SINGAPORE - Riverside dining at Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay may be on the way out. But for diners looking for an idyllic meal by the water, there are plenty of other options.
You can head to sleepy heartland enclaves in Punggol and Changi. Waterfront parks in Woodlands, Sembawang, Bedok and East Coast also offer dining options.
For less far-flung options, a clutch of eateries at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, which boasts a man-made meandering stream, may also do the trick.
For more swish venues, there is Quayside Isle in Sentosa Cove or Keppel Bay.
Last month, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) issued new guidelines restricting outdoor riverside dining in parts of Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay, including Riverside Point, which teem with eateries and watering holes.
These places have to remove tables set right by the river, in a move to "free up the riverfront for public access".
The curbs put a downer on the culinary scene here, says Mr Daniel Lim, 32, a director at Beaulieu House, a restaurant in Sembawang Park overlooking the Johor Strait.
While his 200-seat restaurant was not affected by the rules, he was asked to remove his 50-seat outdoor area last year by URA, causing business to dip by about 30 per cent.
He gets about 60 to 80 diners a night.
Says Mr Lim: "Outdoor waterfront dining is common in many cities with fantastic water views, such as Hong Kong.
"When you take this away, it defeats the purpose of dining by the sea and makes it no different from eating in an enclosed space such as a shopping mall."
As the public already has access to many recreational waterfront areas, there should be a "better balance" with eateries being located in sea-facing prime spots where possible, says Mr Yuan Oeij, who is in his 40s, and chairman of The Prive Group.
His waterfront eatery located on Keppel Island sees more than 100 diners daily, but he expects more to come as choices for waterside dining are getting limited.
It is the same story at Uncle Leong Seafood Restaurant in Punggol, which is perched next to the Punggol Serangoon reservoir.
Having a waterside location draws diners and it would be a "terrible waste" if this is taken away, says director Jeff Soon, 27.
On average, 80 per cent of the 300-seat space is filled each night, he says, but this may also rise with diners widening their search for other sea- facing options.
Diners, too, say the narrowed list of seafront eateries is driving them to search for other places.
"As it is, the Clarke Quay area is too crowded on weekends," says Ms Melanie Ng, 41, a housewife.
The Punggol resident heads for the casual dining eateries in her neighbourhood twice a month, usually on weekends.
She adds: "Perhaps it will drum up business for the quieter eateries as people start to come here for the pleasure of dining outdoors, with the sea breeze in their faces."
Life!Weekend checks out the alternatives available around Singapore.
What: Set in a colonial-style mansion overlooking the Johor Strait, this restaurant serves a mix of Chinese and Western fare such as crabmeat bisque and barbecued items such as yakitori chicken skewers and prawns with salted egg (between $20 and $40 a person). There is no outdoor seating at this casual family eatery, but it has a view of the water.
Where: 117 Beaulieu Road, open: 11am to 2.30pm and 6.30 to 11pm (Mondays to Saturdays), 11am to 11pm (Sundays)
Info: Call 6257-9234 or go to www.beaulieuhouse.com.sg
Uncle Leong Seafood Restaurant
What: This two-year-old seafood restaurant used to be in an Ang Mo Kio coffee shop, and serves different variations of crab, such as salted egg, sambal or white pepper ($55 a kg). A family-friendly joint with plenty of spacious outdoor seating by the reservoir.
Where: 6 Tebing Lane, 01-03, Punggol East, open: 4.30 to 11.30pm daily
Info: Call 6441-1848 or go to www.uncleleongseafood.com
Bacon & Booze
What: A relatively new eatery which opened in March, located at the tip of Punggol Waterway Park. It features dishes made with the cured meat such as bacon-wrapped chicken strips, sausages and enoki ($9.90 a dish). Diners can nibble on the bar bites with beers as they enjoy the evening breeze off the water.
Where: 900 Punggol Road End, open: 3pm to 1am (Tuesdays to Fridays), 9am to 1am (weekends), closed on Mondays
Info: Call 6489-5679 or go to www.baconbooze.com
Frienzie Bar and Bistro
What: Located along Punggol River, this relaxed bistro serves Western fare such as buffalo wings ($8.90) and char broiled filet mignon ($25.90). Favoured by professional types and families who live nearby.
