Subtle handcrafted modernity—that’s the slogan of Italian restaurant Sapore Italiano. Our writer Chloe pays it a visit to find out how true it is.
Sapore Italiano is situated in University Town with a shady al fresco area, perfect for chilling with friends or just people-watching. It gives off a rather quiet vibe, which is unlike most traditional Italian restaurants that bustle and radiate with a homey feel. But like its slogan promises, Sapore Italiano presents a sleek front that draws you in. Not to mention, it might be the only place in U-Town that serves alcohol (although you didn’t hear it from me).
Inside, the restaurant was fitted with wooden furnishing and booth seats, providing a comforting and cozier interior. The service was prompt and helpful, and they waited on us with a welcoming smile and a patient manner. What really impressed me though, was the food. The menu offers a great variety—if you want it, they probably have it. It took us a long time to decide what to order because everything looked and sounded great.
We started with a Garlic Bread Pomodoro ($7.90) to share. The bread arrived piping hot from the oven–a simple but perfect dish that hit the spot. I’m not usually a fan of thin crusts as most turn out either crackly or too doughy, but this was adequately thick to provide texture without muting the rest of the ingredients. The thin crust was just enough to complement the tangy tomato (‘pomodoro’ meaning ‘tomato’ in Italian) and the garlic, which was fragrant but not overpowering. The freshness of the ingredients and the simplicity of the dish made it easy to enjoy this appetizer.
The Risotto Al Funghi Porcini ($14.90) was perfectly done. Given how many risottos tend to be overly creamy with the rice either under- or overcooked in stock, this mushroom risotto turned out brilliantly. The flavours were the right mix between creamy and light so that it didn’t sit too heavily in the stomach. Moreover, the risotto was al dente and didn’t clump.
I was pretty surprised to see gnocchi and tortellini on the menu. This is because the small dumplings (usually made out of potato, flour or semolina) and stuffed pasta (with meat or cheese filling) respectively are usually handmade, and thus difficult to find in Singapore. The kitchen’s efforts paid off though, since both the Gnocchi Alla Sorrentina ($9.90) and Tortellini Al Ragu ($11.90) were a joy to eat.
The tomato-based ‘Sorrento style’ gnocchi showcased soft but firm dumplings; and once again, the clear notes of tomato made sure that every bite was a pleasant surprise. Tortellini, on the other hand, is perfect for ragu, given its ability to hold sauces well. This tortellini was evidently handmade with care, and the meat-based sauce was hearty and rich–the epitome of a good Italian meal. Each mouthful was a burst of flavour accompanied by terrific texture thanks to the great pairing of both pasta and sauce.
Sapore Italiano may be modern, but the food is definitely chockfull of traditional Italian goodness (thanks to the chef, who is trained in a number of cuisines). So if you want your Italian food fix, take the shuttle bus down to U-Town, where you’ll be sure to enjoy delicious Italian cuisine, affordable prices and gelato to boot.