Leisure travel is out of the question at the moment, what with the pandemic and all, and it seems like the only solution to cabin fever now is to go on staycations. But if you’re looking for a short getaway (with a meal no less) that’s easy on your finances, then you should take a look at these Singapore cafes that’ll make you feel like you’re overseas.
We’ve rounded up 13 Singapore cafes with décor and food that can transport you to another place. From a Grecian café decked out in blue to a café that feels like you’re walking through Yeouido Park in autumn – take a look at these family-friendly options.
The spot to be for Francophiles and lovers of French cuisine alike, Merci Marcel’s Parisian-inspired decor will sweep you right off your feet. Our favourite is the beautifully chic garden patio that sports lush greenery, bricked walls, and natural light — perfect for the ‘gram. Standing out amongst the many hipster cafes in Tiong Bahru with its large menu, you’ll find a rotating cheese menu, main dishes, and sharing plates available. You must get a croissant while you’re at it — light, buttery and crispy, the humble pastry is done perfectly here. Don’t forget to browse their wide selection of wines, spreads, and cheeses and bring a little French flavour back home with you.
Merci Marcel is located at #01-68, 56 Eng Hoon Street, Singapore 160056, tel: 6224 0113.
Take a walk on the wild side at TBB’s exciting new locale which has set up camp in lush and historic Dempsey. The spot used to be a nutmeg plantation and then military barracks, but is now a great place to unwind and feel like you’re in an African safari. Try their exclusive offerings such as Beetroot Latte and Turmeric Latte, plus a limited-edition Zebra-Inspired Wild Safari Cake infused with rum and decorated with gold leaf.
Tiong Bahru Bakery Safari is at 130E Minden Road, Singapore 248819, tel: 6877 4876.
Lucha Loco is a casual and vibrant Mexican cocina and garden bar that serves a contemporary take on Mexican food. Using fresh and premium ingredients that are cooked with inspirations from the delicious street fare of Mexico, their menu ranges from the classics like Baja tacos to twists like buttermilk fried chicken burritos with serrano mayo. We recommend making your reservations just before sunset, their outdoor seating is strung with fairy lights and together with the Spanish music, it’ll transport you to another time and place.
Lucha Loco is at 15 Duxton Hill, Singapore 089598, tel: 6226 3938.
Sabio By The Sea was one of the very first tapas bars in Singapore and their dishes are all created with the freshest ingredients delivered from Spain and across Asia. Their menu is handpicked with Spanish favourites like patatas bravas, churros, paella, jamón and queso. Plus, for the adults, there’s freshly made sangria. Their most loved items of the menu are Gambas al Pil Pil, spicy Spanish prawns that are cooked in garlic, parsley and sweet paprika powder and Croquetas, a Spanish take on croquettes. Their laidback spot is surrounded by the waters of the Sentosa Cove and make it the perfect respite from the city.
Sabio By The Sea is at 31 Ocean Way, #01-02, 098375, tel: 6690 7568.
Tucked away in a corner of Changi Village facing the sea is a sprawling microbrewery and smokehouse restaurant, complete with rustic decor and fairy lights that will transport you to an Australian beer garden. Besides locally-brewed craft beers, they also serve up delicious smoked beef brisket and pork belly that melts in your mouth. Perfect for a large get-together with friends! (Plus, it’s so far away even for Easties you’ll feel like you’ve actually gone overseas.)
Little Island Brewing Co is at 6 Changi Village Rd, #01-01/02, Singapore 509907, tel: 6543 9100.
If you’re all about Latin-American flavours, love your meat grilled and your spices kickin’ hot, you’ll want to make a reservation at Panamericana Singapore right away. With their signature “farm-to-fire” philosophy, look forward to wolfing down a fresh, hearty meal while enjoying the stunning view this jewel offers. Our recommendations? Its refreshing Peruvian Ceviche with green mango and fresh slices of snapper, or the Land and Sea which is an intriguing mix of crackling roast belly and scallops topped with jicama salsa. Don’t forget the Churros with dulce de leche which will send you to dessert heaven.
Panamericana Singapore is at Sentosa Golf Club, 27 Bukit Manis Road, Singapore 099892, tel: 6253 8182.
Located along the heritage district of Mohamed Sultan Road near Fort Canning, British celebrity chef Marco Pierre White’s first establishment on our shores offers a trip back to colonial-era Singapore, with a unique blend of British antique décor set against the backdrop of a traditional 1960s-style Singaporean coffeeshop. Grub-wise, you’ll get English comfort food with a modern twist like fish and chips and Sunday roast, as well as local favourites like chicken curry.
The English House is at 28 Mohamed Sultan Rd, Singapore 238972, tel: 6545 4055.
Dreaming of spending an idyllic getaway on one of Greece’s many gorgeous islands? Get one step closer to your dream destination and treat yourself to some authentic Mediterranean cuisine at Blu Kouzina. Gather a few friends and indulge in their plates of flavourful food, such as the Kalamaki Souvlaki, a beef kebab served with fresh onions, sliced tomato, and pita, and the Xtapodi, a firm yet tender grilled octopus. Made with fresh ingredients directly from Greece, you’ll definitely feel refreshed after a meal spent lounging by the lovely floor-to-ceiling windows of this white-and-blue themed eatery.
