Best Italian Cuisine Outside of Italy
Cities with better-than-average Italian cuisine usually have a strong immigrant and second-plus generation community to fall back on. But, as we shall see, this is not always the case. Check out five great food cities that also offer some of the best Italian food outside of Italy.
New York City
From pastrami to prime rib, pork buns to foie gras, New York City’s culinary worldliness has few weak spots. One gustatory tradition where Gotham is particularly strong is, surprise, surprise, Italian. It begins with some of the best pizza and red sauce joints and works on up to the dynamic duo of Mario Batali and Joseph Bastianich (Babbo, Lupa, Del Posto, Eataly) and restaurants like Frankies Spuntino (457 Court Street, Brooklyn), Ciano (45 East 22nd Street), Ai Fiori (400 Fifth Avenue), Locanda Verde (377 Greenwich Street) and the mother of impossible reservations, Rao’s (455 East 114th Street).
Where to stay: The Towers Of The Waldorf Astoria New York Hotel
Hong Kong knows noodles but street and laneway hawkers are not where the Fragrant Harbour’s Italian bona fides are at. Few chefs in the feverish financial hub, in fact, whip up pastas and sauces cucina di nonna style. That is unless your nan had an inexhaustible budget for luxe ingredients. To wit, we present Otto e Mezzo Bombana (18 Chater Road, Central). The first Italian restaurant outside of Italy to receive three Michelin stars blew more than HK$1 million on a 900-gram giant truffle at the 12th World White Truffle of Alba Auction in 2011.
Where to stay: The Langham Hong Kong Hotel
Out of close to 4 million people in metro Montréal, some 140,000 cite Italian as their mother tongue. A further 260,000 claim Italian ethnicity. Add it all up and it makes for a strong demand for and supply of Italian restaurants in this superb culinary city. Excellent Italian grocers, cafés, pastry and sandwich shops proliferate from Saint Leonard to Little Italy and top tables like Da Emma (777 rue de la Commune Ouest), Venti (372 rue Saint Paul Ouest), Graziella (116 rue McGill) and Primo & Secondo (7023 rue Saint Dominique) keep it fresh at the high end of the spectrum. Heads up as well to Le Latini (1130 Rue Jeanne-Mance), a posh, business executive-friendly restaurant where the cuisine is touch and go but the extraordinary Italian-only wine cellar (try over 35,000 bottles) is one of the most significant outside of Italy. (And contrary to popular opinion, you can grow a perfectly good tomato in Canada.)
Where to stay: Sofitel Montreal Golden Mile
Food-mad Singapore is in the throes of an Italian cuisine renaissance, just as the city-state has cemented chronic appearances on Restaurant‘s The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. After a day on Orchard Road we’re all too happy to wine and dine at the likes of La Cantina in Venezia (1 Netheravon Road, Changi Village Hotel), Osteria & Pizzeria Mozza (2 Bayfront Avenue, Marina Bay Sands Singapore) Procacci at Customs House (70 Collyer Quay), Basilico (1 Cuscaden Road, Level 2, The Regent Singapore) and Bella Pizza (30 Robertson Quay).
Where to stay: The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore
Italian is the second-most common language in Australia’s second city and the community duly exerts a powerful pull on the restaurant scene. From coffeehouse culture to upscale fare, Melbourne represents la cucina italiana well. Our faves in the capital of Victoria include Café Di Stasio (31 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda), Grossi Florentino (80 Bourke Street), Cecconi’s Cantina (61 Flinders Lane), Il Bacaro (168-170 Little Collins Street) and The Italian (101 Collins Street).
Where to stay: The Como Melbourne – MGallery Collection