ION Orchard is one of the most well-known malls in the country, owing partly to its premier location along our shopping paradise of Orchard Road. It’s easy to spend hours inside before you know it… which is usually when your tummy starts to grumble.
Fear not, tummies! Here are the 10 best places to sate your hunger in ION Orchard while also rewarding your senses with a pleasant ambience.
1. Itacho Sushi (#B3-20)
Itacho Sushi gives you an authentic, quality Japanese dining experience without causing too much damage to your wallet. The ambience at the restaurant is pleasantly intimate, ideal for both a playful date or a gathering of friends.
Itacho Sushi does one of the best versions of Teriyaki Chicken (S$13.80) for any chain restaurant that I know.
We also always enjoy their Sushi Tempura (S$7.80), not just because of the fine taste but also because they are relatively generous with portions.
Both adults and kids can enjoy the very reasonably priced Tuna Salad Warship (S$1.80).
There is usually a queue to dine here, even in non-peak hours, though. Remember to take a queue number and carry on shopping— they’ll contact you when your table is free.
2. Signature KOI (#B3-15/16)
Signature KOI distinguishes itself with the motto ‘Pioneering the Tea Culture in Singapore’. That’s certainly true at ION Orchard with the limited-seating store usually filled to capacity. You may even spend 10 minutes in the takeaway queue before getting your dose of tasty tea, classy coffee or colourful cakes.
There is no shortage of creative, vivid-hued sweet treats but I enjoy the relatively simple but absolutely elegant Orange Roll (S$5.90) most of all. It has a single slim slice of orange artfully attached to the outside and magically stays in place as you eat it.
If you visit for the tea, the Signature Cold Brew (S$5.90) and Premium Cold Brew (S$6.50) are the place to start. Signature KOI also has an Alcohol Series and I’d pick the VSOP Chocolate (S$10.60) if I were you.
3. Ratio Café & Gastrobar (#B1-12)
Hip and happening, for sure, but the real appeal of Ratio Café & Gastrobar for most gawkers is the pair of robotic arms doling out some of the best brews and cocktails at ION Orchard. Housed behind a glass menagerie, they offer an almost hypnotic slice of action as orders are received and crafted.
When you manage to tear yourself away from their beautiful, precise movements, go for a plate of Har Cheong Wings (S$12.90). That’s actually prawn paste wings, referring to the marinade in which it’s cooked. See those little bits garnishing the chicken? That’s mini pieces of fried marinade added for an extra dose of crunch and flavour.
A Lychee Panna Cotta Martini (S$11.90) is one of the best ways to end your meal (and fuel up for more shopping). Pure white, save for the 2 strawberry halves, it is an indulgence worth the trip to the mall.
4. 1-Atico (#55-01, #56-01)
218 metres above the streets, this dual-storeyed establishment is built for the view. Despite the name, 1-Atico is actually 3 different concepts covering 2 floors. They are named FLNT, FIRE and the 1-Atico Lounge.
Both pyro-centric names refer to fine eateries with a South American flavour. FLNT is a Nikkei Japanese-Peruvian gastrobar. Here, everything from chapa to parrilla is cooked the ancient way, ‘rescoldoto caldero’, buried in embers. It’s not ordinary charcoal either; special apple, oak and almond wood helps create unforgettable cuisine.
FIRE is an authentic Argentinian restaurant and Singapore’s First Nikkei-influenced sumiyaki bar and grill. An open galley takes you behind the scenes as your fusion dishes are masterfully prepared, assembled and plated.
1-Atico Lounge is the place to be for cocktails from sunup to sundown. Go here if you love the thump of mundic reverberating through you, and the drink you are holding.
5. Hoshino Coffee (#B3-22)
Home of the authentic ‘hand-drip’ coffee perfected by master brewers, Hoshino Coffee is the place to enjoy the hot, the cold and everything in between. Famous for its irresistible Signature Coffee (S$6) in 3 blends, this brand also serves some of the most mesmerising Matcha Souffle Pancake (S$13.90 for single, S$16.90 for double).
Their A5 Miyazaki Wagyu menu features consistent crowd-pleasers such as the Wagyu Sukiyaki Spaghetti (S$20.80) and Wagyu Cube Steak Garlic Pepper Rice. Load up with some affordable sides like the Mini Wagyu Minestrone (S$3.50) or go all-out with the Wagyu Pot-baked Pie Stew (S$15.80). Hungering for something not quite so heavy?
