Saporita, Raffles Ave: Halal, affordable, and authentically Italian

Ciao signore e signori. When I heard of Saporita, all I knew was that it was a newly-opened halal Italian restaurant situated in a casual hawker setting that prided itself on selling authentic Italian dishes. And, as someone who’s been let down not once but many times by folks who promise ‘authentic flavours’ in casual settings, I decided to throw caution to the wind, and head down to Makansutra Glutton Bay with an open mind and empty tummy. 

Image of stall front

The first thing I noticed (much to my delight) was that the menu came with a slew of Italian dishes; apart from the classic pizza and pasta dishes. Saporita also has dishes that rarely make it to hawker stalls like calzone, arancini, and steak tagliata. The thing that  stood out the most was a large cheese wheel situated on their counter, and as a lover of Italian cuisine, I was beyond thrilled. 

Also, the fact that they are halal makes it all the more exciting because Muslim-friendly restaurants serving authentic Italian food are a rare find. 

What I tried

Image of Arancini

I start with an Arancini (S$7 for three)—deep-fried Sicilian rice balls stuffed with minced lava chicken and mozzarella, coated with bread crumbs, and served on a bed of arugula, with a side of pomodoro sauce. 

Close up of half-cut Arancini dipped in sauce

Resembling a croquette, on its own, the chicken didn’t carry much personality— I was expecting a burst of spiciness, but coupled with the acidity of the pomodoro sauce and creamy mozzarella, it transforms into a sweet appetiser you won’t be able to get enough of.

Close up of half-cut Arancini

Each bite truly filled me with warmth, akin to the one Michael Corleone felt when he first laid eyes on Apollonia in The Godfather. Boy, was I smitten by these crispy balls of chicken and cheese! 

Image of pizza

To truly test the authenticity of an Italian joint is to go for the classic Margherita Pizza. Unlike most places, their pizzas here aren’t exorbitantly priced— a 9-inch pizza will set you back S$8 and a 12-inch pizza, S$12. I obviously chose the latter as I was famished, and I admit, it didn’t disappoint.

Close up of pizza

The pizza here is freshly-made and hand-stretched to nonna’s standards, and is satisfyingly fluffy and chewy. If not for the other dishes I had to stuff my face with, I’d have finished this pizza in one sitting. It was also generously topped with a pomodoro base, mozzarella and fresh basil leaves, paired with a lovely charred crust akin to what you’ll find in a trattoria

Image of steak tagliata

Don’t be fooled by this dish’s simple outlook. The Steak Tagliata (S$16) may be unbeknownst to many who are not exposed to Italian cuisine, but is one of my favourites. And over at Saporita, they know what they’re doing. 

Close up of steak tagliata

Using only premium ingredients, Saporita uses a rib-eye steak for this dish, and is served the Italian way; sliced on a bed of arugula with vibrant cherry tomatoes, topped with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. The steak is then cooked two ways, via the oven to ensure a charred crust then finished off on a pan to slowly cook the meat.

The juicy meat came glistening under the evening sun, and has a tenderness which melts the meat on your tongue without so much as an effort of thoroughly chewing it. This dish tastes somewhat similar to what I’ve tasted at fancier restaurants, and although I wasn’t expecting much for S$16, I was getting my money’s worth with this dish. 

Image of cheese wheel

And now for the moment that I’ve been waiting for— the well-raved about Truffle Cheesewheel Pasta (S$14). I’ll be honest, when I found out the selling price for this dish, I was a tad bit sceptical; only because I’ve been to places where it will cost up to S$50 for a plate of anything cheese wheel-related. 

The Grana Padano Cheese Wheel has been the talk of the town since it launched in December 2021. The cheese, although delicious on its own, gives off a rich and slightly nutty flavour, and is the perfect accompaniment to pasta dishes.

Close up of truffle cheesewheel pasta

The Truffle Cheesewheel Pasta comes with a béchamel sauce base, mixed in the cheese wheel, then back again in the pan, and finished with a generous topping of grana padano shavings, and a teaspoon of black truffle paste. Tagliatelle pasta is used for this creamy dish, and is served al dente, just the way it’s supposed to be. 

Image of truffle cheesewheel pasta

Unlike many places which serve up an off-putting plate of strongly scented truffle oil-infused pasta, at Saporita, the Truffle Cheesewheel Pasta is different. I would’ve preferred it without the creamy béchamel sauce, but I reckon it’s an important ingredient. Personal preference aside, this dish is a must-try for all cheese lovers. 

Final thoughts 

Close up of pasta in cheese wheel

If you’re looking for a place to get authentic and halal Italian food without breaking the bank, Saporita is the place for you. They absolutely delivered on their promise of serving dishes with authentic Italian flavours, and I still can’t stop thinking about the Steak Tagliata. Besides, it’s not everyday you find a place that serves authentic Italian dishes that’s Muslim-friendly, right?

Do remember to get there early to get a table for yourself as the place does get fairly crowded once the sun goes down. 

Expected damage: S$7 to S$16 per pax

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Price: $ $

Our Rating: 4 / 5

Saporita

8 Raffles Ave, Makansutra Glutton Bay, 01-15L, Singapore 039802

Price
Our Rating 4/5

Saporita

8 Raffles Ave, Makansutra Glutton Bay, 01-15L, Singapore 039802

Operating Hours: 4pm - 10pm (Tue to Sun), Closed on Mon

Operating Hours: 4pm - 10pm (Tue to Sun), Closed on Mon
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