Aside from the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay, Singapore offers heaps more for museum lovers – the brand new National Gallery at City Hall, a natural history museum with a dinosaur exhibit, a toy museum and one that displays photographs and personal effects donated by former prisoners-of-war from World War Two. We’ve sussed out your best dining options in the vicinity of Singapore’s key museums to ease you up on that research load.
If you like history and culture
1. National Museum of SingaporeAddress: 93 Stamford Road, Singapore 178897 Nearest MRT Stations: Bras Basah MRT Station, Dhoby Ghaut MRT Station Restaurants within the museum
Without exiting the comforts of the museum, there’s Food For Thought, an all-day brunch restaurant whose decor pays homage to old-school kopitiams of Singapore. FLUTES, on the other hand, is a fancier option with modern dishes and an award-winning wine list over white tablecloths in a high ceiling dining room. A five-minute walk will get you to:
The lush greenery of Fort Canning Park. And at the heart of it, Fort Canning Arts Centre, which houses French restaurant Balzac Brasserie, Mexican and Indian restaurant Myra’s, Seattle Pike Chowder and a cocktail and dining gem FORT by Maison Ikkoku amongst others.
The Cathay and School of the Arts Singapore. At The Cathay, take the escalator down to the basement for quick eats like Maki-san, where you can customise sushi rolls; head up to level 4 for cheap and good steaks and burgers at Astons Specialties; or level 5 for Thai iced milk tea Soi 55. At SOTA, its ground floor is lined with several restaurants selling bingsu, Korean barbeque and a popular ice cream parlour, The Daily Scoop. If you love quaint cafes and dainty Japanese cakes, don’t miss Kki + Kki Home at level 2. Across the road from SOTA, Rendezvous Hotel Gallery has multiple F&B choices such as Straits Café for an international buffet with Singapore favourites, Baja Fresh for Mexican bowls and burritos and Stuttgart Blackforest Boutique S-Café that probably has the Black Forest Cake around. (Images: Food For Thought Singapore website, Sazali Jantan Photography, Balzac Bar and Brasserie Facebook Page, Seattle Pike Chowder Facebook Page, OpenRice user feeohnah)
2. Asian Civilisations MuseumAddress: 1 Empress Place, Singapore 179555 Nearest MRT Stations: Raffles Place MRT Station Restaurants within the museum
Enjoy a laidback brunch of burgers, red snappers and pot-roasted chicken at Privé or head next door for traditional Chinese cuisine of signature roast meats in a contemporary setting at Empress. A five-minute walk will get you to: The Fullerton Hotel Singapore. Walk across the Cavenagh Bridge to widen your dining options found on the other side of the Singapore River. This first landmark boasts several established restaurants, such as Jade and its elegant array of dim sum and double boiled soups and The Courtyard's afternoon tea and its famed chocolate buffet alongside live music at the lobby lounge.
Circular Road and Boat Quay. Continue walking further down riverside for Da Paolo Gastronomia's homemade pasta and its signature tiramisu, or throw in an extra two minutes on foot to reach Circular Road, where you’ll stumble upon ramen bars, charming French creperie Ô Comptoir, fusion gourmet burger joint Dojo and Thai mookata restaurant Tom Yum Kungfu amidst the narrow shop houses. (Images: The Privé Group, ACM (Asian Civilisations Museum) Facebook Page, Dojo Facebook Page)
3. Peranakan MuseumAddress: 39 Armenian Street, Singapore 179941 Nearest MRT Stations: City Hall MRT Station, Bras Basah MRT Station A five-minute walk will get you to:
The Substation. Next door, Singapore’s first contemporary arts centre has its resident bar Timbre jazzing up the alfresco setting with live music and sports broadcasts from 6pm. Besides their legendary Roast Duck Pizza glazed with the savoury goodness of hoisin sauce, the menu sees a variety of tapas, pastas and thin crust pizzas to munch alongside pints of ciders and beers. For heartier French cuisine and fine wines, hop on over to Le Bistrot du Sommelier, which has Raclette Nights with free-flow cheese every Monday at its Rilette Bar on level two. (Image: Timbre Facebook Page)
