Indian food is seriously diverse. You may already know that South and North Indian foods are two entirely different cuisines but the differences go even further, with each cuisine comprising a range of ethnic foods, localised specialities and so on. Also, it doesn’t help that Singaporean Indian food can differ from that in India itself.
So, to rank these places according to how good they are is like trying to compare chicken and duck rice; it’s simply not a fair fight. Instead, here’s a list of 15 best Indian restaurants in Singapore to add spice to your life!
‘Shikar’ is Hindi for ‘hunt’ and while classic shikar is now prohibited, this restaurant pays homage to that erstwhile royal Indian tradition. Step inside and be transported to a bastion of rugged self-sufficiency, elevated hospitality and respect for the natural world.
Helmed by former judge of MasterChef India, Surjan Singh (known fondly as Chef Jolly), Shikar feels like an infusion of masculinity but one tempered with culture and supreme elegance.
I’ll come right out and admit that the food was divine. Our Peri-Peri Prawns (S$19) were scrumptious and the batter had an interesting crunch to it— I was left wanting more when our bowl ran empty. At some establishments, you can tell that the seafood is fresh with a single bite and Shikar is definitely one of them.
Tikki Chaat is ordinarily made from potatoes but Shikar’s Roasted Sweet Potato Goats Cheese Tikki Chaat (S$29) ups the ante by opting for sweet potato; it adds well-suited flavour and consistency. I’m not a fan of kale usually but the very crispy and light kale chips were wonderful.
Shikar’s Duck Seekh (S$47 for 3 pieces) was hands down our favourite dish of the night. These skewers are usually prepared with chicken or mutton and this was the first time that I have had duck this way. It was a revelation! Every skewer is dusted with the world’s most expensive spice, saffron, which adds a sublime undercurrent to every bite. We found the meat so tender that it could almost be described as creamy. To. Die. For.
Shikar reinvents the common chicken tikka with their Charred Cream Chicken, Tikka (S$41). Try it if you like your poultry done to exquisite softness. Our Tandoor Roasted Chicken, Makhani (S$49), on the other hand, was delicious but not nearly as good as the Tikka.
Shikari Daal (S$37) was super creamy and buttery, perfect for dipping your naan or drowning your rice.
The highlight of the dessert menu was the Caramelised Milk Cake “Jamun” (S$21). While I’ve found them overly sugary elsewhere, Shikar’s version was just right and does the authentic flavours justice. The hazelnut mascarpone cream and thin wafers it’s served with made the dish a little more fun!
Eating at Shikar (newly-opened in July 2022) was an exciting experience of discovery, in a way harking back to the activity for which it is named. It’s definitely an elevated dining experience for which you’ll want to dress up.
2. Royal Taj
Situated on the island of Sentosa, Royal Taj showcases modern Indian cuisine by complementing the flavours and traditions of India with global ingredients and techniques. The restaurant is located within the Mess Hall, which is a colonial-looking heritage building that’s part of Village Hotel, Outpost Hotel and Barracks Hotel.
Diners can expect a wide array of Indian delicacies from their à la carte menu. You can find Indian street food favourites like Aloo Tikki Chaat (S$12) and Masala Papad (S$12).
They’ve got a total of 13 tandoori specialities if you enjoy the smoky charred flavours coming from the clay oven. Indulge in Royal Tandoori Chicken (S$22 for half, S$38 for full), Malai Broccoli (S$20) or Lamb Seekh Kebab (S$22).
If you’re dining as a pair, the Royal Taj 5 Course Veg Set Menu or Royal Taj 5 Course Non-Veg Set Menu (both at S$45.90++ for lunch, S$55.90++ for dinner) would definitely be a great option for both of you.
2 Gunner Lane, Mess Hall Block 16, Village Hotel Sentosa, #02-06,
+65 9118 5896
Mon to Thu: 12pm – 3pm & 6pm – 10pm
Fri to Sun: 12pm – 3pm & 6pm – 10.30pm
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3. Masalaa Bar
A fun and quirky hangout, Masalaa Bar is a gastro bar opened by Chef Milind Sovani, who has over 35 years of culinary experience. He proudly showcases the street food of India from various cities reinvented in his own contemporary style.
