If you are vegetarian, you have been through this: you join your friends for a meal, the ambience of the place is awesome, your friends are spoilt for choice by a menu that’s long and winding, and then when it’s your turn to order…. you have to order potatoes! It’s that, or beg the kitchen to change an item by leaving out the meat.

Seriously, why can’t eating joints have a fair share of meatless options! To be honest, Team Secondsguru is not vegetarian. But we do love our veggies, don’t think meat is king, and often wonder why so many menus perversely turn them into repetitive, unappetizing fare.

That dissatisfaction is the motivation behind this list. We last compiled it in Nov 2015, choosing to include only those vegetarian restaurants where we personally sampled great food, and would happily revisit again. None of these places are a second-hand recommendation; and we have not fallen into the trap of adding names simply to make our list long!

Luckily, it seems plant-based diets are gaining ground in Singapore – we have seen new vegetarian places come into being over the last couple of years, and also regular restaurants increasing their veggie fare. As a result, there are four new names in our list. These are kitchens that give veggies the respect, creativity and skilled cooking they deserve, and the proof is in the yummy plates they serve!

If you are wondering why you should be vegetarian, I’ll leave that to the able arguments of  The Vegetarian Society, Singapore,  Sir Paul McCartney and a growing list of celebrities that are turning meatless. Many cannot condone the animal cruelty at food farms, and others do not wish to support livestock farming as it is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions.

But honestly – what can be more persuasive for a diet change than just mouth-watering menus and lip-smacking meals! Plant diets may or may not bring world peace and stop climate change – but they can definitely create tasty, joyful meals that you gobble down with sighs. Go on, try these with your vegetarian AND non-vegetarian friends – Bon appetit!

[We have excluded Indian food restaurants here because, frankly, there are so many potentially outstanding choices that I’ll add 2 sizes to my clothes if I went on a spree to try them all! Leave your comments below if you would like to share your finds.]

Do note: We have restricted our list to vegetarian restaurants – however, they are not all vegan (though they have a lot of vegan choices).

Whole Earth

76 Peck Seah Street, Singapore 079331. Tel +65 6221 6583.
Opens daily 1130am – 3pm & 530pm – 10pm.
Official website here.

Whole Earth has been hosting CBD crowds near Chinatown for more than a decade. But in 2016 it got a further traffic boost after featuring in Singapore’s inaugural Michelin guide, the only vegetarian place to be featured therein (it retained the spot in last week’s Michelin Guide 2017 for Singapore). I sampled its Thai and Peranakan inspired cuisine soon after, and immediately got an insight into why was awarded a Bib Gourmand! The menu is inventive, and dish after dish promises full flavour (as Asian meals must!) through combinations of sauces (such as sambal) and mock meat / veggies. I ordered a crispy tofu and pumpkin puree. The gravy was perfectly seasoned and thickened, and I savoured the unusual pairing. Only downside – though I gorged at the meal, I was hungry again in 2 hours. If that isn’t a sign of fresh, healthy cooking I don’t know what is!

vegetarian Singapore Whole Earth
Balanced and delicious meals at Whole Earth – my order was wolfed down in a jiffy!

Recommended especially for: Weekday lunches with your colleagues if you have time for a sit-down meal. The restaurant is airy, well-lit and centrally located – you could even double it up as a meeting over meals.

Loving Hut

229 Joo Chiat Road #01-01 Singapore 427489. Tel: +65 6348 6318.
Opens M-F 1130am – 3pm & 6pm – 930pm; Sat/Sun 1130am – 930pm.
Official website here.

Nestled within heritage houses and a boutique-ized neighborhood, Loving Hut has a popular, charming flagship outlet at Joo Chiat that featured in our last list too. Sadly its CBD branch has since closed shutters, and when I revisited the outlet with friends last month, I found it’s menu card had changed. So I was wary about the food tasting as delicious as my memory promised. But I needn’t have worried!

We ordered several dishes to share at our table – the Tandoori Flame Burger, Pasta Alla Napolitana and a Tomyam Ocean Hotpot Set. The children polished off the pasta, no questions asked; and when I pecked at their dish I thought it was perfect – lots of veggies, generous pasta sauce and the pasta cooked just right. The hotpot was a hit as well – very generous helping, served with brown rice and brimming with herbal flavours and slight heat. The burgers disappeared in a jiffy too, without me having a chance to taste them, so I assume they were above par!

vegetarian food Loving hut
Our table’s order – polished off with joy!

