With such a vast array of Italian eateries across Singapore, it can be difficult to know exactly where to go for authentic and quality cuisine. Luckily (for us and for you), we’ve tried and tested tons of dishes to bring you some of the best options on the island. So, read on for restaurant reviews, readers’ recs and Italian wine picks.
Go for: Family-friendly Italian with celebrity chef pizzazz! Perfect for families and groups, this casual, fun and trendy restaurant dishes up reliable Italian food based on tried and tested recipes, as sanctioned by celebrity chef and restaurant creator Jamie Oliver. I’m not too sure what purists in the homeland would think, but we like it! The staff are friendly, the serving sizes are generous, and the flavours are fresh and tasty throughout.
We shared starters of fat green olives and tapenade ($9) and crunchy garlic bread ($13.50). For mains, we enjoyed the luscious penne carbonara ($18/$27.50) from the pasta selection and a kids’ baby beef burger ($9.50/$13.50), which comes with salad and a choice of drink.
The chefs will adapt the menu to cater to vegans; if you’re looking for an ultra healthy option, go for the tender seared tuna steak with avocado and tomatoes ($34) – and balance the calories out with a few sinful spoonfuls of pavlova for dessert. A bottle of house wine is good value at $60 but, it being a Tuesday night, we opted for just a glass of New Zealand Sileni Merlot ($17) and a Berry Blast mocktail ($8.50).
Don’t leave without trying: The raspberry rippled pavlova ($13); we loved the smashed honeycomb mixed in with lashings of cream!
Tip: Check out the $24.90 lunch special for two courses, or the three-course dinner deal for $39.90. And don’t forget the second outlet at VivoCity! – Katie Roberts
Go for: The three-course Basilissimo dinner experience Already a fan of Basilico’s amazing and authentic spread, I couldn’t wait to try the three-course seasonal dinner menu, the “Flavours of Summer” Basilico Basilissimo dinner series, available until 25 September. (After that, the Autumn menu will be available until 1 January). For $88, indulge in a beautiful (and generous) antipasti spread – creamy burrata balls and all kinds of other Italian cheeses, a salad station, cold cuts, the works – followed by a choice of main course, then a dessert buffet. Thirsty? It’s $124 with two wine pairings, and $140 with three.
I started with seafood salad and a selection from the make-your-own caprese area, while my husband dove straight for the giant cheese board and bread selection. We were careful to save room for our mains, which we ordered from an eight-choice menu including green pea and marjoram risotto with cured cod fish cream, pistachio-crusted lamb chops, pan-seared Alaskan king crab and Hokkaido scallops, and chitarra style squid ink spaghetti with tiger prawns and basil emulsion, among other dishes.
Main courses for two to share include the pentolaccia di pesce: octopus, prawns, salmon and clams cooked over a legume ragout and baked within pizza dough. The favourite at our table was the paccheri pasta with sautéed Pachino tomatoes, chilli and smoked buffalo mozzarella – my new favourite dish, hands-down. The smoky cheese and spicy tomato combination paired with the thick al dente pasta, was just so delicious, I couldn’t get enough!
Though we didn’t have much room for dessert, we still managed to fit in exceptional apple crumble with vanilla gelato, a lemon meringue tart and other goodies from the sweets spread.
Of course, you can also order from the extensive à la carte menu. It’s got everything from pizza, pasta and risotto to seafood and meat dishes. One musttry item from the pizza selection is the oven-baked focaccia with black summer truffle and robiola cheese ($29) – delizioso!
Psst – this place is perfect for a quiet date night or a fun group dinner with friends.
Don’t leave without trying: The paccheri pasta.
Tip: Also try Basilico’s free-flow prosecco and champagne weekend brunches, compete with seafood bar, dessert and grill stations, and a dedicated cheese room! – Amy Greenburg
Go for: Party-sized pizzas!
This pizza chain from the UK offers a casual chic ambience great for family meals or post shopping catch-ups. The décor is sleek and modern – think white marble tables with black seats, and a semi-open kitchen.
On the menu is a good variety of starters, salads, pizzas and pastas. Start by sampling their world-famous pizza base – the Dough Balls ($11), featuring 16 dough balls served with garlic butter, pesto Siciliano and pesto Genovese; a good balance between soft and chewy, these bite-sized morsels are addictive. Then, load up on fresh greens with the smoked salmon and apple salad ($13 for a small, $20 for a large), a light and tangy combination of smoked salmon, apples, veggies and walnuts with an olive oil and lemon dressing.
If you’re a fan of spice, try the Calabrese pizza ($26). Referred to as the restaurant’s “hero pizza”, the iconic thin-crust rectangular pizza is inspired by the food of Italy’s south. Generously loaded with Calabrian-style sausage, spicy sausage, fresh mozzarella, peppers, red chillies, pesto, Parmesan and rocket, this hearty and flavourful pie certainly lived up to its hero tag.
For something extra savoury, go for the Carbonara ($25), a Rome-inspired pizza neatly lined with smoked bacon, covered with garlic oil and creamy bechamel, then topped with a soft-cooked egg. We utterly enjoyed the lobster and crabmeat ravioli ($26), too, served in a deliciously creamy mushroom and pomodoro sauce.
