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Best Indian in Singapore

Hey all--

I'm planning a 2 day trip to Singapore next week, and although I get great food in Jakarta, I really miss the selection of Indian. I'd like to get some suggestions about the best Indian places you can think of--either Northern Islamic style or South Indian Thali. I love both!

Thanks,

gaharu

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  1. My personal favorite is Tandoor at the basement of Holiday Inn Parkview.

    1. I am sure there is more authentic Indian in Little India but if you're looking for a slightly more upscale experiece, Raj at Clarke Quay was great and the place wit the antique door aat boat Quay was also delicious.

      1. I'm looking for the real deal, and decidedly not upscale. I've been to Singapore before, and ate very well in Little India. I was jus hoping for some suggestions on places not to be missed. Thanks all!

        1. Anandabhavans on Serangoon is my favorite place for quick South Indian. They have amazing dosas and vadas. Komalas also does very good South Indian and you can take home dried snacks like masala peanuts and chevras.

          Apollo Banana Leaf is known for its fish head curry. I don't eat fish, but everyone in my family eats there. They also have very good biriyanis which is what I usually order (chicken, but mutton is also available). It's spicy, so if you can't handle spice, don't order. Mughals Hyderbadi Biriyani on Race Course Road is also very good. Jaggi's on Race Course Road has good North Indian food.

          8 Replies
          1. re: boogiebaby

            boogiebaby, thanks for the tips. I'm planning on checking out a few of those on my food crawl next week! I'll post a report afterwards about how it all went.

            Any more suggestions would be great...

            1. re: gaharu

              I'm Singaporean, a huge fan of Indian food, and I spend 3 mths each year in India. When I'm home for a quick Indian fix it has to be Little India.

              The following places are all found in Little India, addresses and contact at the end:

              Saravana Bhavan, a famous vegetarian chain from Chennai, has a branch in Singapore. It is decidedly better than many other homegrown South Indian chains.

              Sakunthala's Restaurant. My favourite all-around veg AND non-veg Indian restaurant. Good briyanis, good thalis, good South Indian dishes. Be sure to try the "chicken kothu" as well.

              Here's one place you'd only go to if a local took you: the oddly named 786 (Azmi) stall. It is found inside "Thye Chong Restaurant", at the junction of Serangoon Rd and Norris Rd. Best mutton keema and chapati since 1944, so fresh that they still get their ingredients from the flour mill a few storefronts away. Very, very good -- and also 'atmospheric' (as authentic a Singapore 'coffee shop' experience as you can get).

              There are a couple more places: check out this page here for more details. For disclosure's sake, I authored the following section.

              http://www.travelfish.org/eatandmeet/...

              Outside of Little India, my favourite place is Mango Tree in East Coast Parkway. It specializes in coastal cuisine from Kerala, and I can vouch that it's as good as it gets. For that reason, do stick with the Keralan/Goan/other coastal cuisines. Crabs, prawns, fish, are all stunning. The meat items and northern indian items don't quite cut it. Pricier than all the above options: it is a 'proper' restaurant. Quite beautiful.

              1. re: skinnylatte

                skinnylatte--this is brilliant. To bad my trip is so short this time!

                1. re: skinnylatte

                  Hi skinnylatte: thanks for your recommendation. I went to Sakunthala's website and they claim to be Indian-Chinese fusion. Where is the Chinese influence as the menu is full of Indian names? I think I will try this place and maybe Mango Tree as well and will let you know what I think.

                  1. re: FourSeasons

                    This isn't the same Sakunthala's -- that's a different one :)

                    1. re: FourSeasons

                      FYI Indian-Chinese 'cuisine' (very popular in every part of India) is not really Chinese at all. Kind of like Chinese food in America; chopsuey, 'hakka noodles', etc (I'm Chinese and I've never heard of most of the items, and don't really like them :P). There are a few places in Singapore that are tryign the whole Indian Chinese thing right now. Not sure it works. But the Sakunthala's I mentioned is Sakunthala's Restaurant, not "food palace", and it is an authentic South Indian place on Dunlop Street.

                    2. re: skinnylatte

                      i, too, am headin' out to s'pore next week for ten days of gourmet pleasure (dining) . . . hope to find some authentic methi-chicken (super-hot) as well . . . i took note of your suggx, skinnylatte . . . thanks.

                  2. re: boogiebaby

                    Just had dahi puri at Ananda Bhavans on Serangoon. Delicious. Nearly on par with those in Mumbai. Will definitely be back frequently to sample the rest of their menu....

