Cover Photo: Art Restaurant

Whether you are craving for pasta, porchetta or bombolini, here are the local establishments to visit when you need to satiate your cravings

This story was first published on July 8, 2021, and updated on October 25, 2021.


We have to thank Italy for birthing some of the most delicious foods in the world, among which are authentic pizzas, luscious pastas and meats as well as decadent desserts. Luckily in Singapore, we have a plethora of restaurants that allow our palates to travel to its different regions—Sardinia for an authentic taste of its “porcheddu” (suckling pig), Naples for its Margherita pizza and Lombardy for its creamy baked mushroom risotto. Passports not required. 

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1. Art

If you haven’t visited contemporary Italian restaurant Art’s new home at the National Gallery Singapore, do yourself a favour and book a table soon. Helmed by executive chef Daniele Sperindio, the restaurant serves innovative Italian dishes in the seven-course Italian Tale tasting menu. The restaurant also has an extensive wine list with over 500 Old- and New-World bottles.

Art

City Hall/ Bras Basah
$ $ $ $
4.5
'rating'

2. Basilico

Known for its traditional, hearty Italian fare, a meal at Basilico will transport you to Italy’s greatest cities in an instant. Savour sumptuous Italian favourites such as the risotto alla Pugliese, served with perfectly cooked seafood ingredients, as well as the filetto di manzo, a grilled Angus beef tenderloin dish accompanied with a side of grilled green asparagus, sautéed seasonal mushrooms and parmesan shavings. Cheese lovers should also not miss out on their weekly Formaggissimo Nights, where they will get to enjoy six cheeses paired with specially selected Italian wines and complimentary dessert.

3. Casa Tartufo

As the name implies, the restaurant spotlights one of the most prized ingredients in the culinary world—truffles—in its hearty Italian dishes. Chef-owner Alex Calabro sources the freshest mushrooms from Italy and Australia for his many signatures in the extensive menu, divided into sections such as antipasti, primi, secondi and dolci. From the pasta offerings come the Tajarin Casa, comprising the house’s signature thin noodles coated in a velvety sauce perked up with the earthiness of the truffles, and the Pasta Fredda. Strands of angel hair pasta are mixed with a decadent truffle and sea urchin emulsion, and crowned with an assortment of scallop ceviche, smoked caviar and seaweed.

4. Dolce Vita

Diners may not be able to travel the world, but they can indulge in the beautiful flavours of Italy at Dolce Vita. Its name, which means “a life full of pleasure” aptly describes the menu as they will be able to tuck into authentic Italian cuisine, presented with a modern touch. Pastas and pizzas aside, there’s also a mouthwatering agnello (or lamb) on the menu that’s slow-braised to achieve a delicate texture and decorated with carrot confit, creamy potatoes, oyster mushroom. For dessert, the crostata al limone cleanses the palate with its tangy lemon curd and pleasant elderflower-flavoured ice cream.

5. Garibaldi Italian Restaurant & Bar

One of Singapore’s best known Italian restaurants, Garibaldi offers an extensive menu that features seafood, pasta, meat dishes, and even vegetable-based choices, alongside a stellar drink list of Italian wines and cocktails. A must-order is the beautifully plated cold angel hair pasta with sweet fresh oysters and Carelian caviar; the dish is sometimes served with sea urchin, prawn tartare and caviar. For pasta fans, the Lunghetti Gamberi E – spaghetti aglio olio, with tiger prawns and bottarga, is also exceptionally flavourful. Tiramisu’ di Mamma Bice with the interesting addition of chocolate chips, created using the recipe of chef-owner Roberto Galetti’s mother, makes for the perfect sweet ending.

6. Gattopardo Ristorante di Mare

Tucked away along a row of beautiful shophouses, Gattopardo exudes a quaint ambience that complements its fine dining experience. With a seasonal menu showcasing Italian seafood and Sicilian cuisine, the restaurant places importance on fresh and high-quality ingredients, including sustainable seafood, flown in from all over the world. Order the degustation menu for a five-course Sicilian journey featuring agnello, the juicy slow-cooked lamb shoulder with Sicilian caponata and citrus mustard jus, or pesce al sale, which is Gattopardo’s signature salt-baked fish with Sicilian caponata for two to share. Alternatively, you could “leave it to the chefs” with the highly recommended Sicilian omakase menu.

Gattopardo Ristorante di Mare

Tanjong Pagar
$ $ $ $
4
'rating'

7. Oso Ristorante

For authentic, contemporary Italian cuisine accompanied by gorgeous views, head to Oso Ristorante on the top floor of the Oasia Hotel Downtown. The elegant restaurant features many spaces to entertain and socialise, from the Antinori Room to the Macallan Bar. The menu focuses on seasonal produce. Must-have dishes include the tegamino, a comforting serving of pan-fried eggs with black truffle purée and cheese; risotto with mascarpone cheese and black truffle purée; beef tenderloin steak with minced black truffle on a bed of poached green asparagus. End your meal with the crostata, a freshly baked 72 per cent chocolate tart, paired with luscious homemade milk ice cream.

Oso Ristorante

Tanjong Pagar
$ $ $ $
4.5
'rating'

8. Otto Ristorante

Conveniently situated in the Central Business District, Otto Ristorante serves up quality Italian food and hearty hospitality. Acclaimed Italian speciality chef Michele Pavanello helms the kitchen, creating authentic delicacies with a fresh perspective and quality ingredients from his native Veneto region. These include a crispy suckling pig dish, generously lacquered with acacia honey and balsamic vinegar; the Hokkaido scallop carpaccio (when available on the quarterly changing menu); and the seasonal White Truffle menu. The dishes are complemented by a well-chosen list of wines, sourced entirely from Italy.

9. Terra Tokyo Italian

Inspired by chef Seita Nakahara’s 20-year career in Italian kitchens in Tokyo, Tuscany, Sicily and Piedmont, the cuisine here is as authentic as they get, boosted by a preference for premium seasonal Japanese produce. In tribute to shokubunka (the honour of Japanese food culture), lunch and dinner feature omakase menus–each dish a fresh creation of chef Nakahara to bring out the flavours of hand-picked seasonal ingredients. They are complemented by terroir-driven wines, served via Coravin. Effort in making its own ingredients also shines through in dishes such as homemade tagliolini with Hokkigai clams and grated house-cured bottarga used as garnish.

Terra Tokyo Italian

Duxton
$ $ $ $
4
'rating'

10. Waterfall Ristorante Italiano

An ode to Southern Italy, expect to find fresh seafood, handmade pastas and heirloom recipes at Waterfall Ristorante Italiano. Must-try dishes include the vitello tonnato, a popular summer dish featuring poached sliced veal slathered with a creamy tuna sauce; carpaccio di polipo using Mediterranean octopus; and the linguine allo scoglio, tossed generously with prawns, mussels, scallops, clams and cherry tomatoes. Expect warm Italian hospitality and generous pours of wines by the glass.

11. Zafferano Italian Restaurant & Lounge

At the heart of Zafferano Italian Restaurant & Lounge is quality “mod-Italian” cuisine that combines bold flavours with traditional cooking methods. Using 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, which is a celebration of ingredients sourced from around the world. Meticulously crafted by head chef Andrea De Paola, this season’s menu brings the ocean to the table, such as the red prawns from Mazara, housemade pasta served with Alaskan king crab and zesty Amalfi lemon, and the kinmedai fish, with its rich umami flavours.

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