of a first date joint, where you can have coffee and sandwiches in a casual setting, but if you’re looking to take things to the next level (quite literally), Botanico has a menu driven by the seasons, featuring dishes like lamb tartare, cured and grilled Spanish mackerel, and braised pork belly with sherry sour sauce.
Afterwards Also on the second floor of The Garage is a garden bar that’s simultaneously airconditioned and outdoors so you can enjoy fresh air, sans the tropical heat. Alternatively, take a romantic jaunt through Botanic Gardens and unwind over a coupla bottles of beer at Bar Bar Black Sheep at Cluny Court.
After spending the day sweating on the streets of Orchard, head to the 56th floor of ION Orchard for unparalleled views – and food. Celebrity chef Luke Mangan showcases his signature items, including the ‘glass’ Sydney crab omelette ($33), along with a range of Australian meats cooked on the grill.
Afterwards Orchard Road is in no short supply of bars for your nightcap. For a private, hidden-away experience pop by The Other Room, a speakeasy located in the Singapore Marriott. Alternatively, there’s always the tried and true Alley Bar for laid-back drinks and bar bites.
Housed in Gardens by the Bay’s climate-controlled Flower Dome, Pollen can get a little chilly – giving you the perfect excuse to cosy up with your date. Be treated to chef Steve Allen’s multi-course menu, which includes creations like poached and roasted French duck, his take on the classic duck à l’orange. Alternatively, head to the second floor for a light bite or afternoon tea.
Afterwards Enjoy complimentary access to the Flower Dome and cross the bridge over to Marina Bay Sands for drinks. Party it up on the roof at CÉ LA VI or unwind over a bottle of wine at Adrift by David Myers.
If you want to be cheek by jowl with your date by the end of the night, this is the restaurant to check out. Helmed by husband-and-wife team, Rishi Naleendra and Manuela Toniolo, lunch is priced at $58 for one ‘snack’ and five courses, while dinner is a more extravagant affair with five ‘snacks’ and five courses.
Afterwards Take a stroll along Amoy Street and stop when you reach a neon pink sign that reads ‘Psychic’. It’s not a Tarot reader but Employees Only, one of the best cocktail bars in the city. Another secret spot is The Spiffy Dapper, a bar located on the second floor of 73 Amoy Street.
Named after the white charcoal used to grill its French-Japanese tapas, Le Binchotan serves both skewered meats and more refined dishes like uni with corn mousse ($25). Items like the edible "charcoal" ($23) make great conversation starters. This restaurant only seats 38, guaranteeing an intimate experience on the corner of Gemmill Lane.
The dark back alley entrance of this refined Modern European restaurant gives off a secret dining club vibe, and watch her heart melt when you explain that Maggie and Joan are co-owner Daniel Ballis' grandmothers. The food is hardly homespun, though – the well-balanced plates of meat, fish and veg are prettily assembled, and the darkened, cavernous space only adds to the sense of adventure built up from tracking down the restaurant.
Afterwards Drink at Club Street Social or people-watch with glasses of wine at Beaujolais. Skip the rowdy Club Street stretch in favour of another secret location: the Operation Dagger bar on Ann Siang Road.
Go for the seats inside, where the low lights and worn pastel walls transport you to a gritty Mexico City saloon, or those on the outdoor terrace, which is lit by sunset and candlelight later at night. Lucha Loco's always a great bet for its upbeat vibe and disarmingly messy Mexican street fare that's bright and spry on the palate. Finish off dinner with some mezcal cocktails and good conversation.
Afterwards If your date's a cocktail geek, go make more conversation over the drinks at Tippling Club. Share a bottle of wine at Merchant's Wine Cellar on Duxton, or hit up JJ Atlante Pub closer to 11pm and jive to the live blues band on duty.
