The area between Tanjong Pagar and Raffles Place MRT station is paved with unique restaurants and merchants. If anything, the central roads of the CBD including Telok Ayer, Amoy Street and Boon Tat Street are proving to be an emerging favorite among Singaporeans for its laid-back vibe and central location. In fact, some of our favorite hang-out spots are in and around this little district, which is why we've rounded up of some of our top picks for spots to check out for drinks, dinner and more.
Tucked away in a conservation shophouse on Amoy Street, Burlamacco is a quiet little spot to dig into great Italian fare. Owner and Executive Chef Gabriele Piegaia draws on his Tuscan heritage to create authentic regional dishes that are both rustic and hearty. To go along with his culinary creations, guests can peruse the floor-to-ceiling glass wine cellar for fine Italian wines.
What We Love
The vibe here is warm and welcoming, the service is great, and the menu offers a great selection of starters, pastas, grilled meats, and seafood. Be sure to try the Air-Flown Burrata Cheese ($10) served with juicy cherry tomatoes, the 48-Hour Slow-Cooked Beef Short Ribs ($42) in a Marsala wine sauce, and the homemade limoncello.
77 Amoy Street
Tel: +65 6220 1763
Hours: Mon - Fri: 11:30am - 2:30pm, 6pm - 10:30pm, Sat: 6pm - 10:30pm
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Singapore’s bar scene has been buzzing for months about the opening of Employees Only, a New York City institution that consistently wins top spots in the World’s 50 Best Bars list. Situated smack dab in the middle of happening Amoy Street, Employees Only is already giving its neighbours a run for their money with cool speakeasy style interiors and sophisticated cocktails shaken and stirred by world-class bartenders.
Where: 112 Amoy Street, Singapore 069932
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday 5pm – 1am, Saturday 5pm – 2am, Sunday 6pm – 1am
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THE FLYING SQUIRREL
This dainty little eatery, owned by soul duo Jack and Rai, has made a name for itself on Amoy Street for serving really appetizing meals. Its hole-in-the-wall location makes it a hidden gem amongst the hustle and bustle of the city nearby. We love the restaurant's unique spin on familiar Japanese dishes, setting it apart from other Japanese restaurants. Aesthetically, Flying Squirrel's interiors are a little on the contemporary side and coupled with an actual bar within, make it look least like a Japanese eatery. However, the freshness of the ingredients and the elegance of the presentation makes it a choice Japanese restaurant for us.
What we love
The Flying Squirrel is a great spot for a laid-back dinner. We really enjoy the cozy ambience and the great selection of music playing in background. We also love that every time we go here, we don't think for a moment that we're smack dab in the middle of the CBD.
92 Amoy Street
Tel: +65 6226 2203
Hours: Mon to Thu: 11:00am - 11:00pm, Fri & Sat: 11:00am - 12:00am
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FYR CYCENE OND DRINK
The concept here is modern European cuisine with Asian accents, and each dish is fired up primitive style in a Josper Wood Charcoal Oven and served on wooden planks. If you’re looking for a welcoming spot for a group dinner, this is a super easy and casual place where you can eat, drink and be merry and really get bang for your buck.
What we love
Even though we went in a big group, they were able to handle us with ease, and we managed to eat well, drink well, and leave feeling full and satisfied. Plus, we only spent about $75 a person, which is very reasonable considering the amount we consumed and drank.
19 Boon Tat Street
Tel: +65 6221 3703
Hours: Mon - Fri: 11am to 11pm, Sat: 9am to 11pm, Sun: 9am to 4pm
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This humble Japanese restaurant was modelled to mimic the interiors of a typical Japanese home. Run by a friendly couple who love to mingle with their customers and are always eager to share their knowledge of sushi, the atmosphere here is casual and relaxed. The menu features classic Japanese fare at generous portions and affordable prices. If you're craving sushi, tempura and sobas on a slightly tight budget, this is the place to go.
What we love
Great menu choices, great prices, great quality and easy, laid-back Japanese fare. This is a great lunchtime spot for those looking for affordable, fresh and tasty Japanese food and a chilled out atmosphere.
147A Telok Ayer Street
Tel: +65 6535 2988
Hours: Mon to Sat: 10:00am - 10:00pm
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JIGGER & PONY
The chic yet unpretentious atmosphere in this bar just goes to show that the people behind Jigger & Pony know exactly what they're doing. If you're looking for a classy happy hour spot for a nice evening with some friends, you will not go wrong here.
What we love
There are also about 24 cocktails to choose from (at $20 each), a good selection of wines and great nibbles to go along with the drinks. Just be sure not to load up on the oh-so-addictive tapioca chips or you won't have any room for our favorite, the Ribeye Steak Sandwich ($18).
101 Amoy Street
Tel: ++65 6223 9101
Hours: Mon to Thu: 6:00pm - 1:00am, Fri & Sat: 6:00pm - 3:00am
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Read our full review on Jigger & Pony
KITCHEN BY FOOD REBEL
Kitchen by Food Rebel describes a food rebel as someone who believes in the power of choice, wants to know how their food is produced, and understands the impact that food has on the body. If that sounds like you, then you’ll definitely want to check out this wholesome food cafe in the heart of the CBD that caters to vegans, vegetarians, athletes and healthy eaters.
