It’s no surprise that with Singapore’s high cost of living, we’re often on the lookout for affordable restaurants. Whether it’s for a group of friends to catch up, a lunchtime feast with co-workers, or for a casual lunch or dinner with the family, it shouldn’t take more than a minute to search for a place that will fit all criteria of being accessible and affordable.
Don’t get me started on the influx of food guides online that will often leave you more stressed out than anything else. Hence, I’ve done my due diligence and come up with a generic list of 10 affordable restaurants in Singapore with meals under S$30 per pax (based on a group of four).
If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary, why not head down to Khoi Grill & Hotpot for a Vietnamese feast? Located at Jalan Besar, the eatery has two cooking options to choose from: grill or hotpot— staying true to its name. Diners also have the option of ordering a combo set or a la carte dishes.
For S$38 (S$9.50 per pax), one can order the Hot Pot Platter which comes with lala, prawns, sliced beef and sotong, with a tom yum soup base consisting of vegetables like kangkong, cabbage, tomatoes and lady’s fingers, and a side of thick bee hoon.
If you’re not a hotpot person, you can also opt for the Khoi Combo #4 which costs S$48 (S$12 per pax). The combo comes with pork skewers, beef tenderloin with BBQ sauce, pork belly wrapped enoki, chicken wings with black pepper, and octopus with chilli, with the addition of three in-house sauces.
If you’re looking to splurge a little, for S$88 you can also try the Khoi Combo #1 (S$22 per pax) which comes with beef rib eye, beef tenderloin, beef short rib, and boneless beef short rib. Talk about a beefy and affordable affair.
Before I begin, here’s the deal with KOAL— they only offer sharing portions, which is great when dining with a group! The East meets West concept restaurant focuses on a variety of char-grilled meat with an Asian twist.
For starters, I’d recommend getting the Red Skin Potato Salad (S$10) and Crispy Pork Riblets (S$16) off the All Day Sides Menu. Don’t overlook their popular KOAL’s Bread Roll (S$10); what’s there not to like about freshly-baked bread infused with bacon bits served with a side of sour cream and chive butter?
For mains, get the Hanging Tender (S$26 for 180gm), Chicken Leg, Bone-in (S$16), and Salmon with Kimchi Butter Sauce (S$20).
End your meal on a sweet note by sharing the Freshly Fried Donut (S$8 for two pieces). Ultimately, each person will only have to fork out S$26.50++ and leave with a full tummy.
3. Gyu Nami
If you’re craving good Japanese food at affordable prices, Gyu Nami is the place to be. The outlet started out as a humble hawker stall at Amoy Street Food Centre selling only one item on their menu: Wagyu Roast Beef Donburi. Today, they have expanded to a quaint restaurant located at Orchard Gateway.
They still have their signature Wagyu Roast Beef Donburi on the menu at S$15, along with sides like Chicken Yakitori (S$5 for three sticks), Tomago Mentaiko (S$5), and Edamame (S$5). If you’re not a fan of beef, they also have other donburi dishes like the Salmon (Aburi) Mentaiko Donburi, Unagi (Eel) Donburi or Salmon Sashimi Donburi at S$15 each per bowl.
At PaoFan Paradise 泡饭天, you will be treated to an experience like no other. Apart from their affordable bowls of Paofan (from S$12), you have to try their unique Hotpot Pao Fan.
For S$58, the Lala PaoFan Hotpot (S$14.50 per pax) comes with a plate of fresh lala along with a colourful mix of fresh prawns, clams, and crayfish, their signature garlic fried rice, fresh vegetables, and other hotpot staples. Trust me when I say the combination of fried rice, fresh seafood and rich broth marry each other wonderfully!
If you’re still hungry, they also sell a large variety of well-cooked zi char dishes ranging from S$9.
Explore the world of aged fish and various types of oysters at Estuary— a Pescatarian’s playground.
If you arrive between 4.30pm – 7pm, the Happy Hour menu will offer you half price (S$3 each) of their Live Oysters (that are available for the day). Do remember to get the Rye Sourdough (S$13, S$3++ per pax) which comes with a plate of sumptuous garlic confit doused in extra virgin olive oil, Sarawakian soy sauce, and freshly chopped herbs.
For mains, try the Sarawak Bario Claypot Rice (S$35, S$8++ per pax)— home-made crab head butter, hamanaka ogawa uni from Hokkaido, trimmings of their aged fish (nothing goes to waste here), ikura roe, and Bario brown rice, topped with spring onions. Or have a go at one of their aged fish dishes— where they are more flavourful and tender with crispy skin.
Ever had (affordable) Asian-inspired Spanish tapas dishes? Located at Aranda Country Club, ASPA serves an array of Spanish dishes with an Asian twist, and is also the first restaurant in Singapore to serve a claypot paella!
If you’re looking to order off their a la carte menu, you can start off with a plate of Roasted Octopus (S$16), 48 Hours Short Ribs (S$26), and my personal favourite, ASPA’s Patatas Bravas (S$10)— yummy crispy potatoes topped with spicy sambal and garlic aioli. If you’re looking for something heavier, choose one of the four available Claypot Paella (from S$26) or the mouth-watering Surf and Turf (S$36)— Secreto Iberico pork slices with calamari and mojo sauce.
They also have a Set Menu for four pax at S$125++ (S$31++ per pax) which includes five tapas, one claypot paella, two desserts, and four glasses of sangria!
7. iSTEAKS Diner
A place I find myself visiting when I’m craving a good ol’ slab of iron without breaking the bank is iSTEAKS Diner. Do not be fooled by their tacky interior for they do serve up pretty decent and affordable steaks.
The Pasture-Fed New Zealand Ribeye starts from S$23 for 200gm while the Australian 100-Days Grain-Fed Ribeye starts from S$27.50 for 200gm. They also have Pasta (from S$10.50), Pork (from S$16), Poultry (from S$11.50), and Seafood (from S$12). They also have five outlets scattered around the island!
Braseiro is a Brazilian-French-influenced casual restaurant hidden in Joo Chiat. The eatery is another one of my favourite spots to head to when I’m craving the classic steak and frites combination.
Home to the Flame-grilled Ribeye (S$23.90++ for 200gm), you can also upgrade the size of your meat here: 300gm for S$28.90++ and 400gm for S$33.90++. What’s more? They also offer unlimited free-flow of home-made crispy fries and salad to accompany your flame-licked steak!
9. Ssikkek Korean Grill BBQ
Still on the topic of meat, another place I’d recommend is Ssikkek Korean Grill BBQ. With two outlets under their belt and a limited social media presence, you already know they are legit!
From Monday to Friday, Adults pay S$25.80++, Youths (8 to 13 years old) pay S$15.80++ while Students and Senior Citizens pay S$23.80++ for a loaded buffet. And over the Weekend, Public Holiday eve and Public Holiday, Adults pay S$27.80++, Youths pay S$17.80++, and Students and Senior Citizens pay S$25.80++.
Both their Tanjong Pagar and New Bridge Road outlets tend to have long queues, so reservations are recommended. Additionally, there’s also a time limit of two hours per table.
Another Japanese joint to check out is Gaijin Japanese Soul Food. Located at King Albert Park, the quaint restaurant sells a range of authentic Japanese comfort food in town.
Expect to find Curry Donburis from S$14, classic Donburis from S$14, a huge bowl of Tempura Moriawase from S$19, and much more to choose from that are under S$30.
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