Recommended especially for: Weekday lunches with your friends. Enjoy great prices [under $15 for most items] and ambiance while you catch up over a yummy meal!

Joie by Dozo

181 Orchard Road, #12-01 Orchard Central, Singapore 238896. Tel: +65 6838 6966.
Opens daily M-F 12pm – 330pm & 6pm – 1030pm.
Official website here.

Pure vegetarian and fine dining do not often come together, and so it was especially delightful to find Joie! The cool, dark, plush interiors of the restaurant are located next to the rooftop garden at Orchard Central, letting patrons look out and over the busy shopping district.

The restaurant concept is meatless cuisine of Japanese-European sensibilities. (So expect cheese and mushrooms, not mock meat.) The menu is set (6-course for lunch and 7-course for dinner), but there’s plenty of flexibility as you choose one of several dishes offered under each course.

The dishes are meticulously crafted: consider what I had as a side dish – Tempura Platter on Mash – which puts together charcoal coated yam, eggplant, apple, banana with Japanese orange sesame dressing!

I caught up with an old friend for lunch here, expecting to click photos of various courses – but our visual and culinary senses were so overwhelmed by the beautifully presented and uniquely crafted food courses that I got my act together only when finally dessert appeared! Our verdict: Given the location, ambiance and food – the prices are a bargain. But frankly, I’d  recommend this place even if prices were higher!

Super 7| Vegetarian restaurants in Singapore you must try out! Featured here: Joie by Dozo at Orchard Central
Dessert @Joie by Dozo

Recommended especially for: 6-course set lunch ($38.80++) for official (or unofficial!) meetings. The quiet interiors and rooftop view are a perfect setting for privacy and conversation.

Real Food

6 Eu Tong Sen St, The Central #B1-52/53, Singapore 059817. Tel: +65 6224 4492.
(Above details are for the branch I visited, but more outlets at Square 2, South Beach, Orchard Central, Far East Square.)
Official website here.

The “little organic cafe” at The Central (Clarke Quay) is where Real Food’s journey began. Whenever I’ve visited, it has been humming with the buzz of office crowds. And why not! The decor is cool – from recycled newspaper cutlery baskets to a paper-clip chandelier – and the food is delectably wholesome.

The menu at Real Food is perfectly paired with the office area that surrounds it. All day breakfast, soups and sandwiches, pastas – perfect for working lunches! That’s how I first discovered this eatery, when a friend took a quick lunch break to meet me, and I loved it enough to go back a few times since! My favourite here is the dumpling soup, handmade with no less than 10 ingredients.

Recommended especially for – Office lunches!

VeganBurg

44 Jalan Eunos Singapore 419502. Tel: +65 6844 6868
Opens daily 1130am – 10pm.
Official website here.

Belinda Carlisle loves it. Paul McCartney loves it. And well, so do we!

The burger joint is located on a busy stretch on Jalan Eunos, quite close to the MRT. At its entrance are painted drums displaying environmental slogans and a very cool bicycle. Inside, the seating is spread out and some benches have turf instead of cushions (!). You get the vibe! No surprise then, when I visited it late afternoon on a weekday, it was nowhere near empty.

The menu follows the path of all burger joints. You can order combos or stand-alone burgers. All patties are made of soy – but their preparation changes depending on what you order. Kid meals and sides are available. There are a seasonal cool drinks too (but not Pepsi/Coke).

Super 7 | Vegetarian restaurants in Singapore you must try out! Featured here: VeganBurg at Jalan Eunos
Satisfying my craving for junk food @VeganBurg

I ordered an Avocado Beetroot burger ($9.90) with a pan-grilled, GMO-free soya patty. To my surprise – it did not taste meaty – but then, everything doesn’t need to taste like meat! The patty was juicy on the inside, perfectly textured, and left me feeling light rather than bloated. The bun was fresh and had crunchy seeds on the crust. And the toppings – lettuce, beetroot, avocado – they looked every bit as crisp and fresh as on the poster! Best of all – I had a fantastic meal – and had no reason to feel guilty about hogging a burger 🙂

Recommended especially for: a quick stop when you are craving burgers/fries/”junk”!

