Italian restaurants in Singapore: Where to have the best pizzas, pastas, risottos, burratas and more
Does it get better than a hearty plate of pasta, a wicked slice of pizza, or a beautiful plate of burrata? Don't strain yourself, the answer is no, it doesn't. And lucky for us, Singapore is home to an abundant supply of fresh, downright delicious Italian restaurants serving up cuisines from various parts of the motherland. (So never mind that Mozza has left the building.) Below, a list of our favourite spots to get your "mangia" (eat in Italian) on, whether you're looking to dine in a romantic fine-dining setting or somewhere with a casual come-as-you-are vibe.
Perched at the rooftop of National Gallery Singapore, Aura first takes your breath away with its stunning vista overlooking the city, then with its classic Italian menu. The fettuccine with spanner crab, prosecco and fennel pollen, and the baked cheesecake with lemon espuma and strawberries are some of the best plates on Aura's refined menu. Another plus point? Gluten-intolerant options.
1 Saint Andrew's Road, #05-03 and #06-02 National Gallery Singapore, Tel: 6866 1977
Opening hours: 12pm-2pm, 6.30pm-10pm
Blink and you'll miss this gem of a restaurant along Boat Quay. The entrance is hidden, but keep looking for the tiny door that will lead you upstairs to a stylish dining hall and terrace overlooking the river. Once inside, you'll be served some of the finest examples of Italian simplicity in the city, with dishes like homemade Apulian-style bread — accompanied by one of the finest extra-virgin olive oils exclusively produced for this restaurant — and a velvety risotto scampi and zucchini with Venetian curry.
52 Boat Quay, #05-01/#06-01, Tel: 6866 1933
Opening hours: 12pm-2pm (Tuesday-Friday), 6pm-10:30pm (Monday-Saturday), 5pm-12am (bar, Monday-Saturday)
Sometimes the simplest things are the best things and Casa Manini's rigatoni al brasato di manzo (braised beef pasta) proves that flavour doesn't have to mean frills. The toothsome dish, courtesy of self-taught chef Fulvio who's recreating his family recipes from Northern Italy at this homely restaurant, is best followed with the sorbetto al limone (lemon sorbet) for a refreshing end to your meal.
14B Kensington Park Road, Tel: 6281 1286
Opening hours: 12pm-2.30pm (Tuesday-Friday), 12pm-3pm (Saturday-Sunday), 6pm-9.30pm (Tuesday-Sunday)
On a quiet Kampong Glam street, this chic eatery makes a strong case for the pleasures of cicheti, or Venice-style tapas, served alongside good wine. Decorated with wrought-iron furnishings, sexy wooden chairs, rustic oak tables and moody contemporary art, Cicheti serves up some fine antipasti, red and white pizzas, darn-good pastas (good enough to open a second restaurant specialising in them Italian noodles), a handful of classic mains including a melt-in-your-mouth Sanchuko wagyu beef, and thoughtful wines. Do yourself a favour and order the burratina, fresh sea prawns cooked with chilli and smoked herb butter. The pizzas here, baked in a wood-fired oven, are simple but excellent creations (the classic cheese-free Napoletana with anchovies, garlic, oregano, olives, is a hit) — and we dare say they're some of the best in town.
52 Kandahar Street, Tel: 6292 5012.
Opening hours: 12pm-2.30pm (Monday-Friday), 6pm-10.30pm (Saturday), 6.30pm-10.30pm (Monday-Friday)
From its inception in 2006, Etna has been a runaway success (with two outlets to boot), thanks to its crowd-pleasing Southern Italian cooking, attentive service, prodigious portions and wallet-friendly trattoria prices. Both restaurants have a similar look and feel: clean and understated with dark wood, tables dressed in white table cloths, and rustic touches like a brick feature wall and little wall planters. The menu covers everything from antipasti and bread to pastas, pizzas, and mains. Sharing plates is a must (so go in groups), and recommended dishes include the homemade lobster ravioli, the seafood platter, and the semolina pasta with mushrooms, homemade sausage and truffle paste.
49/50 Duxton Road, Tel: 6220 5513, and 110 Upper East Coast Road, Tel: 6444 9530
Opening hours: 12pm-2:30pm, 6pm-10:30pm (Monday-Sunday)
It has all the trappings of a family-run Italian restaurant: A homely décor filled with rustic heirlooms, pictures and keepsakes from Italy, traditional Italian dishes created with generations-old family recipes, and a bustling, convival atmosphere that make you want to linger a while. There is, in fact, a small menu of signature dishes, but the best way to eat here is to have whatever chef Osvaldo Forlino and his team are serving up that night. Be warned — the staff are incredibly persuasive, and the food is satisfying so take heart with the ordering or risk getting slapped with a shocking bill.
23 Boon Tat Street, Tel: 6224 0091
Opening hours: 11.30am-3pm (Monday-Friday), 6-11pm (Monday-Saturday)
This upscale Italian establishment is regularly ranked among the best for Italian, and with good reason. The menu is impressively massive and vice versa —you'll find most, if not all, of your favourite dishes on it, including wagyu beef carpaccio, burrata with parma ham and porcini mushrooms, veal ravioli, beef bolognese, seafood risotto, and even a standalone caviar menu to boot. Its wine list is just as overwhelming, with over 7,000 labels to lose yourself in. Don't leave the restaurant without trying the reinvigorating fresh mixed berries with marsala wine sabayon, a foamy Italian cream similar to Chantilly, topped by ball of rich pistachio gelato.
36 Purvis Street, Tel: 6837 1468
Opening hours: 12pm-2.30PM, 6.30pm-10,30pm (Monday-Sunday)
We said it before and we'll say it again: the winning flavours at this restaurant is worth doubling our time at the gym for. If you want the best of what Zafferano has to offer, go for the seasonal chef's menu. Rather choose your own plates? Do the 'La Gustazione' — select three dishes from the ala carte menu, which includes excellent options likea "pici" pasta (spaghetti's thicker cousin) with seafood, chili pepper, oil and parsley, as well as charcoal-grilled meats (turbot fish, black angus and wagyu beef) served with sides of your choice. Did we also mention the views are breathtaking?
Level 43 Ocean Financial Centre, 10 Collyer Quay, Tel: 6509 1488
Opening hours: 11.30am-3pm (Monday-Friday), 5.30pm-11pm (Monday-Wednesday), 5.30pm-12am (Thursday-Friday), 630pm-11.30pm (Saturday)