15 best places for pizza & pasta in Singapore
This article was originally published on burpple.com.
There's so much more to Italian cuisine than pizza and pasta, but can you imagine life without these two staples? Oh, the horror! Whether it's for an extravagant Italian date night, a swanky business meal, or a fun DIY pizza session for group meals with those picky friends of yours, there's definitely something for everyone in this guide!
For pocket-friendly, fuss-free pizzas
Alt. Pizza makes very good pizzas and if you haven't been, you're totes missing out. You can choose to DIY your own 11" thin crust pizza but the Signatures will not disappoint either. Popular options include the foolproof Hangover ($17) with pepperoni, fennel sausage and roasted onions, Truffle Shuffle ($17) - a white sauce pizza that's a must-try for truffle lovers, and the surprisingly moreish Lean & Green ($15) with its roasted garlic pesto base. You can be sure that these pizzas will hit the spot without burning holes in your pockets, saving you some cash to spend on some excellent craft beers (from Modern Times and Lost Coast) and the lip-smacking Alt. Wings ($13; get the blue cheese sauce!). If you don't want to squeeze with the lunch crowd, pop by for an unhurried meal with your colleagues after work instead.
For affordable pastas in CBD
Those who work in the central business district should have heard of The Wicked Garlic, a tiny spot in International Plaza that's always packed during lunchtime with hoards of office workers looking for great Italian food at very affordable prices. The Aglio Olio with prawns and mushrooms ($12.70) is extremely flavourful, with huge, fresh, slightly charred prawns adorning the dish. If you like risotto, you have to go for the Curry Prawn Risotto, a brimming plate of perfectly cooked al dente grains. They serve simple pizzas here as well. Heads up: there is no goods and services tax or service charge here, which explains the perpetual crowd so you might want to come during off-peak hours!
For wood-fired pizzas and excellent pastas
This gem of a restaurant at Kandahar Street dishing out superb pizzas and pastas is surprisingly owned and helmed by a Singaporean. Expect rustic Neapolitan-style pizzas made with imported Italian flour, topped with home-made tomato sauce and loaded with fresh, quality ingredients. Baked in a massive wood-fired oven suspended from the ceiling (it's quite a sight to behold), the pies sport a remarkably spotted crust and are extremely flavourful. Be sure to start off with the Burratina Cicheti ($29), "a mass of pure indulgence being indecently creamy and lava-like in the middle", according to Tastemaker Veronica Phua. For pasta, the Pappardelle Al Ragu ($26) will more than meet the mark. The Bismark Pizza ($23) will have those who love soft runny eggs swooning over it. Save stomach space for the Salted-Chocolate ($12.50), a dreamy molten chocolate lava cake served with vanilla gelato.
For quality pastas and pizzas in a casual setting
From the good people behind OTTO Ristorante and OTTO Locanda, 2It&Drink is a more casual concept that focuses on authentic home-made pizzas and pastas. Watch as the chefs knead pizza dough and make fresh pasta at the Pasta Lab, or sit at the Pizza Bar and watch them pull piping hot pies out of the oven while waiting for yours. Do yourself a favour and order a legit plate of Carbonara ($20) - silky from eggs and full of umami from a generous load of parmesan and bacon. The thin-crust pizzas sport a perfectly crisp crust and won't disappoint. Great for when you can't decide what to eat with a group of friends!
For superb pastas in a homely space
Nestled in the cosy enclave of Binjai Park, Capri Trattoria is one of those places that becomes an instant favourite. The rustic, charming space is perfect for a laid-back dinner with your family, and makes you feel right at home with its warm service. Start with the luscious Scamorza del Fornaio ($18), smoked cheese baked with mushrooms, topped with Parma ham and finished with truffle oil. The pastas are just fantastic - seemingly rustic, yet elegant in execution. Go for the Linguine con Granchio ($23), an exceptionally done crabmeat pasta with a light tomato and seafood stock base that imparts a ton of flavour without being heavy. The Cacciucco alla Livornese ($28) is a another must-order you should share, a fish stew packed with seafood that will bring you right to the ocean. Croutons are served alongside to soak up all that broth. Finish up with an immaculate Lava Cake ($10). Don't even ask why.