                  3. If money's no object, and you want to have the best Indian food experience in Singapore, try either Song of India (by Milind Sovani) or else Rang Mahal (by Manish Law) at the Pan Pacific Hotel. They are probably the 2 best Northern Indian chefs in Singapore.

                    For Southern Indian thalis, go to Little India. There are so many choices, but I like Saravana Bhavan and Madras New Woodlands.

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: klyeoh

                      I have tried both Song of India and Rang Mahal. I was not as impressed as you were. I prefer Tandoor at Holiday Inn Parkview.

                      1. re: FourSeasons

                        Never really got the high end Indian dining thing -- just seems a bit much for what you get. Not just because it's Indian, but... I have my reservations on how good the food at Song of India or Rang Mahal really is.

                        There's also a place called Vansh. Mid-range classy Indian place. Not too pricey at all. Have not tried the food but apparently more than decent.

                        1. re: skinnylatte

                          well vansh is good, but The song of india food is the best. this is one restaurant which has done research on its food and has taken efforts to make it healthy and yet maintain its flavours.the presentation is beautiful and pleasing to the eyes. Their lucknavi food is outstanding. chef milind is immensely talented and i have met him several times, he is a man with passion and vision.

                          1. re: prabhat mitra

                            I totally have to disagree with you Prabhat Mitra. My job basically consists of me travelling alot, and thus trying new foods aswell as strong gastromic establishments. Vansh is really good for the price, and the atmosphere of it is one of the most ingenious i've ever seen (for an indian restaurant) it almost seems as though you are eating at Austin Powers bachelor pad from the 60s!

                            Now, interms of the "fine" dining establishments, I whole-heartedly disagree that Song of India is better. I've been to both Rang Mahal and Song of India, and was unimpressed in Song of India for the ambiance (which seems almost tired and drawn down) as well as for thier lack of originality in the food (yes even presentation wise). If you have not gone to Rang Mahal since the revamp, your eyes will simply feast (no pun intended). Not only has the whole restaurant got a revamp, but they also have southern indian food delicies that are as authentic as found in Little India (minus the grease, but with a heavy price tag too :))

                            Those are my two cents, Rang Mahal in my mind will always be the Indian Gastronomic Temple.

                            1. re: nicole77

                              I just had dinner at Vansh last weekend, and must say that I've finally found my favorite Indian restaurant in Singapore!
                              Vansh's tandoori turkey was the best thing I've tasted in a long, long while!! And their kulzza (a fusion of kulcha & pizza) was absolutely DELICIOUS! I simply must go back there again just to try it.
                              Vansh's tadka dhal was also delicious and much tastier than those I've tried in other high-end Indian places in Singapore.
                              Lastly, must commend their waiters - they are the friendliest & best-trained wait-staff in any top Indian restaurant I've been to here.

                              I agree that Rang Mahal is still THE most breathtakingly beautiful Indian restaurant in town, with really good food to match. But its prices are much higher than Vansh's. I guess you just have to pay more for classier ambience.

                              I'm still okay with Song of India. It's got the classical "French Michelin-star" restaurant look, which is unique amongst all Indian establishments in Singapore. The waiters can be inexplicably snooty in the beginning, but they soon warm up to you if you take the first step to be friendly & interactive to them. When I dined there 2 weeks ago, our waiter was from Dhaka & he was very genial, especially when I told him of the many wonderful Bengali restaurants I've tried in Dhaka. But I must say that prices at Song of India is astronomical. Most items n the menu are "per head", so you need to be careful when ordering - you need to tell the waiter you want a single portion. When I dined there the other night, they doubled all our orders since there were 2 of us, and we ended up paying nearly S$200 for a dinner which consisted of samosas, naans, half a tandoori chicken, yellow dhal, palak paneer, murgh makhani, plus 2 dessert items.

                              1. re: klyeoh

                                Rang Mahal and Song of India are acknowledged the two best for upscale indian.

                                Komala Villas and Saravana Bhavana are two south indian chains that serve superb southy food dirt cheap.

                                for Indian Chinese i like Fifth Heaven and Chopsticks on Race Course Road.

                                There's also an excellent South Indian vegetarian place .... about a block past Mustafa shopping center walking away from Serangoon Road. It's called Raj. It has a white sign with green letters. Great Chaat as well there.

                                1. re: Hot Chocolate

                                  Thanks for reminding me about Raj. When I first dined there with two German friends who're vegetarians, we ordered the Raj Kachori - a huge, colourful & very delicious chaat which I haven't found anywhere else in Little India. It was awesome!

