Almost synonymous with the Singapore nightlife scene, Boat Quay is one of the most happening spots on the island when the sun goes down. Also, when the sun is still up. It’s not all boozing and finger snacks— Boat Quay boasts a diverse range of cuisine and dining choices. Here are the 10 waterfront places we like best.
1. The Penny Black
Designed and built to scale to its sister pub in England, The Penny Black was crafted there and shipped piece by piece to Singapore. It was then assembled at its current location, the first establishment in the long line of pubs, cafes and restaurants at Boat Quay.
The food is made fresh daily with ingredients sourced from suppliers that can match their high standards. Everything from all-day breakfast and pub classics to Asian dishes and desserts await you on the Penny Black menu.
Besides the usual suspects on tap, this Victorian London pub is the only one in Singapore that can pour you an Old Speckled Hen as well.
It’s quite economical if you visit at the right time, too. Their Lunch Special (S$10) Chicken Chop consists of grilled chicken, black pepper sauce and mixed salad served with a side of fries. Alternatively, you can have a regular Main Course (S$19) of Cornish pastie and mushy beans could be your thing. The classic Ham and Cheese Sandwich (S$22) features freshly baked homemade farmer’s bread sandwich with honey baked ham and Irish cheddar cheese, and also comes with fries.
2. Hans Im Glück
Translating to “Lucky Hans”, Hans Im Glück is a German burger specialist named after a Brothers Grimm story and wants to make you its lucky patron.
Freshness and quality are top of the menu and there is something for almost everyone who has tasted a burger. From tender chicken breast to juicy beef to responsible vegan or vegetarian, they have a creation just for you.
Their burgers are stuffed with a variety of classic and creative additions, ranging from avocado, feta cheese and fig jam to grilled vegetables and rocket leaves. The cheese they use is either aged unprocessed Cheddar cheese from the milk of pasture-grazing cows or sharp Italian Parmesan cheese.
Burgers are created with either a sourdough or multigrain bun, or naked. It is then served with fresh lettuce, red onions, sun ripened tomatoes and their signature sauce. There are also beers and cocktails!
3. The Mask Restaurant and Bar
How could we not include an establishment that has some of the most reasonably-priced drinks in the area? The Mask Restaurant and Bar can serve up to 200 people at once across indoor and outdoor space that takes up close to 4,000 sq. ft.
Come the dark, The Mask Restaurant and Bar is packed with the after-work crowd in office gear as well but the party crowd creeps in as the hours pass.
There is a wide selection of beer on tap and an even wider range in the huge chillers. If you’re there for a meal, their menu has Western, North Indian, Italian and Middle Eastern cuisine. It’s not just finger food and snacks, either— they will impress you with a full range of starters, main courses, desserts, and beverages.
23-24 Circular Road, Boat Quay, Singapore 049380
Mon to Fri: 11.30am – 2.30am
Sat & Sun: 4pm – 2.30am
4. Dallas Restaurant & Bar
Dallas Bar & Restaurant takes the contemporary bar-bistro concept to a new level with its two branches at some of the most desirable real estate in Singapore: Boat Quay and Marina Bay Sands. Both are very popular venues for corporate events and private parties but the FIFA World Cup 2022 proved that live sports screenings at the Boat Quay location are a hit.
On the ground floor, Level One Bar has a breezy alfresco area, perfect for people watching. Up the stairs, the luxurious Level Two Restaurant is ideal for a more intimate experience and to better appreciate the delicious fare. Topside is the exquisitely-appointed Third Floor VIP Lounge where you can revel in a private bar, plush interior and a balcony with gorgeous views of the river and the city skyline.
Dallas Bar & Restaurant has a range of competitive packages that can be tailored to suit your needs and budget. You can make reservations for yourself or as a group here.
5. Dum Pukht Grill & Curry
The unusual-sounding ‘dum pukht’ of Dum Pukht Grill & Curry is Hindi for ‘breath cooked’, a reference to the ‘breath’ of hot steam used to slow cook each dish. In some cases, the process can take hours but the end result is a scandalously delicious serving of vegetables or meat that’s impossible to replicate at home.
