From Mediterranean to Italian to Japanese to Korean, Singapore has a vibrant vegetarian scene beyond the common Indian and Chinese vegetarian options we all know. Here is a list of 15 of the best vegetarian restaurants in Singapore that offer responsible, planet-friendly gastronomy.
To start things off fancy, Joie is a vegetarian restaurant located atop Orchard Central, perched comfortably on the swanky rooftop garden. Talk about setting. It presents a Japanese-European inspired menu that is all things modern and meatless.
It boldly innovates in its specially curated dishes, such as the Vegetable Sashimi on Ice with Oyster-Leaf Shooter Glass. Don’t expect raw fish here, because this cold dish presents a mix of coconut flesh and ‘sashimi’ made with aloe vera. I reckon that you’ll be hard-pressed to find dishes like these elsewhere. Come here for the unique vegetarian nosh, and stay for the stunning views of the Orchard shopping district.
2. Warung Ijo
Let’s shake things up a little, this time with Indonesian restaurant Warung Ijo. Admittedly, it’s difficult to picture Indonesian cuisine without the likes of ayam panggang and rendang. Yet, that is precisely what this humble eatery seeks to achieve with their vegetarian offerings. If you’re still unconvinced, just take a look at their Rendang Fried Rice (S$9.90).
Featuring lion’s mane mushroom in place of meat, the rendang sauce here is equal parts smoky and heavy with the fragrance of coconut. It comes with an oozy egg yolk as well, so the whole dish is made even more satisfying and sumptuous. For more unique meatless Indonesian alternatives, you must come down to Warung Ijo.
Japanese cuisine is one that is heavily reliant on the freshness of their produce, such as fish and beef. Indeed, I find it hard to engage in a Japanese menu that is fully vegetarian. Yet, that is what Herbivore seeks to do. You’ll find all of your favourites, from tempura to chicken teriyaki, save for a small difference— it’s all meat-free.
Have a go at their Tonkatsu Curry, a dish which would convince even the most discerning of eyes. A hunk of a battered ‘pork’ cutlet arrives swimming in a pool of curry gravy and alongside rice. The hearty servings of food at Herbivore will be sure to leave you utterly satisfied with their highly creative Japanese options.
Opened in 2014, Sufood’s vegetarian philosophy is simple— delicious meals that are rich in nutrition. This Taiwanese chain stays true to its Italian roots, and stays away from the concept of ‘mock meat’. In an era of plant-based meat substitutes, it is heartening to see restaurants make that choice. It’s a sentiment that is obvious from their carefully thought-out 4-, 6-, or 8-course dinners (S$25.80 for 4-course, S$31.80 for 6-course, S$36.80 for 8-course).
Their ala-carte menu also features thoroughly unique dishes such as the 5-Grain Rice with Black Truffle & Mushrooms, a combination that already whets the appetite with a burst of umami goodness. Pay a visit to Sufood in Raffles City for a dining experience that promises to impress without meat.
5. Ballaji Bhaawan Vegetarian
With an impressive 4.3 stars from over 1,300 reviews (1 Sep 2023), Ballaji Bhaawan Vegetarian is clearly a crowd favourite. It’s also one of the few places where you will find the classic Indian soft drinks Thums Up and Limca, which will definitely take your palate back to the subcontinent.
Their extensive menu is a mix of North Indian, Punjabi, Rajsthani and South Indian dishes, as well as Indian Chinese stalwarts such as Baby Pepper Corn Onion (S$14.90) and Gobhi Manchurian (S$14.90). There is a vast assortment of Indian sweets thrown in for good measure, too. They also have Chats (Indian street food) options like all-time favourite Pani Puri (S$8.90 for 6pcs).
Besides the expected Paneer Butter Masala (S$14.96) and Masala Dosa (S$6.50) you would expect, you can even order Western dishes such as Tandoori Paneer Pizza (S$18.90) and Milkshakes (S$8.90). If you have a family or group of friends with extraordinarily diverse tastes, this restaurant is a time saver.
6. Original Sin
Original Sin describes itself as a Mediterranean Italian Vegetarian restaurant, and their food is as enticingly delicious as that description encapsulates. They have been Singapore’s first and only Mediterranean restaurant that specialises in meat-free cuisine since 1997. Original Sin’s award-winning wine list is best enjoyed in the breezy alfresco dining area.
The Mezze Platter (small (2 pax) $28, large (3-4 pax) S$38) is the best way to begin your exploration here. It’s a combination of some of the most popular dips from the region, including hummus and tzatziki, served with falafel and pita. If you want to warm up your palate, it’s the ideal candidate.
