Al Dente Trattoria

Al Dente Trattoria is the only Italian offering at performing arts venue Esplanade for now. It boasts of a romantic dining experience with its scenic rooftop area that overlooks the Singapore river. FreshGrads checks the Italian restaurant out.

THE FOOD:

Al Dente is the only place for a number of Italian favourites such as wood-fired pizzas, risottos, and homemade ravioli in the Esplanade area. For starters, try the portbello mushroom infused with mozzarella and parmesan cheese, which is excellent and well worth the calories.

Fans of foie gras will also enjoy the foie gras risotto ($22.90). FreshGrads sure looked forward to it - a combination of two of our favourite foods of creamy rice and luxuriously sweet foie gras. Al Dente's foie gras risotto is a generous helping of smooth creamy rice, which adds to the richness of a medium-sized slab of pan fried foie gras. A bite of the coveted goose liver reveals a tenderness that almost melts in your mouth. The dish was well-executed but sadly leaves our stomachs for almost nothing else, which could well be an excuse why we were greatly disappointed by our wood-fired pizzas ($10 each). Both of which are soft and soggy when served and unworthy of any other descriptions.

For the grand finale, end the night with a cup of cappuccino instead of the Italian Tiramisu, which we found devoid of a good balance between coffee and alcohol. On the other hand, Al Dente does its cappuccino with a strong delightful aroma. A dinner for two costs about S$100 without wine. And for the grape aficionados, Al Dente offers an extensive wine list with mainly Italian and Australian wine.  

But contrary to the many awards won by the restaurant, the standards must be have dropped by quite a significant bit - premium ingredients are used but the chef did not do them justice the two times we were there.


THE MOOD:

An al fresco sitting arrangement on the second level of the restaurant offers breathtaking views of Marina Bay and the rest of Esplanade. But it disappoints with dirty chairs that look weathered by rain, bad air ventilation that left us sweating and music nearby at Esplanade that was way too loud, not that it is their fault. Nonetheless, it is still hardly a good place for an intimate evening as promoted to be.

The courteous staff hails from various parts of the world, a practice taken up by many other restaurants on the island as well.

Al Dente Trattoria has two other branches in Holland Village and Boat Quay but if not for the scenic views offered at Esplanade, FreshGrads would say check out Glutton's Bay next door.

Al Dente
8 Raffles Avenue
#01-13 Esplanade Mall
Singapore 039802

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Telephone (65) 6341 9188

Opening hours
11.30am - 3pm, 6pm - 10.30pm daily

Related links: Al Dente website, Al Dente - Hungrygowhere review

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