Posted by: tonkatsudelights | April 5, 2007

Da Paolo La Terrazza


Had a chance to drop by another Da Paolo outlet last Saturday. This time, it was the Da Paolo La Terazza at Jalan Merah Saga, Holland Village.

Going to Da Paolo has always been a delight for me. I have been to Da Paolo, all 5 outlets, around 20 times or so. Or even more. Suffice to say, it is my favorite Italian restaurant in Singapore. It may not be the number one — but it certainly offers the best value. Excellent taste at affordable prices. The main dishes cost in the range of $18 or more. More than that, they have consistent food taste and quality. I am not sure how they maintain their chefs, however, whether they change chefs or not, I hardly notice any difference in the food taste and quality.

Ambience-wise, Da Paolo is what you would expect from a restaurant this caliber. I would not call it fine dining as certainly it is much more casual than Raffles Grill and the likes. It just has the sense of smart casual dining. It can be romantic, it can be fun, and it can be simply relaxing and comfortable. Dimmed lights, tealights on white table cloths… you get the picture?

Location-wise, these are the 4 outlets ranked in the order of my preference:

1. Bistro Bar in Rochester Park. The decor and ambience is what makes this particular outlet my number one favorite. It is open air and feels like a big garden. The sundeck in the courtyard is perfect for drinking and relaxing after dinner. The flourless chocolate cake is a must try for ladies everywhere.

2. La Terazza in Holland Village. This is an easy favorite. Convenient location and open space.

3. Il Giardino in Cluny Rd. Not much to say about this branch. The place is not so much impressive. It just happened to be the nearest one to my place and it still at least have some open air dining. I’m all for space and open air — that is the reason Club Street and the former Neil Rd. outlet would be the last one on my list.

4. Il Ristorante in Club Street. Which to me is very similar design with the former Da Paolo e Judie in Neil Rd. It is basically a shophouse —narrow, closed environment, and very limited space. It is a personal preference, really. Some people may actually enjoy this kind of setting vs. al fresco dining which I absolutely love. 

The warm bread at Da Paolo   The bread that they serve before dinner was absolutely our favorite. I personally love this more than the crispy bread served by Il Lido restaurant. Too bad it sometimes, or I may say, a lot of times, came cold. Very often we have to ask the waiter to warm the bread up for us. When we were here 2 weeks earlier the waiter was so blur he actually put together another basket of cold bread after we asked him to warm the bread! Speechless…

2004 Mionetto Raso Scuro Another favorite for us is the 2004 Mionetto Raso Scuro red wine. At $65 a bottle it is affordable and very easy to drink. Medium-bodied wine with long after taste, this becomes a foolproof choice for us. A few times we tried to deviate from this choice, we always ended up in disappointment. Hehe. Maybe next time, for a more special occasion than just regular friday night dinner, I will open a bottle of $140 Brunello di Montalcino.

Insalata di Salmone Another thing I love about Da Paolo is their flexibility. You can tweak the items in their menu according to your liking. Even if they do not have it anymore in their menu, they can still cater to your need if they have the ingredients. One of my favorite is the duck liver salad with wild rocket and green apple slices in balsamico vinaigrette dressing. Imagine my disappointment when they remove this from the menu. But to my delights, they can always serve it whenever I request it.

Same thing with the Insalata di Salmone, or basically the salmon salad. The menu says it comes with wild rocket, avocado, and goat-cheese yoghurt dressing. I tried it once —and for sure I will never order it again. The goat-cheese yoghurt dressing is just not appealing to me. So this time we ordered the smoked salmon salad with wild rockets in balsamico vinaigrette dressing. You want it, you ask for it, and you get it.

Some items in the menu may not be so easy to get, though. They used to have the Spaghetti al Nero di Seppia, which is the spaghetti in black squid ink. For such speciality, I don’t suppose they always have it in the inventory. But who knows? They might be able to accommodate the request. Just like they are always able to serve the Penne alla Grancchio long after it was gone from the menu. That’s the pasta with crab meat in tomato cream dressing, by the way.

These days, my favorite is the usual Spaghetti alla Vongole. They are so generous with the clams and just never failed to keep me coming back for more. The only watchout is that this particular dish is cooked with so much garlic (like aglio olio). You may want to think twice if you are on a date and plan to kiss somebody later!

If there is one thing that I think Da Paolo needs to improve, it’s really the service level. A lot of times they seem really shorthanded. It can be difficult to get quick service sometimes. Nevertheless, there is always one waiter that never failed to impress us. His name is Barry. We met him in La Terrazza and the Bistro Bar several times and he was always very friendly and helpful. He never needs to write down our order and yet, he never screwed it up. Our orders were never simple, you know. We always tweak the menu and always request for something that is not on the menu. Still, he never got it wrong. Even if we bring a group of friends with us.

Barry –> Amazing. Simply amazing.



  1. […] Italian food, I’d still prefer my favorite Italian restos in Singapore any day. Da Paolo. Garibaldi. Il […]

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