9 places for authentic carbonara in Singapore

By Maegan Ong July 1, 2024
9 places for authentic carbonara in Singapore
Photos (clockwise from left): Courtesy of Joshua Lim, Maegan Ong/HungryGoWhere

The history of carbonara is one shrouded in mystery and debate. It is most widely believed to have originated from Rome and the Lazio region, but some speculate its Neapolitan origins, linking it to a dish called pasta cacio e uova. Others say it was an easy-to-make dish using coal burners (“carbonaro”), by men who needed a hearty meal during long workdays.

Nevertheless, one thing remains consistent about this pasta dish: Its essence lies in simplicity, with a sauce that eschews cream in favour of the luscious richness of egg yolks. 

Along with pecorino cheese, black pepper, and guanciale or pancetta, authentic carbonara is a dish that guarantees maximum satisfaction with its minimal ingredients. 

There’s only a handful of eateries on our tiny island that have mastered the art of crafting authentic carbonara, paying homage to tradition; while some others choose to add their own unique flair. Join us for a little taste of Italy as we uncover the best spots for authentic carbonara in Singapore

1. La Mensa

Guoco Tower, B2-15, 1 Wallich Street
Open: Monday to Saturday (11am to 9pm)

Authentic Carbonara
Photo: Maegan Ong/HungryGoWhere

Why visit? Located right outside Tanjong Pagar MRT’s gantries, La Mensa stands out with its hearty plates of pasta. True to its tagline “Pasta For The People”, the pastas here are all priced below S$15, making it a popular weekday lunch spot for those in the CBD.

The affordability of its fare does not mean a compromise on quality. With its daily-homemade pesto, hand rolled meatballs and made-to-order pastas, La Mensa guarantees a meal that will leave both the tummy and wallet satisfied.

Crowd favourites: The carbonara (S$14) comes with perfectly-al dente tagliatelle ribbons smothered in a velvety egg yolk sauce, smokey from the crispy guanciale. Dusted with crushed black pepper and salty pecorino, its version of the authentic carbonara is proof that good food doesn’t have to be expensive.

For something lighter, we recommend the pesto di noce (S$10.50), which comes with conchiglie pasta in a fresh housemade pesto, tossed with walnuts and shavings of savoury pecorino cheese. For a fuller meal, add on some chicken (additional S$3.50) to jazz up your meal. 

2. Pasta Bar

55 Keong Saik Rd, 01-05
Open: Monday to Tuesday (6pm to 11pm), Wednesday to Sunday (12pm to 3pm, 6pm to 11pm)

Authentic Carbonara
Photo: Maegan Ong/HungryGoWhere

Why visit? Located along the bustling district of Keong Saik, Pasta Bar is an Italian restaurant offering a delectable variety of fresh handmade pastas spanning Italian classics and their modern takes. 

As its name suggests, diners are privy to the artistic process, with bar counter seats allowing them to bear witness to their dishes being prepared by chefs. Complete with an extensive wine selection and a romantic industrial-sleek setting, Pasta Bar makes for the perfect dinner spot to impress a date.

Crowd favourites: The ciriole carbonara (S$32) features thick noodles made from egg white pasta dough, lathered in egg yolk sauce infused with pecorino and black pepper. The pieces of guanciale imparts a smokey and characteristically cured flavour into the sauce, which may err a bit on the strong side for some. 

Dining with a special someone? You can get the carbonara for two (S$62), tossed table-side in a cheese wheel, with flaming cognac.

For a sweet ending, we highly recommend the crema bruciata (S$16), a torched Madagascar vanilla cream served with tangy macerated blackberry and bergamot compote.

3. Amano

76 Namly Place
Open: Monday to Sunday (12pm to 10pm)

Authentic Carbonara
Photo: Maegan Ong/HungryGoWhere

Why visit? Tucked in the corner of a quiet residential area in Bukit Timah, you can find Amano, one of the best places for authentic carbonara in Singapore. This cosy restaurant, which means “by hand” in Italian, may not have as much of a presence as its counterparts, but delivers exceptional renditions of classic Italian favourites.

