All'Angelo is the Italian restaurant I've been waiting and hoping for. No need to trek out to Brentwood's budding Little Italy, deal with Beverly Hills Eurotrash, or sit elbow-to-elbow and strain to hear each other over the din at Angelini (though a weekend night dinner at All'Angelo is a better judge of that). A quick shot through Hollywood and we're there. And once in the warm, comfortable and audibly tolerable room that's swathed in mild ecru and smooth wood finishes, we eat amazing food. Traditional yet creative, new but not overly radical, finessed but not fussy, just entirely and utterly delicious. (These horribly dark pictures don't do anything justice, but I hate flash photography with food.)
There's not an off note in the meal. I start with the lovely octopus carpaccio with roasted baby tomatoes and a pile of microgreens, which looks like a joint venture between a skilled mosaic artisan and a chef, and we share the perfect pyramids that make up the venison and pumpkin
tortelli agnolotti special. The wild mushrooms that surround the tortelli in a robust sauce are generously portioned. Shit, this meal is on.
My monkfish main is my least favorite of the bunch, but that's because the veal and venison are so outstanding, and I'm not crazy about the ratatouille side. I'm grateful to see monkfish on any menu, since it's somewhat rare coming out of L.A. kitchens (hmm, must revise that thought now Cicely tells me monkfish is on the endangered list!). Spinach gnochetti and, again, wild mushrooms that come with the venison groove my palate way more. Even the bread, thinly sliced which helps to not OD on it, is soft, crusty and perfect.
For a subtle finish, I recommend the upside down panna cotta capped with blood oranges, and the Torta Sbrisolona, a brown butter shortbread paired with apples and vanilla gelato. Even the macchiato showcase great espresso making skills, even if the Danesi beans taste a little bitter.
The staff is exceedingly nice. I've never had a restaurant owner send over a second bottle of Pellegrino (any food business's cash cow) on the
house just because he/she doesn't like to see customers without water. Wines by the glass are well-priced. Everyone was
totally fine with us having the baby, and we had a perfect corner table. Weirdly, the soundtrack is all over the place. Mina and Adriano Celentano's duet "Io Non Volevo" was followed by TLC's "Waterfalls ," and much less popular 90s R&B tunes. (I might be one of the few customers who knows and likes both songs.) But this odd music taste adds to the charm.
I could not have been happier. The bar has been set high, so we'll have our next meal there with fingers crossed. And that will be happening very soon, I'm sure. We've waited long enough.