                                2. re: klyeoh

                                  Was very unimpressed with Rang Mahal. Waiters were crude...unknowledgeble. Had a change of plates & cutlery so often that it seemed regimental. Looks like a Switch & Bait Policy. Ambience do not give a restaurant a right to charge exorbitant prices. FOOD is the core and everything compliments it. had to sign on chow hound to express opinion...Very disappointed ..Do not recommend this restaurant..Please.

                                  1. re: Pusing

                                    thanks for enrolling just to post opinion . . . same way i started with chow.com also.

                      2. Looks like there's a serious new competitor to being the best Indian restaurant in Singapore: Yantra at Tanglin Mall. Apparently, the chefs are from India's Copper Chimney group of restaurants.

                        Been there twice & I thought the tandoori items are almost the same standard as those you'd find in top Delhi/Mumbai restaurants. The melt-in-your-mouth galawti kebab is reminiscent of the legendary kakkori kebab which one gets at the ITC Maurya Delhi and ITC Maratha Mumbai's Dum Pukht and Bukhara restaurants.

                        One thing I'm not too enamoured with are the sky-high prices there: averaging almost S$100 per head (plus drinks)!

                        12 Replies
                        1. re: klyeoh

                          sounds a lot more expensive then the copper chimney in Jaipur...

                          1. re: Hot Chocolate

                            The price for eating out in Singapore seems to be ridiculously high nowadays. Just look at the Dempsey Hill eateries - S$28 for a Pizza Margherita at La Forketta; S$35-S$40 for an entree at Margarita Mexican.

                            Even in Little India, good restaurants like Mustard (Bengali cuisine) costs about S$45-S$50 per head for a 3-course meal.

                            1. re: klyeoh

                              Do you know how much a meal at someplace like Apollo, for fish head curry, would run? Also, do they serve other dishes? We are traveling there with our kids and, while my wife and I will likely opt for the fish head, they will not be so adventurous. Yet, a good chicken or lamb curry, or tandoor dish they will eat.
                              Thanks
                              PS
                              What does fish head curry taste like? Similar to chicken curry - but more bones??

                              1. re: comiendosiempre

                                Apolo (note their incorrect spelling) Banana Leaf do serve many other dishes, both Northern & Southern Indian, but their forte remains the fish-head curry (S$18++ for a small portion, enough for 2 adults) & other South Indian dishes. They do serve tandoori items for your kids.

                                Here's a link to Apolo's web-site:

                                http://www.thebananaleafapolo.com/

                                Their fish-head curry is VERY spicy - even if you request for a mild version. The spice mix is slightly different from that for a chicken curry - it's more liquid & more sourish, perhaps with the addition of tamarind juice. There's also a heavier use of fenugreek, and curry leaves are added.

                                Lots of bones, but it's really great fun to pick through the head for the silky-smooth & soft flesh (unlike fish steaks, which tend to have harder, drier texture). Besides Indian customers, there are also a lot of Chinese diners, who love the more gooey, slippery, gelatinous parts of the fish-head, e.g. fish-eyes, tongue, lips. Believe me, they taste MUCH better than they sound!

                                The fish-head curry also usually contain okras, tomatoes, onions & sometimes aubergines. Your rice will be served on banana leaves (they are NOT placemats!) instead of plates, and complimentary vegetable side-dishes (e.g. cabbage, stringbeans, etc) will be spooned onto your banana leaf.

                                1. re: klyeoh

                                  Klyeoh, thank you.
                                  We've never had fish head curry, but we eat a lot of Indian food, and I cook a bunch of Indian food. To be honest, I'm not sure if the fish head thing sounds like my cup of tea but, since we've never seen it before, and it seems to be a SIN specialty, we will have to try it. The kids can get some tikka masala. Thank you.
                                  PS
                                  I'm assuming this is a better option for a local meal (in other words something we can't get elsewhere) then a meal at Song of Indian or similar?

                                  1. re: comiendosiempre

                                    Singaporean-Indians had always laid claim to have "invented" the fish-head curry since they said that no such dish exists in India. Furthermore, fish-heads are a delicacy amongst the Singapore-Chinese populace, so this is one of the dishes which reach out to them. But I have seen huge carp-fish head curries being served in Bengali restaurants in Kolkata/Calcutta, India, and Dhaka, Bangladesh (formerly East Bengal).

