Al Bacio Ristorante Italiano, West Hollywood

In Dining, LA Dining, LA Guide by Susan Watkins

There’s going to be lots of kissing going on at Hollywood’s trendiest new Italian Ristorante, Al Bacio.  Named for the gesture Italians commonly make to indicate approval of a delicious dish, Al Bacio means “kiss of approval.”  And do we ever approve! With its doors just opened, Al Bacio has all the markings of quickly becoming one of the hottest Italian establishments in town.

We were welcomed the charming co-owner of Al Bacio, Roberto Saracino.  He tells us why Al Bacio is not just any Italian restaurant – it features authentic cuisine by top talent and now partner, Executive Chef Christian Simionato, native of Venice, Italy and lately of the posh Newport Resort at Pelican Hill.   Using only top-of-the-line ingredients, all of the dishes are made from scratch and right on the premises including its pastas and sorbets.

But, before we get to the food – the restaurant!  The restaurant itself is stunning. A magnificently restored Hollywood landmark, the space features gold tiled ceilings from the art deco era, preserving a vintage feel.  The bar and dining room furnishings, however, are decidedly sleek and modern.  Intimate dining rooms, two inside and a sidewalk patio, twinkle with clear lights.  The atmosphere is elegant and invitingly warm.

The menu is delectable.  Diners can choose from an array of enticing appetizers, including my favorite, Black Label San Daniele Prosciutto, Burrata Cheese, EVO Oil and Candied Tomato, served with generous slices of home baked bread fresh out of the oven.  On to the pasta course, the menu features dishes such as Tagliattelle with Lamb Ragu or Pumpkin and Ricotta Cheese Tortellini with Lobster Tagu.  My guest and I sampled the 1 year Aged Acquerello Risotto with Quail Braised Ragu.  Mamma Mia! [Kiss gesture here].   Main course offerings are many, and include a Seared Dover Sole, with Butternut Squash Puree and Sautéed Romanesco Broccoli; Barbaresco Braised Beef Cheek, Polenta Mulino Sobrino, with Sautéed Mushrooms; and the delicious Wagyu New York Steak, Cipollini Fondant, with Roasted Carrots and Red Wine Sauce.

We tasted a trio of luscious desserts – a killer Tiramisu with Bacio Gelato; Rum Baba with White Truffle Foam and Strawberry; and my favorite, the Lemon Sorbet.  Think frozen Limoncello in a cup – Bellisima!

WHERE:  8741 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood

WHO GOES HERE:  All lovers of authentic Italian cuisine and beautifully designed restaurants

YOU MUST ORDER:  Black Label San Daniele Prosciutto, Burrata Cheese, EVO Oil and Candied Tomato;  Risotto with Quail Braised Ragu;  Wagyu New York Steak with Cipollini Fondant, Lemon Sorbet