For fun, DIY pizzas
By the Les Amis group is Peperoni Pizzeria's new concept, The Pizza Collective. While there are a few signature pizzas on the menu like the awesome Rendang Power, Pig-na Colada and Kim-ky (kimchi and luncheon meat, anybody?), it's waaay more fun to create your own - think a Subway-esque process of building your own pizzas. Choose from an unlimited number of toppings, from over 28 ingredients and five sauces, to churn out the pizza of your dreams for just $12! Toppings range from smoked chicken breast to roast pork, kimchi to capers. Aside from savoury options, TPC features a couple of dessert pizzas, namely Monkey Business ($12), a combination of banana, Nutella drizzle, and almond flakes that can't go wrong, and Apple of My Eye ($12), essentially an apple pie, but disguised as a pizza. This is the kinda place for those who want to have fun with their food, certainly not for pizza purists! Come for a fun date, or a night out with picky friends. ;)
For value-for-money pasta
Tucked in a coffee shop in Tiong Bahru, this humble little stall has been making waves with fabulous pasta served on old school kopitiam melamine plates. Made fresh daily by chef-owner, Chris, the simplicity of these pastas is deceiving. It's the kind of comfort food you wish you could have anytime, especially favourites such as the Premium Mac & Cheese with a good drizzle of truffle oil, the exceedingly fragrant and generously coated Basil Pesto, and the subtly flavoured Warm Bath - penne pasta with egg, French beans, anchovy butter. At just $7 and up, you can't fault the food here. Chris also whips up stunning desserts like Earl Grey Creme Brulee and Chocolatey Chocolate Cake (at just $4!), which you should most certainly end your meal with. Oh, finish off by ordering a teh o from the drink stall uncle, of course. Come alone for a quick and delicious meal, or with a friend to share three plates maybe? ;)
For fun but fancy pizza night
Mario Batali's famed pizzeria at Marina Bay Sands draws a crowd all the time, and for good reason. Known for crusts that seemingly envelope the toppings, the pizzas here are all about that thick, airy, chewy crust. Yet somehow, its centre is thin and topped with fresh, high quality ingredients and if you like unique toppings, you're at the right place. Go with a hearty appetite because you won't want to miss the Egg, Bacon ($38; Yukon gold potato, heady truffle, salty pancetta), the Fennel Sausage ($29), and the Funghi Misti ($30; loaded with mushrooms, fontina, taleggio). If you're there during their peak period, you might want to snack on the delish Fried Pig's Ears with Salsa Calabrese ($15) while waiting for your pizzas. Prices run steep but it's a lovely opportunity to dress up, bring your date or family to, and get some wine with amazing pizzas! Do note that pastas are only served next door at Osteria Mozza.
For an indulgent, sexy Italian dinner
This intimate spot hidden in The Grandstand may be slightly out of the way, but if you're after excellent Italian cuisine, making a trip down will more than satisfy. The ambience here sets the tone for a lovely dinner date. Start off with the freshly made Ciabatta Bread ($6.50), served warm with a pesto-like dip - warning: very addictive. The pastas here will leave you begging for more, especially the ever-popular signature Squid Ink Fettuccine with Crabmeat in Creamy Tomato Sauce ($29.90), and the Linguine Aglio Olio ai Fruitti De Mare ($28.50) studded with smoky seafood and whole-roasted garlic cloves. For dessert, you can't go wrong with the Tiramisu ($13.80) or Stracciatella ($15.50). You and your date will be all smiles when you leave.
For consistently good pizzas
Modesto's is just the place to go for reliably good pizzas at convenient locations (VivoCity, Orchard and Mount Elizabeth); they have been serving traditional wood-fired pizzas for more than a decade, and the quality has not dipped over the years. Their pizzas come in three different sizes (8", 12", 20"), so even if you're a small eater, you can have one to yourself. Create your own pizza with your choice of toppings, or order the Quattro Stagioni ($27; each of the four quarters are topped with mixed seafood, cooked pork ham, mushrooms, and Kalamata olives respectively) if you'd like an assortment of toppings! With a reasonable price point, this is a great choice for a pizza dinner with friends, or a Sunday night family meal!
