Whether you’re looking for a great lunch spot, a post-work bite and beer with your colleagues, or the perfect date-night destination, Singapore’s CBD has a lot to offer. Here’s a handful of restaurants to try in and around Raffles Place.
In the thick of the metropolis and at an ear-popping 43 floors, this sky-high gem continues to hit the tall standards for Italian fare in Singapore. Guests are greeted and escorted from the ground floor of the Ocean Financial Centre, and once those elevator doors close and the skyline comes into view, it’s astounding how quickly the city’s clamour disappears.
With a contemporary and bold interior to match the clientele, the venue is consistently busy with in-the-know execs and post-work date nights, yet space is never a concern; there’s an indoor and outdoor bar, as well as plenty of alfresco seating to choose from.
The new à la carte menu is an ode to the hometown of Tuscan-born head chef Emanuele Faggi, harmonising quality and simplicity, and showcasing seasonal and region-specific items. Notable dishes include pan-fried Rougié foie gras with carrot purée and candied trimmings ($68 for two), and handcrafted agnolotti filled with 12-hour marinated ox-tail celeriac purée ($38) with Sicilian bronte pistachios, both meticulously presented and rich in flavour. Step outside your comfort zone with the other flavour combinations on offer, like the ricotta and spinach gnudi with baby squid ($26) in cinnamon, sage and butter sauce, or the moreish chocolate cremino ($16) with a twist of watermelon sorbet for a sweet, summery finish.
Quality does come at a price and the numbers can be a little steep here, but opting for the La Degustazione menu allows you to curate your own four-course meal for $108.
Great for: Business lunches and dinners, and special occasions.
The Providore Downtown
Taking up the entire basement of lifestyle mall OUE Downtown Gallery, The Providore’s flagship outlet houses various foodie concepts in a spacious setting. Highlights include a café serving hot meals and drinks, a bakery stocked with freshly baked artisanal loaves, a deli offering cheeses and charcuterie, and a fully equipped cooking studio where cooking enthusiasts attend hands-on classes.
Expect delicious brunch and pastas and mains that The Providore cafés are known for, including mainstays like lobster mac and cheese ($25.50) with shaved fennel and fresh dill, a sinful carb heavy affair served sizzling hot in a cast-iron pan. Another must-try is crab linguine pasta ($26.50) with sundried tomato, bird’s eye chili, fresh basil and The Providore’s No.3 olive oil. If you’re visiting for brunch (8am to 11.30am on weekdays; 9am to 3pm on weekends), you’ll find a decent selection of vegetarian-friendly breakfast options like smashed avocado on toast ($18.50) and ricotta pancakes ($17.50) with caramelised banana, candied walnuts and sugar syrup.
Wash it all down with a serving of tea ($9.50), available in a wide array of flavours like Assam Margherita, Oolong Milk and Ceylon, or a Premium Soda ($8.50) served with sparkling water, fresh mint and dried citrus for something refreshing.
Great for: Meetings over coffee, casual lunches and cosy after-work dinners.
Tip: There are over 100 seats so it’s fairly easy to cop a good spot; but, if you’re visiting in a big group, reserve in advance to be safe.
Recently relocated to buzzy Club Street, this Italian-Japanese outlet is set in a three-storey heritage shophouse with a sleek bar on the ground floor, a cosy indoor and alfresco dining space on the second floor, and a semiprivate area on the third floor that’s great for intimate gatherings.
Helming the kitchen is Tokyo-born chef Masanao Saito, who blends classic Italian recipes with seasonal ingredients that are unique to Japan. Taking inspiration from Japanese presentation and the art of plating, he creates a feast not just for the stomach, but for the eyes, too. Favourites here, include spaghetti vongole ($28) – Japanese clams tossed with spaghetti in a white wine sauce, and finished with fresh tomatoes and shiso leaves – and a creamy burrata cheese ($18) that’s balanced with a slight tang of tomato jelly, homemade Genovese sauce, sliced lemon peels and olive oil, and beautifully garnished with edible flowers. Another signature is the adventurous “I Am Crazy in Singapore Pizza” ($26), decked with bacon, egg, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, chorizo, prawns, black olives, mushrooms, asparagus, mesclun, Thousand Island dressing and Caffé B’s secret Spice Sauce. Wash it down with the Sake Cucumber ($22), a light and refreshing cocktail of freshly muddled cucumber, brown sugar, lychee juice, ginger slices and Kiku-Masamune sake.
Great for: Business meetings, a quiet dinner, after-work cocktails.
The real star of Mexican cantina LES45 (short for Lower East Side, à la New York) is the view, 45 floors above Marina Bay with a straight shot of MBS – wow. There are a few choice outdoor tables (though be prepared for some loud music from the club next door), as well as some seats inside. The cocktail list is never-ending and even offers a variety of tequila tasting flights. The margarita ($18) is great, not on ice or frozen, but just nicely chilled. The extensive menu offers lots of Mexican favourites, some with a Singapore twist such as a Chicken Tinga Tostada ($18) with wasabi and an egg on top.
For starters, try the Market Fish Ceviche ($23) and grilled corn ($12) sprinkled with cotija cheese and smoked cumin paprika. The pulled pork enchilada ($20) comes doused with a black mole sauce, something you don’t often get in Singapore. For dessert, you can’t go wrong with churros ($8), Mexico’s version of a stick-shaped doughnut, served with a hazelnut chocolate sauce. A trio of flavourful and tangy homemade sorbet ($12) – lime, raspberry and coconut – is also a nice way to end the meal.
Great for: Casual after-work catch-up, date night with a view, margaritas!
Not only does this restaurant have an amazing view of the city, but also a wonderful Mediterranean menu to boot. The Artemis team uses fresh organic produce and keeps its wine list nicely up to date for dish pairing. Favourite starters here include Boston lobster with mango, raspberry and mint salsa ($32), sweet pea and ricotta agnolotti ($22, or $30 as a main) – paired with a glass of Austrian Gruner Veltliner ($23) and New Zealand Astrolabe ($21) respectively. Among our pick of the mains are the 200g tenderloin served with parsnip puree, button mushrooms and sauce au poivre ($62) paired with Peccavi Cabernet Sauvignon from Margaret River ($30), and grilled Dorper lamb rack with parsley and smoked shallot ($62) paired with a French Saint Emilion Bordeaux blend ($26).
Save room for standout desserts such as the Tunisian orange cake with strawberry and yoghurt ice cream ($16), and coffee chocolate ice cream with cookie crumble and mascarpone mousse ($16), along with a cheese board with fruit, fig and raisin bread ($24 for a small board, or $36 for a large board). And, don’t miss having sundowners or post-dinner drinks at the restaurant’s lush sky garden terrace!
Great for: Business meals, private parties, date night, ladies’ night (there’s a DJ on the terrace), alfresco happy hour (from 5pm Monday to Friday)
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