This is as close as you'll get to a romantic Parisian bistro. Chef Frederic Colin's kitted out his long shophouse unit with Art Nouveau posters, rattan chairs, cobblestone floors and a vintage cooker his grandmother nurtured the family with. To carry the experience through, elegantly cut your way through Croque Monsieurs and Madames or a tartine in between sips of one of the many house wines, eaux de vie and pastis.
The CBD is home to a surprising number of romantic digs and Art is one of them. Serving Italian classics updated with modern techniques, the food will have you rolling your eyes back in ecstasy. The best part? A meal here won’t break the bank, allowing you to pay for your date without feeling too much of a pinch.
Afterwards Take a high-speed lift up to 1-Altitude if you’re in the mood to dance the night away. For a more private experience, have tasting flights at The Secret Mermaid or get one of Kelly DCruz’s signature creations.
Looking for a someone who's more fun than high-maintenance? Watch them eat a burger. Three Buns offers an extensive selection of burger-and-the-works options, and plenty of quirky art to talk about between mouthfuls. When you're done, bring the conversation upstairs to the rooftop garden for potent tiki drinks among lights and shophouse rooftops.
Impress your date with Thai fine dining that’s not too stuffy while taking in glistening views of Marina Bay. The amber lit restaurant lets you bask in a warm glow as you savour traditional dishes like Yam Mamuang, a spicy green mango salad with prawns, chicken, roasted coconut, grounded peanuts and sweet sauce ($18.70) and tom yam gung ($26.50) that have been elevated a notch.
Afterwards If you can’t get enough of marina views, walk along Fullerton Bay to Overeasy for a pint or two.
Save this one for a special occasion. Or not. 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 in Devon. The small seaside town on the south-western coast of England continues to be a source of inspiration in Jaan's menu, which focuses on fresh seasonal produce. The most extravagant menu is reserved for dinner, where you can enjoy an eight-course menu ($268) with the option of a wine pairing for each course ($220).
This is a great restaurant to keep returning to for date night as no two meals at Terra are exactly the same – even though you can request for your favourite dishes in advance. Chef-owner Seita Nakahara regularly travels to Japan to source for new ingredients. As such, the omakase sets of Tokyo-Italian cuisine are changed seasonally depending on what arrives in the kitchen that day. Don’t confuse what you’ll be eating with fusion food: 'Tokyo-Italian' simply refers to authentic Italian dishes that are made from the best Japanese produce available. The sea urchin spaghetti and oven-baked Hokkaido scallop are mainstays, but if you and your date enjoy an element of surprise, just leave it to Nakahara to decide.
If you're not sure about your date's dining preferences yet, you probably won't go wrong with chicken. Cheery chef Asai Masahi is a whiz with grilling and assembling nose-to-tail plates of Malaysian-bred chickens, and those seats by the bar in front of the open kitchen will fill awkward silences with the stick-flipping kitchen action.
The service at this Les Amis Group restaurant is as charming as the warm tones and upbeat mood of its Spanish-inspired decor. Share a spread of former Au Jardin chef Ng Wei Han's vivid tapas and small plates like the Galician-style octopus, charcoal-grilled Iberian presa and a pan of paella, and then take dessert and a digestif on its terrace after.
Afterwards Walk towards Tanglin and disappear into Forum's basement for bespoke cocktails at The Horse's Mouth, or walk further down the road and steal into one of the side lounges of Manhattan Bar at the Regent Singapore for more drinks.
This family-run Italian restaurant has charm oozing out of its bricked walls and the candlestick-topped Chianti bottles that rack them. 'Homely' is the operative word here, and the food aims neither to shock nor titillate but satisfy. Deeply. There's nothing like authentic Italian food to break the ice with your date. Comforting but still keeping it classy, dig in to the Fettucine al Granchio (squid ink pasta with crabmeat and a creamy tomato sauce) and you’ll understand why.
Afterwards You're stuck out in Turf City but we'd recommend trekking out to The Straits Wine Company off Sixth Avenue for some alfresco tipple.