11. in ITALY
For a taste of Tuscany
After one final stint as Chef Patron at Forlino Restaurant, Chef Mario Caramella decided it was time to finally realise the dream of opening his very own place after a 30-year career across the globe. Don't come expecting a hoity-toity white linen restaurant - in ITALY is as cosy as your imaginary Italian grandmother's house, tastefully decorated with lavish touches. Instead of the usual Burrata ($30), go for the irresistible Stracciatella ($24) and fall in love with the fresh gooey cheese served with stewed Sicilian eggplant caponata and roasted hazelnuts - so good you'll want to lick the bowl clean! A trip here wouldn't be complete without trying at least one of his homemade pasta dishes, guaranteed to be cooked perfectly al dente and tossed in rich, flavour-packed sauces. Don't dismiss the Specials board as the freshest catch and seasonal goodies often end up here. Portions are generous here so be sure to bring more friends (or a big appetite)!
12. il Cielo
For absolutely extravagant pizzas
Located by the Hilton Hotel poolside, il Cielo's combination of scenic views of the city skyline and superb, authentic Rome-style pizzas makes it an ideal spot for celebrating special occasions. The ingredients used here are sourced mostly from Italy, with an emphasis on organic ingredients, as well as seasonal and sustainable produce, justifying its steep price point. Of their range of irresistible thin-crust pizzas, go for the Bosco ($45), topped with porcini, home-cured Italian sausage and truffle, or the il Cielo ($50), a Margherita pizza with Maine lobster (!) and caviar (!!). Finally, end your meal with the Sfera Di Tiramisu ($17), a silky-smooth tiramisu served with cappuccino gelato.
For flavourful pizzas
Lo & Behold Group's Extra Virgin Pizza serves up some of the most tasty pizzas in terms of toppings (sourced from around the world, mind you). The crust here is moderately thin, charred in all the right spots, and chewier than you'd expect - but not in a bad way. A unique pie you should try is the Pistachio Pesto ($24), umami-rich nutty and herby base, mozzarella, pecorino and provolone, with baby arugula to cut through the richness - perfect for vegetarians. Meat lovers should go for the Spotted Pig ($28), loaded with pepperoni, pork sausage, and applewood smoked bacon. If you like your pizza white, go for the ones with a bechamel base instead! Although bringing a bigger troop means more variety, getting a table for four (or more) is almost impossible during lunch. Alternatively, opt for takeaway or delivery (within 1km from Asia Square) and have an office pizza party instead!
For pasta in a gorgeously lush setting
Housed in the most beautiful historical mansion on Telok Blangah Hill, Alkaff Mansion Ristorante is the place you want to bring your date to for a romantic date, or if you're looking to impress on a business meal. Even more spectacular is the mansion lit up at night, oozing charm and elegance. Start off with the Insalata di Polpo alla Carlofortina ($24), a salad of exceedingly tender Sardinian octopus. Then, try a really unique Sardinian pasta called Fregola ai Frutti di Mare ($28); fregola resembles Israeli couscous, and is tossed in a tomato-based sauce with mussels, clams and squid. For something heavier, order the Porcetto ($46), a succulent slow-cooked suckling pig with shatteringly-crisp skin. Finally, end off with the Panna Cotta alla Mentuccia ($14), a delightfully light, minty panna cotta with the perfect wobble.
For decadent uni spaghetti
Newly revamped OTTO Ristorante is an unassuming hidden gem in Maxwell Chambers. The food speaks for itself, and its no surprise with acclaimed Italian Chef Michele Pavanello (formerly of Il Lido) heading the culinary team. Kickstart your meal with the Seared Foie Gras ($30), meltingly decadent foie gras served with brioche and red Tropea onion jam, or the Wagyu Beef Carpaccio ($28), an excellent appetiser of thinly-sliced beef, with flavours amplified by a mushroom and parmesan salad. Then, dig in to the event - Spaghetti with Sea Urchin and Grey Mullet Bottarga ($32). Indulgent, rich, and slightly creamy from the uni, the flavours of the ocean will explode in your mouth. There's no better place to bring your favourite client or that special someone who loves Italian food.