An insider tip: Head down for lunch or dinner on Mondays to Thursdays, or during lunch Fridays to Sundays for its one-for-one pizza and pasta promotion.

Crowd favourites: Its carbonara (S$25) features spaghetti in a creamy sauce made from egg yolk, pecorino, black pepper and Italian parsley. Here, the team also opts for bacon over guanciale, which offers a lighter flavour yet just as savoury, and great for those who aren’t too used to the taste of cured meats.

To share, get the quattro formaggi (S$28), which comes with four types of cheese (provolone, mozzarella, ricotta, gorgonzola) on hand-kneaded dough, promising an instagram-worthy cheese pull.

4. Little Italy

297 Tanjong Katong Road
Open: Wednesday, Saturday to Sunday (12pm to 2,45pm, 5pm to 10.30pm), Tuesday, Thursday to Friday (5pm to 10.30pm)

160 Changi Road, 01-06/07
Open: Tuesday to Sunday (12pm to 3pm, 5pm to 10.30pm)

The Woodleigh Mall, 02-48, 1 Bidadari Park Drive
Open: Monday to Sunday (11:30pm to 3pm, 5pm to 10pm)

Authentic Carbonara
Photo: littleitaly.com.sg

Why visit? Established in 2019, family-style restaurant Little Italy is helmed by chef Carlos, an Italian chef who hails from Brazil. It prides itself as a restaurant that focuses on simple dishes made from the best ingredients.

Garnering consistently high ratings across its three outlets for its authentic Italian food and friendly service, Little Italy has easily become the go-to spot for those in the area for a little taste of Italy.

Crowd favourites: Get its signature, the spaghetti alla carbonara (S$27), which is an authentic Italian carbonara comprising pork cheek “guanciale”, egg yolk and pecorino cheese; and a testament to the beauty of tradition.

To share, we recommend the Little Italy Pizza (S$25), another signature dish topped with cooked ham, mushroom, onions, spicy salami, sausage, tomato sauce, and mozzarella — it’s sure to please the taste buds of both young and old.

5. Basilico

Conrad Singapore Orchard, Level 2, Cuscaden Road
Open: Monday to Friday (12pm to 3pm, 6.30pm to 10.30pm), Saturday to Sunday (12pm to 3.30pm, 6.30pm to 10.30pm)

Authentic Carbonara
Photo courtesy of Joshua Lim

Why visit? Fans of Italian food have probably heard about Basilico, a long-standing Italian restaurant famed for its all-you-can-eat buffet, including an extensive artisanal cheese selection that occupies an entire room.

Lesser known is its ala-carte menu, where you can find traditional and hearty Italian favourites, as well as one of Singapore’s more luxurious renditions of the beloved carbonara dish, coincidentally also the most expensive option on this list.

Crowd favourites: Indulge in the decadent spaghettoni truffle carbonara (S$45), which employs a thicker noodle and creamy parmesan cheese. It’s heavy on the truffle notes, which subdues the mineral saltiness of the crispy guanciale, and is topped with freshly cracked black pepper and truffle shavings.

For those with a bigger appetite, we recommend you indulge in its buffets, particularly its weekend brunch (S$128 for adults), where you can sample assorted cold cuts, over 40 types of seasonal cheeses, and premium meats such as lobster, wagyu and pork belly.

6. Cacio E Pepe Italian Restaurant

3 Chu Lin Road
Open: Tuesday to Sunday (11.30am to 2.30pm, 6pm to 10.30pm)

Authentic Carbonara
Photo: Cacio E Pepe/Facebook

Why visit? Cacio E Pepe is a cosy Italian restaurant nestled along Chu Lin Road. This hidden gem is a popular spot for regulars who praise its consistently good authentic Italian fare.

