PUBLISHED January 30th, 2021 05:00 am | UPDATED February 9th, 2021 04:57 pm
Singapore’s Little India is a bustling, lively area bursting with colour, aromas and incredible food. It’s a hotspot for experiencing some of Singapore’s multi-ethnic culture, which of course, also means some of Singapore’s best Indian food. Here are our favourite Little India restaurants for you, from traditional cuisine to cosy cafes and vibrant bars. Most of them are vegetarian-friendly too – read on!
This South Indian restaurant is well-known across the island for their incredible Masala Thosai (S$3.60) and Teh Tarik (S$1.40). Soft in the middle and crispy at both ends, their thosai is stuffed with mashed potato, spices and vegetables. A fragrant, delicious treat, the reputation of being one of the city’s best is well-deserved. Other classes like biryani, prata and dosai, are also available at affordable prices.
Kamala Restaurant is located at 662 Buffalo Rd, #01-16 Tekka Market, Singapore 210662, p. +65 6291 1164. Open Mon – Thu, 7am – 9.30pm, and Fri – Sun, 7am – 10pm.
Come here for Singapore’s best Fish Head Curry (S$24 for small, S$28 for medium, S$33 for large). This signature dish is served with juicy okra, pineapple chunks and rich gravy with a touch of tamarind and a lot of spice. Other popular plates include the Lamb Chops (S$15), Tandoori Platter (S$32) and their Pepper Paneer Varuval (S$10).
Muthu’s Curry is located at #01-01 138 Race Course Road, Singapore 218591, p. +65 6392 1722. Open Mon – Sun, 10.30am – 10.30pm.
Mavalli Tiffin Room
Affectionately known as MTR, Mavalli Tiffin Room hails from Bangalore in India and serves authentic South Indian vegetarian food. The Pudi Masala Dosa (S$7) is a must; thick and fluffy, it’s topped with spiced potatoes and chutney powder, laced with ghee, and served with mint chutney and lentil sambhar. Also try the Bisibele Bhath (S$6), rice with assorted vegetables and curry leaves, nutmeg and tangy tamarind pulp.
Mavalli Tiffin Room is located at 440 Serangoon Rd, Singapore 218134. Open Tue – Sun, 8.30am – 3.30pm and 5.30pm – 10pm. Closed Mon.
Named after the Sri Lankan capital’s central business district, Kotuwa has authentic Sri Lankan goods. The Black Pepper Kithul Pork (S$24) features crispy pork belly glazed with black pepper kithul caramel and guandillas pepper, and of course, they have Sri Lankan Crab Curry (market price) too. Other must-haves include the homely Chicken Kottu (S$22) and the sour but incredibly addictive Lychee Acharu (S$8), pickled in mustard and apple cider.
Kotuwa is located at 2 Dickson Rd, Wanderlust Hotel, Singapore 209494. Open Wed – Fri, 6pm – 10pm, and Sat – Sun, 11am – 4pm and 6pm – 10pm.
The Banana Leaf Apolo
Named for the tradition of eating off freshly cut banana leaves in India, The Banana Leaf Apolo was one of the first to implement this practice in Singapore. Try the flavourful Apolo Chicken Masala (S$8) for tender, curried meat while their Pomelo Salad (S$12.50) with also comes highly recommended if you prefer a lighter dish.
The Banana Leaf Apolo is located at 54 Race Course Rd, Singapore 218564, p. +65 6293 8682. Open Mon – Sun, 10.30am – 10.30pm.
An institution on the Singaporean Indian food scene, this vegetarian restaurant has been serving up both South and North Indian cuisine since 1947. At this family-run establishment, go for their Chappathi Meal (S$9.50), a platter of three flatbreads served with three vegetables, vegetable curry, dhal, raita, payasam, appalam, and pickles. Their Dosais are also extremely popular – the Ghee Masala Dosai (S$5.30) makes a simple, fragrant meal.
Komala Vilas is located at 76-78 Serangoon Rd, Singapore 217981, p. +65 6293 6980. Open Mon – Sun, 7am – 10.30pm.
Meatsmith Little India
Known for their American barbecued meats, Meatsmith adds an Indian touch to their menu of their Campbell Lane outlet. Equipped with a tandoor oven and a smoker, this is where slow cooking and barbecue are melded with Indian spices, rubs and sauces. The Spiced Madras Pork Cheeks (S$10) is crispy, melt-in-the-mouth indulgence; there’s also a unique Crab & Tobiko Biryani (S$14) and an elevated Butter Chicken (S$42) for sharing.
Meatsmith Little India is located at 21 Campbell Lane, Singapore 209894, p +65 9625 9056. Open Tue – Fri, 5pm – 12am and Sat – Sun, 11.30am – 12am. Closed Mon.
For Indian food with a Chinese touch, head to halal-certified Sakunthala’s Restaurant. Its humble beginnings as a home-style dining spot have led it to expand, with its flagship Race Course Road branch taking on a more fine-dining style. The Keema Naan (S$4.50) is stuffed with aromatic minced meat; equally fragrant is the Mutton Biryani (S$11.50) with saffron-scented rice and tender lamb. Don’t miss their popular Chinese-style Chicken Dry Chilli (S$10) either.
