Which is the best Italian restaurant in Singapore? This is a question that throws up different answers depending on whom you ask. But one name that is often mentioned is Ristorante Da Valentino or more often known as the Valentino Restaurant. Previously located in a small shophouse in Rifle Range Road where it was almost impossible to get a table unless you reserve way in advance, they had moved to the Turf City in Bukit Timah a few years ago.
The new premises at Turf City is more spacious and it is easier now to secure a table at Valentino. The exterior of Valentino Restaurant is quite nondescript. In fact it looks like a flatted factory. But once we stepped inside, we felt like we have been teleported into a restaurant somewhere in a small town in Italy.
The first thing you notice upon entering is a wall of photographs. It is a Who’s Who list. It seems that some of our politicians are fond of Italian food. Once we were done with the spot-the-celebrity game, we proceeded to our table, passing the well equipped bar along the way.
You will notice by now that the decor is rustic country, which is quite appropriate for the atmosphere and character of the Valentino Restaurant. The interesting thing about this kind of decor is that all kinds of mundane articles, such as used wine bottles, kettles, pots and pans can be used as ornamental objects. They are placed on the many ledges and shelves that line the walls. There must be no dust in Tuscany.
The restaurant has a large indoor dining hall and a large space outdoors with alfresco tables. For more intimate spaces for dining, there are large private rooms as well as small nooks that can seat two to six people. These caves are very popular and should be specified at the time of reservation. They can be quite romantic spots to have dinner in at night.
The style of food served here is traditional Italian cuisine and they have an extensive menu. Here are a couple of pages from their menu so you can have a feel of the type of food and the pricing.
The meal started with a complimentary bread basket. We have to state the “complimentary” bit because in the past it was always assumed that having some basic bread on the table when you were dining at a full service restaurant was part of the service, but these days, some places have started charging for plain bread. The bread was fresh and warm. The pesto sauce was very good.
Our first course was the platter of grilled eggplant, zucchini, capsicum, artichoke and olives marinated with basil and garlic ($22.90). This traditional antipasto dish was very good. The vegetables had a slight charred taste but were still juicy. Seemed like a healthy dish as well.
The next course was the grilled lamb chops with rosemary. You can order this by the number of pieces – each piece at $18.90. They were small chops but the meat content was quite plump. They were very delicate and tender. No gamey taste at all. Very enjoyable.
The next course was a pasta dish – linguine agile olio with seafood ($28.50). I am posting three pictures of this as I would like you to visualise the taste. Pasta dishes are such simple things and yet the results can vary so much. This one was at the far end of the ‘good’ scale. All the ingredients and the cooking cannot be faulted.
Finally it is time for dessert – salami cioccolat ($14.80). Ice cream on pieces of chocolate, sliced to look like salami. You can’t go far wrong with chocolate and ice-cream and it was not bad. But not in the same league as the savoury dishes. So it deserves to be shown only in one photo.
Overall, the dining experience at Valentino Restaurant was great – the ambience, the service and the food. The only downside is that the prices are rather high. But for those with expense accounts this should not be a problem. In fact the reliability and consistency of this restaurant is a reason why many people choose Valentino Restaurant as a place to host their special and corporate occasions.
Overall Rating: 4 TOPs
Ristorante Da Valentino
Turf Club Road, #01-19
Tel: +65 6462 0555
Mon-Fri: 12-2:30pm, 6-10:30pm
Sat-Sun: 12-3pm, 6-10:30pm
Nearby MRT Station: Sixth Avenue
The Ordinary Patrons | Real Dining Experience of Ordinary People
an independent Singapore food blog