We may think wallet-friendly French restaurants are hard to find in Singapore, but the truth is contrary. All you really need is a little insider intel, and for that, I am grateful to have French friends who can point me to fine bistros that don’t rack up a $100 per head bill.
While it’s true that the cuisine seems to demand finesse, you don’t really need deep pockets or an elevated palate to appreciate the likes of foie gras, escargot, and duck confit. Hidden all over Singapore are French restaurants that dole out affordable dishes, great for when you’re missing your last trip to France just a touch too much.
Image credit: The French Ladle
A condominium complex isn’t the first place that comes to mind when you think of finding French restaurants, but The French Ladle turns that notion on its head.
Tucked away in Pandan Valley Condominium, this hidden gem of a French bistro has been up and running for over seven years now, dishing out classic French food that’s both delightful and affordable. The team behind The French Ladle makes most of their dishes from scratch, including their sauces and pâté. The cherry on top: all prices are nett.
Their menu boasts French classics, such as Escargots de Bourgogne ($16) that’s prepared with garlic, herbs and butter, as well as Confit de Canard ($34), featuring pillowy mashed potatoes. To get the best bang for your buck, head here during lunch for their Prix Fixe two- or three-course menu ($30, $35) which lets you choose from a selection of entrees, mains, and desserts.
Address: 2 Pandan Valley, #01-206, Pandan Valley Condominium, Singapore 597626
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 12pm to 2:30pm, 6pm to 9:30pm
Image credit: @ipohmotormouth
Another Westside gem, La Petite Cuisine in Serene Centre has been serving affordable French food since 2006. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a place that serves classic French main courses for under $25, but this is one. Plus, there’s no service charge here either!
The duck confit, or Confit de Canard costs $21, and comes served with au gratin potatoes. You can even find mains for under $20; the Dory with Beurre Blanc ($18) and Filet of Chicken with Chanterelle Mushrooms ($16) are popular picks. Top up $6 to score a soup or dessert of the day to round off the meal.
Address: 10 Jalan Serene, Singapore 258748
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 11:30am to 2:30pm, 5:30pm to 9:30pm
Image credit: Gaston
Working in a food title means I am perpetually the default source for dining recommendations amongst my friends, and when it comes to French food, Gaston is my always my instinctive answer. The menu pays homage to manager Geoffery Daurelle’s upbringing in Burgundy, as well as his family’s recipes, so expect French cuisine with lots of rustic soul at this Keong Saik bistro.
Escargot fans can look forward to something different, as their Escargots de Bourgogne (from $16) are served in crunchy pastry “shells” and drenched in garlicky butter.
For mains, their Boeuf Bourguignon ($34) is a must. A portion of this tender beef chuck stew is easily shared between two, comes loaded with salty French bacon and a silken mash that is made with 50% butter, and 50% potatoes.
Address: 25 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089132
Opening hours: Mon 5pm to 10:30pm, Tues-Sat 12pm to10:30pm
Tel: 6909 8120
Image credit: L’Entrecôte The Steak and Fries Bistro
Steaks that are doused in a legendary secret sauce and served with unlimited portions of crispy French fries sound like a match made in heaven. For an atmospheric date night that won’t break the bank, head to L’Entrecôte The Steak and Fries Bistro for their famous Trimmed Entrecôte Steak ($36.80++).
This tender premium steak cut is sliced and served medium-rare, accompanied by L’Entrecôte’s trademark secret sauce that’s buttery, balanced, and incredibly addictive. It also comes with walnut salad and free-flow golden fries for you to mop up all that amazing sauce.
Address: 36 Duxton Hill, Singapore 089614
Opening hours: Sun-Thurs 12pm to 3pm, 5:30pm to 10:30pm, Fri 12pm to 3pm, 5:30pm to 11pm, Sat 5:30pm to 11pm
Image credit: Taratata Brasserie’s Facebook page
If you’re craving for French food on a budget, classic French bistro Taratata Brasserie on Keong Saik has got you sorted with their three-course set lunch ($38++) which is available every day, including public holidays!
