Dining

19 Best Indian Restaurants in Singapore for Every Budget (2019)

best indian restaurant singapore

Clara Lim

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I’m what’s known politely as a “functional eater”, so you’ll rarely find me waxing enthusiastic about food… Unless I’ve had good curry recently. South Asian food is probably the only cuisine that warrants the unironic use of the words “party in my mouth” for me.

If your experience of Indian food begins and ends with Jalan Kayu prata, it’s time to correct that immediately at the best Indian restaurants in Singapore.

 

19 best Indian restaurants in Singapore (2019)

Best Indian restaurant Cuisine type Price range
Chindamani Prata $
Azmi Restaurant Chapati $
Nawab Biryani Biryani $
Koothurar Nasi Biryani Biryani $
Bismillah Biryani Biryani $$
Annalakshmi Vegetarian pay-as-you-wish buffet
Sri Lakshmi Narasimhan Vegetarian (South Indian) $
MTR Restaurant Vegetarian (South Indian) $$
Gokul Vegetarian Vegetarian & vegan (North Indian, local) $$
Madras New Woodlands Vegetarian (South Indian) $$
Samy’s Curry South Indian banana leaf rice $$
Riverwalk Tandoor North Indian buffet $$
Curry Magic Keralan $$$
Jaggi’s North Indian (Punjabi) $$$
Kailash Parbat Vegetarian (North Indian) $$$
Vatan Se North Indian $$$$
Zaffron Kitchen North Indian $$$$
Mustard Bengali $$$$
Rang Mahal North Indian fine dining $$$$$

 

Best prata in Singapore – Chindamani Indian Restaurant

You can call me crazy and threaten to exile me from Singapore, but I actually dislike prata – and yes, I’ve eaten at all the usual places like Casuarina Curry and Springleaf Prata.

So you gotta trust me when I say that the prata at Chindamani Indian Restaurant (actually a kopitiam stall) at Serangoon North is really, really good.


The prata is hot, thin and crispy, and you can eat it on its own without washing it down with curry. Amazing. Fair prices, too: A kosong is $1 and telur is $1.50. You don’t need to order anything too fancy here because I guarantee the basics will hit the spot.

 

Best chapati in Singapore – Azmi Restaurant (a.k.a. Norris Road chapati)

Well, I mean, is there any other chapati place? Norris Road’s Azmi Restaurant is the only one of its kind. This roadside coffee shop is dingy and you practically have to sit with half your ass dangling over the road, but there are still queues here for the chapati ($1 a piece).

Each thin wholewheat flatbread is served piping hot, with the ideal mix of fluffiness and chewiness. Spoil market for the hard, plasticky chapati served almost everywhere else lah.

I’d be perfectly happy eating the chapatis here on their own, but there’s also a range of sides to choose from, from $1.50 (veg) to $5 (goat bone). Most people go for the mutton keema ($3.50) but there are also wacky dishes like goat brain ($3.50).

 

Best biryani in Singapore – Desker Road, Beach Road, Bismillah Biryani

I’m not a huge biryani aficionado, so I asked my biryani-loving husband for recommendations. Here are his top 3:

Nawab’s Biryani (Desker Road $3 biryani)

Newcomer Nawab’s Biryani is not exactly a household name – it’s probably better known as “Desker Road biryani” or “that $3 biryani place” after their absurdly-priced chicken biryani. A mutton biryani is only $4, and they also sell $1 thosai. Madness!

Koothurar Nasi Briyani (Beach Road biryani)

Like Nawab’s, Koothurar Nasi Briyani is better known by the place name – “Beach Road biryani” because the kopitiam stall has no signboard. You won’t miss it, though, because there’s always a long queue for the extremely aromatic mutton biryani ($6).

Bismillah Biryani

Finally, Michelin-starred Bismillah Biryani is probably the best known of the biryani places in Singapore. Online reviews are a bit mixed, so I was hesitant about including this, but I have a Pakistani colleague who orders Bismillah’s chicken biryani ($6 / $9 / $14) for lunch seemingly every day of his life – so I think it should be quite good.

