March 10, 2015
What makes a good Italian restaurant in Singapore? Is it the authenticity, or is it simply how good you felt while dining there? I would vote for the latter and say that there are many good Italian restaurants in Singapore which despite adding that local touch, still make pretty damn good pastas and pizzas.
In this best Italian Restaurants in Singapore guide, I tried multiple different Italian restaurants in the country all with their own style. I’d have to say that from my experience talking with chefs, authentic Italian cuisine is just too diverse from region to region from Sardinia to Sicilian, the differences are astounding with each Italian chef anchoring his own region’s cuisine- it’s hard to say which is better when we’re comparing a different region’s cuisine against each other. But know that Italian food is beyond just pasta and pizzas as most Singaporeans will assume.
And then there are local chefs who after training under Italian restaurants, start creating their own style of Italian/ Singaporean cooking that wonderfully pleases the local palate. There are many Italian restaurants here that are closely authentic, but there will be certain tweaks here and there to suit the market (it’s just business sense).
I’m not complaining as long as I find it delicious, and I hope you do too. This is an article based on what locals and expats like, which may not necessarily imply authenticity.
Due to the huge number of Italian restaurants in Singapore, I initially attempted to split the restaurants based on price, but I eventually realized the line is pretty thin with just a few dollars separating many dishes, and also depending on what you order. In the end I can only present a list without segmentation.
After all the burrata cheese, risottos, pastas and tiramisus, here’s the result of my tedious tastings:
If you are looking for a good place to wind down on Friday night after work, Pasta Brava comes highly recommended (reservations are necessary). The prices are similar to other Italian eateries along the Bukit Timah/Holland/Orchard belt but the quality of the food is probably one of my favorites in Singapore with very reasonable pricing.
The Spaghetti Della Pescatrice – Spaghetti with seafood in squid ink sauce ($24) is probably one of their most well-known items on the menu and definitely a crowd favorite. The Risotto Al Funghi Porcini – Arborio rice cooked with porcini mushrooms, white wine & parmesan cheese ($24) is another winner for me with its cheesy base and thick mushroom stock.
Pasta Brava: 11 Craig Road Singapore 089671 | Tel: 6227 7550 | Website
Basilico has long been regarded as one of the people’s favorite choice Italian restaurant in Singapore, and what adds to their recognition is constant evolution of their menu.
One of the biggest draw is their Italian lunch buffet ($50++ weekdays), which is a great hit and you typically see the restaurant full on weekdays lunch period. For dinner, they serve a semi-buffet with mains although the spread is not as good as lunch.
Buffet highlights include: Carpaccio with Black Truffle and Parmesan, King Scallop Salad, Beef Medallion with Portobello Mushrooms, Clams in Pinot Grigio Wine and homemade Italian Gelato!
Prices are really reasonable for the buffet quality and variety as well.
Basilico Italian Restaurant: 1 Cuscaden Road, (Regent Hotel level 2), Singapore 249715 | Tel: 6733 8888 | Website
Situated in the atas, but serene Greenwood neighborhood made accessible only by car, La Braceria features authentic Italian cuisine form the Southern Amalfi coast. There are quite a few parking lots around, but always seem to be parked with expensive cars I can’t afford to even pay attention to.
The restaurant is owned by Chef Fabio Iannone and managed by his younger brother Adriano Iannone and their business partner, Chef Mauro. The al dente Angel Hair Pasta wth Italian Chili sauce ($26) is something to look out for as recommended by the chef.
La Braceria: 5 Greendale Ave, Singapore 289501 | Tel: 6465 5918 | Website
Head Chef Joon informed us of his stringent demand for La Strada to use only the finest ingredients. Pretty reasonably priced with simplicity and finesse in execution, this is what makes La Strada a worthwhile visit.
Entering vintage green-painted doors takes you into a humble interior furnished much like a home, with low-hanging dining spotlights on wood tables and striped upholstery. A dainty chalkboard announcing the daily chef’s specials lies among the throng of photo frames on fresh mustard walls.
Try the Homemade Egg Pasta ($18++) which is lightly peppered with grey mullet essence with a simple springiness thats oh so delectable. The King Crab Risotto ($80++) is another more premium item that’s filled with oceanic flavours and truffles.
La Strada: 1 Scotts Road, #01-11 Shaw Centre, Singapore 228208 | Tel: 6735 6656 | Website
Capri Trattoria is a small outfit exhibiting attendant bric-a-brac on its brick mantle and seashell-ridged sand-white walls. You can expect to receive the full attention of Italian owner Fabrizio and his dedicated team while chiming to the mellow classical Italian playlist.
