Singapore's best Italian

Singapore's best Italian

In Singapore, there's 'Italian' and there's 'authentic Italian.' At these restaurants, you'll always get the real thing

Singapore's best Italian -- Recommended: Gattopardo

GattopardoAt Gattopardo, the seafood is flown in from the Mediterranean and Japan.

The prize for the most awaited restaurant opening of 2010 must go to Gattopardo.

Though dogged by a series of architectural setbacks that delayed its opening by more than six months, the restaurant quickly overcame its sputtering start.

Part of the Garibaldi group of restaurants, Gattopardo, helmed by the amicable chef/partner Lino Sauro, sets itself apart from big brother Garibaldi by its sheer style.

The menu is Sicilian-inspired, with seafood flown in from the Mediterranean and Japan. Don't expect humdrum spaghetti bolognaise and carbonara here.

The bucatini con la sarde -- semolina “holey spaghetti” with fresh sardines, wild fennel, saffron and pine nuts -- is a light, refreshing rendition of pasta with strong accents of sardines and the crunch of pine nuts. Like much of the rest of the menu, it's a departure from the expected.

Hotel Fort Canning, 1 Canning Walk, tel +65 63385498. Open daily noon-3 p.m., 6:30-10 p.m.

Singapore's best Italian -- Recommended: Cugini Trattoria Pizzeria

Cugini Trattoria PizzeriaA tangle of southern Italian goodness at Cugini Trattoria Pizzeria.When opening Cugini Trattoria Pizzeria, best friends Gerri Sottile and Mauro Muroni decided to focus on the cuisine of their home regions in southern Italy.

The result is a cozy, home-style trattoria bathed in baby blue and white that serves dishes combining the unique tastes of Sardinia with the spicy flavors of Sicily and other southern Italian regions.

The duo use premium-grade bottarga (mullet roe), which plays a role in Cugini's signature pasta dishes, such as the Sardinian spaghetti and prawns or freshly made squid ink fettuccine with seafood and fresh peas.

“Look out for their unexpected ingredients, such as sea urchin," says Best Eats expert panelist and food blogger Leslie Tay. "They also import cottage-industry pasta that has a nice texture and holds the sauce very well.”

#01-01 87 Club St., tel +65 6221 3791. Open daily noon-3pm, 6:30-11 p.m.

Singapore's best Italian -- Winner: Osvaldo Ristoronte Italiano

You'll find Michelin-level cuisine in the homey confines of Osvaldo Ristoronte Italiano.

When considering Osvaldo Ristoronte Italiano, "legit" is the first word that comes to mind.

That's because the charming restaurant is run by Osvaldo Forlino and his entire family. His wife is in charge of pasta making, sister Laura runs the wine list and operations and his children and mother also help out.

From the walnut furniture specially imported from their Michelin-star restaurant in Piedmont to the honey made by Osvaldo’s daughter, Gaia, the family is always eager to share a slice of their homeland with guests.

The menu focuses on Piedmont fare, such as thin, crusty bread, home-cured charcuterie or braesola (dried beef) and prosciutto with fresh figs.

Pasta dishes such as tagliatelle with wild boar ragout are head and shoulders above what you usually get in Singapore.

“To have an entire Italian family share with you stories about their cuisine and hometown; this definitely adds to the experience,” says Eric Teo, expert panel member and president of the Singapore Chefs’ Association.

01-03 Maxwell Chambers, 32 Maxwell Rd., tel +65 6224 0978. Open Monday-Saturday 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 6:30-10:30 p.m.

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