Food Blog

How Not To Over Spend on Fine Dining in Singapore

Just like everybody we love to dine out somewhere fancy once in a while. Living in Singapore with the high living expenses, fine dining can be quite expensive due to the higher alcohol tax, restaurants rents, cost of living etc. It’s expensive to fine dine in Singapore compare to many other developed cities.

Cost of Fine Dining in Singapore

Just to name a few top fine dining restaurants in Singapore for easy comparison (all in SGD)

  • L’atelier by Joël Robuchon (4 course menu appetit $128++ )
  • Salt Grill and sky bar (6 course $150++)
  • Equinox (5 course $158++)
  • Pollen ( 7 course $168+)
  • Saint Pierre (4 course $148+, 6 course $188+, 8 course $218+)
  • Les Amis (5 course $185+, 6 course $250+)
  • Jaan (7 course degustation $238+)
  • Joël Robuchon (3-4 course $298+, 7 course $498+)
  • Waku Ghin (10 course $400++)

No doubt these are only a few of the top fine dining restaurants in Singapore, despite the fact that not all are under Michelin status, they are all very good quality restaurants.

It’s good to treat yourself and your special someone to a nice meal once in a while in this hectic city. But if you also like to spend your money wisely, then you might want to lookout for all the hidden charges and extra costs which high end restaurants normally charge you without you realising it until you receive the bill.

For example:

We recently went out for a nice anniversary dinner, apart from the set dinner menu which cost around $300++ for 2 persons, and we also ordered a bottle of wine cost $225++. The normal cost after 10% service charge and 7% GST should cost $614.25 in total.

  • 4 course dinner for 2 pax          : $300
  • A bottle of French Wine            : $225
  • GST 7% & Service charge 10%   : $89.25

Bill we expected to Pay  $ 614.25


However the bill came $788 after all the extras. Here are the extras:

  • 1 bottle of Sparkling Water (San Pellegrino)  $10++
  • Cheese for 1 person  $28+
  • 2 coffee espresso $25+
  • 2 glasses of special Sauternes (dessert wine recommended by sommelier) $96++

Bill we ended up paying: $800 

Difference: $185 (for 2 cups of single espressos, 1 bottle of sparkling water, cheese for 1 pax, 2 glasses of dessert wines)

For me,  that extra $185 can easily pay for a future meal.

So, how can you not to fall into these ++ costs that restaurants charge you that we often overlooked ?

Things You Should Know Before Going Fine Dining In Singapore

(How To Avoid Over Spending)

So, you have saved enough money for this special night, or you just want to enjoy a special night out with your special someone, but most often than not, when the bill comes at the end of the evening, you have unexpected surprises. Now let’s investigate.

  • Aperitif/ champagne ? Think again. (min $40-$100/ glass)

    When the sommelier greets you by asking: Good evening sir/mam, would you like a glass of aperitif or champagne to start?  You will probably be too excited about the bubbles before thinking too much  and say, “sure”. Cing Cing. at least $40/ glass of champagne. If you choose that fancy vintage Krug, it can go up to minimum $60-70 per glass.

  • sparkling water or still water? ($10 / bottle )

    Or you could just simple opt for regular ice water (tap water) which will cost you nothing and it’s more friendly for the environment as well as your wallet. Tap water in Singapore is safe to drink.

  • Cheese before dessert? ($30 /pax)

 Unless your dinner menu already includes cheese, be prepared to pay for upwards of $20-30 for a few slices of cheese.

  • Dessert Wine ? (sweet $30-60/ small glass)

Fancy a glass of Port or a glass of sweet wine to go with your cheese or dessert? yeah sure. Small pour of 100 ml for $30 and above. Don’t agree to the sommeliers “not on the wine list” offer.

  • Coffee Tea? (min $10/cup )

Coffee or tea? Again, unless your menu already includes coffee tea, otherwise expect to pay an extra $10 -15 per espresso or English breakfast tea. So think twice before you say yes. Or go home and use your Nespresso machine for a 80cent expresso.

And don’t forget,  you still have to pay extra 17% (10% Service Charge, 7% GST) on top of your bill!

Ok, don’t get me wrong. I’m not against paying for fine dining. I definitely advocate to treat yourself or your loved ones once in a while because you deserve to be pampered. Unless you don’t mind to splurge an extra $200++ on TOP of that fantastic degustation dinner that already cost $350 for 2 person (not including wine), then maybe you want to rethink again next time you go for fine dining.

You work hard enough, why not spend your money wisely ? That extra few hundred dollars can easily buy you another fantastic meal somewhere else the next day, or simply donate to charity or give it to your parents as pocket money! (That would make their day)


Just some more tips for you before going to fine dining restaurants:

  1. Do your homework

    Check the menu and wine list online days before your reservation so that you will have a rough idea of how much it’s going to cost you. By doing research prior, you can take as much time as you want to read through the wine list and choose the one that you are most comfortable with in terms of your budget and preference. If not sure, just short list a few bottles and ask the sommelier at the restaurant later.

  2. Buy a bottle, not wine by the glass

    Buying a bottle is often the cheapest option if you expect to order at least 4 glasses of wine for the evening. And the good news is, if you can’t finish that bottle, the restaurants are always happy to let you tapao (takeaway) the bottle of wine home. Not joking. Just choose a wine that is more versatile and fruit friendly which can pair with most dishes. For example, a lighter red wine like Pinot Noir, or a white Chardonnay or just simply, Champagne ?

  3. Avoid the add-ons

    As mentioned above, if you don’t want to end up paying much more, stay away from the extras that restaurants charge particularly high price such as bottled mineral water, extra cheese course, upgrade to Wagyu beef for added $35 ++, extra aperitif or champagne, or dessert wine, extra coffee that is not included in your dinner menu.

  4. Lunch Menu maybe

    Take advantage of restaurants lunch menu’s which are usually much cheaper and great value for money. They normally range from $35 -$88 and above for a good 3-4 course lunch in the same restaurant. So if you can sneak out for a lunch date, that’s definitely an advantage to your wallet.

  5. BYO (Bring Your Own Bottle)

 Check if the restaurant offers BYO. Certain restaurants offer weekday BYO with free corkage to bring in customer earlier the week. This can easily save you a $100-$200+ by bringing your own favourite bottle of wine from home.

Happy Smart Fine Dining! 🙂