A must try is the Salsiccia alla calabrese ($28) – homemade pork sausages that are cooked with herbs like paprika gives each wholesome bite a fragrant and mildly spicy zesty kick that is undeniably delicious. Very meaty with heavy porkiness and is definitely recommended for meat lovers. Another unique feature is the Sicilian styled Gelato ($6) that is dressed in extra virgin olive oil and pepper.
Capri Trattoria and Pizzeria: 3 Binjai Park, Singapore 589819 | Tel: 6468 4886 | Website
Bella Pasta is the sister restaurant of famous pizzeria, Bella Pizza. Established in 2010, Pasta Bella serves authentic Italian without much modifications for the local palate. Scamorza Affumicata Con Prosciutto ($21) is a delicious change of pace from the usual Burrata salad that’s light, meaty yes very appetizing. They also do a very authentic Spaghetti Alla Carbonara ($22), which doesn’t use cream.
Take a walk around Robertson Quay and you will be spoilt for choice with the numerous eateries, however if you are looking for certainty of Italian quality, look no further and head over to Bella Pasta. Settle into your meal, enjoy the tranquil of the riverfront and people watch.
Bella Pasta: 30 Robertson Quay, Singapore 238251 | Tel:6836 5692 | Website
Cacio e Pepe translates to ‘Cheese and Pepper’ from Italian, which are two ingredients that typically go well together. Hidden away in the quiet suburban bukit batok area, Cacio e Pepe strives to create a relaxed yet authentic Italian dining experience.
The modest restaurant can sit 50 people and provide group events as needed. The luscious Tagliatelle al Tartufo ($24) is a homemade pasta covered in truffle cream sauce with scallops and prawns that you should try. Chef specials are also often available, presenting new dishes not in the menu like the weekend special – Lobster Linguine.
Cacio e Pepe: 3 Chu Lin Rd, Singapore 669890 | Tel: 6760 3534 | Website
Rsitorante Pietrasanta is family business run by 2 Italian brothers, inspired by the quaint simplicity of the town of Pietrasanta in Tuscany, Italy.
Focusing on an authentic Tuscan dining experience, one can expect fresh and delicious Italian fare, complemented by a great glass of wine recommended by operations manager, Giuseppe.
The rustic homey interior is an ideal getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city to enjoy homely Italian cooking by Chef Loris. Maltagliati alla salsa di aragosta ($25.90), a handmade square pasta with lobster sauce is an example of the earnest passion put in combined with quality seafood.
Ristorante Pietrasanta: 5B Portsdown Road, Singapore 139311 | Tel: 6479 9521 | Website
Al Forno East Coast was set up in 1995, and was purportedly the first Italian restaurant to start importing fresh ingredients like tomatoes and cheese directly from Italy.
The restaurant name derives from ‘Al Forno’ dishes, which refers to food that is baked in an oven, which commonly includes Italian favorites like pizzas , breads and pasta dishes. Thus you can tell that their Neapolitan pizzas and breads are one of the highlights here, being baked in a traditional wood-fire oven with undivided attention.
Enjoy a warm dinner with the festive atmosphere of Napoli, created authentically by Al Forno’s Italian owners. Food is prepared from scratch, so waiting time might be a little long. Al Forno even does deliveries!
Al Forno East Coast: 400 East Coast Rd, Le Peranakan Hotel, Singapore 428996 | Tel: 63488781 | Website
For its creative and diverse spread that extends to its litany of displayed awards, Pietro Ristorante impressed me with fairly affordable yet tasty Italian cuisine. Many of the items including pizza and pasta are also available in a 1-for-1 deal during lunch time, luring many office workers to this area despite its more isolated location.
The brick-oven-baked Quattro Stagioni ($24) pizza, with a specially made crust designed to be hollow and thus very crisp and light, is one such example of the 1-for-1 deal during lunch.
Who says Singaporeans can’t do good Italian food? Chef Peter Neo has shown his capability at adapting to the local market with his long years of culinary experience working in classic Italian restaurants.
Pietro Ristorante Italiano: 12 Jalan Kelulut Road, Singapore 809030 | Tel: 6484 5528 | Website
In a cosy ambience adorn with unique Italian trinkets, ETNA serves a pleasant contemporary Italian cuisine with a Sicilian touch in a semi-fine dining setting.