Masalaa Bar recently updated its menu . Some of the new highlights include Bombay Veg Grilled Sandwich (S$13), which is a favourite street food of Mumbai. It’s quintessentially a crispy sandwich stuffed with peppers, tomato, cucumber, potato, green chutney and their homemade spice sprinkle. You must try their Malwani Prawn Curry (S$24), Vada Pao Sliders (S$9) and Zafrani Murg Malai Tikka (S$18), a saffron-enhanced creamed chicken kebab.
One of the new Indian-inspired cocktails to look out for is the Aam Aadmi (S$18), which is a mixture of rum, honey, and mango. Another one to try is the Adraki Confetti (S$18) which is a concoction of spiced rum, tamarind chutney and ginger fizz— an interesting combination bound to excite your taste buds. And finally, their Red Hot Chilli Pepper (S$18), which consists of aviation gin, chily & vermouth, will certainly spice up your night.
4. Shahi Maharani North Indian Restaurant
Nestled within Raffles City Shopping Centre, Shahi Maharani North Indian Restaurant offers an unforgettable gastronomical journey through authentic Indian food. With live music amidst a decor reminiscent of the royal palaces of India, feel pampered and serenaded to like a real “Maharani” (queen).
Some of their special dishes that you really must try include the Tandoori Lamb Chops (S$47) and Tandoori Milawat (S$45) (which is a heavenly platter of chicken tikka, fish tikka, lahsuni jheenga & seekh kebab).
Chef Manogren Murugan Thevar from Penang reigns over the kitchen of Thevar that’s located at Keong Saik Road. He wants us to have a taste of the massive potential Indian cuisine has to offer locals beyond dosai and butter chicken. Don’t expect grandma’s recipes; his interpretation is experimental, modern and, at the very least, unexpected.
Thevar only offers a daily Chef’s Menu (S$238++), which is a reflection of Chef Mano’s culinary training and travels. The items on offer are just for reference and are changed every other day.
An example of a Chef’s Menu includes Heirloom Tomato Chaat, Prawn Balchao Pao, Crispy Pork Sambal Aioli, Irish Oyster Rassam Granita, Hokkaido Scallop – Sothi, Chettinad Duck Roti, Hibiscus Spiced Gujiya, Rack of Lamb – Korma, and Lamb Biryani.
For dessert, there’ll be Mango Sorbet with Jaggery Granita & Guava and Banana Misthi Doi.
The staff at Thevar will ask for your dietary restrictions the day before your booking so alternatives can be arranged, for example, for vegetarians.
ADDA is a Michelin-plated restaurant and it’s one of the hottest elevated Indian dining spots in Singapore.
Start your dining experience with Pani Puri (S$14), a popular Indian street food. Visually speaking, this dish is perfect for the ‘gram. The dish consists of a round, hollow puri, stuffed with a mixture of spiced mashed potatoes, and a side of flavoured water. The presentation at ADDA is top-notch as the dish comes riding on a miniature version of the street carts from which they are sold in India. Sweet and spicy, this snack certainly packs a punch!
Moving on to mains, every dish here comes with its own artistic flair. Their Bread (from S$4) dishes comes in a gunny sack, and their signature dish, the Butter Tindle™ Pot Pie (S$28) comes in a pot with a flaky pastry that covers the mouth of the pot, revealing the aromatic dish when carefully cut into. Talk about a multisensory experience.
Located in the culturally rich district of Kampong Glam, Flying Monkey offers authentic Pan-Indian cuisine with a pinch of excitement. Their Indian-inspired cocktails look fun and make use of props like claypots and mini metal buckets.
Try their specially curated cocktails like Mumbai 2 Milan (S$22) and The Japanese Wife (S$20) (a concoction of Hendrick’s gin, maraschino, guava, sake and saline).
