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15 Of The Oldest Traditional Restaurants In Singapore That Have Stood The Test Of Time

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15 Of The Oldest Traditional Restaurants In Singapore That Have Stood The Test Of Time
Credits: Google Images - Red Star Restaurant (1974)
Even in Singapore where culinary heritage and authentic flavours are celebrated above all else, running a hawker stall, cafe or restaurant is tough.
Manpower is expensive, and margins are slim, meaning proprietors often fold within the first couple of years.
A food establishment that has withstood the test of time is therefore worth its weight in gold – especially the heritage eateries that’ve been kicking around for the better part of a century, outlasting global recessions, world wars and pandemics.
Read on for a list of Singapore’s oldest and boldest eateries, cafes and restaurants, many of which are now in the hands of second- or third-generation proprietors having undergone major renovations to keep up with the times — without compromising on the time-worn recipes and cooking methods that earned them such an ardent following.
1. The Ship Restaurant & Bar (1977)
15 Of The Oldest Traditional Restaurants In Singapore That Have Stood The Test Of Time - The Ship Restaurant & Bar
Credits: The Ship Restaurant & Bar (1977)
The Ship Restaurant & Bar is one of Singapore’s pioneer Western-style restaurants, having stayed afloat in its nostalgic, nautical-themed premises since 1977.
Its time-tested brand of old-school Western grub – think Hainanese pork chops drenched in gravy, steaks and deep-fried Chicken Maryland – lacks the frills of modern-day eateries, but makes up for it in character.
Where else can you snap a pic of a faux ship’s wheel while snacking on lobster thermidor and oxtail stew?

The Ship Restaurant & Bar
Location: 1 Scotts Road, #03-16 to 18, Shaw Centre, Singapore 288208
Opening Hours: Mon – Thu, 11am – 2:15pm, 5:30pm – 8:45pm; Fri – Sun, 11am – 2:15pm, 5:30pm – 9pm
Tel: +65 6235 2235
Website: https://theship.com.sg/

2. Colbar (1953)
15 Of The Oldest Traditional Restaurants In Singapore That Have Stood The Test Of Time - Colbar
Credits: Google Images - Traveller Jun - Colbar (1953)
This old-school canteen’s name is a portmanteau of colonial bar, pointing to its longstanding history dating back to the time when Singapore was still a British colony.
Soldiers stationed around the area would frequent the canteen, noshing on the same Hainanese-Western fusion bites still served today.
Though the restaurant has since moved from its original digs on Portsdown Road, to make for the construction of the Ayer Rajah Expressway, it’s retained an extraordinary sense of nostalgia-tinged charm with vintage accents and authentically sullen service to boot.

Colbar
Location: 9A Whitchurch Road, Singapore 138839
Opening Hours: Tue – Sun, 11:30am – 8:30pm
Tel: +65 6779 4859
Website: NA

3. Ananda Bhavan Restaurant (1924)
15 Of The Oldest Traditional Restaurants In Singapore That Have Stood The Test Of Time - Ananda Bhavan Restaurant
Credits: Ananda Bhavan Restaurant (1924)
The title of oldest vegetarian restaurant in Singapore goes to Ananda Bhavan Restaurant, which has been serving up plant-based grub from well before it became a buzzword.
The restaurant chain was founded in 1924 along Selegie Road, and has since expanded its vegetarian-friendly empire to five outlets around the island.
Masala vadai, idly (savoury rice cake) with chutneys and sambar, naan and paneer tikka are some of the Indian delights available at the heritage eatery.

Ananda Bhavan Restaurant
Location: 95 Syed Alwi Road, Singapore 207671
Opening Hours: Daily, 7:30am – 10pm
Tel: +65 6398 0837
Website: http://www.anandabhavan.com

4. Hua Yu Wee Seafood Restaurant (1950s)
15 Of The Oldest Traditional Restaurants In Singapore That Have Stood The Test Of Time - Hua Yu Wee Seafood Restaurant
Credits: Hua Yu Wee Seafood Restaurant (1950s)
Hua Yu Wee Seafood Restaurant has been frying up traditional zi char nosh from a two-storey colonial bungalow since the 1950s.
Talk about dining in style at the indoor dining areas, or al fresco at the rear courtyard.
That said, on-site parking is limited to the front courtyard, so make sure to arrive early to grab a spot – as well as their signature seafood delights like black pepper crab, butter crayfish, imperial pork ribs and other time-worn Singaporean zi char favourites.

Hua Yu Wee Seafood Restaurant
Location: 462 Upper East Coast Road, Singapore 466508
Opening Hours: Daily, 5pm – 11pm
Tel: +65 6442 9313
Website: https://huayuwee5.wixsite.com/website-1

5. Beaulieu House (1979)
15 Of The Oldest Traditional Restaurants In Singapore That Have Stood The Test Of Time - Beaulieu House (Sembawang Seafood Paradise)
Credits: Google Images - Beaulieu House (1979)
Located in Sembawang Park is the beautiful colonial-era Beaulieu House, which once belonged to wealthy Jewish businessman Joseph Brooke David.
The neoclassical bungalow, which has also been occupied by senior British naval officers since its construction in the 1910s, has now been accorded conservation status.
It is now a Chinese restaurant operated by Sembawang Seafood Paradise dishing out zi char signatures like chilli crab, steamed whole fish and roasted pipa duck along with Hainanese fusion nosh like oxtail stew and lamb shank rendang.

