This year, we went out of our way to reward restaurants that offer diners a different experience, in the choice of cuisine or in concept. Top Tables 2014 has also been tailored to include more accessible venues—it's not all about fine dining—and is a reflection of Singapore's maturing dining scene, with a hunger for places with more character.
And there's a spanking new addition this year: This Top 10 list, picked by a secret panel of experts, including restaurateurs, chefs, hardcore foodies—and us. While the celebrity chef spots still hog the limelight, there are a few welcome surprises too.
French. 70/F Equinox Complex, Swissôtel The Stamford, Singapore, 2 Stamford Rd., 6837-3322, www.jaan.com.sg. Open Mon-Sat noon-2pm; daily 7-10pm. $$$
For a blowout meal, this can’t be beat. Perched up on the 70th floor, the view is breathtaking, the ambience elegant and the service spot-on. The real highlight, though, is chef de cuisine Julien Royer’s masterfully plated creations made with top-notch seasonal produce (the vegetables may be imported from France, but they are startlingly fresh) such as confit artic char and truffle ice cream with toasted poilane. No wonder our panel voted it the city’s top culinary experience.
Steak, Western. #B1-71 Galleria Level, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Ave., 6688-8517, www.wolfgangpuck.com. Open Sun-Thu 6-10pm; Fri-Sat 6-11pm. $$$$
This is a faultless rendition of the contemporary steakhouse. The Wolfgang Puck project offers a really impressive menu of beef, including 300-day grain fed Australian Angus from Rangers Valley and Japanese Wagyu, along with a range of unique and delicious sauces like their signature Argentinean chimichurri. Cocktails are also amazing, so be sure to have at least one. If you’re looking for an old school meat-extravaganza, this is the ultimate.
Japanese. #02-02 Casino level, Marina Bay Sands, 2 Bayfront Ave., 6688-8507, www.marinabaysands.com. Open daily 6-10:30pm. $$$$$
What sets Tetsuya Wakuda apart from the rest of the celebrity chefs? Top‑notch, personalized service that makes the hefty $400 price tag for his 10‑course degustation menu totally worth it. Expect a top-notch Japanese feast with exquisite creations using premium ingredients, such as grade nine Wagyu and Hokkaido uni (sea urchin), in an understated, elegant space. It’s easy to see why it’s among the hottest tables in town. The restaurant’s massive 3,000 bottle strong wine collection takes the experience over the top.
French. 53 Armenian St., 6333-1982, www.lebistrotdusommelier.com. Open Mon-Sat noon-3pm, 6-11pm. $$$
Chef/co‑owner Patrick Heuberger’s bistro baby serves up soul-satisfying French comfort food that hits the spot in a way most prissy French plates in this city can’t. We highly recommend ordering the beef tartare, a bottle of wine—co‑owner/sommelier Max Fedkiw has got some stellar suggestions—and hunkering down for a relaxed feast. You won’t want to leave.
Middle Eastern. Sculpture Square, 161 Middle Rd., 6336-6949, www.artichoke.com.sg. Open Tue-Sat 6:30-9:45pm; Sat-Sun 11:30-2:45pm. $$
This is what all independent restaurants aspire to be. The whole space feels nicely lived-in, the decor’s eclectic (in the best way possible), and the Moorish menu’s divvyed up into small and large plates perfect for communal feasts. Everything’s delicious, plus, the service is cheerful and attentive too.
Indian. #B1-01A The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, 2 Bayfront Ave., 6688-7395, www.marinabaysands.com. Open daily 11:30am-3:30pm, 6:30pm-11pm. $$$
It’s a rare Indian restaurant that’s as sleek and modern as this. The menu is extensive with impeccably executed specialties such as Norwegian salmon tikka and tandoori foie gras with mango chutney. We also love how their indulgent five‑course degustation menus satisfy both vegetarians and carnivores.
French. Resorts World Sentosa, 8 Sentosa Gateway, 6577-7888, www.joel-robuchon.net. Open daily 6-10:30pm. $$$$$
Joël Robuchon, the most decorated chef in the world, with 26 Michelin stars tucked neatly under his belt, doesn’t disappoint at this French gastro temple. The 16-course degustation menu of classic recipes is flawlessly executed, as are selections from the a la carte menu. We also love the gorgeous bread, cheese, dessert and tea trolleys, as well as the superb wine list, with over 1,200 labels to choose from.
Seafood, Western. 41 Malan Rd., 6694-0807. Open Mon-Thu 6-10pm; Fri-Sat 6-10:30pm. $$
You can’t go wrong with the all-seafood menu (including simply fried, grilled or steamed fish and crustaceans) at this chic shack-eatery. But we highly reccommend the comprehensive set for four: six seafood dishes, two kinds of greens, vermicelli, and creme brulee for dessert. It’s the stuff of dreams. The cocktails are deliciously fresh and fruity too; perfect for the minimalist outdoor venue. A prime example of why less is more.
Spanish, Tapas. #01-02 Craig Place, 20 Craig Rd., 6557-0547. Open Mon-Fri noon-2pm, 6pm-midnight; Sat 6-10:30pm. $$$
Spectacular Spanish eats are dished out at both their smart main dining room and chilled-out bar space here. But for a truly unforgettable experience, spring for the tapas tasting at the bar. It’ll have you fighting till the last bite. Just $69 gets you six different items of your choosing, including crisp ham and chicken croquetas, as well as tender pork-beef meatballs in squid ink sauce. Come prepared to order just about everything—it’s all amazing.
American, European, Steak. #01-05 Pan Pacific Serviced Suites, 96 Somerset Rd., 6238-0054. Open Mon-Fri noon-2:30pm; Mon-Sat 6:30-10:30pm; Sat 11am-2:30pm. $$$
There’s no place better to dig into New York style steaks. They’ve got a fantastic list of choice cuts like USDA Prime dry aged ribeye and Aussie grassfed porterhouse. And everything about the décor, from the mood lighting to the brown leather and circular booths is reminiscent of a NYC steakhouse circa Sex and the City—it’s really slick.
Uncover the rest of Singapore's best restaurants in Top Tables 2014.