These restaurants are perfect for times when you just want to feast on hearty Italian favourites straight out of nonna’s kitchen
Singapore’s food scene is so vibrant that barely a week goes by without the opening of a shiny new restaurant offering something new and exotic. And yet, there’s just something so satisfying about good old comfort food like a heaping plate of pasta, steaming hot risotto or wholesome, hearty lasagne. The notoriously finicky gourmands in Singapore must agree because there are plenty of excellent Italian restaurants to hit up when cravings for the classics strike. Here are our favourite Italian joints to beat a path to when the hunger pangs strike. Enjoy.
Elegantly decorated in rich hues of polished brass and bronze, Aura is a stunning 90-seat restaurant at the National Gallery Singapore. The restaurant, which is part of the ilLido Group, offers a wide range of antipasti, pastas and mains inspired by Italy’s home-style recipes. The pastas are always a hit – such as the Tagliatelle with Beef Ragu, Charred Carbonara with mace and Vermouth crumble. What’s interesting is that there’s also a gluten-free menu here, which you’ll be hard-pressed to find in the realm of Italian cuisine.
National Gallery Singapore
1 Saint Andrew’s Road
Tel: +65 6866 1977
Located at Regent Hotel, Basilico’s immensely popular Italian buffet spreads are the reason it hosts a steady stream of repeat clientele. With antipasti, live and dessert stations, as well as a rotisserie, espresso bar and walk-in wine cellar, this is the place to go for a hearty, gut-busting meal. Not a big eater? No worries. There’s also semi-buffet and a la carte options for those with smaller appetites.
Regent Hotel Singapore,
1 Cuscaden Road
Tel: +65 6725 3232
The sister restaurant to the pizza-centric Cicheti on Kandahar Street, this establishment oozes a similar stylish yet laid back vibe that gets one in the perfect mood for a feast. At Bar Cicheti, chef Lim Yew Aun, who has spent close to 10 years honing his skills in Italian cuisine, offers a wide selection of fresh pastas. The best one here, or so we think, is the simplest – the Cacio e Pepe. Made from just three ingredients – thick spaghetti, pepper and cheese – it requires plenty of technical finesse to pull off successfully. It’s pretty filling, too, and is best washed down with one the bar’s many natural wines.
10 Jiak Chuan Road
Tel: +65 6789 9806
This intimate one Michelin-starred contemporary Italian restaurant is helmed by chef extraordinaire Beppe De Vito, who is also the founder of the ilLido group (which owns Aura, Amo and Osteria Art). Braci, which means embers in Italian, aims to elevate the “primitive” style of cooking with a wood fire through the use of the Josper oven and the shichirin grill. The restaurant’s signature risotto dish pays homage to the port city of Venice as the connection between Asia and Italy with the use of fresh seafood from around the world and the use of sweet prawn paste, a typical Asian spice. Dig in, then head up to the rooftop bar, which makes a great spot for a post-dinner nightcap.
52 Boat Quay
Tel: +65 6866 1933
This may be a fairly new kid on the block but it’s already generating buzz for its homely vibe, mouth-watering recipes and generous portions. Run by chef Fulvio Manini, a former executive at a luxury company, this charming 45-seater restaurant has been attracting plenty of fashion industry insiders, and you know what they say about food when fashion people can’t get enough of it. Many of the recipes are inspired by chef Manini’s family, who used to run a restaurant in the Lombardy region of Northern Italy. The Classic Beef and Pork Lasagne is a must as is the rich Rigatoni al Brasato di Manzo (pasta in braised beef sauce), which are both best accompanied by Italian wine, of course.
14B Kensington Park Road
Tel: +65 6281 1286
This swanky restaurant at One Fullerton boasts sweeping views of Singapore’s marina waterfront and is the place to bring someone you’d like to impress. Chef Matteo Ponti draws influences from every corner of Italy for his fine contemporary Italian fare. Refined versions of classics include Risotto with Sardinian Saffron and Blue Fin Tuna and Linguine with Sardinian Bottarga and Hokkaido Sea Urchin.
1 Fullerton Road
Tel: +65 6690 7564
For the past 15 years, Garibaldi has been consistently serving up some of the most delicious fine Italian food. Executive chef and owner Roberto Galetti, who steered the restaurant to a one Michelin star award, is a seasoned hand at turning out authentic Italian dishes like Penne Carbonara and Rigatoni alla Bolognese. The restaurant also offers a good selection of Italian cheeses and delightful starters, including a Wagyu Beef Carpaccio and Italian Parma Ham with Porchini mushrooms.