Greendot

60 Paya Lebar Road, #2-15/16/17 Paya Lebar Square, Singapore 409051. Tel +65 6702 2221.
Opens daily 11am – 10pm.
(Above details are for the branch I visited, but more outlets at Vivo City, One Raffles Place, Maple Tree, Nex, Bugis Junction, Bedok Mall, Star Vista, WestGate.)
Official website here.

This “fast casual” restaurant is situated in a shopping centre, yet the outlet is still well-lit, airy and spacious. The menu balances a wide range of options – from burgers, soups, salads to desserts – without getting so long as to leave you confused! I was first enticed by the bento box options – the counter had a spread of dishes you can choose from to create your set meal (perfect for takeaway). But I settled for the soups instead as Tom Yum is my weakness, and they had a big hearty bowl picture I couldn’t resist!

vegetarian singapore Greendot
Tantalizingly fresh! Loved my soup bowl at Greendot.

My Tom Yum bowl with sesame rice was a big helping of freshly-crunchy veggies, mock meat and mushrooms in a perfectly seasoned soup base, a dish I would happily repeat! It was spicy, tangy, and felt freshly prepared [versus a result of a premixed paste]. Just typing about it makes my mouth water again!

vegetarian dessert Greendot
Desserts at Greendot are meant for sharing!

Recommended especially for: Quick, nutritious lunches as well as takeaways. With meals under-10-dollars, it is a perfect option for fast meals.

Elemen

9 Raffles Boulevard, #1-75A/76 Millenia Walk, Singapore 039596. Tel +65 6238 0511.
Opens daily 1130am – 4pm & 530pm – 10pm.
(Above details are for the branch I visited, but another outlet at Thomson Plaza.)
Official website here.

Millenia Walk is home to many interesting shopping concepts and Elemen fits this place perfectly. The “Earth food” restaurant is all about nutritious eating, not just vegetarian fare, and endeavors to raise its dishes to a fine dining concept. The result is a refreshing menu : you’ll find novel combinations created by quality ingredients such as quinoa and purple rice to maca and truffle. What’s more, when dishes are served, you can literally see the attention to detail and taste the balanced flavours.

The place was busy when I visited at lunch hour – clearly a hit with the office crowd. The spacious interiors done up in minimalist style accommodate a good number of patrons without crowding, though there was a fair bit of chatter! I went for the 5-course set (just over $30) as it was a good deal for the mains and the dessert I had my eyes on!

vegetarian singapore Elemen
My 5-course meal at Elemen: full marks on variety, taste, and presentation!

The set meal started with a 3-piece plate, of which the pumpkin was so blissfully sweet, housed in a nutty sauce, that I had to lick my fork! This was followed by truffle soup, which was rich and creamy without overpowering the palate. For my mains, I had a sushi plate, made of purple rice filled with crispy tempura, cucumber and carrots, and topped with shiitake mushrooms. It’s a combination that beautifully marries crunch to soft texture, and savoury to sharp tastes. The helping was bigger than I expected, and usually I would end my lunch at this point. But, there was no way I could let go of the next course – dessert, in the shape of date pudding! Again, the dish was delectable. Vanilla gelato paired perfectly with sweet pudding, and the sticky sauce was made tastier with the walnut’s crunch. Only sad note, by this time I was definitely too full to savor my drink of iced coconut mint tea! Note to self – don’t let your eyes get greedy by menu next time!

Recommended especially for – leisurely, wholesome meals. Head there with colleagues or family for the experience!

Saute

470 North Bridge Road, #02-08 Bugis Cube, Singapore 188735. Tel +65 9007 5507.
Opens daily 11am – 9pm.
Official website here.

Saute is situated bang in the middle of the buzzing heart of Bugis, a hop and a skip away from the National Library, and across the road from Bugis Junction. So when I crossed the busy traffic signal and entered Bugis Cube to find the bistro, I expected to see a fast food type cafe as busy as its surroundings. Instead, I found myself at the end of a corridor, in front of a well-lit, small but smart place, where I was welcomed by a smiling face. To start off, that’s something I really liked about Saute – its ability to break away from the pace around it  – and create a mindful space to enjoy mindful food! I could see that thought had been spent to create an earth-friendly environment for the earth-based cuisines it serves – bamboo chopsticks, ceramic serve-ware, wooden table numbers… the restaurant does not use its affordable prices as an excuse to use disposable plastic, and I wish more restaurants would follow suit!

