A first taste of Ambrogio15, the Biltmore area's new Italian restaurant | Phoenix New Times

Ambrogio15 brings Italian flair to Biltmore Fashion Park. Here's what to order

Italian cuisine, impressive mixology and boutique natural wines are on the menu at this new upscale spot.
The newly opened Ambrogio15 brings an upscale yet fun atmosphere to Biltmore Fashion Park.
The newly opened Ambrogio15 brings an upscale yet fun atmosphere to Biltmore Fashion Park. Tirion Boan
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When a new spot opens in town, we're eager to check it out, let you know our initial impressions, share a few photos, and dish about some menu items. First Taste, as the name implies, is not a full-blown review, but instead, a peek inside restaurants that have just opened — an occasion to sample a few items and satisfy curiosities (both yours and ours).

The new Phoenix location of Ambrogio15 has opened at Biltmore Fashion Park, residing in the space formerly occupied by California Pizza Kitchen. And while the layout may be somewhat recognizable to those familiar with the former tenant, that’s where the similarities end. 

Walking in, customers are greeted with a floor-to-ceiling glass tower, housing a collection of natural wines from boutique wineries in Italy. On a recent weeknight visit, the restaurant was buzzing with a mix of families, casual groups and couples on romantic dates. The upscale environment manages to provide enough luxury to make it a special night out, but offers a comfortable enough vibe to relax with friends.

A marble-topped bar runs along the middle of the restaurant, with curved wooden beams extending from the bottle shelves up and across the ceiling. The interior is effectively broken into three smaller spaces, with the front tables brighter than the darker, wood-paneled areas in the bar. The back of the restaurant is framed by a fireplace and Marie Antoinette-esque painting on the wall, where a neon sign buzzes "Let them eat pizza."

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Start your meal with a Crudo of San Daniele prosciutto, aged for 20 months.
Asonta Benetti
Ambrogio15 prides itself on its Italian authenticity and the menu was created by chef Silvio Salmoiraghi and the executive chef for the Phoenix location, Fabio Pizzigoni. Salmoiraghi’s Michelin-starred Ristorante Acquerello is located in Milan and the name Ambrogio is a nod to the patron saint of the city, Saint Ambrose. The top chef is also responsible for the menu at one of Ambrosia15's other locations, Ambrogio by Acquerello in La Jolla, California.

After settling into a table, it seems almost necessary to start with a loaf of fresh focaccia served with tomato butter. The extra pieces of bread come in handy when paired with other appetizers, including the crudo of San Daniele prosciutto, sliced perfectly thin, and the plate of burrata caprese with fried eggplant. The crispiness of the eggplant paired perfectly with the creaminess of the burrata and seasoned tomatoes. It would be easy to create a leisurely meal out of the antipasti dishes on their own. 

This is the fifth location for the San Diego-based Ambrogio15 Restaurant Group and all of the other restaurants are located in California. However, it wouldn’t be fair to call it a chain, as the Phoenix location in particular has combined elements of the others while offering its own unique selection of dishes. 

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The carbonara ravioli doesn't look like the typical envelope-style pasta but it's a delicious deviation.
Asonta Benetti
One of those signature dishes is the truffled filet mignon, which was cooked to absolute perfection. The truffle came through very lightly and did not overpower the meat that simply melted in the mouth. It worked well to share alongside an order of the carbonara ravioli, which is presented as one continuous piece of pasta coiled around an unctuous ricotta mixture. Topped with crispy guanciale, it is a rich dish that is difficult to stop going back for another taste.

Yet somehow, room must be kept for a few bites of Tiramisu di Chef Fabio, served in a round pot and covered in a lusciously thick layer of mascarpone.  It is an understatement to say that Ambrogio15 offers a solid cocktail menu, as it can easily hold its weight alongside the other fabulous options available around town.

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While Italian food pairs well with wine, and Ambrogio15 certainly has wonderful options, don't skip the creative cocktails.
Tirion Boan
Designed by mixologist Marco Russo, who helms the award-winning Bar 1930 in Milan, the drinks are worth booking a reservation alone. Even the classic margarita gets a twist here, where it’s called the Invisible Margarita and shows up in a coupe glass as a clear liquid but tastes exactly like a well-balanced marg.

Old fashioned lovers will enjoy the Niseko, which balances Suntory Japanese Whisky and shitake mushrooms for a smooth sip. The Brazilian Punch uses Cristalino, a clear but aged tequila, mixed with guava, rose water and the tropical guanabana fruit for a bright and easygoing cocktail.

Italian cuisine doesn’t need to be overly complex or complicated. Ambrogio15 shines in letting ingredients talk, accenting where needed and leaving the rest alone. The restaurant offers lunch, happy hour and dinner menus, which is good because any excuse to stop by this new Biltmore dining destination should be taken.


2502 E. Camelback Road, #112
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