4. Changi MuseumAddress: 1000 Upper Changi Road North, Singapore 507707 Nearest MRT Stations: Tanah Merah MRT Station (Take SBS Bus No. 2), Tampines MRT Station (Take SBS Bus No. 29) A five-minute walk will get you to:
The Bark Café. Located next to Changi Chapel and Museum, The Bark Café offers a casual and cosy ambience – despite it being non-air-conditioned – away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Expect a mix of Western and local cuisine here, with dishes like fish and chips, crispy chicken wings, tau hu goreng and crayfish hor fun to choose from. Looking for more? Take a bus out to East Village of Upper Changi or Simpang Bedok instead! (Image: OpenRice user ikuan)
5. Lee Kong Chian Natural History MuseumAddress: Faculty of Science, National University of Singapore, 2 Conservatory Drive, Singapore 117377 Nearest MRT Stations: Kent Ridge MRT Station (Take SBS Bus No. 95, alight at Yusof Ishak House), Clementi MRT Station (Take SBS Bus No. 96, alight at NUS Raffles Hall) Note: Unlike the rest of the museums, you will need to purchase tickets from Sistic Singapore’s website and select your admission time slots first. A five-minute walk will get you to:
University Cultural Centre. Once you’re done visiting the dino-trio Prince, Apollonia and Twinky, soothe those hunger pangs with a full table of zi char at Alcove Asian Restaurant & Bar. Think steamed white rice with black pepper chicken cutlet and beef hor fun in full gravy glory. University Town. A brisk walk across the bridge brings you to the newer wing of the National University of Singapore, UTown. At Town Plaza, seek Hwang’s for simple Korean fare, Sapore Italiano for pizzas, pastas and beer and The Royals Bistro for lamb shank, chicken wings, burgers and halal-certified cakes. If Honey Truffle Belgian waffles sound like a dream to you, head over to Butter My Buns at Stephen Riady Centre. (Image: OpenRice user foodnotes)
If you like art
6. SAM at 8Q and Singapore Art MuseumAddress: 71 Bras Basah Road, Singapore 189555 Nearest MRT Station: Bras Basah MRT Station Restaurants within the museums
Pick up a bottle of ice drip cold brew from 7 Kickstart Café, or settle down with one of their affordable gourmet burgers, which are mostly beef. We’ve heard mixed reviews about Italian restaurant Trattoria Lafiandra, some praising its charming vibes and generously portioned risotto, others commenting on its disappointing service. Over at SAM at 8Q, a contemporary wing of Singapore Art Museum, Standing Sushi Bar and fast Food For Thought hold the fort with rather affordable prices on their menus. Take advantage of the sushi bar’s daily promotions, like half-priced sushi and sashimi on Tuesdays! A five-minute walk will get you to:
Molly Roffey’s Irish Pub, Din Tai Fung and Switch by Timbre might just be round the corner. However, we recommend you venture a few streets away for more interesting options. Middle Road. Keep an eye out for a bright yellow building, where Objectifs, a visual arts centre dedicated to photography and film, shares its premises with Middle Eastern restaurant Artichoke and its cheekily-named ice cream parlour extension Neh Neh Pop. CHIJMES. This historic building complex contains a scatter of over 20 restaurants, bars and cafes. Highlights include modern Australian restaurant Whitegrass, Ikkousha Ramen, Yakiniku restaurant Gyu-Kaku and El Mero Mero, which serves contemporary Mexican grub. (Images: OpenRice user sisiew, Standing Sushi Bar, Peh Yi Wen, OpenRice user quekth)
7. National Gallery SingaporeAddress: 1 St. Andrew's Road, Singapore 178957 Nearest MRT Station: City Hall MRT Station Restaurants within the museum
Possibly endowed with the best selection of restaurants within its premises, National Gallery’s two wings – City Hall and Supreme Court – houses brilliant picks like Odette, a French fine dining restaurant helmed by Chef Julian Royer, known for is exquisite skills at JAAN and National Kitchen by Violet Oon, the queen of Peranakan cuisine in Singapore’s culinary scene. See our full guide to restaurants in National Gallery Singapore here. A five-minute walk will get you to:
