Whether you're hankering after a quick slice of pizza, a hearty bowl of pasta or a more refined dining experience, you'll find plenty of choice when it comes to Italian cuisine in Singapore.
Number one on the list goes to Oso Ristorante. A traditional Chinese shophouse in the heart of Chinatown may seem like an odd choice for one of Singapore’s best-loved Italian restaurants, but the cozy atmosphere is perfect for tucking into your favourite pasta dishes and a large glass of red wine. Traditional shophouses in Chinatown are also home to two other choices on our list, Senso with its romantic courtyard and fine-dining and the more relaxed family atmosphere of No Menu.
Fine-dining is the name of the game for most Italian restaurants on our list. Garibaldi Italian Restaurant & Bar and the Lighthouse at the Fullerton Hotel head up the pack with their refined atmosphere, impeccable service and sumptuous cuisine. And if you’re looking for a view with your fine-dining Italian, then look no further than Forlino, with its sweeping vistas over Marina Bay and the city beyond, or try out Il Lido at Sentosa Golf Club, its outdoor decking the perfect setting for pre-dinner sunset views out to sea.
This family-friendly restaurant and bar is located on the banks of the Singapore River at thriving evening hangout Robertson Quay. The open grill kitchen produces Italian home-style cooking with traditional favorites such as Amalfi Coast Spaghetti with seafood and tomato sauce and Ravioli della Casa, a selection of risotto and gnocchi, as well as chargrilled meats and steaks. Chef Fabio Iannone also helms the wood-fired pizza oven, dishing up a choice of 14 thin-crusted pizzas. The glass-fronted building allows indoor diners views out over the river, while the outdoor decking provides a pleasant setting for alfresco diners. (6634 5117)
No Menu is a charming family-run Italian restaurant headed up by Michelin-starred chef Osvaldo Forlino, who made his name in Singapore at more formal establishments Forlino and Il Lido. Housed in a heritage shophouse between Chinatown and the CBD, the Forlino family (Osvaldo is helped out by his wife, daughters and niece) serve up a hearty selection of home-cooked Italian dishes - the recipes for which they claim have been passed down the Forlino family for generations. The cozy surroundings are reminiscent of a family home, with heirlooms, pictures and keepsakes adorning the walls, homely rugs on the floor and a collection of copper pots and pans surrounding the entrance to the kitchen. If you have the time and appetite, treat yourself to the degustation menu - a procession of ten courses based on seasonal specials. (6224 0091)
Bonta is an Italian restaurant in Robertson Quay that serves up a selection of refined, modern Northern Italian dishes. Its crowd of faithful followers return time and again to enjoy such delights as Home-made Black Ink Tagliolini with jumbo crabmeat in spicy basil tomato sauce, Slow Roasted Crispy Goose Leg served with truffle soft potato mousse or Roasted Mediterranean Seabass Fillet with sautéed garlic spinach, crispy pesto risotto and saffron emulsion. The elegant yet relaxed dining room is the perfect location to host a business dinner, or woo that special someone in your life, while the outdoor terrace makes for a relaxed atmosphere for a convivial get-togethers with friends. (6333 8875)
Gattopardo Italian Restaurant & Pizzabar is located within the stunning colonial Fort Canning Hotel, within the leafy confines of Fort Canning Park. Named after the famous Sicilian novel by Giuseppe Tommasi di Lampedusa, Gattopardo serves up authentic Sicilian cuisine in a contemporary yet relaxed setting. Dishes are inventive and interesting, such as the Angel Hair Pasta with Grey Mullet "Bottarga" Roe and Sea Urchin, and the Sous Vide Iberico Pork Jowl with Leeks and Orange Marmalade, while the pizzas run from the ordinary (Quatro Formaggi) to the extraordinary (Smoked Mozzarella, Suckling Pig, Porcini Mushrooms, Grape Sauce and Rucola Salad). For a convivial evening with friends, opt for the Sicilian BBQ on the Almerita Terrace, where a selection of fresh seafood and top quality meats are cooked for you by the chef. Alternatively, head here on a Sunday for a lazy Champagne Sunday Brunch buffet with free flow bubbles. (6338 5498)
Located in the apex of the Fullerton Hotel, where lighthouse keepers used to guide the ships in from, the Lighthouse is one of Singapore's finest Italian restaurants. The cozy and classy ambience is perfect for an intimate dinner for two, or for schmoozing important clients, while the panoramic views over the Marina Bay and the city skyline provide an impressive backdrop. The fine-dining Italian cuisine never disappoints, with such delights as Linguine Pasta with Live Boston Lobster Chunks, Lobster Bisque Sauce and Sweet Basil; Carnaroli Risotto Laced with Prosecco, Scallops, Squid and Live Prawns; and Slow Braised Ossobuco with Gold Saffron Risotto and Lemon Gremolata. The stunning rooftop bar is the ideal spot for pre- or post- dinner cocktails. (6877 8933)
Il Lido has earned itself a stellar reputation amongst the Singapore fine-dining aficionados, with its tempting menu of homemade pastas and risottos, and gourmet meat and seafood dishes. Its location on the edge of the Sentosa Golf Course allows you to dine not only with the stretching green fairways in front of you, but also with a panoramic view of the South China Sea as your backdrop, as you dine alfresco from its famed deck.