Saute has a huge menu – ranging from pizzas and pastas to fries to ramen to Indonesian to waffles. Eggs are served as an add-on with some dishes (but no meats). Just for fried rice, there were no less than 6 options – including (very enticing sounding) Cedar Shoot and Sambal Petai, all made with either Basmati rice or brown rice. I was understandably in many minds, but luckily, help was at hand in the form of friendly staff and I went with the recommended Kimchee Seaweed fried rice.

The dish, despite my inherent suspicion of long menus ;), was just delicious. Oftentimes I find fried rice too dry, but this particular preparation had brown rice cooked to perfection and was seasoned perfectly with strong flavours, just as its name promised. There was enough kimchee and mushroom to add crunch to the dish, and I polished off the whole plate in no time.

vegetarian fried rice Saute
Great variety of fried rice at Saute – here’s my portion of Kimchee and Seaweed flavor.

Recommended especially for: Break between shopping/working in Bugis. There are lots of options under-10-dollars and a wide menu make it easy to plan group meals here.

Ling Zhi

Liat Towers #05-01, 541 Orchard Road, Singapore 238881. Tel : +65 6734 3788.
Opens Daily 1130am – 3pm & 6pm – 10pm.
Official website here.

Nestled in the unassuming Liat towers, Ling Zhi is a true blue hidden gem. When I walked in I was greeted by patrons of all ages- young adults catching up, mums hanging out, and a family celebrating what seemed like the grandmother’s birthday.

The menu is elaborate and offers a wide range of mock meat options as well as a varied range of pure vegetable options. I stuck to the latter as I wanted to try their pure play vegetarian preparations.

www.secondsguru.com| Super 7 | Vegetarian restaurants you must try in Singapore! Featured here: Lingzhi offers fabulous vegetarian food
Assorted vegetables in yam ring @ Lingzhi, Singapore

Almost all the reviews I had read about the restaurant gave it a thumbs up, and most them had recommended the Sautéed Monkey Head Mushrooms with Dried Chilli. And when I tried it, it was as I had expected- delectable! The secret ingredient here was mushroom which was well-spiced and left an fabulous aftertaste in the mouth. Two more dishes which I tried and instantly fell in love with were the vegetable satay with peanut sauce – this had water chestnut in generous portions and took the taste to the next level with the crunch in the midst of the mush- and the assorted vegetables in yam ring- made with the perfect blend of spice and chilli. Overall I would give Lingzhi a thumbs up and would definitely visit again in the near future.

Recommended especially for – afternoon meetings, girls lunches and family dinners/ lunches. There’s something for everyone’s palette!

Original Sin

Blk 43 #01-62 Jalan Merah Saga Holland Village, Chip Bee Gardens, Singapore 278115. Tel : +65 6475 5605.
Opens daily 1130am – 230pm & 6pm – 1030pm.
Official website here.

This Mediterranean restaurant opened its doors in 1997 and continues to be amongst the best-known vegetarian dining options in the city. It is located among the row of fancy restaurants at Chip Bee (and priced accordingly), just across Holland Village, and its al fresco seating area is a prime spot for cozy dinners any given night!

The menu is mostly easy European – pizzas, pastas, salads – that everyone is familiar with, but jazzed up with interesting combinations, and served with finesse and care. I usually like to order dishes to share as the menu is very well-crafted and always leaves me wanting to try several things. Take for instance the Magic Mushroom, which is essentially a baked portobello topped with cheeses and spinach; or the Bosco Misto, which consists of tofu, feta and spinach patties coated with sesame and crushed almonds! The dining experience makes for a lovely dinner out with friends where you can order a variety of dishes to share and match it with good drinks.

Recommended for – vegetarians visiting the city! Start with a mezze platter, get some wine, and take your time!

If you do visit any of these 10 restaurants or have any other vegetarian restaurants you think we must visit, do let us know! Team Secondsguru is very easily reachable on blog@secondsguru.com!

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