Where: 10 Tebing Lane, 01-02, open: 5pm to 1am (Sundays to Thursdays), 5pm to 2am (Fridays and Saturdays)
Info: Call 6441-0966
What: This family-friendly restaurant is run by ex-lawyer Willin Low of eight-year-old Wild Rocket fame. His eatery - the second offshoot of the one at Emily Hill - sits on the edge of a 5ha pond surrounded by greenery.
It serves Asian-Western fusion food, such as luncheon meat fries, Sarawak chicken curry and braised beef cheek (about $20 for a main course and a drink).
Where: 1 Punggol Park, Hougang Avenue 8, open: 4pm to midnight (Sundays to Thursdays), 4pm to 1am (Fridays), 4pm to 2am (Saturdays)
Info: Call 6858-2087 or go to www.wildrocket.com.sg
The Wine Company
What: Opened in 2011, the wine bar - which also has branches in places such as Dempsey and Changi Village - offers wining and dining by the water on a pedestrian pathway to Sentosa.
Food items to accompany drinks include the sous chef pizza topped with either chicken teriyaki or parma ham and arugula ($12), or cheese platters depending on which wine you are having - red, white or sweet ($19.80 to $26.50).
Where: 6 Sentosa Gateway, 01-08, open: 5pm to midnight (Mondays to Thursdays), 5pm to 1am (Fridays and eve of public holidays), noon to 1am (Saturdays), and noon to 11pm (Sundays and public holidays)
Info: Call 6376-9029 or go to www.thewinecompany.com.sg
Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park
What: Located in the pond gardens segment of the revamped park, this eatery sits next to a man-made meandering river.
It has become quite popular with families living nearby. Menu items include Western favourites such as fish burger and churros with prices ranging from $8 to $15.
Where: 501 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1, open: 5.30 to 10.30pm (Tuesdays to Fridays), 9am to 2.30pm and 5.30 to 10.30pm (weekends and public holidays)
Info: Call 6459-5743 or go to grub.com.sg
East Coast Park
Mana Mana Beach Restaurant & Bar
What: Alfresco dining by the beach, with Mediterranean fare such as Lamb Persillade ($21.50), a pan-roasted lamb rack with sauteed potatoes, and the Surf & Turf ($26.50), a platter of ribeye steak, grilled slipper lobster and roasted baby potatoes.
It attracts sports buffs who come by after beach activities, as well as families.
Where: 1212 East Coast Parkway Area E, open: 5 to 11pm (Mondays), noon to 11pm (Tuesdays to Fridays), 9am to 11pm (weekends)
Info: Call 6339-8878 or go to www.manamana.com
What: Overlooking the calm waters at East Coast Park, this homey eatery serves Eurasian favourites such as Sunset Devil Curry served with rice and belacan ($19) and spicy oxtail stew, a slow-cooked stew served with French loaf ($20).
Where: 1300 East Coast Parkway, open: 5pm to midnight (Mondays to Thursdays), 5pm to 1am (Fridays), 11 to 1am (Saturdays), 11am to midnight (Sundays)
Info: Call 6448-9060 or go to www.sunsetbay.com.sg
Sabio by the Sea
What: Opened last December, this grill restaurant and tapas bar has outdoor seats facing the yachts of the marina.
Dine on dishes such as La Carne, a grilled ribeye with cheese sauce and grilled cherry pepper ($39 for 300g), and Esparrago, grilled asparagus with serrano ham and paprika ($18), while you feast on the fancy view and imagine yourself on the French Riviera.
Where: 31 Ocean Way, 01-02, open: noon to 10pm (Mondays to Thursdays), noon to midnight (Fridays and Saturdays), 10.30am to 10pm (Sundays)
Info: Call 6690-7568 or go to www.sabio.sg/bythesea
Quayside Fish Bar and Bistro
What: This modern Australian gastrobar serves set lunches with dishes such as Tiger beer-battered turbot with white truffle-scented shoestring fries and homemade tiramisu ($29 for a two-course meal, $39 for a three-course meal), so you can combine a quick business lunch with a little waterside getaway.