The Arts House – the former Old Parliament House turned arts venue, which hosts regular art exhibitions and concerts. Besides the more popular outlet of Timbre, this heritage building also holds the group’s tapas bar Barber Shop, with a string of premium whiskies paired with live music and modern French fine-dining restaurant Olivia Cassivelaun Fancourt (level 2). Asian Civilisations Museum. Keep your momentum going and museum hop over to ACM, keeping in mind to fuel up at one of its in-house restaurants, Privé and Empress first. The Adelphi. This rundown building at Coleman Street is popular with audio buffs, vinyl record collectors and anyone looking to buy sound systems. But on top of that, Sweet Basil, a non-descript Thai eatery offering green curry, tom yum soup and other Thai favourites, is known to garner steady queues, particularly on weekdays. An extra three minutes on foot will get you to the heart of City Hall, where Raffles City Shopping Centre, Raffles Hotel, CHIJMES and Capitol Piazza are located – each landmark with an abundant of dining options to choose from. (Images: Violet Oon’s Official website, OCF Singapore Facebook Page)
If you like collectibles
8. Mint Museum of ToysAddress: 26 Seah Street, Singapore 188382 Nearest MRT Stations: City Hall MRT Station, Bugis MRT Station, Bras Basah MRT Station, Esplanade MRT Station A five-minute walk will get you to:
Seah Street. Along the same street as Mint Museum of Toys, you’ll find a posh-looking bistro, Bridge, which fills up fast with weekend brunch reservations and promises affordability that doesn’t discount on quality. Another up and coming modern Asian restaurant, Restaurant SELA, offers a 5-course tasting menu for $50 accompanied with wine. Tess Bar & Kitchen is far more drink-centric with classic and novel cocktails to choose from. Plus, we hear they do a mean platter of seared wagyu cubes on bone marrow too.
Purvis Street. Just beside Seah Street unveils another stretch of food gems like locally-founded French bistro Saveur – famous for its Duck Confit – and Clinton Street Baking Company for a stack of extra fluffy and homemade maple butter-drizzled pancakes. Don’t miss one of the best chicken rice stalls in Singapore from Chin Chin Eating House, or choose to savour our national dish with a hearty steamboat at the nostalgic Yet Con Chicken Rice & Restaurant. Notable upscale restaurants here include modern French restaurant Gunther’s and Garibaldi Italian Restaurant and Bar. Beach Road. A trendier pick at the new South Beach Quarter, Vatos Urban Tacos, offers Korean-Mexican cuisine with mouth-watering dishes like Kimchi Carnitas Fries, Galbi Tacos, and Spicy Chicken Quesadillas. Its neighbour Shaw Tower is often flocked to for Tom’s Palette for its unique range of ice cream flavours, as well as Ah Loy Thai Restaurant's irresistable butter calamari. (Images: Peh Yi Wen, Tess Bar & Kitchen Facebook Page, Clinton Street Baking Company Singapore)
9. Singapore Philatelic MuseumAddress: 23-B Coleman Street, Singapore 179807 Nearest MRT Stations: City Hall MRT Station, Clarke Quay MRT Station and Bras Basah MRT Station A five-minute walk will get you to:
Lewin Terrace – Occupying a charming pre-war colonial bungalow amidst Fort Canning Gardens next to Singapore Philatelic Museum, Lewin Terrance specializes in French-Japanese fusion cuisine, where the culinary techniques of the former are infused into the cuisine of the latter.
Capitol Piazza. This luxury shopping mall, where the historical Capitol Theatre is, contains some popular restaurants and cafés from overseas that are worth mentioning. Making its way over from Bali with signature ribs in tow, Naughty Nuri’s has set up camp at level 1 beside Dazzling Café, a thick toast expert from Taiwan. If you love French pastries, you’ll be glad to know that famed tearoom and pâtisserie from Paris, Angelina, can also be found here. Also nearby: Armenian Street, Clarke Quay and Boat Quay (where chilli crab royalty JUMBO Seafood Gallery resides) (Images: Lewin Terrace Facebook Page, OpenRice users shauneeie_ and stxrdxst)
Written by Peh Yi Wen