Round off the meal with a sweet treat; our favourites were the mango panna cotta ($8) and the signature chocolate fudge cake ($9).
Don’t leave without trying: The Calabrese pizza.
Tip: Come with a crowd, as the pizzas are huge – two or three should suffice for a table of four! – Anthia Chng
Latteria Mozzarella Bar
Go for: The freshest mozzarella in town! Latteria Mozzarella Bar lives up to its name, offering 11 different mozzarella dishes. You can dine alfresco on the spacious patio or indoors in air-conditioned comfort, like we did; the classic interior features dark wood and is great for a family meal or a casual date night.
Our bocconcini in carrozza ($20) came with three portions of deep-fried buffalo milk mozzarella on tasty arrabbiata sauce; the delicious burratina zucca, roast pumpkin and truffle ($24) featured fresh burrata with pumpkin, truffle and pine nuts; and our bowl of creamy tomato soup with stracciatella ($16), rich and smooth, went well with the freshly baked bread. Another great starter is the deep fried calamari with mayo and arrabbiata ($18) – piping-hot and golden, with just the right amount of chewiness.
If the usual suspects like classic linguine vongole, cherry tomatoes and bottarga ($28) don’t strike your fancy, try the grilled whole seabass Amalfitana ($38) – tender, flavourful and done just right.
Next, we sampled the red tagliolini with pork sausage ragù ($28), the pasta cooked al dente. While a tad cheesy, it includes a generous amount of sausage. Speaking of cheese, you won’t want to miss the signature mac and cheese ($28), served in a pumpkin shell. Overall, there’s a good mix of meat and pasta options (and generous portions at that), and plenty of options for the little ones, too.
To end the meal, we opted for the raspberry and pistachio meringue cake ($16) – a perfect blend of sweet and tangy.
Don’t leave without trying: Of course, the mozzarella, but the grilled whole seabass Amalfitana also deserves a special mention. – Lindsay Yap
Go for: A family-friendly Italian buffet Situated inside Hotel Michael at Resorts World Sentosa, Fratelli puts on a hearty casual buffet brunch from 12 noon until 3pm on the last Sunday of every month. It’s priced at $88 for adults (you can top up $50 for freeflow prosecco, Italian house wines and Tiger draught beer), and $44 for children. The establishment is helmed by two highly acclaimed chefs, brothers Enrico and Roberto Cerea from the three-Michelin-starred family run restaurant Da Vittorio in Bergamo, Italy.
The spread at Fratelli isn’t very wide, but everything is delicious. For starters, the antipasti selection is fresh and varied, with everything from mini-bruschettas to a DIY salad bar, which is fun for the kids to help themselves to.
We enjoyed the fragrant pan-seared foie gras escalope with marsala wine sauce, and the lobster soup with crab meat, which were both rich and flavourful; as they came in an entrée size, we had room to try all the mains. While the young ones may want to pile their plates high with the delicious hand-stretched pizza, adults can help themselves to the classic carnaroli risotto creamed in a Parmigiano-Reggiano wheel with black truffle and flamed with cognac, or head to the meat station to try the juicy oven-baked rolled suckling pig belly stuffed with pistachios.
For dessert, we recommend creating a sharing platter from the selection of cheeses, dried fruit, crackers and grapes, or indulging your sweet tooth in anything from mini-tiramisu to chocolate cake.
Don’t leave without trying: The risotto. Nothing beats the flavour hit of cheese and truffles combined! – Susannah Jaffer
Senso Ristorante & Bar
Go for: Iconic Italian
Review: Like a glass of perfectly aged Brunello, Senso epitomises quality that has stood test of time – 17 years, to be exact! As our charismatic sommelier Nejib cracks open a bottle of Ca’ del Bosco Franciacorta, he tells us of his busy month in the restaurant thus far: the usual regulars, a couple of weddings, corporate affairs and, his favourite; surprise visits from returning travellers he’s hosted over his 14 years at this Italian institution.
Wrapped around a quaint courtyard and occupying five of Club Street’s heritage shophouses, Senso’s setup is lavish and spacious, and feels surprisingly detached from the CBD mayhem. The segmented rooms and elegant finishes make it the ideal venue for celebrating – be it a romantic duo or party of ten.
We’re told the seasonal menu, Summer Black Truffles Delights, is a serious crowd-pleaser, but the à la carte options are quick to catch our attention. Burrata has long been a guilty pleasure of mine, and Senso’s Burrata Palazzo D.O.P. ($32) is up there with the best. Sourced from Puglia, this creamy pocket of heaven is great for sharing and goes perfectly with its bed of aged San Daniele ham and rucola.
To the mains, and the Capellini alla Bottarga ($36) is a delicious seaside escape; angel hair pasta with a generous serving of Hokkaido scallops, smoked haddock, bottarga, Italian parsley and roasted capsicum. Those with a bigger appetite might opt for the Pappardelle XXLong ($32); one-metre-long homemade pappardelle, perfectly al dente, and served with a rich, braised wild boar ragu, black Taggiasca olives and sun-dried tomatoes.
Don’t leave without trying: Capellini alla Bottarga – Leanda Rathmell
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