Walk into any mall or down any street in Singapore and you’ll likely find a place for pizza or pasta – the culprits that led to so-called Italian restaurants being a dime a dozen in our sunny isle.
So how would you know which place to go for authentic nosh from The Boot? Whether you’re a pizza connoisseur that swears by the traditional margherita, or just someone looking to have a taste of Italy in sunny Singapore, here are 10 places we’ve sussed out.
1. Bar Cicheti
Dedicated to the marriage of pasta and wine, Bar Cicheti’s concept of refined and simplified pasta dishes is done to perfection.
Try the Roman Pici Cacio e Pepe pasta a try, and marvel at how the flavours of velvety parmigiano and cracked pepper harmonise seamlessly with thick, handmade pasta.
Their Sicilian Arancini is also delightful with its crusty texture, warm beefy willing, and a tinge of tangy balsamic to balance it all out. Their wine offerings range from the classics to biodynamic and organic labels, with their Sommakase option to have 3 different wines throughout your meal.
Bar Cicheti is located at 10 Jiak Chuan Road Singapore 089264, p. +65 6789 9801.
2. Pete’s Place
Simplicity is done to perfection at Pete’s Place. In its rustic and cozy trattoria ambience, this restaurant prides itself in its classic pastas and wood-fired oven pizzas.
In-house dishes authentic enough to make an Italian swoon are their Prosciutto E Fichi, 24-month aged Parma ham with fresh figs and rocket, and Gnocchi di Patata Sorrentina , potato gnocchi with basil pesto, mozzarella, and plum tomatoes.
For the starter Italian foodie, or the seasoned aficionado looking for good simple Italian food, Pete’s Place is the trattoria to be in bustling Singapore.
Pete’s Place is located at the Basement Level, Grand Wing of Grand Hyatt Singapore, 10 Scotts Road, Singapore 228211, p. +65 6732 1234. Open daily 12pm-2.30pm for lunch, 3pm-5pm for aperitivo, 6pm-7.30pm and 8pm-9.30pm for dinner.
3. Solo Ristorante
Solo Ristorante adds a touch of luxury to its Emilia-Romagna dishes while keeping its dishes true to Italian simplicity.
Expect only the best seasonal ingredients in the dishes of this Amoy Street standout, such as Taggiasche olives with their Polipo. Other customer favourites include the Pappardelle al Ragù, or Guancia di manzo — beef cheek braised for 36 hours in Sangiovese wine to succulent perfection.
Be sure to ask for their off-the-menu specials for exclusive seasonal offerings, and wash it all down with Italian wines, comprehensively categorised by region of origin.
Solo Ristorante is located at 45 Amoy St, Singapore 069871, p. +65 6260 0762. Open Mon-Sat 12.30pm-2.30pm, 6pm-10.30pm. Closed on Sun.
Named after a famous volcano, Etna opened its first outlet on Upper East Coast Road in 2006 with a goal to introduce authentic Sicilian cuisine to Singapore.
It values giving an upscale ristorante experience to the customer while offering the same homely trattoria prices and hospitality.
Their Linguine al Granchio is cooked to al dente perfection and comes with generous chunks of fresh flower crab in sweet-tangy tomato sauce. Give their thin-crusted yet fluffy Pizza Margherita a whirl, and a traditional Sicilian Cannolo Etna to end off your meal on a sweet note.
Etna Italian Restaurant is located at 49/50 Duxton Road, Singapore 089513, p. +65 6220 5513. Open Mon-Sun 12pm -2.30pm, 6pm-10.30pm.
5. Pasta Bar
Pasta is the name of the game at this restaurant. Handmade daily, different types of pastas are fine-tuned to the specificity of each dish it is cooked for.
From the more common Tagliatelle with slow-cooked braised beef ragout, and Linguine alle Vongole, to home recipes like Gemelli al Pesto Genovese and Pumpkin Tortelli , it’s easy to be spoilt for choice.
