Vegetarian Friendly Meter –
Kid Friendly Meter –
iO Italian Osteria has practically taken the West by storm, umm, the West of Singapore I mean. This lovely Italian restaurant, which opened not too long ago in Hill V2 (on Hillview Avenue), proves that a good restaurant will find a clientele no matter the location. While a few restaurants in Hill V2 have struggled and a couple have even closed down, Italian Osteria has firmly held its ground. Come rain or shine, lunch or dinner, this is one restaurant in Hill V2 which is usually chock full. And for good reason. With fantastic food, reasonable priced wine and a lovely ambience that seems to transport you to Italy, this restaurant is fast turning up on favourite lists.
iO embodies the rustic setting of an Italian Tavern – think beautiful copper and wood furniture, antiques that adorn the place, traditional clay plates and a very cosy ambience. Oh, and the house wine is served straight from wooden barrels. Team all this up with some very authentic and great-tasting Italian food and we’ve got a winner.
To be honest, this is a restaurant that I would rate moderately in terms of vegetarian-friendliness. But in every other aspect, they get a big thumbs up, so hubby and I end up there every now and then.
It’s not that they don’t have vegetarian dishes. They do. But they’re mainly about the meats and the breads. As far as I’m concerned, their Schiacciata (stuffed sandwich) and house-wine are reason enough to keep going back, and as we all agree, wine is very vegetarian.
Start by ordering the Assorted Homemade Bread (SGD 5++). Osteria’s breads are fantastic and I love the way the bread is served – in a paper bag. Rustic all the way! An absolute must-order is the (stuffed) Traditional Roman Schiacciata (SGD 15++). Oozing with the goodness of mascarpone cheese and truffle, the stuffed Schiacciata pretty much defines the phrase melt-in-the-mouth and falls in the “die die, must try” category.
Osteria’s Garlic Bread “Fett’unta” (SGD 6++) is pretty much as good as it gets. For those who might not know, Fett’unta translates into “oily slice” – it is grilled bread, rubbed with garlic and drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt. The Bruschetta, comes in tomato and mushroom versions – I’ve tried the tomato and would rate it well. Also very good are their Assorted Pizzas (SGD 9/24/28++). They usually have 2 vegetarian options, I always end up having the good ol’ Margherita – yummy and great for kids.
Had your fill of the breads? Try some vegetables in the form of Assorted Seasonal Vegetables in Beer Batter (SGD 9++) or the Baked Eggplant Parmigiana (SGD 13++). The Mixed Salad with Fresh & Dried Fruit (SGD 12++) is no longer offered on the menu but they still make it on request. For me, neither of these dishes are anything to rave about but they are all average to above average and they do add variety to the meal.
Pasta lovers might be disappointed at first as the menu has no vegetarian pastas. But fear not, as they do make them on request. From the pastas, my vote would go to Aglio Olio, which is quite good. The Pesto Pasta is average. The Arrabiata, on the other hand, did not fare well with me – it was way too fiery for my palette.
Other vegetarian dishes that they serve include Hand Cut Potatoes (SGD 9++), Grilled Farmers Salad (SGD 14++) and Assorted Cheeses (SGD 12++ for small). The cheese platter was bursting with cranberries, sugar-coated walnuts, green apple and a balsamic drizzle, besides the cheeses. They even replaced the soft cheeses upon request.
Also, look out for the specials. On one of our visits, we had a Soup with onions, spinach and potatoes – it was absolutely delicious and big enough to be shared between 2-3 people.
As far as desserts go, I’m usually not left with any space for them after gorging on the food. But I have tried the Pistachio Tiramisu (SGD10++) and it was yum. On the list for next time is Sicilian Canoli with Ricotta Filling.
Moving on from food, their wines definitely deserve a mention. They have a selection of “comparatively” reasonably priced wines that start at SGD 10++ for a glass or SGD 48++ for a bottle, but it is the iO House Wine served right out of draft barrels, that is the highlight. The house pours start at SGD 8++ for a glass, or you could opt for ¼, ½ or a whole litre (for a very reasonable SGD 48++).
All in all, this place should not leave your gastronomical expectations unfulfilled.
So I’ve decided to make an exception and bring you a round-up of some of their most loved dishes, straight from the horses’ mouths. Yes, I am a hardcore vegetarian, but since some of my friends can’t stop raving about this place, I thought I’d quote them directly.
“iO is my happy place. I’m there at least once a week. My favourites there are the Porchetta, Pizzas, most of their ‘Small Bites’ menu and the meat specials, especially the lamb. I’ve had dessert a few times but it always gets in the way of more wine.”
– Gayle Yap (American)
“Absolutely fantastic place. Loved the sinful Stuffed Schiacciata, it simply melts in the mouth. The Grilled US Ribeye was just out of the world for the price tag. Amazing value proposition.”
– Aditya Dharnidharka (Indian Singaporean)
“I love the feel of Italian Osteria, it’s like being back in Europe. Most of the dishes are amazing, and the Spicy Roasted Farm Chicken was especially delicious. It was juicy to a fault, and the seasoning was perfect, adding an explosion of flavours.”
– Vinay Asdhir (Indian Singaporean)
“iO is the place to go for authentic Italian food. I especially love the Porchetta, Pork Belly with Wild Fennel as a starter. And as for the pastas, the Raviolacci in Marsala Sauce is my absolute favourite. We particuarly like being seated at the counter so that we can watch all the terrific dishes being prepared.”
– Christina Rüth (German)
- iO Italian Osteria is headed by well-known restaurateur and chef Ms Anna Borrasi – one of the few leading female chefs in Singapore.
- Italian Osteria has an in-house store, which sells everything from pastas to extra virgin oils, jams, Italian cheeses, aromatic coffees, as well as exclusively labelled bottles of house wines. They also sell freshly baked breads in-house.
iO Italian Osteria
4 Hillview Rise, #02-01, HillV2