Culinary highlights of this Italian restaurant include the Tagliatelle Lobster Bolognese, Wagyu Beef with with morels and parsley root or the Turbot with razor clams and Agretti. Those with a sweet tooth will be tempted by the Banana Brulee with salted caramel and coconut gelato, or the Roasted Strawberries with vanilla and yogurt semifreddo. (65 6866 1977)
Forlino is a sophisticated contemporary fine-dining Italian restaurant with stunning views across Marina Bay. The opulent design begins with the black and white marble corridor, lined with gilt-edged walls, that leads to the main dining room. Once inside this 80-seater restaurant, though, it is the view of Marina Bay through the floor-to-ceiling windows that steals the limelight. The menu features traditional Italian dishes, interspersed with Asian ingredients, reflecting Japanese chef Kentaro Torii's roots. Fresh pasta dishes include the Tagliatelle all'Anatra (Duck Ragout, Baby Kai Lan, Caciocavallo Cheese), while main courses include La Cotoletta - Herb crusted Kurobuta pork loin with arrabbiata spicy tomato sauce, and the Guance di Bue - slow braised beef check with 100% dark chocolate and red wine sauce. A 1,000 strong wine list ensures you should have a fabulous tipple befitting your meal. (68776995)
Senso is one of Singapore's best-loved Italian restaurants. Located on popular nightlife hangout Club Street, Senso provides a sophisticated setting for authentic fine-dining Italian cuisine, with its outdoor courtyard a unique romantic addition. Homemade pasta dishes include the Ravioli stuffed with braised veal shank in a porcini mushroom sauce, while the Risotto Senso is a traditional Tuscan-style risotto with rabbit ragout, and Ardoino olives. A range of meat and seafood dishes includes Ossobucco, 8-braised beef cheek 'al cacciatore', and Red Snapper 'alla griglia'. A Prosseco brunch is served every Sunday, allowing diners to indulge in a selection of Italian brunch favorites, including fresh European oysters, classic cold cuts, Italian cheese and more, accompanied by free flow Prosseco. (62243534)
Garibaldi Italian Restaurant & Bar
Garibaldi Italian Restaurant & Bar is a classy and stylish Italian restaurant that serves up a wide array of traditional and fine-dining Italian dishes. Chef Roberto Galetti prides himself on producing some of Singapore's most authentic Italian cuisine, with the majority of his ingredients being imported directly from Italy. The menu features an interesting array of pasta, risotto, seafood and meat dishes, and there is also an ever-changing daily Chef's recommendation of seasonal specials. Wash this all down with an award-winning wine cellar that boasts up to 6,000 bottles of wines and more than 500 labels of wine, from the best vineyards in Italy and around the world. Those visiting for a special occasion should check out the Caviar menu - a selection of dishes featuring Carelian Caviar, including the inventive dessert Mousse Al Cioccolato Bianco E Gelatina Di Champagne Al Caviale (White Chocolate Mousse with Champagne Jelly and Carelian Caviar). (65 6837 1468)
OSO Ristorante is a one of Singapore's best-loved Italian restaurants, housed within a traditional heritage shophouse in the heart of Chinatown. The cozy dining room always has a relaxed and convivial atmosphere, and is equally popular with large groups of friends and family as it is with romancing couples. Dishes are hearty and generous, including the Braised veal "guancia" cheek with Barolo wine and black truffle served with pumpkin; the "Ravioli" filled with veal in mixed cheese fondue and mushroom sauce; and the Black truffle "tartufo" risotto with mascarpone cheese. Desserts are equally appealing, including some of the best pannacotta in town, while another highlight is the cheese room, showcasing an impressive selection of top quality Italian cheeses and cold cuts. (65 6327 8378)
About Marianne Rogerson
Marianne is a freelance travel writer, who has lived in Singapore for six years. She is the author of a travel guidebook to Singapore and has written about Singapore for a range of international magazines and websites. A self-confessed glutton, Marianne is always on the lookout for new restaurants and loves how Singapore has attracted some of the world’s most renowned chefs to its shores over the last few years. Being mother to a very active toddler means Marianne has also become an expert in entertaining kids in Singapore.
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