It’s been several years since we last dined at All’Oro. Back then, it was located in a vast all-white room in a boutique hotel not far from our apartment. Today, it’s a bit north of Piazza del Popolo, in another boutique hotel, The H’All Tailor Suite (apparently the name is a play on the hotel “The Hall” and “All’Oro”). It’s a bit of a walk, but certainly do-able.
We’re pleased to say the “new” All’Oro retains its excellent food and service, but we like the new setting more than the previous one. The restaurant’s new design feels much more intimate. It’s almost like you’ve stumbled into a speak-easy club. The ambient lighting is low, but the tables’ spaces are illuminated just enough to almost feel like you’re in your own “cone of light.”
Our previous meal was back in the day when we were prone to try tasting menus, leading to being quite over-fed. This time, we made careful à la carte choices and were relieved to have done so. Indeed, the number of delicious “compliments of the chef” amuse-bouche you will eat is generous, almost overwhelming — so keep this in mind when ordering.
The meal started with some cured meats, sliced table side using an elaborate apparatus and with a great deal of fanfare. But this did not prepare us for what occurred next.
A boatload of amuse-bouches arrived shortly just as we finished the meats. The chef was clearly having a good chuckle. While some treats arrived on plates or in a spoon, others arrived sitting on a little chair, in a Mexican painted skull, on a cheese grater, or on a giant tooth… what I’d describe as spiritoso.
The treats arrived with a very quick explanation, but there were so many of them, quite frankly, that we could not keep up. We’d have appreciated a written list of what we were eating and the chef’s recommended order to eat them in, but that would have gone against the grain of the experience, I suppose. So, without the ability to recall precisely what each one was, here is the procession of boatload #1 (yes, you know that means there’s more than one) of delicious little bites.
After boatload #1 and our cocktails, we proceeded to our appetizer, which was a total knockout — the “Carbonara Reduction” (Riassunto di Carbonara) served in an eggshell. A “wow” moment, even though I am pretty sure we’ve had something very similar, at a different Roman restaurant.
Then, we proceeded to pasta, which were two more successes. Laura had Brodo Asciutto con Parmigiana, Zafferano e Limone, another signature dish that is a delicate pasta (photo at the top of this post) with saffron and lemon, inside which was a lovely broth — a tongue-in-cheek reversal of the traditional tortellini in broth dish. I had a pasta with “Trombette della Morte” mushrooms and white chocolate — savory, soothing, and delicious.
Then we had the lamb, which was divine, as well as the tuna.
For dessert we shared a deconstructed Mont Blanc dessert, a crunchily fun balance of rich and cool…
…. but we really didn’t need it because of the arrival of, you guessed it, Boatload #2 of treats. Boatload #2 consisted of piña colada orbs on ceramic cacti, yummy creamy “peanuts” served on a half of a green glass bottle, little savory sandwiches on a toy carousel, gelatinous bites on a ceramic table, and cotton candy that formed the hair on a creepy doll head.
Finally, there was a deconstructed “Grandmother’s cake” crumbles served in an edible “plastic” bag, on a kitchen whisk.
All’Oro is a special experience. The service is pleasant, the food is playful, gorgeous, and delicious. It’s also quite expensive, probably our most expensive meal of 2022. All those “compliments of the chef” treats don’t come cheap! That being said, this is a great place for a special event meal, or just a very, very fun one.