All’ Angelo: Contemporary Italian Restaurant Enhances Melrose [CLOSED]

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Restaurant Sign Los Angeles

Every time a customer orders a plate of pasta, an angel gets its wings, or something like that.

With the first annual dineL.A. Restaurant Week winding down, I opted for one final lunch at All’ Angelo, the highly lauded Italian restaurant that debuted in 2007.

Last year, long-time friends and fellow Italians Stefano Ongaro and Mirko Paderno delivered All’ Angelo to a stretch of Melrose that was previously better known for quirky shops than quality restaurants. Thanks to All’ Angelo, Osteria Mozza to the east and Table 8 to the west, Melrose is no longer a culinary wasteland. Ongaro runs the front of the house and Chef Paderno’s domain is the kitchen. The duo worked together at Valentino. Paderno has also enjoyed stints at Dolce, Drago, and the short-lived Bridge.

The décor is Spartan, featuring banquettes up front, tables in the middle and a back bar hosting a Cuvinet system, which dispenses 25 glasses of temperature controlled wine. Glass lamps and sconces softly light the restaurant.

As a warm-up, a server delivered two slices of crusty Italian bread with a dish of olive oil.

Italian Food Los Angeles

Carpaccio di Polipo con Pomodorini in Pizzaiola was a light but flavorful starter. Three supple discs of octopus were topped with salsa verde – chopped parsley, caperberry and olive oil – plus intense sun-dried cherry tomatoes and frisée.

Italian Food Los Angeles

Brasato di Pancia di Maiale con Polenta e Rapini was a rich dish normally reserved for All Angelo’s weeknight cicchetti menu. A large swath of hog belly braised in its own juices, including chunks similar to pulled pork, pleasantly chewy sections of firm yellow fat and unappetizing white fat pockets. Hog juice flavored the rapini. The triangle of white polenta was kept on the grill for too long and was overly dry.

The hostess informed me that a woman named Monica makes the desserts. Monica clearly has some serious skills.

Italian Dessert Los Angeles

Budino di Polenta al Limone con Spuma di Limone was undoubtedly my meal’s highlight. Hot slabs of caramelized Meyer lemon and polenta “pudding” resembled a moist, super-charged poundcake that cascading lemon sabayon only made better. I easily could have eaten a second “budino.”

As it turned out, there was no need to rush to All’ Angelo during Restaurant Week, since they normally offer a three-course business lunch for the same $22 price, but I’m happy I did.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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