The Torta Barozzi — a flourless chocolate cake — was rich yet airy, and complemented the drizzle of balsamic vinegar and delicately-sweet vanilla ice cream . They’ve recently opened an outdoor garden for a wonderful evening al fresco dining experience too.
Pasta Bar is located at 55 Keong Saik Road, #01-05, Singapore 089158. Open for lunch Thurs-Sun from 12pm-3pm, and daily for dinner from 6pm-10.30pm.
Be mentally and gastronomically transported to the Mediterranean coast with Cugini’s Sardinian-themed decor and heartwarming offerings. Reminisce the coastal life with Cugini’s signature Spaghetto Bottarga e Gamberi , seafood decadence in a plate.
For a real bar-setter in pizza standards, go for La Bufalina : nothing but tomato paste, basil, and a glistening ball of buffalo mozzarella. We recommend getting a topping of sun-dried tomatoes for that extra burst of sweet-tangy flavour with the buttery mozzarella.
Cugini is located at 37 Joo Chiat Place #01-01 Singapore 427761, p. +65 6243 5215. Open for lunch from Wed-Sun 12pm-2:45pm, and for dinner from Tue-Sun 6pm-10.30pm.
7. iO Italian Osteria
Bringing the convivio (“banquet” in Italian) spirit to a cozy yet polished space, iO is the place to try out some more uncommon Italian dishes, like their Traditional Stuffed Roman Schiacciata — Roman-style pizza oozing with silky pecorino cheese and full-bodied truffle.
For a refreshing take on seafood pasta, their Homemade Prawn Tagliolini is a no-brainer. Topped off with breadcrumbs and zesty lemon, the al dente pasta is delicate on the palate and goes perfectly with the fresh prawns.
iO Italian Osteria is located at 4 Hillview Rise, #02-01, Hillv2 Singapore 667979, p. +65 6710 7150. Open Mon-Fri 11.30am-10pm, Sat-Sun 10am-10pm.
Sporting a refined retro interior with a distinct Italian touch, Prego brings a wide range of Italian classics to the table.
For an authentic start to your Italian feast, go with the Grandioso Board for a journey through premium cheeses and meats. Pair with some prosecco to complement the fattiness in the prosciutto. In the primi side of the house, their daring Alaskan King Crab wood-fired pizza is definitely one for the unconventional.
Prego is located at Level 1, Fairmont Singapore, 80 Bras Basah Road Singapore 189560, p. +65 6431 6156. Open daily from 11.30am-10.30pm.
Feeling adventurous? Push the boundaries of Italian cuisine with one Michelin-starred Braci. Boasting a Josper charcoal oven and shichirin grill as part of their culinary arsenal, Braci is a trailblazer in progressive Italian flavours.
Be it premium ingredients like white asparagus or Miyazaki wagyu in your degustation, or an authentic Caprese Cake from their lunch menu, quality is definitely uncompromised here. At restaurant ranked top 50 of the best Italian restaurants worldwide, how could you possibly go wrong?
Braci is located at 52 Boat Quay, Level 5/6, Singapore 049841, p. +65 6866 1933. Open for lunch from Tues-Sat 12pm-2pm, and for dinner from Mon-Sat: 1st seating at 6pm and 2nd seating at 8.30pm.
The only Sicilian seafood restaurant in Singapore, Gattopardo is the embodiment of the island in an enjoyable and sustainable dining experience. Their ingredients are responsibly-sourced, and a-la-carte menus are a thing of the past to reduce food wastage.
The whole game plan: fresh and simple. Their Signature Salt-baked Giant Seabass with Sicilian Caponata is a must-try, as well as other distinct Sicilian dishes like Busiate al Pesto Trapanese — a type of pesto originating from Trapani, a city at the very tip of the Italian boot and hometown of Chef Giovanni Mannino.
Gattopardo is located at 36 Tras Street, Singapore 078975, p. +65 6338 5498. Open for brunch on Sunday 11.30am-3.30pm, lunch from Tues-Fri 12pm-2.30pm, dinner from Tues-Sat 6.30pm-10.30pm.
This article was first published in City Nomads.