The people of Singapore love their curries. And while Indians make up only a very thin slice of the population, their culture has managed to penetrate the depths of the island, and their signature dishes have become hot favorites for all and sundry. Even outside Little India, you will find many hawkers selling biryani or parathas, and every family has its own unique curry recipe.
Here are our pick of 20 of the best Indian restaurants in Singapore from each different region of India.
Best South Indian restaurants in Singapore
1. Murugan Idli Shop:
If you are looking for a taste of South Indian food almost like the original, head over to Murugan Idli Shop for a wide variety of dossas, chutneys and sambhars. In fact we would not be far off the mark when we say their idlis are the best in the country.
They also have quick, friendly and very efficient service, a rarity among the Indian restaurants in Singapore. A great place to stop for a quick bite of food when you have a long day ahead of you!
2. Samy’s Curry Restaurant:
This restaurant tries to give homesick Indians a taste of the cooking they have left behind. With this mind, they have tried to keep it as traditional as possible, even going to the extent of serving foods on a banana leaf instead of a plate.
You should definitely try their masala chicken, Mysore mutton and their fish and potato cutlets, but take care not to miss out on their signature dish – the dish that made them famous: the fish head curry. This is a very interesting, spicy and tangy dish, served in a traditional handi (clay pot) along with chunks of eggplant and okra.
3. Muthiah Restaurant:
What started out as a simple and humble shack some 20 years ago has now blossomed into a huge restaurant that specializes in modern Chettinad cuisine – one of the largest Indian restaurants in Singapore in fact. Their top-selling items are Masala Chicken, Sambal Fish, and Masala Crab, and we highly recommend that you try them out too.
Muthiah is not just famous for its South Indian cuisine – here you can find an interesting variety of North Indian dishes as well, including both vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian options. It also has a great family environment, so you can bring your kids along for a good meal as well as a good time.
4. Bar Bar Black Sheep:
Bar Bar Black Sheep is located in a very convenient location, and has a very welcoming and friendly ambience. The food is not overly fantastic, but adequate for the prices charged, making it one of the best Indian restaurants in Singapore for large groups of people.
They also have separate entertainment areas for children, so that you and other diners can enjoy some adult conversation too. They also have a big screen where various sporting events are screened, so try to get in on some of the action when a major cricketing tournament is being screened – a game this is hugely popular among Pakistanis and Indian. You may not understand the game, but it is hard not to be affected by the atmosphere at that time.
5. Spice Junction:
Spice Junction is the place to be when you want to try out the huge variety of seafood that makes up South Indian cuisine. The seafood menu is unbelievably extensive, with a huge selection of pomfret seasoned with coconut milk, curry leaves and mustard seeds, all of which is wrapped in a traditional banana leaf wrapper.
Here you can also find the more obscure South Indian dishes that are generally not cooked outside Indian homes, such as coconut and tapioca mash, coconut and chickpea stew and Keralan rice. Unlike other South Indian restaurants, you will also find some beef items buried deep within the menu too.
Best Indian vegetarian restaurants in Singapore
1. Komala Vilas:
This is one of the most famous South Indian restaurants in Singapore, and it is not difficult to see why: Komala Vilas has built quite a reputation for its simple and authentic vegetarian food, and has quite an extensive menu ranging from the traditional dossas (pancakes of rice and lentils) to parathas (flatbreads) and idlis. All of this is served along with generous servings of chutneys and sambar stews, and it is fairly easy to see why the menu at Komala Vilas is hailed throughout the entire Indian and Pakistani community as an example of the finest Indian cuisine in the country.
2. Ananda Bhavan Restaurant:
This is one of the best examples of a vegetarian restaurant that is still sticking to its roots. The Selegie Road branch that is located on the outskirts of Little India was established in 1924 and even after over 90 years of being around, there is still no air-conditioning. But that does not mean that quality is compromised in any way: in fact the attention to detail and the creativity used in the ingredients is all there! Despite having five outlets across the country, the quality of the fare and the environment both remain perfectly consistent throughout.
This restaurant is part of an international chain that is more a charity restaurant and less a profit-making concern. It is managed by the Temple of Fine Arts (TFA) whose philosophy of life revolves around giving more and taking less, which has led to the “eat-what-you-want, give-what-you-feel” style of payment that characterizes this restaurant.
The food is prepared by many benevolent individuals including doctors, teachers and others prominent in the community, who participate voluntarily. The crowd comes in expectation of a good meal without any fixed payments, making it perfect for those who do not have so much money to spend.
4. Raj Restaurant:
This restaurant located near Biopolis has strong appeal even for those who are not vegetarian. The extremely extensive menu has something for everything – and we are sure even those who wouldn’t touch veggies with a ten-foot pole would love the food here. The prices are reasonable, considering the quality and quantity of food served, as well as the locality.
There is plentiful seating, so even if you do find a crowd, you will end up finding a place to sit and enjoy your meal – and the service still remains quite good. Do give their masala baby corn a try – it’s a perfect blend of spices in a thick sauce that tastes excellent while at the same time remaining perfectly healthy throughout.
5. Balaji Bhawan Restaurant:
This restaurant was formerly known as Sagar Ratna, so you may still find many people who refer to it by its old name, even among the staff. Balaji Bhawan is a franchise of a North Indian vegetarian chain that became famous for its choice of Indian and Chinese cuisine as well as its buffets. Now the chain brings to you different cuisines from all over the subcontinent.
