In the mood for Indian food? Whether you’re after cheap and cheerful dosas, ‘Chindian’, or Michelin-Starred fine dining, we’ve got you covered for the best Indian restaurants in Singapore, mama!
As the founder of Indian Spicebox, self-proclaimed spice queen and Indian cooking class instructor here in Singapore, I naturally get asked all the time which are the best Indian restaurants in Singapore. This, by the way, is a very daunting question because first of all I’m a huge proponent of home-cooked Indian food which I promote via my cookbook and spicebox but I also I feel that (some) Indian restaurant food does not represent the nutritious and lightly flavoured Indian food that many of us have grown up on and is all too often over-spiced, too greasy and hard to digest.
Pulling together a top 10 list is also incredibly challenging because there are so many different kinds of Indian food – South Indian, North Indian, regional foods from different states such as Kerala, Bengal and Maharashtra (India has 29 states and 22 official languages!) and you can only imagine the varying foods and flavours that come from such a diverse and massive country! Plus you have vegetarian vs. carnivore-friendly, casual versus fine dining, and there’s even the very popular Indian Chinese (or Chindian) to be considered! How to round up just 10 restaurants? How could I possibly represent all the categories above?
So, I consulted a few foodie Indian mama friends, compiled their favourites, combined with my all-time favourites (all very scientific methods indeed!) and just went for it! I humbly apologize in advance for offending anybody who doesn’t agree, support or feature in this list! NB: I focused on the restaurant experience versus takeout (which really needs its own top 10 list).
In no particular order (a ranked list would have been way too hard and I don’t really feel like getting shade from any Indian chefs in town), here are 10 great Indian restaurants for dining in:
1. MTR: Great for South Indian Vegetarian
Located on Serangoon Road, MTR is a famous Bangalore-based restaurant chain offering a scrumptious variety of South Indian dishes such as Idli (your kids can try the mini ones!), Dosas and Medu Vada. You can also find a number of unique specialities here such as Pongal, Bisibele Bhath, and don’t forget to try the famous Filter Coffee! MTR does not take reservations and gets very busy on weekends; waiting times can be long and the queuing system is slightly haphazard to say the least, but know that your patience will be well rewarded. Closed on Mondays, menu items priced between $2-$8. Recommend for lunch.
MTR, 438 Serangoon Road (opposite Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple), Singapore 218133, Tel: (+65) 6296 5800, www.mavallitiffinrooms.com/singapore
2. Flying Monkey: Fab kebabs, drinks and great location and vibe
Newer on the Indian food scene in Singapore, Flying Monkey sets itself apart by its hip location on Bussorah Street (near Arab street) where on the weekends the atmosphere is lively and fun, and combined with their super interesting cocktail menu, this restaurant truly sets itself apart from the usual Little India players. We can’t get enough of the Galouti Kebabs here but also try the chilli poppers, kurkuri bhindi (okra), the mustard cauliflower and the Jalebis for dessert! Prices $6-$26. Call ahead for reservations. Recommend for dinner.
Flying Monkey, 67/68 Bussorah Street, Singapore 199480, Tel: (+65) 6291 0695, www.flyingmonkey.sg
3. Kebabs ‘n’ Curries (Mustafa rooftop): Delicious Tandoori & Excuse to Shop
Located on the rooftop of Mustafa Centre (Syed Alwi Road), this surprisingly large restaurant offers great tandoori dishes (Kebabs and breads) as they have real tandoor drums to cook in. A great pit-stop after some crazy shopping at Mustafa and usually easy to score a table. Given it’s located on top of the largest supermarket in Singapore, one feels confident that the ingredients will be nice and fresh! Prices $ 4-24
Kebabs ‘n’ Curries, Mustafar Centre (New Extension), Rooftop #07-00, 171 Syed Alwi Road, Singapore 207704, Tel: (+65) 6419 0749, www.mustafa.com.sg/mkebabs
4. Mustard: Unique Regional Dishes
Located on Race Course Road in Little India, Mustard offers Bengali and Punjabi food with unique dishes such as Luchi (fried bread which is oh-so-delicious and the kids will love!), ‘wow-factor’ prawn curry served in a coconut, and a number of delicious Bengali mutton and fish dishes that you won’t find anywhere else in Singapore. Dishes range from $8 to $25. The restaurant is small and slightly cramped but they do take reservations. Great for lunch or dinner.
