You can still enjoy the finer things in life.
We’re constantly hearing rants about how expensive it is to survive in Singapore — much less enjoy a good meal out. But we’ve found solid proof that it’s still possible for two people to enjoy three-course fine dining or mains for less than $50 each.
Here are 12 contemporary and Western restaurants to dine out on the cheap.
P.S. Also check out our gems of budget Asian restaurants we discovered!
Not only does this elegant spot give you the best riverside view, but dining here also evokes feelings of a bygone era. Lit warmly with old school bulbs and a rather over-the-top Art Deco chandelier, the European-style dining room housed in a colonial heritage building is an inviting spot for a quiet meal. Mains selects include a Bar de Ligne of pan-roasted sea bass, dashi mushroom essence, potato mousseline and enoki crisp for ($28++), or Entrecote ($35++), a serving of angus ribeye, pumpkin creameux, aromatics and bordelaise sauce, with dessert options like Cassis Noir ($15++) of rich dark chocolate mousse, cassis sorbet with a mixed berry medley.
1919 Waterboat House
3 Fullerton Rd #03-01, The Waterboathouse, 049215
If you haven’t had L’Entrecôte’s signature classic steak and fries ($36.80, pictured). The recipe for success? The legendary signature sauce – a powerful peppery, slightly tangy elixir the chef is proud to call his secret. P.S. Unlimited fries, might we add.
L’Entrecôte The Steak & Fries Bistro
36 Duxton Hill, 089614
The Naked Finn’s owner Tan Ken Loon has an obsession with sourcing for the best seafood in the world, yet he still manages to keep prices affordable.
Our choice of mains: the sweet ten-piece farmed Giant Tiger Prawns ($36) grilled on sea salt over cast iron griddle, and the Secreto Iberico Pork – a lean cut of meat that’s grilled and served with a side of in-house dried solefish salt ($30).
The Naked Finn
Blk 39 Malan Rd, Gillman Barracks, 109442
There’s a reason why this Australian grill restaurant received a Michelin star. Expect creative dishes, fresh ingredients and carefully plated meals in this modern restaurant that boasts a friendly atmosphere and an open kitchen. Come during lunch, where you get to enjoy its lunch sets under the glow of natural light in the day. Two courses cost $39 while three courses cost $49. Appetisers include a burratina arugula salad with jamón ibérico, tomato chutney, balsamic burnt butter, while mains include a spiced lamb rump with garam marsala dhal and cucumber apple mint yoghurt. Dessert is an intriguing hot chocolate soup with black pepper ice cream and sesame crisp that is a flavourful blend of sweet and spicy.
Osia Steak and Seafood Grill
#02-140 and 141, Resorts World Sentosa, Festive Walk, 26 Sentosa Gateway, 098138
Delight in traditional tapas and paella at La Taperia, a Spanish restaurant by the beloved Les Amis Group.
Some suggestions for the tapas are the Croquettes ($4 per piece) – filled with suckling pig bechamel and chunky bits of Iberico ham, or charcoal grilled Welsh lamp rump, with piquillo pepper and natural jus. Indulge in the chocolate Marquise, topped with baked almond praline to end your meal.
La Tapería Wine & Tapas
#02-10/11, 1 Scotts Rd, 228208
If you haven’t yet acquainted yourself with Argentinean cuisine, it’s about time you should. Go for boCHINche’s Gordal olives with orange and criolla sauce ($9). Next comes a skillet of bubbling Provoleta Cheese, garnished with almonds and drenched in oregano honey ($18). There’s focaccia bread to go with it – it’s simple and addictive.
To make sure you roll out of there stuffed, the beef bone marrow burger with short ribs, provolone, onions and pickles ($29) is a signature dish which surprises us with a fairly juicy patty that has its smokiness amped up with bone marrow.
#01-02, 115 Amoy St, 069935
This modern Australian restaurant offers big flavours and bold references to Asian cuisine. Does it work? Absolutely, with its one Michelin star.
While the restaurant is better known for its Duck Confit with spiced caramel, orange and parsnips ($34), it’s head chef Rishi Naleendra’s treatment of vegetables which gets our attention. Take for instance the Oysters with Smoked Tomato Granita ($6 per oyster), the tangy topping melting into a chilly smokiness as it hits the palate.
Cheek By Jowl
21 Boon Tat St, 069620
Mexi? Can! Mexican classics at Super Loco pack a punch – the Mango Ceviche with wild snapper ($18) has a clean taste favourably complemented by the acidic juice that envelopes it; meanwhile, the Baja taco ($11) is spicy, but its combination of crispy fish fillet, jalapeno cabbage and chimichurri mayo is a winner. You’ll love the vegetarian Huitlaacoche quesadilla ($16) with corn truffle, oyster mushroom, sweet corn, cojita and chimichurri.
For a sweet ending, get the crispy Super Churros ($13) with a rich chocolate dip.
60 Robertson Quay, The Quayside, 238252
Surprise – Mad About Sucre has a cost-conscious savoury menu, too! But, there’s no point in saving money (or calories), if you skip its seasonal sweets. Get your hands on the Noir, made with grapefruit, black tea, Bergamot, Mandarin and Yogurt Mousse. Pair it with some tea ($22.80) or cocktails ($37.8), if you prefer.
Mad About Sucre
27 Teo Hong Rd, 088334
A good introduction to the unique menu would be a regular serving of the Ash & Elm platter of charcuterie ($28) with five types of meat. A crowd-favourite is the Pumpkin and Pancetta Flat Bread ($22). This is baked in the restaurant’s pizza oven and can easily feed two people as a main dish. In a group? Opt for its appetiser and dessert buffet lunch menu (from $28).
Ash & Elm
Intercontinental Hotel, 80 Middle Rd, 188966
Dallas’s promotional meat platter for two ($70) is a heaping board of pork ribs, lamb cutlets, a quarter rotisserie chicken, and rib eye steaks, which is best for meat lovers with big appetites.
However, it’s the new modern Mexican dishes that stand out. So, pick starters such as the Snapper Fish Tacos ($17 for two). The crispy deep-fried fish is fresh and juicy on the inside, with tangy pineapple chutney and spicy chipotle mayonnaise. Order the Dallas fajitas ($28); the Grain-fed ribeye will not only make your mouth water but will leave you wanting more.
As do the mains, like the Baby Back Berry or Fiery ribs ($30/half rack, $44/full rack), which is nicely barbecued and comes with red cabbage slaw and potato wedges.
Dallas Restaurant and Bar
31 Boat Quay, 049820
Located in Goodwood Park Hotel, the best time to try this fine dining restaurant’s Spanish–European dishes, combined with Asian influences, is during lunch. Check out their affordable 3-course lunch set ($39++), with Boston Lobster, ‘Kuhlbarra’ Barramundi and many more as your main course, and Amaou Strawberry as dessert.
Alma by Juan Amador
22 Scotts Rd, 228221
From The Straits Times, last updated June 2019
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