Beaulieu House (Sembawang Seafood Paradise)
Location: 117 Beaulieu Road, Singapore 759837
Opening Hours: Weekdays, 11am – 2:30pm, 5:30pm – 10:30pm; weekends, 10am – 2:30pm, 5:30pm – 10:30pm
Tel: +65 6257 9234
Website: https://beaulieuhouse.com.sg/

6. Roland Restaurant (1956)
15 Of The Oldest Traditional Restaurants In Singapore That Have Stood The Test Of Time - Roland Restaurant
Credits: Roland Restaurant (1956)
Often referred to as the birthplace of chili crab, Roland Restaurant began without a name in 1956 when it was a humble beachfront eatery run by the late Cher Yam Tian and her husband.
As the story goes, the invention of chili crab was Cher’s way of jazzing up her hubby’s daily crab haul, which eventually caught on and became the national culinary icon that it is today.
The couple ended up leaving the restaurant to their son Roland when they moved to New Zealand in the 1980s. Roland continues to run it to this day.
Chili crab, of course, is a must, though you can’t go wrong with other signatures like deep-fried baby squid and black sauce prawns.

Roland Restaurant
Location: 89 Marine Parade Central, #06-750, Singapore 440089
Opening Hours: Mon – Sat, 11:30am – 2:30pm, 6pm – 10pm; Sun, 11am – 2:30pm, 6pm – 10pm
Tel: +65 6440 8205
Website: https://rolandrestaurant.com.sg/

7. Spring Court (1929)
15 Of The Oldest Traditional Restaurants In Singapore That Have Stood The Test Of Time - Spring Court
Credits: Spring Court (1929)
Spring Court is the grande dame of Singapore’s Chinese banquet restaurants, having existed since 1929 when it was known as Wing Choon Yuen.
It’s been almost a century since then, and many of the family-run restaurant’s signature menu items still remain.
Get labour-intensive old-school delights like roast chicken stuffed with glutinous rice, local-style popiah and a Cantonese favourite – steamed chicken with Jinghua ham and kailan doused in superior chicken stock, beautifully arranged on the plate for a dash of time-worn grandiosity.

Spring Court
Location: 52 to 56 Upper Cross Street, Singapore 058348
Opening Hours: Mon – Thu, 11am – 2pm, 6pm – 10pm; Fri – Sun, 11am – 2:30pm, 5:30pm – 10pm
Tel: +65 6449 5030
Website: https://www.springcourt.com.sg/

8. Guan Hoe Soon Restaurant (1953)
15 Of The Oldest Traditional Restaurants In Singapore That Have Stood The Test Of Time - Guan Hoe Soon Restaurant
Credits: Guan Hoe Soon Restaurant (1953)
Even as Joo Chiat transforms into a hipster enclave replete with trendy cafes and bars, shades of its historic past remain — including Guan Hoe Soon Restaurant, a family-run joint like so many others on our list serving bona fide Peranakan treats like assam fish, Nyonya-style otak otak, chap chye and fish maw soup.

Guan Hoe Soon Restaurant
Location: 200 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 427471
Opening Hours: Mon – Fri, 11am – 3pm, 5:30pm – 9pm; Sat & Sun, 11am – 3pm, 5pm – 9pm
Tel: +65 6344 2761
Website: https://guanhoesoon.com/

9. Red Star Restaurant (1974)
15 Of The Oldest Traditional Restaurants In Singapore That Have Stood The Test Of Time - Red Star Restaurant
Credits: Google Images - Red Star Restaurant (1974)
Hidden on the seventh floor of a dingy multi-storey carpark is the legendary Red Star Restaurant, one of the few remaining eateries today to continue serving steaming hot dim sum tableside off a retro trolley.
The decor and layout has largely remained unchanged from its inception in 1974 by four Cantonese master chefs collectively known as the culinary Heavenly Kings, so you know you’ll be in for an authentically nostalgic meal.

Red Star Restaurant
Location: 54 Chin Swee Road, #07-23, Singapore 160054
Opening Hours: Mon – Fri, 8.30am – 3pm, 6pm – 10pm; Sat & Sun, 8am – 3pm, 6pm – 10pm
Tel: +65 6532 5266
Website: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100067657718790

10. Lai Wah Restaurant (1963)
15 Of The Oldest Traditional Restaurants In Singapore That Have Stood The Test Of Time - Lai Wah Restaurant
Credits: Lai Wah Restaurant (1963)
Chinese New Year celebrations wouldn’t be the same without Lai Wah Restaurant, an eatery established in 1963 by the late Wong Kok Lum with two of the four Cantonese culinary kings.
It lays claim to having invented festive salad yu sheng a year after its opening, among other beloved dishes like mandarin stewed chicken and, according to their website, the adapted version of chili crab (with tomato sauce, vinegar and stock in addition to chili sauce) that Singaporeans really love.
It is now in the hands of Wong’s eldest son, who continues to stick to the traditions and recipes that kept the eatery going to this day.