The dishes at ETNA command center-stage in its explosion of colours and tastes using only the finest authentic produce imported from Italy. The friendly Italian chef-owner Anna Borrasi greets guests with a wide smile, offering the whole, comprehensive Italian dining experience with a highly personal touch. It is no wonder the restaurant is actually an abbreviation for “Every Table Needs Attention” – Service is really one of the most outstanding aspects of ETNA, in addition to the amazing Italian cuisine.
ETNA is one of the 20 authentic Italian restaurants in Singapore proudly awarded the Ospitalita Italiana Gold Seal Award, which guarantees each customer high quality authentic Italian food.
Etna Italian Restaurant: 110 Upp East Coast Road Singapore 455298 | Tel: 6444 9530 | Website
Donna Carmela is an authentic family owned Italian restaurant in the heart of Bukit Timah, joint by a Brazilian restaurant by the same owners as well.
Donna Carmela has received many mixed reviews and are perhaps a victim of their own popularity with huge crowds especially on the weekends. Portions are huge and pretty affordable, while waiting time can be quite long though. Food used to be a lot better, but perhaps with dealing with the crowd some areas are compromised.
Nonetheless, for the pricing and rustic casual ambience, its still pretty worthwhile although dining experiences might vary for guests.
Donna Carmela: 2 Greenwood Ave, Singapore 289189 | Tel: 64634206 | Website
Established since 2000, the stylish Italian restaurant Senso has served guests with its impeccable fine-dining service featuring authentic Italian cuisine. Senso’s menu typically undergoes a seasonal rotation so that the freshest ingredients from Italy and around the world can be procured at the cheapest.
The keepsake conversion of this former convent retains the neo-classical styles of colonial architecture, especially in the courtyard, whilst gradually blending the atmosphere to match the modern era in a beautiful amalgamation of form and function.
The succulent 8-Hour Braised Beef Cheek ‘Al Cacciatore’ ($38++) comes highly recommended.
One of our most favorite Italian restaurants through the countless tastings, price is on the steep side though.
Celebrity chefs Nancy Silverton, Mario Batali and Joseph Bastianich join forces to bring us Osteria Mozza, first established in the heart of Los Angeles and now comes to Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands with its deep Italian-American influence.
The Porcini rubbed Wagyu Rib-eye Bistecca ($238) is as tender as can be while retaining immense beefy flavours for a huge steak that feeds a group of hungry wolves.
A profound dedication to service, the staff at Osteria Mozza can explain every detail of the menu with utmost precision, making recommendations that will please your palate. Awarded Asia’s 50 Best restaurants in 2014, Osteria Mozza is an elegant favorite amongst many Italian aficionados, describing the food as robust and fresh.
Osteria Mozza: 2 Bayfront Avenue, #B1-42/46, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore 018972 | Tel: 66888522 | Website
Forlino has won multiple awards as one of the top Italian fine dining restaurants in Singapore, with its classic menu as well as seasonal set lunches.
The outstanding view from Fullerton of the Marina Bay Sands is one of the highlights at Forlino. Located on the second floor of One Fullerton, Forlino boasts a majestic panoramic view of the Marina bay.
Of course, you can expect delectable contemporary Italian fine-dining cuisine. Utmost attention to detail and customer service is the focus here. The culinary philosophy at Forlino is all about bring out the best in their ingredients used. Described as a “timeless cuisine”, no effort has been spared in the sourcing of the best ingredients from overseas.
Forlino: 1 Fullerton Rd, One Fullerton #02-06, Singapore 049213 | Tel: 66907564 | Website
Garibaldi is one of Singapore’s most popular fine dining Italian restaurants. Modern and elegant, Garibaldi brings a hip and contemporary concept to Italian dining and distinguishes itself with amazing service standards.
Classic European fine-dining mandates a drink at the front bar first before entering the dining hall for a proper meal, and Garibaldi even serves a small welcome alcoholic beverage as a nice gesture to guests. The extensive wine menu is mind-blowing.
The enticing menu emphasizes authentic Italian cuisine prepared with utmost care and the best ingredients mainly imported directly from Italy.
The main dining hall’s tables can be a bit too close together though, bordering on eavesdropping.
Garibaldi: 36 Purvis St, Singapore 188613 | Tel: 68371468 | Website
At the Italian restaurant Buona Terra residing in Newton area at Scotts road, their menu comprises of a set menu only without an a la carte selection, in a fuss-free effort to restrict guests’ decisions to the 4 available cosmic-named menus. Diners get to pick dishes from within the range of courses.
