5 ‘legit’ cafes in Singapore you have to visit for coffee

Do you know that in this tiny island of Singapore there is at least 200 to 300 independent cafes scattered all over? While you can refer to those mega lists of café directories to see where each of them is, you’ll no doubt be spoilt for choice. Which of them is really worth going? Which of them are must-tries if you are a coffee fan? Well, I’ve been going to these cafes for 5 years now since the first few sprouted up because I’m a huge fan of café food (brunch, waffles) and coffee in the company of similarly like-minded friends, so I'm going to give you my top picks in recent times for what I think are ‘legit’ cafes that has consistently served up good coffee, food or both.

1. Tolido’s Espresso Nook

A tiny little coffeehouse that uses beans from Yahava Coffee (at Thomson), Tolido’s has a delightful range of coffees, but also decent brunch and lunch food like pastas and sandwiches. The latte here is smooth and light with a slightly acidic note. I like the fact that it is situated in the middle of a really old housing estate, but yet is near enough to the hip and trendy Haji lane that is just a couple of streets away.

Tolido’s Espresso Nook
#01-63, 462 Crawford Lane, Singapore 190462
+65 66480178
Tue - Sun: 09:00 - 21:00
Closed on Mondays

2. La Ristrettos

This is a super hidden café that you’ll never be able to just ‘walk past’, unless you happen to be at the 8th floor of Novena Medical Centre during week days before 6pm or Saturdays before 1pm.  I have heard about this place from coffee aficionados, and walking into the café you will realize that they do treat their coffee making seriously – the machine and barista actually takes up one forth of the already small space with an open coffee making counter. It’s not a big café, but they also serve up food and even desserts. You could also sit al fresco with a cup of their very best cappuccino.

La Ristrettos
#08-37, Novena Medical Centre, 10 Sinaran Drive, Singapore 307506
+65 63977165
Mon - Fri: 08:00 - 18:00, Sat: 08:00 - 13:00
Closed on Sundays

3. The Lokal

You have to try the coffee here, which comes from Sarnies (another great place in Chinatown known for quality coffee and beef sandwiches). Even though The Lokal might look and feel like a typical hipster café, you’ll realize that the quality of the food and drink offered here stands a notch about others, which is why I am betting on it to continue their business. The location is also spot-on for a mid-day break around the Outram/Tanjong Pagar district where there’s plenty to see.  Try their dessert creations like the warm banana cake with pistachios and caramalized bananas and pair it with a smooth cup of latte.

The Lokal
136 Neil Road, Singapore 088865
+65 64239918
Mon - Fri: 08:00 - 18:00
Sat - Sun: 09:00 - 16:00

4. Drury Lane

Just a few minutes away from The Lokal would be Drury Lane at Tanjong Pagar, which again will seem like an unassuming independent café, but turned out to have one of the best coffees in the area. This 2-storey shophouse café might look just functional, but they made it work with a small kitchen to serve up brunch food and cakes. The real star of the place is the quality of the coffee that the barista will serve up. Try their espresso to get an intense bolt of flavours (and caffeine). Otherwise, chat with some friends over a leisurely latte.

Drury Lane
94 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088515
Mon - Fri: 8:30 am - 9:00 pm, Sat - Sun: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
+65 62226698

5. One Man Coffee

A tough spot to fill with some many more cafes out there, but I’ll say One Man Coffee along Upper Thomson Road will have to take the cake (or the cup, in this case). Like the name suggests, it probably started out as a one-man operation, and only operates during the day because it is sharing the space with CRUST, a pizzeria that opens only in the evening. How brilliant is that? I like this café because it is so unassuming but you can tell the amount of effort that’s put into serving up a good cup of coffee that is made from the heart, using beans from Melbourne, Australia. Try the Magic ($4.50) – a double shot espresso with milk that is sure to jumpstart your day.

One Man Coffee
215R Upper Thomson Road, Singapore 574349
+65 96851685
Daily from 9am to 5pm

1 comment
  1. Pls also add Common Man Coffee Roasters, Dutch Colony Coffee and Yahava Koffeeworks! Their blends are wonderful too!