Lai Wah Restaurant
Location: 44 Bendemeer Road, #01-1436, Singapore 330044
Opening Hours: Daily, 11:30am – 2:30pm, 6pm – 9:30pm
Tel: +65 6294 9922
Website: https://www.laiwahrestaurant.com/

11. Zam Zam (1908)
15 Of The Oldest Traditional Restaurants In Singapore That Have Stood The Test Of Time - Zam Zam
Credits: Zam Zam (1908)
The rivalry between fellow murtabak specialists Zam Zam and Victory Restaurant is scorching hot, even after a century being next-door neighbours.
The restaurants have been around since the start of the 19th century – Zam Zam was established in 1908, with Victory Restaurant following closely two years after – and both have laid claim to having Kampong Glam’s best and most authentic murtabak.
Feel free to give each restaurant’s version of the giant meat-stuffed prata a try if you’ve got the stomach space for it.

Zam Zam
Location: 697 to 699 North Bridge Road, Singapore 198675
Opening Hours: Daily, 7am – 11pm
Tel: +65 6298 6320
Website: https://zamzamsingapore.has.restaurant/

12. Victory Restaurant (1910)
15 Of The Oldest Traditional Restaurants In Singapore That Have Stood The Test Of Time - Victory Restaurant
Credits: Victory Restaurant (1910)
Victory Restaurant, now in the hands of the original founder’s grandson Gazali Edikilakath, is largely similar to its fellow prata eatery in both offerings and layout, with an option to head upstairs for cooler dining when Singapore’s perennially tropical weather takes a sunny turn.
Apart from the all-important murtabak – mutton, chicken, beef, tuna and even venison from Friday to Sunday – you can expect dum biryani, nasi goreng, stir-fried noodles, mutton chops, curries and the usual medley of drinks to wash it all down.

Victory Restaurant
Location: 701 North Bridge Road, Singapore 198677
Opening Hours: Daily, 7am – 11pm
Tel: +65 6298 6955
Website: https://www.facebook.com/victorysingapore/

13. Sabar Menanti (1920)
15 Of The Oldest Traditional Restaurants In Singapore That Have Stood The Test Of Time - Sabar Menanti
Credits: Sabar Menanti (1920)
There are many heritage restaurants to get your fix of nasi padang in Kampong Glam, but one of the most famous is Sabar Menanti, the sole surviving eatery of a family-run chain originally founded back in 1920.
Expect a dizzing array of Minang-style eats including familiar favourites like beef rendang, ikan bakar (grilled fish) and sup buntut (oxtail soup) with an emphasis on time-tested recipes and cooking styles.

Sabar Menanti
Location: 737 North Bridge Road, Singapore 198715
Opening Hours: Tue – Sun, 6am – 4:30pm
Tel: +65 6291 0109
Website: https://www.sabarmenanti.sg/

14. Killiney Kopitiam (1919)
15 Of The Oldest Traditional Restaurants In Singapore That Have Stood The Test Of Time - Killiney Kopitiam
Credits: Killiney Kopitiam (1919)
Before Killiney Kopitiam became one of Singapore’s most recognisable kopi-and-toast chains, it was first a traditional Hainanese coffeeshop joint established, where else, on Killiney Road in 1919 (also making it Singapore’s oldest kaya toast chain).
Head to any of their outlets islandwide – and overseas in Malaysia and Indonesia – for a fix of soft-boiled eggs, crusty brown toast, jammy kaya and house-brewed coffee.

Killiney Kopitiam
Location: Various
Opening Hours: Various
Tel: Various
Website: https://killiney-kopitiam.com/

15. Ka-Soh (1930s)
15 Of The Oldest Traditional Restaurants In Singapore That Have Stood The Test Of Time - Ka-Soh
Credits: Ka-Soh (1930s)
Cantonese-style fish soup, anchored on a milky white broth achieved by boiling fish bones for hours over high heat, is the name of the game for Ka-Soh, a family-run restaurant with roots dating back to the 1930s, which existed as just a humble roadside hawker stall.
Today, only one Ka-Soh restaurant remains in operation along Greenwood Avenue, with the Outram flagship have closed since June last year. Be sure to order some crispy har cheong gai (prawn paste chicken wings) to go with their signature seafood dish.

Ka-Soh
Location: 22 Greenwood Avenue, Singapore 289218
Opening Hours: Tues – Sun, 11:30am – 2pm, 5:30pm – 9pm
Tel: +65 8754 7481
Website: https://ka-soh.com.sg/

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