For certain, we were not disappointed by the food, though I wonder if the smaller course set meal can fill larger appetites – I’d recommend at least getting a 4 course selection like the Luna menu ($108++). Nevertheless, Buona Terra appears to be perfect for quiet fine dining with personalized wine service to rival any other establishment.
Buona Terra: 29 Scotts Road, Singapore 228224 | Tel: 6733 0209 | Website
An authentic Italian family operation run by Chef Osvaldo Forlino, seems like the whole Forlino family is working here at No Menu, featuring his sister, daughter, niece, nephew and occasionally his mother even. And yes, Chef Osvaldo first made a name in Singapore at the high end Forlino restaurant before venturing out on his own.
As the name suggests, No Menu doesn’t have a menu and bangs on the recommendation by the floor staff. This can be quite scary, as the antipasti total might be priced astronomically high if you are too open with their recommendations.
Expect traditional, rustic Italian cooking – but with a little local twist. Watch the budget and don’t get pressured by the well-trained servers into getting more than you can chew.
No Menu Restaurant: 23 Boon Tat Street, Singapore 069621 | Tel: 6224 0091 | Website
Bringing authentic Italian fare from the Amalfi Coast, Chef Fabio Iannone sets up Limoncello along the Singapore River for similar effect and romance. The huge alfresco area by the river is definitely a top candidate for a romantic night out.
The Bistecca Grigliata ($39), a 300g grilled Australian grain-fed rib eye is a great choice for steak lovers for its size and affordability. The homemade Lasagna ($19) using mama’s recipe is also highly raved about and pretty affordable for its hearty contents.
Limoncello Pizza & Grill: 95 Robertson Quay, Rivergate Condominium, #01-19/20, Singapore,238256 | Tel: 6634 5117 | Website
Ristorante Da Valentino is an Italian restaurant in Singapore started in 2005 and managed by Chef Valentino and his family. Since relocating to The Grand Stand at Turf club road, the restaurant now seats 134 pax with a multitude of private rooms as well as al fresco seatings.
Ristorante Da Valentino continues to maintain its Italian ambience and prides itself in serving classic Italian food with Chef Valentino and his family’s touch and creativity. The restaurant also serves seasonal dishes based on ingredients in season. Valentino imports small quantities of seasonal ingredients directly from Italy, and serves it the day that it arrives in Singapore so that customers can enjoy the freshness of these seasonal dishes.
One of the most well-known and established fine-dining Italian restaurants in Singapore, Ristorante Da Valentino is the place to go for that special occasion if you don’t mind spending some mollah.
Ristorante Da Valentino: 200 Turf Club Rd, The Grand Stand, #01-19, Singapore 287994 | Tel: 6462 0555 | Website
La Forketta is an Italian restaurant housed in a former barrack in Dempsey. The ornate wooden beams and high ceilings have been beautifully restored and successfully integrated with the restaurant’s overall classy cosmopolitan Italian charm. Managed by an Italian couple, La Forketta is not a new player in the mushrooming Italian dining scene having been one of the pioneersin the early 90s.
They take pride in their Italian roots with ingredients (down to the flour grain) being sourced from the Mezzogiorno region of Italy. Pizzas and breads like the Messicana ($35) above are made with organic flour to create a feather light crust with no preservatives.
If you are looking for a fresh and elegant take on Italian cuisine, look no further.
La Forketta Gastronomia Italiana (Dempsey Hill):Blk 9 Dempsey Rd, #01-09, Dempsey Hill, Singapore 247697 | Tel:6475 2298 | Website
Started in 1989, this is where Da Paolo ristorante began as a modest, casual Italian-style Trattoria. Serving honest and straight-forward food, Da Paolo has grown to encompass different bistro bars, pizzeria, takeaway outlets and even has a catering arm now.
A cosy, small setting suitable for small talk and romantic dating over good food. Try the Spaghetti al Nero di Seppia ($27), an oceanic, heavy flavoured squid ink pasta. The creamy Risotto di Spinaci con Aragosta ($28) is well-executed and nicely flavoured with lobster bisque and slipper lobster meat.
I also tried Da Paolo Bistro Bar and although the ambience is open and more relaxing, I still largely prefer the original Da Paolo ristorante at Club street which seems to put more attention to detail in the food.
Da Paolo: 80 Club St, Singapore 069448 | Tel: 6224 7081 | Website