From the mains, we recommend the Bosco Misto (S$31). This wonderfully romantic-sounding name is reserved for a plate of the juiciest spinach, feta and tofu patties stuffed with onion. It is served with asparagus and a mushroom plum sauce that completes the divine amalgamation of exquisite tastes.
7. Cultivate Cafe
Cultivate Café stormed onto the scene last year, and even bagged the top spot on our list of Singapore’s best brunch spots. An inherent part of its appeal is the location in the exquisite, exotic Maxwell Reserve Hotel. This plant-based, GMO-free and gluten-free vegan restaurant seems to be able to pull a (non-cooked) rabbit out of the hat with its menu despite the self-imposed restrictions.
Our strongest recommendation is the Smoked Onion and Asparagus Risotto with Grated Lemon Rind (S$40). Without any dairy, the risotto is so light that it feels like it may float away. The rich flavour of the roasted Italian asparagus magnifies the other ingredients.
If salad is your preference, look no further than the Heirloom Tomato and Herb Salad with Roasted Plums & Pomegranate, Nori, Sesame Salt & Light Soy Mirin Dressing (S$30). It’s large enough for two and the luminous citrus flavours are enhanced by the Japanese sauce.
Our pick of their desserts is the Prune and Dark Chocolate Brownie with Bitter Chocolate Ganache (S$16). Served with figs, blackberries and blueberries on a splash of yoghurt, it has a rich chocolatey character that belies its gluten- and dairy-free composition.
You may have heard of this one. Elemen is no stranger to the vegetarian restaurant scene, having outlets in Millenia Walk, PLQ, and Great World City. The secret to its success? Affordable, nutritious, and most importantly, downright delicious menu items. Clever twists on local favourites are what drive the selection at Elemen.
Think Claypot Truffle Fried Rice (S$16.80) and Sea Salt Porcini Mushroom Pizza (S$15.80). These are some of the restaurant’s original creations. It features an extensive menu of soups, appetisers, and an array of mains that won’t leave you hungry for meat.
9 Raffles Boulevard, Millenia Walk, #01-75A/76, Singapore 039596
+65 6238 0511
Daily: 11.30am – 4pm & 5.30pm – 10pm
10 Paya Lebar Road, PLQ Mall, #03-13, Singapore 409057
+65 6503 2533
Daily: 11.30am – 4pm & 5.30pm – 10pm
9. The Goodburger
One of the motivations in switching and committing to a plant-based diet is that of sustainability. Beyond changing their own consumption habits, there are those who go a step further in enacting change around them. That is the case for Lee Ken Ming, founder of The Goodburger. Before you go all ballistic on your “It will never taste like the real thing” rant on me, hear me out.
In between the buns of this humble food truck sits an Impossible patty. That’s right, the brand which has been gaining significant traction, taking the food world by storm one plant-based meat substitute at a time. Here, burgers are undeniably juicy, flavourful and all things delicious. Go for The Classic (S$16), or The Black Tie (S$18) for some truffle aioli goodness atop The Goodburger’s juicy meatless patties.
Going vegetarian doesn’t seem so bad now, does it?
587 Bukit Timah Road, Coronation Plaza, Singapore 269707
Daily: 11am – 9pm
456 River Valley Road, Crystal Court, Singapore 248342
Daily: 12pm – 10pm
Vegan-sceptics, prepare to have your mind blown. This homely tiny 26-seater in Havelock 2 creates masterpieces of cruelty-free gastronomy that seemingly defy the laws of taste buds. It was founded in 2006 by 3 female friends – a dietician, a retired nurse and a retired teacher – to share their healthy living mentality with the world.
If explosion-of-mind is what you are going for, the Lasagna (S$12.90) is the way to do it. A rich tapestry of mushrooms, lentils and cashew sauce fills the space between the layers and the dish is served with a side salad with the same cashew dressing. The vegan lasagna sheets are indistinguishable from regular ones but it’s the filling that’s the bomb. Few will be able to tell that the lentils and mushroom mix is not meat.
You should also try the Seaweed Roll (S$5.90) which is jam-packed with vegetables and crushed almonds, as well as their Nyonya Laksa (S$9.30) and Dumplings (S$6.60).
11. Genius Central
Right in the heart of town lies Genius Central, a giant 150-seater community outlet that exercises an unabashed generosity in its food and ethos. Although not fully vegetarian, the menu here focuses on using only the freshest and best of ingredients, catering to the masses with dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan options.
Diners here are welcome to stay at the restaurant after their meal, so laptops on tables aren’t that uncommon a sight at this establishment. If you’re just here for some vegetarian grub, you won’t be disappointed either.