Unlike many places where options are limited to just two or three choices per course, Taratata Brasserie’s set lunch has twice the number of choices—including escargots, sirloin steak, and duck confit! If you’re staying for more dessert, the molten-centred Moelleux au Chocolat ($15++) hits the spot. Alternatively, opt for three choices off their cheese trolley ($25++)
Address: 35A Keong Saik Road, Ground Floor, Singapore 089142
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 12pm to 2:30pm, 6pm to 10pm
Image credit: Choupinette Cafe
Tucked away in Bukit Timah, Choupinette has long been lauded as a brunch spot for one of the best eggs benedict on the island. This charming cafe has brunch sets that include classic French breakfast favourites accompanied by fruit juice and a hot drink.
These include Eggs Benedict ($22++) with house-made hollandaise and ham, and The Tristan ($21++), which comes with your choice of eggs and sausage, along with tomato provençale, mushrooms, and bread. For those with a sweet tooth, the Di Di’s Set ($19++) is a great choice, with fluffy slices of French toast decorated with tart berry compote and honey.
Address: 607 Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 269708
Opening hours: Tues-Sun 8am to 7pm
Image credit: @melodyap84
If you’ve got a craving for crêpes, head to Entre-Nous Creperie. This cosy French restaurant on Seah Street specialises in two things: sweet crêpes and savoury buckwheat galettes. Made from scratch with flour imported from Brittany, the buckwheat galettes are priced between $14.90+ and $22.90+, depending on the combination of fillings you get. You can’t go wrong with the classic Egg and Emmental Cheese ($15.90+). However, my personal pick is Stephan’s Favourite ($21.90+) that comes with roasted chicken, wholegrain mustard, and house-made caramelised onions.
Address: 27 Seah Street, #01-01, Singapore 188383
Opening hours: Tue-Fri 12pm to 2:30pm, 6pm to 9:30pm, Sat 11am to 9:30pm, Sun 11am to 5:30pm
Image credit: @bongsteroo
Another French restaurant natives recommend is Nicolas Le Restaurant, where wallet-friendly set lunches make for a great special-occasion option. Their three-course lunch menu is $48++, featuring your choice of appetiser, main course, and dessert. Their mains are a standout, choose from Tasmanian Rack of Lamb or North Atlantic Sea Cod served with a beurre blanc sauce.
Address: 10 Teck Lim Road, Singapore 088386
Opening hours: Tues-Sun 12pm-2pm, 6:30pm to 10pm
Image credit: @bistroduvin
Run by the Les Amis group, Bistro Du Vin specialises in classic brasserie fare. Their lunch menus start at $34++ for two courses, and feature moreish entrees like rillettes, though made with salmon, and mushroom cream soup. For mains, go straight for the Hand Cut Steak Tartare, served with fries and salad, or top up $10 for Duck Confit with Potatoes.
Address: 1 Scotts Rd, #01-14, Shaw House, Singapore 228208
Opening hours: Daily 11:30am to 2pm, 6pm to 10pm
Image credit: Merci Marcel
Having first opened at Tiong Bahru, French restaurant Merci Marcel now has a chic space at Palais Renaissance and Club Street as well, with all locations serving up breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. With cosy indoor seating and outdoor tables for al fresco dining, Merci Marcel nails it in terms of ambience.
Go for the flaky Croissant ($3.50++) or Pain Au Chocolat ($3.50++) for a relatively lighter brunch option that still satisfies. If you’re looking to pull out all the stops, get the Ravioles de Royan ($18++), which is a French dumpling pasta filled with cheese. At dinnertime, the Duck Rillette ($18++) with marinated pear and melted Camembert cheese, and Tarte Flambee ($25++) boasting bacon, apples, asparagus, and blue cheese, make for excellent sharing plates.
Address: 56 Eng Hoon Street, #01-68, Singapore 160056
Opening hours: Tue-Sat 8am to 11:30pm, Sun 8am to 10:30pm
These 10 French restaurants show that you can indulge in tasty French fare without breaking the bank. What’s more, places such as The French Ladle and Taratata Brasserie offer multi-course meals so you can have a romantic night out.
If you need help planning future rendezvous sessions, check out this list of halal date night places which include steakhouses and Korean joints—all under $20.
This article was originally published on 9 October 2019.
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