Where: 31 Ocean Way, 01-11, open: noon to midnight (Tuesdays to Thursdays), noon to 1am (Fridays), 11 to 1am (Saturdays) and 11am to midnight (Sundays)
Info: Call 6268-8633 or go to www.qsfishbar.com
What: The second outlet of the European bistro offers dine-in and take-away options such as a classic beef bourgignon ($30), pan-fried sea bass with lemon thyme risotto ($32) and honey- glazed pork ribs ($30). Run by the Emmanuel Stroobant Group.
Where: 31 Ocean Way, 01-06, open: 5pm to midnight (Mondays to Thursdays), 5pm to 1am (Fridays), noon to 1am (Saturdays), noon to midnight (Sundays and public holidays)
Info: Call 6438-4747 or go to www.picotin.com.sg/sentosacove
What: This Mediterranean diner opened along the swish stretch in June, with items such as manakeesh ($14.50 to $15.50, depending on size), which are freshly baked pitas with beef or chicken, and doner kebab ($14 to $20 depending on size) doused with tzatziki and spicy sauce.
Where: 31 Ocean Way, 01-07, open: 5.30 to 10pm (weekdays), and noon to 10pm (weekends)
Info: Call 6339-0903 or go to www.kebabhouse.sg
Note di Sicilia
What: A lounge serving low-fat gelato and sorbet made fresh every day, with flavours such as chestnut, mulberry, watermelon, caramel and mint yogurt ($8 to $12, depending on size).
Popular with those seeking a sweet treat after a meal, with an open seating space next to the waterfront.
Where: 31 Ocean Way, 01-09, open: 10am to 10pm daily
Info: Call 8168-4340 or go to www.notedisicilia.com
Woodlands Waterfront Park
Rasa Istimewa Woodlands Waterfront Restaurant
What: Opened last year, this halal restaurant serves seafood dishes such as ikan bakar - a platter of barbecued stingray and cuttlefish ($12.50), and black pepper and chilli crab (about $50 a kg). It faces a 1.5km-long waterfront promenade in the 11ha park.
Where: 6A Admiralty Road West, open: 2pm to midnight (Sundays to Thursdays), 3pm to 1am (Fridays and Saturdays)
Info: Call 6366-9339
Bedok Reservoir Park
Wawawa - Bistro by the Reservoir
What: Located in the park's sculpture garden, this bistro serves Western dishes with a heavy German influence such as a BBQ baby rack, pork knuckle and sausage platter (between $11 and $20 a person).
It has an alfresco area which seats about 80 diners, overlooking the water.
Where: 901 Bedok Reservoir Road, open: 5pm to midnight (Mondays to Thursdays and public holidays), 5pm to 1am (Fridays and eve of public holidays), 11 to 1am (Saturdays), 11am to midnight (Sundays)
Info: Call 6285-8038 or go to www.wawawa.com.sg
What: An alfresco family- and pet- friendly cafe, popular with passing cyclists and families.
It serves dishes such as the Meat Lovers, a mixed grill combo of grilled chicken, sirloin and veal sausage ($25.90) or the Catch of the Week ($13.90), black mussels simmered in tom yam broth, with a side of garlic bread.
Where: 260 Nicoll Drive, Changi Beach Carpark 1, open: noon to 11pm (Mondays to Thursdays), noon to 1am (Fridays and Saturdays), 10am to 11pm (Sundays)
Info: Call 6546-5229 or go to www.changibistro.com.sg
What: The upscale cafe and waterfront bar opened in 2007 and is a short walk away from shopping mall VivoCity.
Popular dishes include the sticky date pudding ($12) and eggs Benedict ($16).
Where: 2 Keppel Bay Vista, open: waterfront bar: noon to midnight (Sundays to Thursdays), noon to 1am (Fridays, Saturdays and eve of public holidays); cafe: 9am to midnight (daily, including public holidays)
Info: Call 6776-0777 or go to www.theprivegroup.com.sg/prive
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