Cantina, Greenleaf Road
Wow. This was seriously one of the best meals that I've had in a long time. It's pretty difficult to find, actually, as it's right in the middle of a residential neighborhood (60 Greenleaf Road, 6467-5413, although apparently they have another site out at the Changi Village Hotel). It's kinda cool - there is another Cantina across the courtyard - when I asked the maitre d' what the difference was, he told me that the other one didn't have air conditioning (for the smokers).
Anyhow, the starters gave a nice sneak peek at the beauty to come. The minestrone soup has to have been the thickest that I've ever had, but it's smack full of finely diced veggies with a good finish. The vongole antipasti was lighter than Hog Island in SF (not as much of a butter taste) and had a strange mix of clam sizes, but they were still small and savory. The garlic bread exhibited a very very rich butter overtone with just the right level of crispiness (and without overdoing the garlic, like other places do). It certainly looked promising.
Then came the main courses. One of the house specialties was the linguini al granchio. Mmm...bites of sheer heaven! The tomato crab sauce was luxuriously rich yet delicate, all with chunks of fresh crab to boot. If you come here, this is a must. We also had the lasagne, which wasn't as crispy as I'd like (like at Pasta Brava), but it was very very hearty with huge slices of pasta layers and a rich cheesy taste. Mmm. It was so tasty that I didn't care anymore that it wasn't crispy on top. It was still very good.
Finally, came the melone ripieno (ice cream in a melon) - a nice way to finish off the meal. The service here is generally good, if a bit overeager (a young kid asked me if I wanted anything to drink, without realizing that there was a glass of wine on my table already). Wine lovers: note that there is a sizable wine cellar behind a closed door on the side. Regardless, I know we're going to be coming here a lot in the future (and there is another Italian place across the way, plus a fish & chips shop). Wow - it's nice to be able to get really good Italian in Singapore. I'm blown away.