                                    BTW, there are loads of other Indian dining options besides Song of India, which is quite expensive (US$75++ per head). You're paying for the ambience (think of it as a Michelin-style Indian fine dining). Owner-chef Milind Sovani was one of Mumbai's top chefs and also collaborated with Sanjeev Kapoor (India's foremost cookbook writer & TV celebrity-chef) on Khana Khazana, a compendium of Indian recipes - you can get this cookbook at Mustapha Centre (Little India)'s book section.

                                    Some other good Indian dining options in the Little India district (around the vicinity of Apolo Banana Leaf) include:

                                    - Delhi Restaurant, 60 Race Course Road (Tel: 6297 4585); and another branch at 195C Serangoon Road (Tel: 6297 1148). Good Northern Indian cuisine;

                                    - Ghaangothree Vegetarian Restaurant, 5 Hindoo Road, #01-01 (Tel: 6296 6939). Marvellous selection of chaats (Mumbai-style street food);

                                    - Komala Vilas, 82 Serangoon Road - perhaps Singapore's best-known Southern Indian-style vegetarian restaurant. Serves dosas, idlis, parathas, etc from very early in the morning. Here's their web-site:

                                    http://www.komalavilas.com.sg/aboutus...

                                    - Madras New Woodlands, 14 Upper Dickson Road (Tel: 6297 1594). My personal favorite for Southern Indian-style vegetarian food.

                                    - Mustard, 32 Race Course Road (Tel: 62978422). Great Calcutta-style Bengali food. Try the Chingri Maacher Malai (Prawns in fresh green coconut) curry, and Macher Paturi (boneless fish in spicy custard mousse, steamed in banana leaf);

                                    - Jaggi's Northern Indian cuisine, 34 Race Course Road #03-05 (Tel: 6296 6141). Informal cafe which serves great, authentic-tasting homey food, cafeteria-style. This is where off-duty chefs from other Indian restaurants come to eat (including Song of India's Milind Sovani). Try their tandoori chicken, which come in a few flavors & colors: red, green, white.

                                    Some other good Indian restaurants in Singapore (outside Little India district):

                                    - Moti Mahal, 18 Murray Street (Tel: 6221 4338) - call to check when you're here, I heard that the restaurants along this former "Murray Food Street" may be relocating soon, as the area's slated for re-development sometime this year;

                                    - Omar Shariff Authentic Indian Cuisine, Sixth Avenue Centre #01-02 (Tel: 6466 7318);

                                    - Ivory, The Indian Kitchen, 3A River Valley Road, #02-04 Clarke Quay. Not cheap but terrific ambience. Clarke Quay is also an interesting upmarket dining precinct in Singapore (more pleasant than the grimier, noisy Boat Quay). The restaurant's a favorite amongst Indian expats from Citibank nearby;

                                    - Ras The Essence of India, Block 3D, Clarke Quay #01-05A (Tel: 6837 2800). Another good Indian dining option at Clarke Quay.

                                    - Moghul Mahal, Novotel Hotel, Liang Court (Tel: 6338 6907). It's spitting distance from Clarke Quay. One of the most-established names in the Indian food industry in Singapore.

                                    - Tandoor North Indian Restaurant, Holiday Inn Park View, 11 Cavenagh Road, Basement 1 (Tel: 6730 0153). Another very dependable old stalwart of Indian food in Singapore. Owned by Hong Kong's fabulously-rich Sindhi-Indian family, the Harilelas.

                                    - Kinara North-West Frontier Cuisine, 24 Lorong Mambong, Holland Village (Tel: 6467 4101). The food refers to North-West Indian/Pakistan-style cooking;

                                    - Rang Mahal, Pac Pacific Singapore. Voted best Indian restaurant in Singapore 2008 by the Singapore Business magazine. Fabulous food, with equally lofty prices. Here's their web-link:

                                    http://www.rangmahal.com.sg/

                                    - Vansh, 2 Stadium Walk #01-04 Singapore Indoor Stadium. A bit out of the way, but extremely good cutting-edge modern-Indian cuisine. Some dishes veer upon fusion-Indian.

                                    - Tiffin Room, Raffles Hotel. This is a Singapore institution - to have a British Raj-style tiffin (buffet) curry amidst the opulence of colonial-British atmosphere.

                                    Try this link, it lists out the best 120 or so Indian restaurants around Singapore (there are many others not listed). You can pick those which are close to where you're staying:

                                    http://www.hungrygowhere.com/search_r...