Where: 28 Stanley Street, Singapore 068737
Hours: Mon - Thurs: 8am - 6pm, Fri: 8am - 8pm, Sat: 9am - 2pm
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It seems that the Unlisted Collection can do no wrong, especially with the addition of their newest venture, Meat Smith, an American style smokehouse where the focus is on smoky BBQ meats prepared in special smokers brought in from the US. The vibe here is casual and cool, and you get delicious gourmet dishes like pork ribs, roasted half chicken, and even smoked ice cream at great prices.
What We Love
The ordering system here is super convenient, as you basically walk in, place your order at the counter, and your food arrives in minutes. Some of our favourite dishes include the Chicken Liver Mousse ($7), Chicken Wings ($12) with spice rub and jalapeño dressing, and Beef Brisket Sandwich ($10).
167 Telok Ayer Street
Tel: +65 6221 2262
Hours: 11:45am - 2pm, 5:30pm - 11pm
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THE MARKET GRILL
Putting emphasis on healthy fare, yet still delivering great taste in every dish, Market Grill picks only the freshest and best ingredients and its clean and plain interiors go very well with the food. Enjoy your meal at the bar stools to witness the chefs in action first-hand, or head to the regular seats for a slightly quieter chat with a friend. Keeping things simple is something the Market Grill excels at, and something we think more restaurants in Singapore should follow.
What we love
The Wagyu Teaser ($19), Chargrilled Whole Lobster ($42) and CW Bleu Cheese Burger ($22) are all definite musts! Beware, these guys don't take reservations, so avoid it at all peak hours if you don't want to wait.
208 Telok Ayer Street
Tel: +65 6221 3323
Hours: Mon to Sat: 11:30am - 2:30pm, 5:00pm - 10:00pm
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The name really says it all. But what it doesn't tell you about this muffin paradise is that the muffins are baked every morning sans preservatives and artificial additives. This unpretentious cafe also serves other pastries and fine coffee that perfectly complements the muffins. There's even an array of never-heard-of-before flavors to keep things interesting! Pay a visit to this cozy cafe and sink your teeth into some really amazing baked goods.
What we love
The muffins here are made fresh daily, so you ca be sure they'll be moist and flavorful. Definitely check it out—you won't be disappointed.
112 Telok Ayer Street
Tel: +65 6509 6462
Hours: Mon: 8:00 am - 6:00pm, Tue to Fri: 8:00am - 10:00pm, Sat: 11:00am - 4:00pm
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Check out our top picks for Best Bakeries in Singapore
Osvaldo Forlino's restaurant has a certain uniqueness about it—dining here feels more like a familiar visit to an old friend. Tucked neatly in an old shophouse on Boon Tat Street, No Menu does actually live up to its name! There is really no menu, giving way to a unique dining concept that allows you to sample more than 10 dishes for $98++, accomodating to your eating preferences. This true-blue Italian restaurant was modelled to mimic chef Osvaldo's home in Italy, and with plenty of emphasis on hand-made food, this is as Italian as it can get in Singapore! Look out for No Menu Bar coming to Boon Tat Street this week!
What we love
The cozy ambiance, the wonderful family-feel vibe and superb food make this a great destination when you're craving a delicious Italian meal whilst in the CBD.
21/23 Boon Tat Street
Tel: +65 6224 0091
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The word ‘pantler’ refers to someone who is in charge of the bread in a pantry, and this sleek little cafe has two, namely founder Matthias Phua and Chef Tomoharu Morita. The baker and pastry master met while working in the Grand Hyatt Tokyo, and they bring their wealth of experience here to create gorgeous breads, croissants, tarts, cakes and puddings, many of which are made with imported butter from France, flour from Japan, and local seasonal fruits.
What We Love
Everything is baked fresh in house here, and the quality shines through in the flaky pastries, fluffy bread, smooth chocolate and rich creamy fillings. A must-try item is their Choux Crème ($5.50), a golden pastry ball filled with a light but flavourful vanilla crème filling.
198 Telok Ayer Street
Tel: +65 6221 6223
Hours: Mon - Fri: 8:30am - 5:30pm, Sat: 10:30am - 5:30pm
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PARK BENCH DELI
Lunchtime lineups are the norm at Park Bench Deli, a crave-worthy sandwich spot in the Telok Ayer hood. You won’t find the same old soggy tuna or ham and cheese fare here. Instead this small spot is putting out gourmet creations like the Southern Fried Chicken with corn and cabbage slaw and Russian dressing and the Kong Bak Banh Mi with braised pork belly, pickled carrots and daikon, peanuts and cilantro. Round it off with a healthy side of spinach or quinoa salad.
