10 restaurants and cafes that will fool anyone into thinking you’re overseas now

Leisure travel is still off the table at the moment and we’re all missing taking overseas cafe photos for our Instagram feed. While we can’t all visit that beautiful cafe featured in the latest K-drama, it doesn’t mean we can’t achieve the same vibe in Singapore.

AVENUE ONE has curated a list of restaurants and cafes that look like they’re actually based overseas. Think safari-themed and riverside alfresco dining spots, picture-perfect Sakura and pretty pink walls that will take you straight back to Japan, and K-drama inspired cafes that will make you feel like you’re the main character.

Now that dining restrictions have been upped from two pax to five, go ahead and round up your buddies to hit up any of our top picks to reminisce your pre-pandemic travels over some yummy food.

1. South Africa: Tiong Bahru Bakery

You may know Tiong Bahru Bakery for their classic French pastries, more specifically the croissants that come in various filling including almond, chocolate, and green tea.

The homegrown eatery has a safari-themed outlet complete with a huge tent for dine-in, so you can enjoy the natural breeze and bask in the lush foliage while digging into your pastries.

This Instagrammable spot looks just like a South African safari (minus the wild animals, of course), and is also perfect for a chill Sunday brunch or even a date with your special someone.

Tiong Bahru Bakery is located at 130E Minden Road, Singapore 248819. Find out more and view the menu here.

2. Greece: Zorba The Greek Taverna

Experience a taste of Greece in the heart of Clarke Quay at Zorba The Greek Taverna.

Set against a stunning insta-worthy backdrop of the Singapore River, this restaurant serves up the best grills, hearty plates of Greek dishes, and delicious weekend brunch fare that will have you coming back for more.

What’s more, this riverside alfresco restaurant is also pet-friendly, so you can bring you fur-kid along for a lovely day out by the waters!

Zorba The Greek Taverna is located at 3A River Valley Road, Clarke Quay, #01-02, Singapore 179024.
Find out more and view the menu here. Call 9979 0688 or email [email protected] to make your reservation.

3. South Korea: Sweet Hut Desserts

This colourful and fun cafe boasts various backdrops and settings for you to snap your Insta-worthy pics! Besides the neon lights, candy-coloured block seats, tatami areas, and even a giant birdcage, the star of this cafe is also their extensive menu of desserts and finger food.

Make sure to bookmark this place, because we think it will come in handy when you get those late-night cravings. Open from 3pm – 4am daily, you can enjoy a wide range of tasty finger food, small bites, traditional and modern desserts, and exciting bubble tea flavours at Sweet Hut.

Sweet Hut is located at 654 Geylang Road, Singapore 389584. Find out more and view the menu here.

4. Japan: Brown Butter Cafe

If your travel plans to Japan for cherry blossom viewing is thwarted, this may just be the next best thing for you.

Step into this Sakura wonderland, and you’ll feel like you’re back in a park in Japan during springtime.

Besides the faux sakura trees, the entire space is also decked out in pink and furnished with a swing and telephone booth so you can snap some cute shots.

Brown Butter serves up a range of toasts, mains, and desserts, but we’ve got to give special shoutouts to the all-time favourite Lobster Mayo Toast (S$32) and the gorgeously plated Avocado Pancakes (S$18).

Brown Butter is located at 583 Orchard Road, Forum The Shopping Mall, #01-18/19, Singapore 238884
Find out more and view the menu here.

5. Japan: Japan Rail Cafe

All aboard! The Japan Rail Cafe will transport you back to the warmly-lit JR stations of Tokyo, while familiar audios of the train announcements play in the background.

You can expect authentic Japanese cuisine and seasonal dishes from different prefectures in Japan, and even purchase merchandise and JR passes for your next trip to Japan.

Themed after the mountainous region of Yamagata this month, the special set meal (S$16) includes Tom Yum fried rice, Osaka U.FO Ramen Dondonyaki, Yamagata Daishi Crispy Chicken, and a side of salad.

Japan Rail Cafe is located at 5 Wallich Street, Guoco Tower, #01-20, Singapore 078883. Find out more and view the menu here.

6. France: Merci Marcel

Alfresco dining minus the blistering heat of the sun? We’re sold. Get comfortable in your rattan chairs and bask in the sun while still staying cool in an air-conditioned glasshouse at Merci Marcel.

Amongst the three outlets in Singapore, we suggest visiting the Tiong Bahru outlet if a chill afternoon with your friends in a tropical, bohemian-style setting is more up your alley. Each outlet showcases a different aspect of a French lifestyle — the Orchard branch features a Bauhaus style, while the Club Street branch boasts a bistro ambience.

Merci Marcel is located at 56 Eng Hoon Street, #01-68, Singapore 160056. Find out more and make your reservation here.

7. Africa: Kafe UTU

If you’ve always wanted an authentic African dining experience, but never had the chance to travel there, Kafe UTU will fulfil that wish.

The restaurant features brown and yellow walls, wooden furnishing, bold printed pillows, and African portrait art lining the walls that will make feel like you’re having a dining experience in Africa.

The cozy, yet brightly decorated space offers a diverse line-up on the menu, including hand-roasted coffee, breakfast, brunch, East and West African cuisine, and boozy cocktails at the bar.

Kafe Utu is located at 12 Jiak Chuan Road, Singapore 089265. Find out more and view the menu here.

8. Indonesia: Don Ho Social Kitchen and Bar

Missing those tropical getaways to Bali? You’re not alone. This Bali-inspired cafe might just be the answer for anyone who’s suffering from a bit of wanderlust.

Decked out in nature motifs and greenery, this tropical paradise features an open concept kitchen and communal dining space that will make for a relaxed and casual meal. Brunch, dinner, drinks, you name it, Don Ho Social Kitchen and Bar has it.

Don Ho Social Kitchen and Bar is located at 1 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089109. Find out more and make your reservation here.

9. South Korea: MOD Cafe

The duo-concept cafe and hair salon is decked in a pretty pink container-esque exterior that’s perfect for any OOTD shots. We’re getting Stylenanda Pink Pool Cafe and Common Ground vibes that make us wish we were on a plane to Seoul right now!

Once you’ve satisfied your sweet cravings at MOD Cafe with a Cheesecake Factory Cheesecake (S$7.90) or Godiva Double Chocolate Cheesecake (S$10.90), swing by the salon and give your tresses a makeover.

MOD Cafe is located at 1A Kuo Chuan Avenue, Singapore 426888. Find out more and view the menu here.

10. France: Angelina

Ever dreamt of being Emily when you watched the Netflix comedy-drama series Emily in Paris? Brunch or tea at Angelina should at least help you get photos that look the part.

A sophisticated and elegant cafe that was originally from Paris, this is nestled in the heart of Marina Bay Sands. This cafe has a long-standing history that dates back to 1903, so you know the food definitely won’t disappoint.

Angelina is located at 2 Bayfront Avenue, Marina Bay Sands, Canal Level, #B2-89/89A, Singapore 018972. Find out more and view the menu here.