A cuisine that’s impossible to dislike (unless you’re lactose-intolerant), Italian food is one that screams comfort and elegance and promises satisfaction of the highest level. No, we’re not talking about your weeknight TV dinners with instant pasta and canned sauces, we’re talking about the real deal. Italian food is one that relies heavily on fresh, high-quality produce, very good cheese and an experienced chef who knows how to properly harness the taste and textures of all the various components.
Craving Italian fare, girls? Look no further. Just ask anyone and they just might point you toward the direction of any one of these 10 highly acclaimed stalwarts of Italian cuisine in Singapore. Made-from-scratch pasta complemented with beautiful rich sauces, wood-fired pizzas and a repertoire of authentic Italian staples stemming from various regions of Italy that will leave your taste buds in a frenzy — you know this is one gastronomic ride that you don’t want to miss out on.
Buzzy Hong Kong Street is flanked by some of the city’s top restaurants and bars but pop by number 33 where Amò resides and let us tell you, you’re in for Italian food to remember. Founded by restaurateur-chef Beppe De Vito of the ilLido Group, this smart-casual Italian eatery and bar serve to combine Italian traditional recipes with contemporary techniques and innovation. In a similar spirit to its name — which is short for “amore”, a term of endearment commonly used in Italy — the restaurant aims to be a social spot where elevated Italian dining and people from all walks of life converge over antipasti, pasta and more.
Fresh, seasonal and authentic Italian fare is the name of the game over at Basilico and it truly doesn’t get any better than made-from-scractch pasta, antipasti and a sumptuous array of signature mains and desserts. Among the plethora of crowd-favourites, the dishes you absolutely must try include the Lasagnette con Ragu' di Manzo, Basilico e Crema al Parmigiano and lip-smacking good Beef Carpaccio. At slick and swanky Basilico, guests are able to marvel at the theatre of activity surrounding an open rotisserie, espresso bar and walk-in wine cellar. There’s even an alfresco dining area on the terrace overlooking the pool that’s perfect for intimate dinners.
Buona Terra is a stunning example of immaculately interpreted classic Italian fare situated in the heart of the city. The charm of this one Michelin-starred Italian restaurant begins with its location followed by its charming interior. The cosy 22-seater restaurant comes housed within a monochromatic colonial bungalow, its lush and seemingly private setting making it ideal for a quiet and intimate dining experience. The kitchen, helmed by chef de cuisine Denis Lucchi, has a menu that incorporates only the best that the season has to offer both from the land and sea. Artfully crafted to demonstrate the culinary team’s prowess and attention to detail, diners can expect to tuck into creative expressions of Northern Italy’s favourite dishes.
The word cicheti refers to the signature small plates native to Venetian wine bars, that meld traditional Italian sensibilities with Mediterranean flavours and influences. Occupying a two-storey shophouse unit along Kandahar Street in the slightly less buzzy backstreets of Singapore’s Kampong Glam, Cicheti is a chic, homely trattoria where great food and convivial vibes coexist. Handmade pasta is made fresh and cooked perfectly al dente over at Bar Cicheti's open kitchen. Hand-tossed, wood-fired pizzas, scratch-made pasta and more. What more can a girl ask for?
Making the decision to reserve a table at Garibaldi Italian Restaurant & Bar to spend a romantic date night is rarely a bad decision. In fact, we dare say that this is possibly one of the best spots to visit if you’re looking to spend an intimate evening with equal parts pampering and delectably tasty Italian food. From the moment you sit down, a tray of complimentary olives and cheese gets served. At Garibaldi, service is always top-notch and the food? Remarkable. The a la carte menu, hand-crafted by Chef-Owner Roberto Galetti, congeals together fresh produce and authentic recipes to create traditional and hearty Italian dishes. Their handmade pasta gets full marks, with their Spinach and Ricotta Cheese Tortellini with Truffle Mushroom Cream Sauce and Perigord Black Truffle, as well as the Ravioli Al Funghi Porcini stuffed with veal and porcini mushrooms serving as undeniable proof. Oh, and religious meat-eaters will surely enjoy their signature Braised Wagyu Beef Cheek with Bone Marrow and Mashed Potatoes.
Where Italian technique and sensibilities and the Japanese commitment to sourcing fresh, seasonal produce converge, Terra Tokyo Italian is home to fusion Italian fare served omakase-style that’s anything but predictable. Tokyo-born chef-owner, Seita Nakahara explores this similarity through his carefully curated multi-course omakase that aims to feature Japanese ingredients prepared with Italian techniques. While traditional Italian folks might scream blasphemy, we call it art. Expect exquisite plates such as Risotto with Hokkaido Sea Urchin, Sea Bream Carpaccio, Charred Pigeon with Black Truffles and a slew of other imaginative signatures. Menus are ever-changing and the restaurant keeps a tab on returning customers to ensure regulars are never fed the same thing twice—talk about attention to detail.
Tucked away in the neighbourhood district of Hillview is iO Italian Osteria, a warm, cosy space, a no-frills joint that’s often lively and upbeat, accompanied by the sounds of staff bustling about with steaming plates of pasta and other delicious goodies. We recommend starting your meal proper with an order of bread—and yes, they bake it fresh in-house—studded with fresh tomatoes, truffles and other delicious things. A must-order here is definitely their porchetta, stuffed, rolled and roasted pork belly boasting the perfect crackling, savoury juiciness and tenderness to die for. You can’t go wrong with their repertoire of pasta dishes but their Taglioni al Tartufo Nero Di Norcia is a dish you’ll come back for. Think springy strands of pasta beautifully emulsified in a sauce comprising generous amounts of winter black truffles.
A family-friendly Italian restaurant where the emphasis is placed on classic Italian cooking techniques, come experience proper comfort food at LINO by means of homemade pizzas, pasta and a slew of Italian homestyle dishes. To Begin, we recommend going for their Octopus, a greater starter to get that showcases delicate and tender chargrilled octopus tentacles drizzled in a light balsamic sauce. It’s fresh, addictive and great for sharing. For mains, their fork-tender Binjai’s Braised Lamb Shank is a must-try. They’re also very well known for their pizza offerings—mostly remarkably so for their signature Burrata Pizza. The crowning glory: burrata cheese stands majestically atop a perfectly crisp thin-crusted pizza, topped with marinated cherry tomatoes, tomato passata, and basil pesto.
Paying homage to the distinct influences and classic recipes of Southern Italy, Waterfall Ristorante Italiano is home to fresh seafood, handmade pasta and heirloom recipes that are quite unlike the typical Italian fare you’re probably used to. Expect warm Italian hospitality and a smorgasbord of fine Italian wines to choose from—available by the glass. Must-try dishes include the Vitello Tonnato, a summertime staple comprising poached veal that’s thinly sliced and topped with a creamy tuna sauce, as well as their buttery smooth, beautifully tender Linguine Allo Scoglio, tossed generously with fresh mussels, scallops, clams, prawns and cherry tomatoes.
Brilliantly melding together traditional Italian cooking methods with bold flavours and local ingredients, Zafferano Italian Restaurant & Lounge best exemplifies modern-Italian cuisine. Priding itself on sourcing and using only the freshest ingredients, the restaurant’s daily menu includes house-made tagliolini pasta, hand-crafted ravioli as well as fresh sea urchin with caviar over cold angel hair pasta. There’s also the Chef’s Menu, a specially curated multi-course menu that aims to showcase ingredients sourced from around the world through numerous elevated plates.
(Photos from: Alvin Tan)
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