Blu Kouzina is at #01-21, Dempsey Hill, 10 Dempsey Road (Blk 10), Singapore 247700, tel: 6875 0872.
When you think of comfort food, does a piping hot burger and a side of fries, all washed down with a frothy milkshake come to mind? If so, you’ll have to hit up Overeasy. Featuring Instagram-ready neon signs and arcade game machines, dig into classic American fare in this picturesque diner straight out of old comic books. Take it from Overeasy: They’re “familiar, but never boring”.
Overeasy is at #01-06 One Fullerton, 1 Fullerton Road, Singapore 049213, tel: 6684 1453, or #01-01 Liat Towers, 541 Orchard Road, tel: 6684 1453.
For those of you who miss the Cha Chaan Teng experience and the streets of Hong Kong, then you should pay a visit to Legendary Hong Kong. Led by 8 established chefs with their own specialty from Hong Kong, the restaurant has four narrow entrances that mimic the streets of Hong Kong. Each entrance calls to a theme, from Roasted Meats, Noodles and Congee, to Dim Sum, and Cha Chaan Teng. Go in early and spend your morning trying meals from each theme for the full experience.
Legendary Hong Kong is at 63 Jurong West Central 3, #03-80 Provisional Unit Jurong Point 2 Shopping Center, 648331, tel: 6794 1335.
The menu here is straightforward and simple: coffee available in hot or iced selections. But this acclaimed coffee bar serves up quality brews from iced cappuccinos to matcha lattes. If you love the classic flavour and exquisite notes of Japanese coffee then this stop is a must-visit. The wooden details call to Japan’s traditional architectural designs and for that alone it’s worth a look.
Omotesando Koffee is at OUE Downtown Gallery, 6 Shenton Way, #04-03, 068815.
This lifestyle café at Orion@Paya Lebar specialises in brunch classics and sustainable handcrafted pieces in its lifestyle store. With lush leafy plants and rustic furniture, Knots Café and Living feels like a cosy corner in Bali. Enjoy your favourite brunch items like eggs Benedict and scrambled eggs on toast, as well as perennial crowd-pleasers like carbonara, mac and cheese, and its signature Knots beef burger. Wander around the shop after your meal, and you’ll be charmed by its one-of-a-kind furniture and home décor items.
7 Knots Cafe and Living is at 01-07 Orion@Paya Lebar, 160 Paya Lebar Road, tel: 6817-0383
Kreams Krafthouse is designed to feel like autumn in Korea all year round, decorated with colourful leaves around the ceiling it feels like you’ve stepped into Yeouido Park. At the moment their menu holds coffee and scones, and other than the typical caffeinated drinks they even have the (now Tik Tok famous) Dalgona Coffee. But here’s the twist, theirs is topped with homemade toffee crisps for an additional texture. Along with other Korean drinks like Sweet Potato Latte and Cloud Latte.
Kreams Krafthouse is at 32 Maxwell Road, #01-07 Maxwell Chambers, Singapore 069115, tel: 9620 7739.
This Afro café at Jiak Chuan Road is . From the wall art to the furniture (such as the African mahogany banquet table) and décor (hand-carved doors and hand-blown water glasses from Kenya), no detail is spared in creating an authentic backdrop and ambience.
The café offers up East and West African food, as well as specialty coffee, including the house blend Ubuntu, which is made with Uganda, Brazil and Mexico beans, and Hokkaido Milk.
Grub-wise, you’ll get traditional dishes from various parts of Africa, such as Swahili fish curry, Liberian peanut chicken stew, West African spicy greens, and Caribbean Goat Curry.
Kafe Utu is at 12 Jiak Chuan Rd, Singapore 089265, tel: 6996 3937.
With its mind-boggling array of more than 200 types of coffee, luxurious interior and resplendent décor (think marble floors and brass chandeliers), as well as service staff dressed in classic European-style uniforms, Bacha Coffee pulls out all the stops in providing a top-notch dining experience. The place is designed to resemble the Dar el Bacha palace in Marrakech, so you’ll legit feel like royalty while sipping on your cuppa and helping yourself to a dessert or two. Dishes come in Western style or classic Moroccan ones, ranging from scrambled eggs with black truffle and raspberry & cinnamon croissant to Morrocan chicken pastilla to Moroccan kefta meatballs.
Bacha Coffee is at 2 Orchard Turn #01-15/16 ION Orchard Mall, 238801, tel: 6363 1910 and two other locations.
Tucked away in Tanjong Pagar’s 100AM mall is the Morettino Italian Café & Bistro, a contemporary casual joint where you can relax and recharge after a long day at work. Aside from traditional Italian espresso and artisanal slow coffees, you’ll also get salad, pizzas, paninis, and pasta, including classics like spaghetti amatriciana with burrata and crowd-pleasers like truffle carbonara. Prepared by its in-house Italian chef, the dishes are influenced by flavours from the region of Sicily, although there are exceptions like the Pizza Parma Ham, a Morettino Chef’s Special, which is prepared using the traditional way from Naples.
Morettino Cafe is at 100 Tras St, Singapore 079027, tel: 6244 0424.
Text: Zoe Zeng, Elizabeth Liew, Farisia Thang and Joyce Chua
This post was first published on December 20, 2018, and updated on September 13, 2020.