Mustard, 32 Race Course Road, Singapore 218552, Tel: (+65) 6297 8422, www.mustardsingapore.com
5. Indian Wok: One-of-a-Kind Indian Chinese Food
To try the very unique Indianized version of Chinese food, head over to East Coast Road to sample some Sweet Corn Chicken soup, Chilli Chicken (or chilli paneer!), Veg Manchurian and some American Chop Suey! Some of the menu item names might even make you laugh but this is a sweet and spicy fusion cuisine loved by many Indians. Menu items priced from $8-$22. Great for lunch or dinner, call in advance to reserve a table.
Indian Wok, 695B East Coast Road, Singapore 459059, Tel: (+65) 6448 2003, www.indianwok.com.sg
6. The Mango Tree: Coastal Indian Food
Nestled among a row of shophouses on East Coast road, Mango Tree is known for its delicious and unique Indian coastal food. You must try the Appams (similar to Sri Lankan hoppers), along with the Koliwada Prawns, Allepey Fish Curry, and the Kerala Mutton. Great for dinner, and they also have a daily lunch buffet. Book ahead. Dishes priced $5-$65.
The Mango Tree, 91 East Coast Road, #01-00, Singapore 428791, Tel: (+65) 6440 1285, www.themangotree.com.sg
7. Shangri-La Sentosa: A Surprising Discovery!
On a recent family staycation here, I was surprisingly blown away by the quality and variety of Indian food being offered at the Silver Shell Café breakfast and dinner buffets! I had a chance to meet a number of high calibre Indian chefs all working here and dishing out some amazing food…it was no wonder, then, that the Indian station appeared to be the most popular section at the buffet! For breakfast you can try the Appam, masala Dosa, Idli and Vada. For dinner, the kebabs, Daal, and tandoori breads were all excellent but the Saturday night buffet featuring a Raan Biryani at the Indian food station (Raan is the roast leg of a baby goat or lamb) was definitely a massive highlight and one of the best biryanis I have ever eaten! Saturday night dinner buffet is $78++ per pax.
Silver Shell Café at Shangri-La Sentosa, 110 Siloso Road, Sentosa, Singapore 098970, Tel: (+65) 6275 0100, www.shangri-la.com/singapore/rasasentosaresort
8. Murugan: Cheap, Cheerful, Excellent South Indian
Located opposite Gate number 6 of Mustafa on Syed Alvi Road, Murugun is an old timer on the Little India scene and offer some of the yummiest ghee dosa, idli, uttapam and vadas in town. The coconut chutney, groundnut and tomato chutneys that accompany these dishes are finger-licking good. Menu prices $2-$8. Recommend for breakfast or lunch, they don’t take reservations and can have long wait times on the weekend. NB: There’s also a second location at 85 Rowell Road!
Murugan, 81 Syed Alwi Road, Singapore 207660, Tel: (+65) 6298 0858, www.muruganidlishop.com
9. Yantra: Solid North Indian Option
Located in the expat favourite Tanglin Mall, Yantra, with chef Hemant Oberoi at the helm, is a very popular North Indian dining restaurant here in Singapore. They have a great lunch buffet option and a fine dining dinner menu. There are some really interesting dishes to try here such as Dhansak, Salli Boti (both Parsi dishes), Tandoori Avocado and some delicious biryanis, prepare for a nap afterwards! Dishes priced between $8-$65. Reserve ahead. Suitable for lunch or dinner.
Yantra, 163 Tanglin Road, #01-28 Tanglin Mall, Singapore 247933, Tel: (+65) 6836 3088, www.facebook.com/YantraRestaurant
10. The Song of India: Michelin Fine Dining
This One Michelin Star restaurant is located in a gorgeous black & white bungalow on Scotts Road and is great for that special occasion. Chef Mural keeps reinventing the wheel, playing with new flavours and creating new versions of old favourites. Sone of the signature dishes include Laknavi Lamb Shank, Honey Butter Chicken, Bengal Prawn curry and Barramundi Tikka. Seasonal dishes include Alphonso Mango Kulfi (Indian ice cream) and special sweets during Diwali. A la carte menu ranges from $22-38 and they do have a Sunday buffet as well. If you’re feeling fancy you can also take a look at the signature chef’s tasting menu. Recommended for dinner, reserve in advance.
The Song of India, 38 Scotts Road, Singapore 228226, Tel: (+65) 6836 0055, thesongofindia.com