Review: LAVO Italian Restaurant & Rooftop Bar, Marina Bay Sands Hotel (Singapore)

My dad wanted to dine at one of the rooftop restaurants here at Marina Bay Sands so as a treat to celebrate his birthday, we selected LAVO for the occasion! It was really tough to get a reservation though, even on a weeknight. The earliest date I could find with a decent dinner timing was two weeks in advance (definitely requires some forward planning to book a table here).

Entrance to LAVO Italian Restaurant & Rooftop Bar

  • Our order:
    • Jumbo shrimp cocktail ($33++)
    • Spinach and artichoke pizza ($33++)
    • Roasted barramundi ($49++)
    • T-bone steak ($165++)
    • 20 layer chocolate cake ($28++ waived)
    • Wine ($69++ for 3 glasses)
  • Spent: SGD$410.77

To access the lifts to the restaurant, head to Tower 1 of the hotel, where you will find a small reception desk. After we confirmed our reservation with the staff there, she ushered us into the lift and sent us on our way up. When our lift opened up on level 57, we were greeted by breathtaking evening views of the Marina Bay area. If it weren’t so cloudy that day, we might’ve been able to catch a glimpse of the sunset.

Reception desk at the lift lobby leading up to LAVO Italian Restaurant & Rooftop Bar

View of the city from LAVO Italian Restaurant & Rooftop Bar

There is the option to either sit indoors with air-conditioning or outside in the breeze. We were seated at a semi-private dining space which had a pretty nice view of the city. The ambience was cosy and pleasant until the other two tables started filling up. The chatter did get quite loud and jarring at some points given that this space was mostly enclosed without many sound dampeners.

Seating area at LAVO Italian Restaurant & Rooftop Bar
Semi-private dining space

Seating area at LAVO Italian Restaurant & Rooftop Bar
Bar area

Seating area at LAVO Italian Restaurant & Rooftop Bar
Main dining area

For starters, we had a complimentary bread basket of focaccia and a plate of jumbo shrimp with spicy cocktail sauce. The shrimp were sizeable but regrettably lacking in terms of taste and texture. They didn’t seem particularly fresh and were a little on the mushy side.

Focaccia bread starter from LAVO Italian Restaurant & Rooftop Bar

Jumbo shrimp cocktail from LAVO Italian Restaurant & Rooftop Bar

Next up were the mains! We ordered a spinach and artichoke pizza, roasted barramundi and a grilled T-bone steak to share. The pizza looked extremely inviting but biting into the spinach made me feel like I was eating a pack of salt, so I could only manage one slice. My husband, on the other hand, didn’t find it as salty and repulsive as I did. The barramundi was sufficiently firm yet soft enough to flake away easily. However, it remained a rather underwhelming dish as there was minimal depth of flavour (predominantly just butter and salt).

As for the steak, we got to choose one condiment to go with it so we went with the black truffle butter. Of all the dishes we had, this was the one I enjoyed most. The steak was succulent, juicy, well-seasoned and perfectly medium-rare. My husband and I didn’t feel that the black truffle butter added very much to the flavour profile though.

Spinach and artichoke pizza from LAVO Italian Restaurant & Rooftop Bar

Roasted barramundi from LAVO Italian Restaurant & Rooftop Bar

T-bone steak from LAVO Italian Restaurant & Rooftop Bar

Last but not least, dessert! I was super tempted by all the reviews with photos of this signature 20 layer chocolate cake, so I ordered it without hesitation. Unfortunately, I failed to read the description that it had peanut butter mascarpone (I don’t really fancy peanut butter) and the cake turned out to be overly rich and sweet. I think it didn’t help that it was still quite “frozen” and rather solid, making it difficult to cut through the layers. When I saw the photos from past reviews, I guess I expected the cake’s texture to be a bit more moist and fluffy. My family unanimously agreed that we weren’t going to be able to finish it there and then so we asked a staff to help pack it for us after just a few bites.

20 layer chocolate cake and complimentary birthday cake from LAVO Italian Restaurant & Rooftop Bar

Service here was both good and bad in different ways. It was frustratingly difficult to get the staff’s attention during dinner service. Maybe it was because we were seated in a secluded corner of the restaurant, but even then, wouldn’t it be appropriate to still have staff available there to assist? There were times I had to go out to the main dining area simply because we were waiting far too long for service. But once we managed to get their attention, the ones we interacted with were wonderfully helpful and polite, especially Cheryl who was the main staff assigned to our table. She was ever-ready to address our requests with a smile (:

When we were about to make payment, we were informed that the supposed 10% birthday discount as part of my Marina Bay Sands membership only applied to the card holder (ie. me and not my dad). My bad, I should’ve read the terms and conditions more carefully. To our surprise, the manager still very kindly adjusted the bill such that the 20 layer chocolate cake was on the house! We were incredibly appreciative of his gesture of goodwill and his well wishes to my dad ❤

My overall rating of the experience: 3 out of 5 stars. The restaurant got really crowded and noisy at some points, affecting the ambience and vibe of the dinner experience. Also, it was astonishingly hard to get assistance from the staff as there was barely anyone walking past our area. The food was mostly unimpressive and not very worth it given the prices they were charging, with the only enjoyable dish being the flavourful and perfectly cooked T-bone steak. I guess you’re mainly paying for the glorious rooftop views of the city. Having said that, what stood out for me was the genuine service and warm demeanour of the staff, as well as the manager’s kind gesture in light of my dad’s birthday celebration (:

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