Flying Monkey also serves some delicious tapas, including the Galouti Kebab (S$16). It is the bar’s best-selling small plate dish prepared with a lamb patty and truly lives up to its name as ‘Galouti’, which literally means ‘melt-in-your-mouth’!
8. Riverwalk Tandoor – Bhai Da Dhaba
Riverwalk Tandoor – Bhai Da Dhaba serves up authentic North Indian food at Rangoon Road. The Sarson Ka Saag Set Meal (S$10.90), is a staple in every Punjabi person’s household. No, not the overhyped butter chicken. Imagine a shatteringly soft and unleavened flatbread made out of cornmeal, paired with a bowl of blended mustard greens with spices.
What’s North Indian cuisine without Tandoori Chicken (S$12.90 for half, S$20.90 for full) and Punjabi Samosa (S$4.90 for five pieces). The experience only gets better when you tear off a piece of moist chicken or crispy potato-filled, triangular pastry, and dip it in mint chutney. I do have to say, they serve one of the best mint chutneys over here.
If you’d like to have a go at other mains, do try the Mutton Briyani (S$9.90), Butter Chicken (S$9.90) or Aloo Gobi (S$7.90).
9. Nalan Restaurant
Known to be one of Singapore’s leading Indian vegetarian restaurants, Nalan Restaurant has two outlets in Singapore which are located in City Hall and Little India. They serve authentic North and South Indian cuisine with every dish freshly made-to-order using only the finest ingredients.
The menu has a diverse selection of dishes for you to choose from. Tuck into yummy starters like Paneer Kathi Roll (S$10), Onion Pakkoda (S$8) and Gobi Manchurian (S$12) (which is a dish of deep-fried cauliflower with onions in a spicy marinade).
Be spoiled for choice with over 18 types of Thosai, which include Cheese Masala Thosai (S$18), Butter Thosai (S$6), and Onion Podi Thosai (S$7)— I’ll have trouble choosing for sure.
10. Karu’s Indian Banana Leaf Restaurant
Since 1994, Karu’s Indian Banana Leaf Restaurant has been iconic for their Fish Head Curry. What started out as a simple family cooking tradition became a family business in 1994, serving up plates of classic South Indian spread on a traditional banana leaf.
Karu’s Fish Head Deluxe (S$27 for small, S$36 for medium, S$40 for large) is cooked in a South Indian style and is arguably the best on this island. Mixed with juicy okra and cherry tomatoes, the Fish Head Deluxe is best enjoyed with Biryani Rice (S$3.80) or Plain Dosai (S$3.20) with Fish Cutlet (S$1.80).
If fish is not exactly your pick of protein, why not opt for their Curry Mutton Biryani (S$12.40)? This one-of-a-kind dish features a blend of fresh ground spices and the long-grained basmati rice cooked to perfection with fresh goat. A must-try for all meat lovers out there.
808/810 Upper Bukit Timah Road Singapore, Singapore 678144
+65 6762 7284
Tue to Sun: 10.30am – 10pm
Closed on Mon
Mustard is a Bengali and Punjabi restaurant known for tasty food at affordable prices. Located in a small unit space along Race Course Road next to some of the bigger names, Mustard is kind of a hidden gem that is sometimes overlooked.
Meat lovers will relish in the restaurant’s Kabab e Tashtar (S$23.90 for half), a mixed kebab platter featuring a delectable array of chicken, fish and mutton kababs, grilled to perfection. Moist and tender, the selection of meats on this plate makes for one of the best combinations alongside some Saffron Rice (S$9.90) or a piece of Cheese Naan (S$9.50).
Firangi Superstar’s intentions of transporting guests to the oasis that is the Jungle Lodge and Railway Room— amidst the familiar and bustling Craig Road— is a successful one as you disregard the realities of our mid-pandemic world.