Sakunthala’s Restuarant is located at 66 Race Course Rd, Singapore 218570, p. +65 6293 6649. Open Mon – Sun, 11am – 10.30pm.
Ananda Bhavan Restaurant
Ananda Bhavan Restaurant is one of the oldest Indian vegetarian eateries in Singapore, with a history of serving up fantastic South Indian cuisine. They’ve since diversified their offerings to include North Indian and Indian Chinese food. Their naan comes in a dizzying number of varieties, such as the Peshawari Naan (S$10) topped with carrot beans, cheese, nuts and raisins. The Mock Meat Mysore (S$9) is unique, with the appearance (and almost texture) of real mutton, and is a real hit with vegetarians.
Ananda Bhavan Restaurant is located at Blk 663 Buffalo Rd, #01-10 Little India Conservation Area, Singapore 210663, p. +65 6291 1943. Open Mon – Sun, 7.30am – 10pm.
For affordable Mexican food? Head to Dunlop Street in the heart of Little India and hit up Chimichanga. This cozy eatery has great vibes and refreshing drinks. Their Carne Asada Rib-Eye Steak (S$25) comes recommended and is served with crunchy tortilla chips and creamy guacamole dip. Vegetarian? They have Impossible meat options too. Their Chorizo Burrito (S$18) is made with chorizo minch, amarillo rice, pico de gallo and greens in a soft flour tortilla.
Chimichanga is located at 36 Dunlop St, Singapore 209364, p. +65 6293 3314. Open Mon – Sun, 12pm – 3pm and 5pm – 10.30pm.
For authentic Pakistani and North Indian eats, head to Usman’s. This restaurant aims to produce most of their ingredients in-house for quality purposes and to reduce food miles. They’re very well-known for the quality of their naan, which start from S$1.50 for the plain, up to S$3 for Onion Naan, Aloo Naan and Cheese Naan. Also check out the traditional Pakistani Haleem (S$8), a thick stew perfect for vegetarians and those who want a little less spice.
Khansama Tandoori Restaurant
It’s no surprise that Khansama Tandoori Restaurant’s signature is their Tandoori Chicken ($27.50), so named the “King of Tandoor” on the menu due to its perfectly spiced tender meat and perfect chat. Give their kebabs a whirl too; the Mutton Seekh Kebab (S$15.50) sees spiced minced mutton, skewered and grilled, then topped with sliced onion.
Inspired by pizza in Naples, this no-fuss, casual pizza joint serves up heart-warming and hearty pizzas. Their dough is naturally leavened and slow-fermented, using wild yeast. The pizzas are also hand-stretched have a soft, airy and light texture. The Pulled Pork Pizza (S$17) has made quite a stir amongst reviewers, with its Asian fusion flavours of bulgogi, pork shoulder, kimchi, and pineapple and fig chutney. You could go classic with the Margherita (S$14) too – add pepperoni for just S$3.
Chooby Pizza is located at 127 Owen Road Singapore 218931, p. +65 8923 9814. Open Wed – Fri, 6pm – 9.30pm.
Cafes and Bars
Old Hen Coffee Bar
Known for having some of the best coffee in the neighbourhood. Expect coffees from local and international roasters here, both freshly brewed and bottled, with oat options and flavours according to season. Hungry? They serve food all day. Lighter options include the sweet and nutritious Jujube Spinach Salad (S$9.90) with veggies, berries, and dried mango while heartier choices such as the savoury Pulled Pork Pita (S$12.50) will fill (and fuel) you up.
Old Hen Coffee Bar is located at 88 Rangoon Rd, #01-03, Singapore 218374, p. +65 6341 5458. Open Mon – Sun, 9.30am – 6.30pm.
The Wired Monkey
The Wired Monkey is located at 5 Dunlop Street, #01-00, Singapore 209335, p. +65 9069 4569.
Brunch spot by day, and wood-fired casual dining restaurant by night, the Aussie-styled establishment sports cosy interiors with industrial touches. At brunch, look forward to items like Pulled Lamb Shakshuka (S$24) and mains like the Blackened Barra (S$29) with squid ink and avocado gremolata. Highlights of the dinner menu, split between tapas and large plates, include the grass-fed ribeye fillet Stairway To Heaven (S$19), pizzas, and mains such as the Mildura Lamb Cutlets (S$39) with fresh couscous salad.
Makan House by Ollella
Ollella specialises in choux with an Indonesian kueh twist, but they’ve also gotten quite popular on Instagram with their Nasi Lemak (S$3.50) comprising of butterfly pea rice. The kueh kueh generally sell out by lunch time, so head down early – or pre-order online – if you want to lay hands on them. Our favourite? Definitely the Signature Kueh Dadar (S$8, four pieces) with its thin, soft crepe skin and moist grated coconut and gula melaka filling and a savoury, spicy Lemper Ebi (S$8.80, four pieces).
Makan House by Ollella is located at 454 Race Course Road, Singapore 218697, p. +65 6917 7273. Open Wed – Mon, 10.30am – 6pm. Closed Tue.
Mono Izakaya is located at 217 Rangoon Road, Singapore 218457. Open Tue – Sat, 6pm – 12am. Closed Sun – Mon.
Top image: Kotuwa