Family pictures adorn its walls and its no-frills presentation is reminiscent of the interior you’d find in neighbourhood trattorias in Italy — it’s an ideal spot for all sorts of gatherings, whether formal or informal. 

Crowd favourites: Get the spaghetti alla carbonara (S$25.50), which comes in a classic Italian style created with bacon, egg yolk, pecorino and parmesan cheese.

Alternatively, opt for its signature cacio e pepe (S$26), a Roman dish made of pecorino cheese and black pepper, and the inspiration behind the namesake restaurant.

7. DOC Italian Restaurant

South Beach Tower, B1-22, 26 Beach Road
Open: Monday to Sunday (11am to 11pm)

Authentic Carbonara
Photo: @diningavenue/Instagram

Why visit? A familiar name to most, DOC Italian restaurant offers authentic Italian food at moderate prices. 

This popular spot in Bugis draws crowds for its plethora of handcrafted pizza and pasta options, and its adherence to tradition guarantees reliably-satisfying grub, every single time. 

Crowd favourites: It goes without saying that you should gun for the pasta alla carbonara (S$28), which is made from a mixture of egg yolk, parmigiano cheese and pancetta, which is pork belly. Choose from different types of pastas, including fusilli, fusilli lunghi, tagliatelle, and even gluten-free pasta; but we suggest you go with the classic spaghetti for the optimal slurp to bite ratio.

If you’re dining with a crowd, the margherita (S$25), which comes with tomato, mozzarella and fresh basil, is a fail-proof cult classic. Round off with its tiramisu (S$15), a must-try in our books.

8. Pastaria Abate

86 Neil Road
Open: Sunday to Monday, Wednesday to Thursday (11.30am to 10.30pm), Friday to Saturday (11.30am to 11pm)

Authentic Carbonara
Photo: Pastaria Abate/Instagram

Why visit? Pastaria Abate, a quaint eatery along the streets of Neil Road, pays homage to the homey trattorias in Italy with its warm interiors and home-style pastas to match.

Founded by Gino Abate, it’s known for its fresh ingredients and handmade noodles. It boasts a variety of pasta options, including three types of the iconic carbonara dish for every preference.

Crowd favourites: Be sure to try the carbonara roma (S$30.80), which is a traditional Roman-style carbonara made only with cheese and egg.

For those looking for an extra kick of flavour, try the truffle carbonara (S$30.80), a creamy dish infused with Singaporeans’ favourite mushroom.

9. iSteaks

Multiple outlets islandwide.
Open: Monday to Sunday (11am to 10pm)

Authentic Carbonara
Photo: iSteaks/Instagram

Why visit? A household name for affordable western food, iSteaks is a great place for steak but admittedly an unlikely place to find authentic carbonara in Singapore — nonetheless, it delivers.

The story goes that the boss of iSteaks had met a chef in Italy, who shared his nonna’s (Italian for “grandma”) secret recipe with him. This affordable and authentic version of the beloved Italian classic was derived from that moment, and the rest is history. 

Crowd favourites: Try its classic Italian carbonara (S$20.80), made from a mix of guanciale and pancetta, along with romano parmesan cheese and fresh eggs. 

And of course, don’t miss out on its steaks. We recommend getting the pasture-fed ribeye (from S$32.50), which comes chargrilled to a sweet caramelisation.

Hungry for more? There’s a new spot in town serving up all things prawn paste chicken, or head to our list of the newest openings for the month of June

Amano, Little Italy, Basilico, Cacio E Pepe, DOC Italian Restaurant, Pastaria Abate and iSteaks are on the GrabFood Delivery Service and offer free delivery (up to S$3 off) with GrabUnlimited.  

Do explore the GrabFood Dine Out service for awesome deals. 

Alternatively, book a ride to these places for authentic Carbonara in Singapore.

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Maegan Ong


Maegan loves giving her opinion on things. She’s glad to have turned her Google review addiction into a socially acceptable art form.

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