Your best bet is probably the Teriyaki Chicken Steak Plate with Onsen Egg (S$17.90). Wash it down with Japanese Sapporo Premium Beer (S$8.80) or a glass of Homemade Sparkling Lemonade (S$6).
6. The Marmalade Pantry (#04-11A)
One of Singapore’s most brightest homegrown F&B success stories, The Marmalade Pantry has been delighting us with its delectable array of food and drink since 1999. Its bistro-meets-local concept appeals to both locals and visitors alike. That fact is obvious when you visit ION Orchard during meal times.
This is the place to be if you enjoy dining with a feel of closeness to nature; ample greenery and colourful flowers dot the dining area. Best of all, almost all items on the menu are eligible for a 1-for-1 redemption!
That will ease your mind without easing your wallet too much when you begin with Arugula Salad (S$24). The Sriracha Chicken Burger (S$26) has a special twist: blue cheese mayo! A Japanese Sencha Cupcake (S$6) is for sweet endings.
7. Food Opera (#B4-03/04)
Food Opera is a food court which houses about 20 stalls. This is where you would go if you are in a group and cannot decide on any single restaurant or café from the scores of choices at ION Orchard. It takes a Singapore-centric approach, which means that you will find all your local favourites in one place.
One of the most recognisable names here is Li Xin Teochew Fishball Noodles. The LiXin Dry Signature Noodles and LiXin Soup Signature Noodles are the safest bet for a bowl of hearty, filling deliciousness.
Another stall where there is almost always a queue is Sergeant Hainanese Chicken Rice. Come here for generous servings of sauce and chilli but remember that you will not get the largest portions of chicken. It’s the best choice for the times when you are hankering for a tasty meal but are short on time.
8. Awfully Chocolate (#B4-50)
Until now, all the entries on this list represent a combination of taste and value-for-money. Awfully Chocolate, on the other hand, represents pure indulgence. It’s for those days and times when you miss out on a great deal or tripped and scraped your knee. Don’t worry, the sweet, brown cacao beans will kiss it all better.
They have diversified their menu now and their 2-Course Lunch (S$22) is giving the cafes and restaurants some serious competition. The deal is available on weekdays from 12 noon to 3pm. It features Lightly-Battered Sea Bass with a side of crispy shoestring fries, served with sweet French pea puree.
They also have Amazing Value Dinner Sets (S$25), served daily from 6pm to 9pm. They come with a Starter and Mains but you can add a Beverage (S$3) or Wine (S$9).
9. Jumbo Seafood (#04-09/10)
Jumbo Seafood has been a name familiar to most Singaporeans since the late 1980s, when they operated a single restaurant at East Coast Seafood Centre. This is where you head to if you love seafood and want a set meal while enjoying panoramic views of the city.
They cater for all sizes with their set menus. The most affordable is Set Menu A2 (S$168 for 2 pax) which comes with Shredded Roasted Duck Salad, Live Prawns with Cereal, Stir Fried Chinese Chives Bean Sprout, Chilli Crab with Fried Man Tou and the Dessert of the Day.
For a party as large as 10, ask for Set Menu C10 (S$1,068 for 10 pax). The highlights include Crispy Fried Baby Squid and Stir Fried Asparagus with X.O. Sauce. It ends with the divine Sweet Yam Paste with Gingko Nuts and Pumpkin.
10. TWG 1837 Tea (#02-20/21)
Many Singaporeans are surprised to discover that TWG 1837 Tea is a homegrown Singaporean brand. It isn’t just on our list because of #SupportLocal, though. Their pantry boasts an expansive range of over 800 single estate fine harvests teas. If you are a connoisseur of quality brews, no trip to ION Orchard is complete without a stop here.
Served alongside the treasure trove of teas is a heavenly collection of handcrafted patisseries infused with TWG’s signature teas. There are also savoury delicacies to indulge your tastebuds.
I must say, though, that much of the charm of dining at TWG 1837 Tea at ION Orchard is the ambience. It feels as if you have been enveloped into a decadent embrace of warm golden hues within the most lavish of imperial settings. It’s truly worth the visit!
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