                                    1. re: klyeoh

                                      Klyeoh:
                                      Thank you. That is a superb listing. Most sound terrific. We have two "Little Indias," so to speak in NYC. One is on Lexington Avenue, where we go often both to eat and to pick up spices, and another in Jackson Heights, Queens, where we also go. Yet, both pale in comparison to what SIN offers. The spots at Clarke Quay sound like good options also. We are very excited to try these spots, along with some chili crab at Jumbos. Thanks again.

                                    2. re: comiendosiempre

                                      Chicken Tikka Masala is a british dish .... not indian food.

                                2. re: klyeoh

                                  I forgot to mention ... (a few years ago looks like) ... that i went to yantra way back then and i must say that i think it's the best indian by far in the entire SE Asian region (save Bangkok as i haven't had indian in BKK....) and i think i've had some of the best indian dishes of my life there. thanks for the tip.

                              2. re: klyeoh

                                Hi klyeoh:

                                Thanks for introducing yet another new restaurant for me. I just went to Yantra last weekend; yes, I agree it is one of the best Indian in town now. According to the waiter, they just opened four months ago. Nice ambiance, very modern at the back of Tanglin Mall, right across Traders Hotel. Malaysia's TV3 was doing a documentary there at the same time. On last note, the prices was actually not sky high (thank goodness since I was treating my friends), I end up paying $330 for five of us (about $70 per head).

                                1. re: FourSeasons

                                  Glad you enjoyed it, FourSeasons. Whilst the prices may not be "sky high" for you, it's also not very cheap - especially in Singapore where there are plentiful Indian dining choices at more "reasonable" prices.

                                  On the aside, my current dining hotspots in Singapore right now are the beautiful White Rabbit in Harding Road (opened 25 June 08) and Forlino's (opened 18 July 08). White Rabbit offers modern-American cuisine, whilst Forlino's serves up some of the best traditional Italian in town. Also rediscovering the authentic Thai eating spots in Golden Mile Complex, where the heavy pungent scent of fish sauce (nam pla) hangs over the air, EXACTLY like in a Bangkok food centre.

                                  1. re: FourSeasons

                                    Just brought 2 American friends visiting from San Francisco to Yantra for lunch today. Gorgeous tandoori chicken/seekh kebabs, delicious Goan fish curry, an incredible pureed spinach dish with sweet corn kernels, a creamy Moghul-style lamb curry, pillowy-soft naans, perfectly-executed palak paneer, fragrant basmati pilau.

                                    My friends were bowled over by the decor, the food, the service. One of them said, "If this restaurant is in San Francisco, it'll be the best Indian in the Bay Area, ever". Come to think of it now, I'd agree with him.

                                2. Where's the best Chaat in singapore? so far i've only found Raj near Mustafa which is damn good but where else is there for Chaat?

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Hot Chocolate

                                    IMHO, Raj of Kolkata is a class above the rest in Singapore when it comes to chaat, and their Rajkachori is simply fab.

                                    For other options, you can try Chat Masala in Siglap, and its other branch Chat Masala Too! in Greenwood Ave (Bukit Timah).

                                    Another good alternative is Chutney Mary, 719 East Coast Road. They served pani puri, bhel puri, vada pao, etc.

                                    A bit off-topic, I was back in Madras New Woodlands, Upper Dickson Road, for breakfast yesterday. It was my fave restaurant 20 years ago. Glad to report that their cooking standards have actually improved by leaps & bounds! The paper thosai was crisp & incredibly thin. The pratas were absolutely delicious, and so were the sweet appams, served with delicate dollops of coconut creme in the middle. The upuma was so-so, though - this is the only dish which I thought they could've improved upon.

                                  2. I believe there's a thread on Indian resto recommendations somwhere but here's my pitch: Gajalee's my favourite for lip-smacking seafood done Indian style. Yantra at Tanglin Mall is good too.

                                    http://bibikgourmand.blogspot.com

                                    1. This vegetarian buffet was superb when I went every time I visited Singapore. The place is called Annalakshmi and it's on 104 Amoy Street, off Cross Street by the Tanjong Pagar MRT, exit G, open Mon-Fr I, 11-3. They have another place on 20 Havelock Road. Haven't been this trip but am hoping to! The cost is whatever you want to give.

                                      1. my favorite was muthu's … located in little-india of singapore … must try their eggplant salad … it's to die for. personally, i was happy with everything i tried at muthu's.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: pnamajck

                                          Indeed. Muthu's one of the old, reliable names for Singapore-Indian cuisine - I can't even remember the first time I went there but it was a long, long time ago (the restaurant itself started in 1969).