When one thinks of Italian fare, hearty pastas, comforting pizzas and cheesy lasagne come to mind. But there’s so much more to Italian cuisine than just that. From exquisite antipasti and succulent meatballs to creamy burrata cheese and seafood, we’ve rounded up Singapore’s best establishments that whip up wicked Italian food.
Foodies know that the robust flavor of Italian-American cooking is a distinct cuisine unto itself, and few places in town do it well and give it the fine dining treatment. For these reasons, this year’s sleeper hit Angeleno is a must-visit. Brought to you by the people behind Luke’s, Angeleno serves hearty but balanced fare like the Iberico pork chop with wild fennel pollen, their famous saucy meatballs with woodfire polenta and a half-dozen housemade pasta dishes—not to mention Italian-American icons like the veal chop Parmigiana. 20 Gemmill Lane.
il Lido group’s National Gallery restaurant offers one of the city’s great treats: drinking affordably with magnificent views of the Padang and Marina Bay and in such a big-deal historical building. The food menu doesn’t disappoint either: restrained, light dishes with just enough contemporary twists to keep things interesting. Don’t miss the orecchiette with asparagus and guanciale and the grilled octopus with crispy egg and corn. 5-05-03 National Gallery Singapore, 1 St. Andrew’s Rd.
This intimate and elegant eatery, set in a conservation shop house, really drums up its Tuscan roots, both in the Tuscan commedia mask it’s named after, and the Tuscan dishes on the menu. The menu may be by-the-book, but it is hearty, delicious and comforting. Order home rolled pasta dishes like the ricotta ravioli with porcini sauce and the spaghetti vongole, and meaty affairs like the roast lamb rack with herbed pumpkin in red wine sauce. There’s a serious Italian wine list to go with. 77A Amoy St. Make a reservation via Chope here.
At this Venetian eatery, woodfire oven-baked Neapolitan pizzas are on offer, as well as tapas-style snacks known as “cicheti”, like the burratina with onion marmalade, pesto and ham, and the oven-roasted asparagus with spicy crumbs. With wrought iron furnishings and beat up oak tables, regional Italian cuisine and an all-Italian wine list is the name of the game at this cozy gem. 52 Kandahar St.
Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s Italian food is both comforting and peppered with fun surprises, continuing to win hearts at this branch on Orchard Road. Don’t miss the signature prawn linguine, which they do with some exciting additions like saffron, rocket and fennel. Also good is the penne carbonara which here also gets buttery leeks. On the antipasti front, try the crab and avocado bruschetta and the umami-packed porcini arancini. Check out their other branch at VivoCity, too. #01-04 Forum The Shopping Mall, 583 Orchard Rd. Make a reservation via Chope here.
A lot has changed over at the Kilo building on Kampong Bugis: the party lounge upstairs is gone, and Loysel’s Toy has been replaced by an excellent barbecue joint. What remains the same is the minimalist, leafy and beautiful Kilo restaurant. The menu is Asian fusion, but the dishes are far from unoriginal: try the truffle tai yuzu roll, with crab meat, snapper and tempura flakes, or the more substantial pork jowl with tomyum stewed beans, kale chips and chorizo. #01-02/04, 21 Tanjong Pagar Rd.
The big hit of the il Lido Group this year has been Aura at the National Gallery, but we still adore this older one, which takes cues from traditional osterias and bars found in Italy. The menu is all about classics with dishes like beef agnolotti pasta with truffles, pappardelle with pork cheek in red wine and beef sirloin tagliata with asparagus and Parmigiano. The sexy and dimly-lit space is awash with lots of dark wood, marble top counters and a storied library-like vibe. 55 Market St. Make a reservation via Chope here.
Celebrity chef Mario Batali’s Singapore outpost is a sleek space with marble counters and dark wood. Italian comfort classics are created with refinement and premium ingredients, as in the orecchiette with fennel sausage and Swiss chard, and the sea trout with Umbrian lentils. Don’t miss the creamy burrata cheese with beets, horseradish, walnuts and rocket—and other combos—from the dedicated mozzarella bar. #B1-42/46 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Ave.
When the Burlamacco people took over Pepenero, we knew it would be something good. The space is simple and understated—no starched tablecloths or overstuffed armchairs here—the mostly-classic dishes kind of place a corporate executive may have a nice lunch at, but the food is warm and well executed. Try the cod fillet with rosemary potatoes and saffron sauce and the papardelle with pork sausage ragout, porcini and truffle paste. 14 Stanley St. Make a reservation via Chope here.
Senso is a Club Street institution. Food here is a joy, as is the service, and in such a charming space (they occupy five adjacent shophouses and the courtyard is gorgeous), too. The decor, with its starched tablecloths and not-so-subtle giant paintings, is pretty oldschool fancy, but the menu of Italian classics is well-executed and consistent. Try the salmon tartare with pan-seared scallops and Avruga caviar, and the homemade raviolio with veal shank and porcini mushroom. Their revamped bar is great for aperitifs. 21 Club St. Make a reservation via Chope here.
Terra might be less than a year old, but chef-owner Seita Nakahara, who has worked his way through kitchens in Tokyo, Tuscany, Sicily and Piedmont, has quickly made waves with his beautiful “Tokyo-Italian” restaurant. Choose from three omakase price points, and sit back for a parade of original dishes like the seafood broth Acqua Pazza (“crazy water”), and Seita’s specialty, the spaghetti sea urchin, with homemade bottarga cured in-house. 54 Tras St. Make a reservation via Chope here.