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Bar Cicheti
Photograph: Bar Cicheti

The best Italian restaurants in Singapore

From rustic to contemporary flavours, here’s where to get your Italian fix

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Written by
Mia Chenyze
&
Fabian Loo
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Italian restaurants are in no short supply in Singapore. Craving wood-fired pizzas and handmade pasta? We’ve covered good ground on that here. But there’s also more to the Italian dining scene than you might give Singapore credit for, including a Sicilian-centric restaurant, a buzzy gastro bar, contemporary Michelin-starred restaurants and even a neighbourhood joint that’s turning out lesser-known street snacks from the boot-shaped land.

RECOMMENDED: The best French, Spanish and Japanese restaurants in Singapore for more food recommendations.

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  • Italian
  • City Hall

What used to be a Mediterranean restaurant by Alain Ducasse has since transformed into a modern osteria. But it remains backed by the master chef, who has appointed Chef de Cuisine Francesco Soletti (the Italian native has worked in various top restaurants, including the three Michelin-starred Le Louis XV) to helm the fresh concept. Despite that, the food remains surprisingly affordable; lunch sets are available in options of two ($36) and three courses ($42), and stand-out dishes feature beef carpaccio ($32), made using 28-day dry-aged John Stone; Eliche di Gragnano ($45); and limoncello-soaked baba ($18). 

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  • Italian
  • Raffles Place

Put aside all thoughts of cosy, family-owned trattorias. The Jigger and Pony venture is perfect for drinks and Italian grub, complete with fantastic views of Marina Bay. Caffe Fernet dedicates a good part of the menu to aperitivo-friendly numbers – think spritzers, bellinis, and frosés and another pageful to negroni variations. All of which help prime the tummy for a seafood-focused line-up of tonnarelli vongole ($29), a fresh take on the usual pasta with clams; de-boned pomfret ($42); and more. 

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  • Italian
  • Newton

The charm of one-Michelin-starred Buona Terra begins with its location. The cosy 22-seater restaurant comes housed within a monochromatic colonial bungalow, its intimate setting making for a quiet dining experience. The kitchen, headed by chef Denis Lucchi, takes the best the season has to offer to create contemporary Italian plates. Dinner of five courses (from $178) is the best way to sample what Buona Terra has to offer. 

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  • Italian
  • Raffles Place

There are no shortage of alfresco eateries along the length of Robertson Quay, but Publico Ristorante stands out with its charming interior and hearty creations. Its interior offers an Italian escape, and the food is dedicated to the greatest hits of the cuisine. Most tables will spot orders of calamari and cauliflower fritti ($22), housemate pasta (from $25), and wood-fired pizza of Margherita ($23), prosciutto ($30), and more.

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  • Raffles Place

The Italian restaurant takes the cuisine to new heights, with impressive plates cooked up by chef Andrea De Paola, a young cook that has worked in big-name kitchens, including the one-Michelin-starred BraciHe taps into inspiration from his hometown in Naples to present hearty Italian plates made with a creative spark, including Scampi ($38), par-grilled shellfish alongside white miso sauce made with blended white sesame and 25-year-old mirin; spaghetti with razor clams (from $34); and more. 

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  • Raffles Place
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Exposed brick walls, vintage mosaic tiles, scissor gates – the industrial aesthetics of Amò may be popular with the trendy crowd, but rest assured that the food has timeless appeal. Pastas and pizzas are the main draw at this buzzy restaurant. Pies are slow-fermented and baked in wood-fired ovens to achieve a satisfying chew and properly blistered edges.

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  • Chinatown

Handmade pastas are done fresh at Bar Cicheti's open kitchen. On its menu are creations like the bucatini ($28) a thick and hollow noodle soaks up the fragrant sauce tossed with pepper and cheese. Another winner is the squid ink pasta with seafood ($35), best paired with some small plates to share. 

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  • Tanglin

Da Paolo's latest outlet, located in the scenic enclave of Dempsey Hill, gathers the best of its concept under one roof – or more specifically, under an overhanging preserved olive tree. The menu changes depending on your time of visit: breakfast is served till 11.30am, where you can have spicy shakshouka ($26) and burrata bruschetta ($24) for brunch. Try the Naples-style 8 Cheese ($35) pizza, where a chef’s selection of cheeses covers a homemade dough that’s fermented for over 72 hours to yield a soft, chewy bite.

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Fresh ingredients and authentic Italian cuisine all alongside stunning poolside views – can we ask for anything more? Kick off your meal with the restaurant's signature Treccia Campana di Bufala ($36), a 10kg buffalo mozzarella cheese from southern Italy that is plated and served tableside with anchovies. Still hungry? Order the stuffed ravioli with spinach ($32) to share. The pan-seared wagyu beef tenderloin ($52) served with sweet potato cannolo is guaranteed to leave you feeling stuffed.

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  • Italian
  • Tanjong Pagar

This Duxton Road Stalwart has been doling out Italian dishes to Singaporeans since 2006. Named after Mount Etna, an active volcano on the east coast of Sicily, the restaurant showcases the rich agricultural produce of the region. Dig into its linguine al granchio ($28), cooked in a flower crab sauce, grilled yellowfin tuna loin ($36), and other seafood-heavy dishes that showcase what the country's south has to offer.

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  • Bukit Batok

Io has a great many things going for it but perhaps best of all is its array of Italian street stacks. In fact, we’d rather you forego the mains and do it tapas-style, ordering as many appetisers and snacks as you can manage. Among our favourites: stuffed schiacciata (from $7), a comforting sandwich with ciabatta-like crustiness that's slathered with truffle-flecked mascarpone; supply ($9), a Roman take on Sicily’s arancini; and moreish globes of olives crammed with minced meat then breaded and fried for a salty-tart-umami flavour bomb ($9).

 

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  • Italian
  • Tanjong Pagar

At Gattopardo, flavours of Scilly are celebrated. Only sustainable ingredients, particularly the seafood, are used – which is why the restaurant has down away with its a al carte offerings to provide a degustation option ($128 for five courses). The menu switches up every fortnight.  

 

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  • Raffles Place

Restaurateur Beppe de Vito has many restaurants in the ilLido portfolio but Braci is said to be his creative playground. The compositions are very contemporary, but there’s also a distinct undercurrent of quintessentially Italian flavours. And in spirit of its Michelin-starred fame, Braci is as affordable as the setting is welcoming, with lunch starting from $58 for three courses, and dinner from $208.

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  • Italian
  • Orchard

For a grand Italian feast, there's no better destination to be bound for than Basilico. Cheese lovers should check out the Formaggissimo Nights ($68), where a cheese platter comes served with wine pairings; or partake in the Basilissimo Dinner ($88) that presents contemporary Italian flavours on the plate. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Tanjong Pagar

This tiny restaurant is perpetually packed. Some of that popularity can be attributed to its very reasonable prices – hearty pastas from $20, pizzas from $18. The wood-fired pizzas – crusty, chewy, yielding – largely stick to the conventional Italian playbook. For a taste of Japanese influences, look towards the pasta and cichetti (snacks) sections. Among the intriguing options: tuna tartare ($20) reinterpreted with negitoro and ikura; smoked eggs topped with uni and draped with ham ($13); and creamy mentaiko and ikura spaghetti ($24).

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