The Pumpkin Ricotta Pizza (S$20) wins my heart over with ease, as the sweetness of the roasted butternut squash and caramelised onions contrasts perfectly to the saltiness of the cheese. It’s a medley of flavours that I drool for now even as I’m thinking back to it. Who said a pizza needs meat to succeed?
This vegan pie is one of many of Genius Central’s many unique and well-executed menu offerings, all of which are best enjoyed in their handsomely furnished space. Bring a friend or two, don’t worry, there’s something here for everyone.
12. The Boneless Kitchen
We all know and love Korean food but seldom does that cuisine showcase its vegetarian side. The Boneless Kitchen, ingeniously named for the play on words as well as the literal embodiment of those words, bucks the trend in the best possible way. There is no question about authenticity, either, with their ingredients being imported from Korea.
There is Jeongol, Korean hotpot with the options of Army Jeongol, Kimchi Jeongol and Beoseot Jeongol (Mushroom Hotpot). Jjigae (Korean stew) comes with the options of Kimchi Jjigae (Spicy and Sour Kimchi Stew), Budae Jjigae (Korean Army Stew) and Doenjang Jjigae (Soybean Paste Stew).
If you like your Korean food spicy, the Dolsot Bibimbap (Stone Pot Mixed Rice). The Boneless Kitchen makes its own Gochujang, a spicy paste of red chilli peppers, fermented soya beans, rice and salt, that is used here. They also have a non-spicy version for kids and spice wussies like me.
13. Kailash Parbat
Kailash Parbat is one of the best-known names in Indian cuisine in Singapore. Established in 1952, it is one of the oldest chain of restaurants in the country. Much of its fame revolves around the very first (and only) dish that they first sold, the addictive pani puri. However, Kailash Parbat boasts an extensive menu that thrills locals and tourists alike.
You can’t visit them without trying the Ragda Pani Puri (S$8). Most of the magic of this street food favourite lies in the sweet-spicy tamarind-flavoured water, which they execute commendably well. The pastry balls into which the water goes should be fresh and crisp, something other restaurants somehow struggle to achieve.
Their signature KP Special Veg Biriyani (S$15) is cooked with light oil, allowing the aromatic spices to dictate the palate. The other favourite of mine is the Chole Bhature (S$12.50). The sublimely sweetish bhatura has a thin, crispy shell and the most delicate of pillowy-soft inner layers. Served with a chickpea dip, onion and lemon, it’s a medley of tang and savoury satisfaction.
14. Teng Bespoke Vegetarian Dining
Japanese cuisine is another that we seldom associate with vegetarian options. Teng Bespoke Vegetarian Dining announces its intentions loudly and delivers them with the exquisite precision and quality for which they have become known. Helped splendidly along by the Zen-inspired interior, this is a space to lose yourself in as you discover the breadth of Japanese dining.
Their range of rice dishes extends from the restrained Mixed Vege Fried Rice (S$15) to the imaginative Avocado Fried Rice (S$16) and Japanese Seaweed Fried Rice (S$16). These are best enjoyed with a couple of dishes from their Stir-Fry range that includes Mixed Mushroom (S$16) and Japanese Eggplant w/Miso Sauce (S$13).
From the Claypot range, the Japanese Claypot Curry W/ Monkey Head (S$17) and Tofu W/ 5 Kind Vege (S$17) are my picks. If you visit in a group, the Mixed Claypot 4 Pax (S$49) makes sense. Teng Bespoke Vegetarian Dining’s sides of Deep Fried Gyoza (S$11), Vege Spring Roll (S$10) and Shiitake Mushroom With Cream (S$17) are wonderful accompaniments.
Made with 100% plant-based love. Veganburg wears its eco-warrior credentials on its sleeve and wants to recruit you, too. When it was established in 2010, Veganburg was the world’s first burger joint that exclusively served plant-based patties.
Eating here doesn’t feel like you are missing out on your favourite burgers because their range is made to emulate them as closely as possible. A perfect example is the Smoky BBQ (S$15.90). At its centre is a GMO-free soy patty with a smoky BBQ sauce. Plumping up the burger is garden-fresh lettuce, tomato, vegan bacon and onion rings sandwiched between a wholemeal bun.
Other popular burgers are the award-winning Chili Krab (S$13.90) and the humble yet filling Mustang Relish Burger (S$8.90). You can get a Mini Meal (S$9.90) for the kids. They have great options for parties, too, with the Bundle Meal for 3 pax (S$90), Bundle Meal for 5 pax (S$155), Bundle Meal for 8 pax (S$220).