Those who consider themselves devout foodies cannot be fully enlightened without having a taste of the finest Singapore has to offer. How these gourmet restaurants are deemed the crème de la crème: Their absurdly long waiting lists. That, instead of standing in line for hours, is the apparent measure of excellence today.
If it seems a tad overzealous to have to commit to the restaurant up to 4 months in advance, consider it part of the sacrifice for your epicurean pilgrimage.
Below are the 8 restaurants fabled to blow your mind every single time:
1. Teppei Japanese Restaurant
Highly affordable Omakase ($50, $60 or $80) at the 21 counter seat outfit of Teppei sees waiting lists sometimes stretch to 4 months. The likes of yuzu clam soup, wagyu beef strips, seared cod fish, and puffer fish sashimi among the scrumptious dishes served at Omakase should invoke enough curiosity in the Japanese fever in you to have you call for a reservation.
Note that the registration process has been changed into a few steps, with an online pre-registration being required where only the first 300 successful signups will get a phone call from Teppei to arrange a booking.
Pre-registration opens every few months, and you’ll have to check out Teppei’s facebook page for more information.
If you wish not to wait, the option of having the famous Barachirashi Don and Tempura Set at the strictly no-reservation lunch is always open.
Address: 1 Tras Link, Orchid Hotel, Singapore 078867
Operating hours: 12pm – 230pm | 6pm – 1030pm
Call 6222 7363 for reservations.
2. Waku Ghin
Waku Ghin, though similar to Teppei in that it seats a small number of 25 and also serves Japanese along with European cuisine, is the epitome of fine dining. The 39th-placed restaurant in the world prices its epic 10-course degustation menu at an astounding $400++ per pax, but still requires a waiting list of at least 3 weeks on the average before you may take your seat.
Watch in awe as the chef displays his impressive culinary abilities on the teppan counter in one of the 4 dining rooms. Waku Ghin sure knows how to whet your appetite. Some highlights from the 10-course menu include Australian Blackmore Wagyu, Tasmanian Abalone, and Marinated Botan Shrimp with Sea Urchin and Oscietra Caviar.
Address: 10 Bayfront Avenue, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore 018956
Operating hours: 6pm – 1030pm
Call 6688 8507 for reservations.
3. Buko Nero
Past 14 years of notable Italian-Asian operation, the lovely couple behind the 20-pax Buko Nero still refuses any form of expansion. You’ll hence probably need to make reservations a month in advance before your desired mealtime.
At about $60 for a 4-course meal from a menu du jour that may comprise items like Pan-Fried Beef Tenderloin, Homemade Foie Gras Ravioli, and Cod Fish, you’ll be guaranteed a spectacular meal.
Address: 126 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore, 088534
Operating hours: 12pm – 2pm (Fridays and Saturdays) | 630pm – 930pm (Mondays to Saturdays) | Closed on Sundays
Call 6324 6225 for reservations.
4. Restaurant Andre
Regarded Singapore’s best fine dining restaurant for the second year running, Restaurant Andre is a 30-seater that denies any a la carte orders, and instead offers only curated courses. Octaphilosophy, an 8-course meal featuring 8 distinct flavour elements (Salt, South, Memory etc.), is perhaps deserving of the most fame. Its very existence is a testament to Chef Andre Chiang’s culinary prowess.
At $198 per head, be ready to sample ravishing dishes such as Stone Crab Raviolis Served With Pear Snow and Leak Water, and Grilled Topinambour served with Truffle. Trying to get a reservation here takes anywhere from 4-6 months in advance.
Address: 41 Bukit Pasoh Road, Singapore 089855
Operating hours: 12pm – 2pm & 7pm – 11pm | Closed on Mondays and Public Holidays
Call 6534 8880 for reservations.
5. Shinji by Kanesaka
Evidently, Singaporeans revere Japanese cuisine, especially at the restaurants that guarantee freshness. At the intimate Shinji by Kanesaka that originated in Tokyo, classic Edo-style sushi and premium sashimi—featuring Glass Fish, Monkfish, Horse Mackerel, Ikura etc.—are prepared by jovial chefs who join an excellent service crew that ensures the consummate sushi omakase experience.
Shinji charges from $125 for a 12-piece lunch set all the way to $450 for the ultimate omakase deal. Once upon a time, waiting list spanned weeks, but the recent opening of a second St. Regis outlet should alleviate tedious reservations.
Address 1: Raffles Hotel #02-20, 1 Beach Road, Singapore 189673
Call 6338 6131 for reservations.
Address 2: St. Regis Hotel Lobby, 29 Tanglin Road, Singapore 247911
Call 6884 8239 for reservations.
Operating hours: 12pm – 3pm | 6pm – 1030pm | Closed on Sundays
Luxuriating in the cityscape from the 70th floor of Swissotel is touted to be one of Jaan’s selling points. Thus if you are keen on taking a window seat during lunch or dinner at the 40-pax Modern French restaurant that is listed among Asia’s top 50 diners, you can be expected to minimally wait a month before dining. Swissotel guests, on the contrary, may be allowed priority seating.
Hand-dived Scallops, Grilled Mangalica Pork, and a stupendous 55′ Rosemary Smoked Organic Egg are some highlights of the 3, 5, and 7-course degustation menus at lunch (respectively priced at $68, $118, and $168).
Address: 2 Stamford Road, Level 70 Equinox Complex, Swissotel The Stamford, Singapore, 178882
Operating hours: 12pm – 2pm | 7pm – 10pm | Closed on Sundays & Public Holidays
Call 9199 9008 for reservations.
7. Sushi Ichi
Sushi Ichi from Ginza is allegedly the first of its exquisite kind in Singapore, and can sometimes be inundated by waiting reservations up to 3 weeks. The 20-pax restaurant that provides a Japanese degustation experience even has an in-house sommelier to facilitate wine pairing.
From Ume ($60) to Omakase ($450) at lunch, you may be lucky enough to land some Sea Urchin, Baby Snapper sushi, Uni & Ikura, and Grilled Barracuda with Sesame Tofu.
Address: 6 Scotts Road, #02-02 Scotts Square, Singapore 228209
Operating hours: 1230pm – 3pm (Tuesdays) | 12pm – 3pm (Wednesdays to Sundays) | 6pm – 1030pm (Tuesdays to Sundays) | Closed on Mondays
Call 6299 0014 for reservations.
FOC is the newest kid on the block that is helmed by Michelin-starred chef Nandu Jubany taking Spanish appreciation to the next level. Inside the zany Catalan restaurant, a full meal that consists of dishes like the impressive Black Mediterranean Paella with Seafood and Garlic Mayonnaise, Grilled Scallops with Bonito Stock and Soya Caviar, and Octopus served Galician Style will go for approximately $70.
Asian-inspired creations on the BCN -> SIN menu and innovative cocktails are the other offerings in FOC, which has since its opening seen a spate of bookings, making the waiting list up to a month long.
Address: 40 Hongkong Street, Singapore 059679
Operating hours: 11am – 1am (Mondays to Saturdays) | Closed on Sundays
Call 6100 4040 for reservations.
Editor’s end notes
If you’ve had a try at any of the above restaurants, we would love to know if you thought it was worth your long wait. Otherwise, we hope we’ve helped you discover some options for your next epic meal.