You can’t dine here without a momentary pause of awe, especially for the thorough effort that’s on display— from the furniture to the adorned walls and every crevice in between.
While the essence of Firangi Superstar lies in India’s beauty, there are several nods to other cuisines around the world— take for example the Beirut Bhatura Veg (S$12). It’s a spin on hummus that’s peppered with pomegranate, made with celeriac (also known as celery root), has chickpea masala, and eaten with bhatura.
The Prata Waffle ??? (S$24) is one dish that’s gotten the media talkin’ and my tummy rumblin’. Sure, it’s essentially an Asian spin on chicken and waffles, but can you really say no to comfort and familiarity? Not as confusing as those triple question marks show, the Madras-style fried chicken is semi-enclosed in waffle-pressed prata, but not before a butter chicken sauce accompanies it to the stage.
Eat it how you like— disassemble it with your hands or perform a dainty dissection with a fork and knife. Either way, you’ll be greeted with lusciously tender chicken whose crunchy battered shell will have you cleaning the plate of every tittynope in sight.
Room for dessert? You can’t turn your back on the Chocolate Jamun (S$15). A cheeky play on the classic gulab jamun, the gulab jamun here is macerated in saffron cardamom syrup for a pop of herbaceous fun amidst the house-made cardamom vanilla ice-cream. Trust the chocolate crumble to lend a subtle sweetness to the dessert— just like a reliable old friend who’s always got your back.
Annalakshmi is on this list not just because the food is mouth-watering, but also because it’s a non-profit Indian restaurant. Run largely by volunteers, the staff here work not just to make ends meet but volunteer and dedicate their time as they find joy in the act of service to the community.
Patrons who come here can eat as much as they want and pay any amount, allowing diners who are going through a hard time to also enjoy a proper meal without having to worry about the cost.
The food here is generally South Indian and comes buffet-style, so you can help yourself to your favourite dishes as much as you want. Price-wise, if you feel like giving back, feel free to pay a sum that’s higher than usual to show support to the restaurant’s cause.
Instead of typical Southern Indian dishes, Swaadhist serves up an array of traditional Kerala cuisine in the heart of Little India.
A must-try here, which many diners make return trips for, is their Bamboo Chicken Biryani (S$14). Served fresh from the bamboo it was steamed in, the dish exuded an intoxicating earthy fragrance the moment it was pushed out from its tube.
Prepared amongst a heap of long-grain basmati rice, the lightly spiced chicken pieces were juicy and tore apart with ease. There were the bits of fat that clung for their life onto the chunks of chicken, adding a nice greasiness and gelatinous texture that complemented the overwhelmingly herbaceous taste of cumin and star anise.
If you are not a fan of spice, their Appam With Coconut Milk (S$6 for two) and Vegetable Ishtoo (S$8.50) will make for welcome treats that taste as good as they look. Prepared using fermented rice flour together with creamy coconut milk, the mildly sourish appam exuded a soft nutty perfume with every bite. When consumed with the Vegetable Ishtoo (a Kerala-style potato stew), the outrageously rich stew felt like the kind of dish the appam was made for.
15. MTR Restaurant
An award-winning Indian restaurant offering authentic South Indian cuisine, MTR Singapore is an eatery that serves up a legacy of great vegetarian dishes at affordable prices.
Before tucking into their repertoire of authentic vegetarian mains, savour on the unique Rava Idly (S$4), a steamed semolina cake mixed with yoghurt, coriander, cashew nuts, curry leaves, mustard seeds, and clarified butter. Accompanying it is a silky coconut-based potato saagu that reveals a spongey, nutty pancake-esque mouthfeel when paired together with the semolina cake.
Elsewhere, there is also the Pudi Masala Dosa (S$7), a large fluffy pancake peppered with spicy chutney powder, smeared with ghee and topped with a small scoop of potato-onion filling. One bite into this beauty and your palate will be instantly hit with a smoky pepperiness. This might be a spicy dish, but trust me, the flavour grows on you with each and every bite you take.
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