 

Best Indian vegetarian restaurants – Annalakshmi, MTR Restaurant & more

I really love Indian vegetarian food, especially South Indian vegetarian, so it was definitely challenging to keep this section short. With some difficulty, I managed to pare it down to 6 restaurants. All of these have something special going on for them, so read on to decide where to go first.

Best Indian restaurant Cuisine type Price range
Annalakshmi Vegetarian pay-as-you-wish buffet
Sri Lakshmi Narasimhan Vegetarian (South Indian) $
Madras New Woodlands Vegetarian (South Indian) $
MTR Restaurant Vegetarian (South Indian) $$
Gokul Vegetarian Vegetarian & vegan (North Indian, local) $$
Kailash Parbat Vegetarian (North Indian) $$$

Annalakshmi

I would definitely recommend Annalakshmi to anyone, even those who’ve never tried Indian food beyond prata before. It’s clean, classy and quiet (if you come early, by 7pm), and the food consists of a small buffet of about 7 or 8 tasty dishes, plus dessert. Dishes rotate daily but I’ve always come away happy. Best of all, it’s pay-as-you-wish, which is even more remarkable given the quality of the food and service here.

Sri Lakshmi Narasimhan Restaurant

I stumbled upon this wee eating house – it’d be a stretch to call it a restaurant really – and loved the simple, mild-tasting, vegetarian Tamil fare here, which has that elusive home-cooked taste. Crowd favourites are idly i.e. rice cakes ($3.20 to $4.20) and porridge-like pongal ($4.20) but my personal weakness is the uttapam ($4.20 to $5) which has a complex fermented taste.

Madras New Woodlands

 

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Another accidental find is Madras New Woodlands, a generic-looking joint that looks no different from all the other Indian restaurants along Dickson Road. But when I dropped by for dinner I couldn’t stop pinching myself because the food tasted unrealistically good. It’s got rave reviews for their thalis (rice sets, $8 to $10) and appam set ($5) so I’ll definitely be trying those next.

MTR Restaurant

 

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Mavalli Tiffin Rooms is a famous chain from Bangalore and it was my first introduction to the wonderful world of South Indian food – where I first ate rava idli (semolina cakes), bisibele bhath (spiced rice) and curd rice (rice with yogurt and spices). Each dish is typically $4 or $5, but portions are rather small, so you do have to order quite a bit.

Gokul Vegetarian

The most vegan-friendly Indian restaurant in the Little India area, Gokul is legendary among the veggie community because they have dairy-, onion- and garlic-free Indian and Singaporean dishes. You can find stuff like vegetarian “kambing” soup ($6.50) and char kway teow ($8) right next to the veggie korma ($8) and faux meat murtabak ($8).

Kailash Parbat

 

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I have not personally tried Kailash Parbat, but it’s highly recommended by a colleague who adores their tikki chaat ($9). Seems like every review I read online raves about their chaat ($8 to $10)! I like that they do North Indian vegetarian, which is refreshing, since the cuisine can be quite meat-centric. However, prices are on the high side, with mains (e.g. paneer tikka) and biryanis hovering around $14 to $15.

 

Best non-veg Indian restaurants – Samy’s Curry, Karu’s & Jaggi’s

My list of best Indian restaurants has been pretty skewed towards vegetarian South Indian options, but I know that many Singaporeans are staunch non-vegetarians and die-die must eat tandoori chicken.

So, here are the best picks for casual non-vegetarian Indian restaurants:

Best Indian restaurant Cuisine type Price range
Samy’s Curry South Indian banana leaf rice $$
Karu’s South Indian banana leaf rice $$
Jaggi’s North Indian (Punjabi) $$$

Samy’s Curry

 

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This is a classic “banana leaf rice” kind of place, which is conceptually similar to cai png stalls, except you eat rice and your choice of South Indian curries / dishes from a large banana leaf, preferably with your fingers. Though there are a few such restaurants around, the longstanding Samy’s Curry is one of the most reliable ones. I also give it plus points for its location at Dempsey Hill (free parking!).

Karu’s

I haven’t tried Karu’s Banana Leaf Restaurant yet, but it comes highly recommended by multiple strangers on the internet – so it’s gotta be good, right? Like Samy’s, their fish head curry ($23 to $35) is super popular for group dining, but I also like that they have huge chicken / fish / mutton set meals for $9 or $10 too.