179 Telok Ayer Street
Tel: +65 6815 4600
Hours: Lunch: Mon, 12pm - 4pm, Tues - Sat, 10:30 - 4pm and Dinner: Mon - Fri, 5pm - 10pm
Don't you love finding tiny hole in the wall joints with delicious grub? If you're into fresh, tasty Vietnamese food and cheap eats, you may want to check out our new fave lunch spot, Pho 99 on Amoy Street. If you can only try one Vietnamese dish here, it should be the Pho Bo ($9), hands down. Pho is the national dish of Vietnam, and is a basically a tasty and aromatic beef noodle soup.
What we love:
What's not to love? The food is fresh, tasty and served at fantastic prices. We always head here on rainy days to indulge in stemaing bowls of hot Pho.
57 Amoy Street
Telok Ayer Conservation Area
Tel: +65 9678 8735
Hours: Mon-Fri 10am - 9pm, Sat-Sun 10am - 8pm
With a name honoring the British slang for "sandwiches", Sarnies offers exactly that and a lot more on their enticing menu. The sheer dedication towards healthy choices is a definite selling point for us. For example, the beef is grass-fed and the chickens are hormone and antibiotic free. That says a lot for a restaurant already known for their fresh ingredients and healthy portions. Conveniently located in the CBD, Sarnies gives you every reason to eat healthy!
What we love
If you are really into great coffee like we are, Sarnie's is a definite must. For lunch, we usually indulge in the Roast Chicken, House Cured Bacon, Guacamole, Vine Tomatoes, & Mixed Lettuce ($13.90). The portions are huge and we usually have leftovers to take home, which we love. We're sure you'll find your own favorites on the menu.
136 Telok Ayer Street
Tel: +65 6225 6091
Hours: Mon & Tue: 7:30 am - 6:00 pm, Wed to Fri: 7:30am - 9:00pm, Sat & Sun: 9:00am - 4:00pm
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THE SPIFFY DAPPER
Once a speakeasy style dive bar in Boat Quay, The Spiffy Dapper is now housed in more stylish digs on the second floor of a shophouse on Amoy Street. The ambiance here is laid back and trendy with decor that includes a long copper bar and plenty of wood beams, and the bartenders serve great housemade coffee by day and bespoke cocktails by night.
What We Love
Despite offering a hipster’s dream drink menu with craft beers, small batch bourbons, and handcrafted cocktails, the vibe at The Spiffy Dapper is anything but pretentious. The tunes are great, the staff are always up for a cheeky chat, and George the owner is an absolute riot.
73A Amoy St
Tel: +65 8233 9810
Hours: Daily: 4pm - midnight
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The thing about most chocolate lovers is that they can't actually tell one class of cacao from another. Whether you fall into this category, or you're an avid enthusiast, it's obvious from first taste that Teng Ei Liang from Truffs is a true chocolate artisan. Having perfected the traditional methods of making chocolates and pastries, he heads the operations here, and we're mighty glad he does. Short for truffles, Truffs is home to the most heavenly chocolates, cakes and pastries around. If you love chocolate in its purest form, Truffs will not disappoint.
What we love
The quality of the chocolate just makes all the treats seem as though you're taking a bite out of heaven.
179A Telok Ayer Street
Tel: +65 9088 2736
Hours: Mon to Fri: 12:00pm - 7:00pm, Sat: 12:00pm - 4:00pm
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Located on the first floor of a shophouse along Telok Ayer, this vibrant restaurant serves Mediterranean and Western cuisine. Mostly Lebanese actually, owing to owner Mr Ghazi's ethnic roots. There are plenty of platters and Lebanese bread available on the menu, and despite it's modern look, the food is still as authentic as ever. We're sure you'll discover something new about Lebanese cuisine with every visit.
What we love
This is the place we head to when we're craving Lebanese, as they have a variety of fresh dishes at very affordable prices. Some of our favorite dishes include the Kafta Kebab ($7),Chicken Kabab served with Lebanese rice and the Artichoke Salad ($8).
161 Telok Ayer Street
Tel: +65 6327 9460
Hours: Mon to Sat: 9:00 am - 9:45pm
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WANG DE BAK
Step into the industrial looking dining room at Wang Dae Bak and you feel as though you could be in Seoul with the sliding doors adorned with Korean characters, round tables with grills, low stools and hanging smoke vents. Premium BBQ meats are on offer, and the grills even have a unique side compartment for unlimited grilled omelettes.
98 Amoy Street
Tel: +65 6226 0450
WANTON SENG'S NOODLE BAR
Combining traditional hawker style food with modern flair, Wanton Seng’s Noodle Bar serves up the same classic wanton mee that the namesake location in Dunman Food Centre became famous for, but with amped up sides. A bowl of the springy noodles in rich broth with scallions and fried shallots can be topped with roasted pork belly, salted egg sweet potato, or pork fried wantons and then doused with lashings of oil and chillis. Signature cocktails, craft beers and sake add another element of elan.
52 Amoy Street
Tel: +65 6221 1336
Hours: Mon - Thurs, 11:30am - 2:30pm, 6pm - 10pm, Fri, 11:30pm - 2:30pm, 6pm - 11pm Sat, 6pm - 11:30pm
Wanton Seng's Noodle Bar
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