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Food review: Tapas-style dishes cooked over charcoal open flame at Griglia Open Fire Italian Kitchen

Jasmine Alimin
Jasmine Alimin • 5 min read
Food review: Tapas-style dishes cooked over charcoal open flame at Griglia Open Fire Italian Kitchen
Savour contemporary Italian dishes prepared over charcoal open flame at Griglia Open Fire Italian Kitchen
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Summer is a time for celebration and conviviality, where friends and family come together to revel in a grigliata — an outdoor grill cookout or barbecue party— and indulge in the season’s freshest produce sizzling on a bed of burning charcoal. Now imagine sitting down to this cornucopia of flavour and life ... and you are at Griglia Open Fire Italian Kitchen.

Opened in late September, Griglia is a brand-new contemporary Italian grill restaurant nestled on the ground floor of a conservation shophouse along the gentrified stretch of Craig Road (home to popular haunts like Shake Shack, Binomio and Firangi Superstar). It is operated by Food Concepts Group which also owns Zafferano Italian Restaurant & Lounge and Z Bar.

Clad and constructed with raw mate- rials of the grigliata — wood, bricks and metal — the 41-seater restaurant oozes warmth not only with its burnish coppery shades, but from the genuine smiles and sincerity of its friendly wait staff.

Unlike posh Zafferano, Griglia is more laidback with rustic chic interiors featuring walls of prominent wooden slats and exposed brick, complemented by a mix of comfy leather banquette seating and casual high tables.

Decorative Italian accents are artfully woven in. The pattern of tiling on the cement screed floor evokes the many archaeological finds in Italy that bear half-ravaged surfaces, in particular the ancient mosaic floors of a Roman villa. Meanwhile, classic Sicilian kitchen tiles on the backsplash of the open kitchen give off a homely Italian vibe.

As its name suggests, Griglia celebrates the summer by cooking most of its dishes over a customised cast iron charcoal grill to accentuate the ingredients’ natural inherent flavours, which are then served in smaller tapas-style sharing portions. Once the current two-to-dine restriction is lifted, this place will be perfect for large groups who will enjoy grazing on a sea of dishes.

Don’t come here expecting pizza because of the open fire concept; the food here is more Mediterranean in its choice of ingredients and presentation, with a leaning toward seafood and vegetables and clear taste profiles.

Conceptualised by chef Andrea De Paola (from Zafferano) and executed by head chef Federico Schiraldi, Griglia’s dishes are based on classic grigliata dishes from different regions of Italy, simply seasoned with herbs, salt, pepper, olive oil and judicious squeezes of lemon. Rather than using the creamy, heavy sauces commonly associated with Italian cooking, the dishes here are very light and refreshing, elevating the natural flavours of the fresh produce.

The one-page menu is not overwhelming at all, and categorised very clearly with labels like From the Garden, From the Sea, and From the Land. From the Garden, you must try the Eggplant ($15), a lighter but flavourful rendition of the Neapolitan parmigiana featuring layers of grilled eggplants, slow-baked tomato and basil stacked, pressed and chilled overnight, and served with smoked “Caciocavallo” fondue.

An Italian meal should always have burrata, in this case, a petite sized Burratina ($16) featuring thinly-sliced “Scapece” zucchini marinated for six hours served on a thin and crispy tart with fresh burratina, and garnished with herbs and olive oil.

To truly savour the clean flavours of Griglia’s cooking, you must sample the seafood. We were genuinely impressed with the smoked Hiika Squid ($18), aka elevated calamari, topped with pickled Palermo Peppers, grilled Romanesco and served with savoury Nduja foam.

Another refreshing dish is the Hokkaido Scallops Crudo ($22), which is the perfect balance of sweet, sour and briny featuring lightly-cooked scallops, sweet and crunchy white corn and Amalfi lemon.

Each category of antipasti also offers a pasta dish: From the Land, there is Housemade Pappardelle with pork jowl ($20); From the Sea, a House-made Tagliolini with Sicilian Red Prawn ($24); and From the Garden, there’s Spaghetti Di Martino ($18) which features Datterino tomatoes brined in Italian sea water.

Griglia also offers 700g–800g steaks ideal for three to four persons, such as the Fiorentina 30 Days Dry Aged Porterhouse ($128) and 100 Days Barley Fed Bone in Ribeye ($138). Seasonal fish such as the Whole Spanish Turbot is also offered in small ($58) and large ($98) sizes.

Aside from lip-smacking starters and main courses, Griglia also serves artisanal salumi, sides, cheeses and desserts, and carries an extensive range of more than 100 wines from different regions, with up to 85% from Italy. There’s even a small selection of bottled cocktails featuring Negroni, Spritz and Gin & Tonic.

To end off your communal feast, we highly recommend The Italian Souffle ($14) or Capri in a Cake ($12), a classic Limoncello Caprese featuring Amalfi lemon cream wedged in a flourless almond cake limoncello sandwich, and served with a side of extra virgin olive oil ice cream. The ice cream is so light that it really lifts up the sweet-and-sourness of the delectable cake.


37 Craig Road Singapore 089675
Contact: +65 8949–7011 |
Opening hours:
Mondays to Fridays 12pm–3pm | 6pm–10.30pm
Saturdays 6pm–10.30pm

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