36 Purvis Street
Tel: +65 6837 1468
My favourite dish out of the six-course seasonal tasting menu that I sample is Polipo – Sardinian octopus leg served with seasonal vegetables and a salmoriglio dressing. Chef Marco Guccio prepares the octopus exactly how his grandfather would: by aggressively smashing the tenderising the flesh before gently poaching and pan-searing it. The resulting flesh is firm to the touch but supple and creamy once in the gob.
20 Gemmill Lane
Tel: +65 6224 1684
For a refined take on the classics such as pasta carbonara, risotto and tiramisu, head to the newly renovated La Strada, part of the Les Amis F&B group. Chef Dalton Fong, who has been on multiple immersion trips to Italy, showcases his confident hand in whipping up crowd pleasing Italian favourites. At dinner, the menu expands to include a wider range of dishes with starters like Sea Octopus Polpo and a selection of meats and seafood fresh off the grill. Do make room for dessert like the aforementioned tiramisu as well as Crème Brûlée and Affogato.
1 Scotts Road
Tel: +65 6735 6656
Perhaps the menu item that best embodies what Monti is about is the Baby Squid in a Cherry Tomato Broth. Decidedly rustic, the broth is delicate, as is the squid, with the capers adding a lively bite to the broth. It’s served with plenty of crusty bread, which can also be dunked into one of three varieties of olive oil on offer, ranging from subtle to extremely robust. Sourced directly from small growers in Italy, they come in Monti-branded containers, but are unfortunately not available for sale. More’s the pity; I would have made off with the Nocellara if I had the chance.
82 Collyer Quay
Tel: +65 6535 0724
Founded by chef Osvaldo Forlino, the restaurant is staffed by his family members — even his mother takes shifts at the restaurant during her frequent visits to Singapore. As its name suggests, the restaurant by and large revolved around a setting where diners can sit back and enjoy whatever the chefs’s making that night. It isn’t too much to say that No Menu is quite like an omakase restaurant. That said, there is a small menu, for those who’re satisfied having just a single main or a couple of signature dishes to share.
23 Boon Tat Street
Tel: +65 6224 0091
Ristorante da Valentino
Located in Turf Club Road, chef Valentino Valtulina’s Ristorante Da Valentino is a bit of a trek from the city centre, but is well worth the commute. Savour honest-to-goodness trattoria staples like Prosciutto Ham on Rock Melon, Calamari Fritti and generous plates of pastas and pizzas. Plus, chef Valtulina almost always has a selection of off-menu items up his sleeve so do enquire about them when placing your orders.
Ristorante da Valentino
200 Turf Club Road
Tel: +65 6462 0555
Buona Terra’s location along Scotts Road makes it a great spot for a stylish meal, whether it is for business or leisure. Chef Denis Lucch, offers elevated Italian cuisine inspired by a collection of recipes handed down through generations of his family. Highlights include an indulgent Carbonara Pasta with cured Japanese organic egg and shavings of Perigord truffle and a classic tiramisu. The restaurant also has a VIP room furnished with Victorian armchairs for those who want some privacy or a space for a special celebration.
29 Scotts Road
Tel: +65 6733 0209
The pastas and mains are where Fraternali’s stroke of genius really lies. All the pastas are handmade and hand-pulled in the restaurant, using flour from Italy. Instead of using a single egg yolk to 100g of flour (as normal homemade pasta recipes call for), Fraternali uses 24 egg yolks to a kilogram of flour. You’ll get to savour the pasta in the signature dish, Spaghetti “Alla Chitarra” with lobster. The lobster is first marinated with lobster oil and herbs, before being prepared sous vide. It’s then tossed with smoked paprika. The pasta is flavoured with a lobster broth, made using a blend of lobster shells and tomatoes.
Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & spa
2 Bukit Manis Road
Tel: +65 6708 8310
Located at the 43rd floor of the Ocean Financial center in the heart of CBD, Zafferano presents a surreal dining experience, overlooking Singapore’s skyscrapers in the CBD and Marina Bay areas. It is not just the spectacular view that brings in the crowd, but it is the exquisite classic Italian flavours that makes the diners come back for more. Zafferano’s employs a modern, international approach to their food, using fresh produce sourced mainly from Europe. PSA: Zafferano will also be introducing a special four-course dinner for the upcoming National Day. Available on the 9 August 2019 at $98++, highlights include Raw Red Prawn Ricotta, Carnaroli Acquerello Risotto and Quail Ragout.
Read the full review here
Ocean Financial Centre
10 Collyer Quay
Tel: +65 6509 1488