It is very conveniently located close to Mustafa Centre, so you can drop in for a quick bite after a long day of shopping. The highlight remains the Mumbai street foods such as various chats, pavbhaji and vadapav.
Best Indian Buffet Restaurants in Singapore
Yantra is an uber fancy fine dining restaurant that truly glows in the evening when all the lights go on. Don’t be fooled by the prices of the a la carte items – the buffet is extremely pocket-friendly. In just $18, you can get yourself a wide variety of North Indian dishes, vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian, including several different kinds of soups, tandoori items, biryani and even desserts.
Apart from the typical chicken malai and biryani available at most sub-continental restaurants, you’ll also find some unique combinations such as coconut water soup, as well as tandoori chat. The desserts, especially the kheer, are also just the right amount of sweet!
2. Rang Mahal:
The Rang Mahal is among the oldest fine dining Indian restaurants in Singapore and has worked very hard to up its game in terms of the menu as well as the décor, making it one of the most beautiful restaurants around. The buffet has something for everyone, including both vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian options. Here you will find different kinds of salads, raita, chaat and even cheesy mushrooms stuffed with paneer and coated with breadcrumbs.
We can also very proudly say that Rang Mahal has some of the best naans in the country. Whether you order butter naan, garlic naan or just the plain naan, each naan is fluffy on the inside and perfectly crisp on the outside – just the way it is supposed to be.
Head to the Tandoor if you are looking for one of the most authentic Indian restaurants in Singapore. The restaurant may be small, but it is cozy – and the sitar music playing in the background gives you an experience you wouldn’t mind repeating again and again. They only have a buffet on Sundays, but what a spread it is!
You will find all the North Indian favorites such as biryani and tikka, alongside the vegetarian favorites comprising all sorts of vegetables under the sun – even spinach and cauliflower. They also boast “live” stations where chefs prepare North Indian street food such as chaat, and South Indian favorites such as dosas on the spot. You are well advised to come hungry for this one!
4. Bombay Cafe Xpress:
If you want a glimpse into the colorful and exciting world of Bollywood, here’s where you need to head. The interior is characterized by fuschia pink décor, peppy Hindi dance music playing in the background, and extremely huge and colorful Bollywood posters, film stills and pictures of Bollywood actors and actresses in all their finery. But that doesn’t mean you should miss out on the food!
The buffet at this little café lets you try out all the foods that are typical of Mumbai, the home of the Bollywood film industry. Try out vegetarian favorites such as chane ki daal, or butter paneer or “desi” takes on Chinese food including fried rice in garlic sauce. Don’t forget to leave room for the chaat.
5. Kailash Parbat:
Kailash Parbat is the place to go if you want to sample some of the best chats in the country. The menu is an eclectic mix of North Indian and South Indian, as well as some Pakistani dishes, you won’t find at any of the other Indian restaurants in Singapore.
You can also try the famous “college” sandwich – a grilled sandwich that was first sold outside a college in Mumbai. There is not a lot of variety to the buffet – we’ll be honest – but the prices are extremely reasonable, and the mere fact that these dishes aren’t available anywhere else makes it all worth it.
Best North Indian restaurants in Singapore
1. Tiffin Room:
How can we compile a list of the best Indian restaurants in Singapore and fail to mention the Tiffin Room? The Tiffin Room is tucked away in the Raffles Hotel, and gives a downright swanky and opulent dining experience that no other restaurant can match just yet.
Meals were previously served in stacked metal lunchboxes (tiffins), but these have now been replaced by luscious buffets with famous North Indian items such as chicken tikka and spicy chutneys.
2. Khansama Tandoori Restaurant:
This is one North Indian dining experience that will never disappoint you. It doesn’t get any better than getting to eat tandoori chicken, aloo gobi and palak paneer straight from the stove, with piping hot, all of which is washed down with ice-cold beer! You can’t go wrong with the cheesy naan – piping hot, almost as if you have had a slice of paradise served on your plate.
3. Shahi Maharani:
The name Shahi Maharani means “the Royal Empress” and it has been designed to make you feel as if you were indeed some sort of royalty. Here you can taste the exquisite cuisines of North India, while at the same time the décor is reminiscent of one of the royal palaces of pre-partition India.
There is a wide range of specials, including Goan fish head curry and tandoori lamb chops. The mix of authentic Indian food combined with live music is guaranteed to give you a gastronomical experience that makes you feel that you’ve been pampered like a king or queen.
4. Usman Restaurant:
You technically count this among the Indian restaurants in Singapore – it is a Pakistani one. However, given the cultural similarities between Pakistan and North India, you will find a wide variety of North Indian items on the menu. If you want the best naans that are served fresh off the tandoor, this is the place to be.
This is also the place to be if you want to sample some of Pakistan’s rich and equally delicious cuisine – the haleem and nihari may not be what you will find in the food streets of Karachi, but they definitely deserve to be tried at least once if not more.
5. Chat Masala:
We’ll get the bad news out of the way first. This place is not exactly pocket-friendly. But Chat Masala is still worth it if you are looking for a soothing and welcoming ambience as well as good service.
The restaurant caters to people with all sorts of taste buds – from those who cannot stomach spice, to those for whom even the spiciest dish in the world would not be enough. You have got to try their traditional mango kulfi, made from some of the best mangoes in the world!