For that reason alone, Dum Pukht Grill & Curry is a handy place to know along the boat Quay stretch of restaurants. As with most Indian restaurants, vegetarians will be spoiled for choice here. They also have an entire Bengali cuisine section, too, but you will find choices from across the subcontinent at Dum Pukht Grill & Curry. Best of all, they are not stingy with the portions.
6. 109 Teochew Yong Tau Foo
Yes, Boat Quay does boast quite an eclectic mix of food and drinks, and 109 Teochew Yong Tau Foo is another wonderful addition to the mix. As the name suggests, you get the Teochew version of the classic yong tau foo, which is tofu with fish paste served in soup.
This stall is about 3 decades old itself but the recipe has apparently been passed down for many generations. It has a quaint feel amidst the Western-oriented focus and decor of most of the other establishments on the banks of the Singapore River in this area. Perhaps, that’s the very quality that induces hungry diners to give the joint a try while keeping regular customers coming back for more.
Definitely poke your head in for a look if you want to see what you can get for a fraction of the cost of neighbouring eateries.
90 Circular Road, Singapore 049441
+65 6299 1643
Mon to Sat: 11am – 10pm
Closed on Sun
7. Pasta Fresca Da Salvatore
Born in Singapore over 30 years ago, Pasta Fresca Da Salvatore continues to delight us with its fantastic rendition of timeless south Italian cuisine. Just as lovely is the intimate, personal hospitality that makes every visit an absolute pleasure.
This may be a chain restaurant but there is no denying the amazing dedication to great Italian cuisine that drives the brand. Each one of their dishes is made fresh every day, all without the use of preservatives or colouring.
The Chef’s Recommendation of Starter is Grissini Parma Ham (S$22.90) is a plate of freshly baked breadsticks wrapped in slices of succulent Parma Ham. Take the recommendation. Soft cheese lovers must try the Burrata Contadina (S$24.90 for 125g, S$33.90 for 250g) served with mushrooms, red chicory, fried cherry tomatoes and red wine reduction.
One of the best cannelloni in Singapore is served here: Cannelloni Ricotta E Spinachi (S$25.90) in creamy bechamel sauce.
8. Suishin Izakaya & Sake Bar
You have to have a good Japanese restaurant on any Singapore food area guide worth its salt. What better way to add a touch of the Land of the Rising Sun on our Boat Quay guide than Suishin Izakaya & Sake Bar? It is one of the best places in the area— and beyond— to have your fill of sushi, sashimi, a variety of sake and the best Japanese beers.
Suishin Izakaya & Sake Bar is also one of the few restaurants along the river where you will get yakitori. Rather similar to our very own satay, yakitori is chicken skewers grilled on charcoal. The luscious meat in your mouth, a cold Sapporo in your hand and the sights along the Singapore River in your eyes… now that’s a recipe for a great night out.
Make reservations before you rock up, though— the rather small indoor seating area fills up quickly.
9. The Hitsuji Club
The Hitsuji Club bills itself as the first Jingiskan specialty restaurant in Singapore to open on Circular Road. The name is a reference to Mongolian Genghis Khan but this cuisine is authentically Japanese. Grilled lamb, beansprouts, onions, mushrooms and bell peppers are cooked on a round metal skillet that resembles a helmet.
They only use lamb imported from Australia and New Zealand. Each animal is grain-fed for up to six months to obtain the best range of flavours from the meat. One testament to the authenticity and quality of the fare they serve is the number of Japanese nationals who make the trip down to eat here. There are delicious chicken and pork dishes on the menu too.
This, too, is one of the smaller restaurants on the River— you will be wise to make reservations before you arrive.
Some may argue that we saved the best for last in Braci. With a coveted Michelin star in their window for 5 of the past 6 years and ranked number 14 on 50 Best Italian Restaurants in The World 2022, there is no doubt that this is one of the widely-recognised establishments on Boat Quay.
The word braci is Italian for ‘embers’ and a reference to the restaurant’s use of the charcoal oven and the shichirin grill to prepare its delectable range of crowd pleasers. However, the real reason for the accolades is the creative way in which even the most traditional dishes are crafted for the modern palate. Braci can arrange vegetarian and gluten-free meals on request.
Besides its famed modern Italian fare, this is also the place for contemporary-classic cocktails reinvented by the decorated team.
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