Jaggi’s

MoneySmart content team favourite Jaggi’s looks kind of fancy from the outside, but it’s actually a self-service “canteen”-style restaurant where you point at the items you want, and the staff heat and serve them with hot fresh naan. The cuisine is Punjabi, so tons of tandoori items and meaty curries, but it’s also perfectly possible to have a vegetarian meal here too. It’s really affordable too – I’d budget about $10 to $20 per pax for a good meal here, depending on how much meat you order.

 

Best fancy Indian restaurants to splurge on – Zaffron Kitchen, Rang Mahal & more

Best Indian restaurant Cuisine type Price range
Curry Magic Keralan $$$
Vatan Se North Indian $$$$
Zaffron Kitchen North Indian $$$$
Mustard Bengali $$$$
Rang Mahal North Indian fine dining $$$$$

Curry Magic

 

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It’s not the fanciest Indian restaurant around, and the service is sloooow, but I have a soft spot for Curry Magic in Serangoon. It’s the first time I’ve eaten Kerala cuisine and I loved it. It’s also a rare Indian restaurant where you can find beef dishes – so, if you eat beef, it’s worth visiting here for just for the novelty alone. Mains are about $7 to $10 for veggie dishes, while meats / fish cost about $13 to $16. I’ll definitely be back for lunch to try their thali.

Vatan Se

 

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I definitely didn’t expect a hipster-looking restaurant like Vatan Se to do authentic North Indian cuisine, but you know what they say about judging a book by its cover! As you’d expect of a restaurant along the gentrified Tanjong Katong strip, pricing is on the higher side (e.g. $19.50 for rogan josh, $10 for a dal tadka, $17 for mutton dum biryani).

Zaffron Kitchen

Another modern North Indian restaurant in the East is Zaffron Kitchen, which you might have heard was listed in the Michelin guide 2018. Prices are similar to that of Vatan Se, but that hasn’t stopped the crowds from pouring in – it’s full of well-heeled Indian expat families on weekends. I haven’t eaten here in years, but looking at their menu, I would definitely go straight for their signature tandoori platters for 4 ($36 for vegetarian, $42.50 non-veg) and their Goan seafood vindaloo ($19.50).

Mustard

 

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I had to include Mustard even if it sucked, because it’s probably the only Indian restaurant in Singapore focusing on Bengali cuisine. Fortunately the food, service and ambience are reputedly good – it regularly makes the cut on “best Indian restaurant” lists like this and this. I mean, just look at that prawn curry… It’s definitely a splurge though, with veggie mains costing about $15 to $20 and meats / seafood $20 a pop at least.

Rang Mahal

There are a couple of fine dining Indian restaurants in Singapore, but the longstanding Rang Mahal in Pan Pacific Hotel is probably the most reliable of them. Ordering a la carte is well and truly expensive – signature dishes like the tandoori fondue(!) cost a whopping $48 / $58, while even a vegetable curry will set you back well over $30. But! You can come for the Sunday lunch buffet, which is a comparative steal at $58++, given that you can stuff yourself silly.

 

Bonus: Best Sri Lankan food in Singapore – Rasa Raja Bojun

I’m most definitely not suggesting that Sri Lanka is part of India, but if you love Indian food like I do, then you must also try Sri Lankan food, which uses similar spices and cooking techniques, yet has a much lighter mouth-feel (i.e. you can feel the crunch of veggies).

Unfortunately, there’s a real lack of Sri Lankan food options in Singapore. The only place I’ve found is Rasa Raja Bojun, which is not a restaurant but a humble stall at Tekka Market.

The food here is cai png-style – just point at the items you want and have it with rice or string hoppers (bee hoon “cakes”), served on a banana leaf. It’s the only place here I can have my favourite Sri Lankan dish, parippu (a light, coconutty dal with fat chewy lentils). A huge meal here usually costs less than $5, even if you get a fish curry.

Have we missed out your favourite Indian restaurant? Tell us about it in the comments.

 

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Clara Lim

I used to be MoneyDumb. I hung out at H&M every day and thought that a $50 lunch set was a good deal. These days, I spend my time researching the crap out of life and trying to maximise utility on micro-decisions. I'm not sure if that's an improvement.