Monday, 12 May 2014

Vivo Ristorante Edmonton, AB - big group, family style tasty Italian eats

For my boyfriend's best bud's birthday, we rounded up a large group and headed to give Vivo a whirl.  We had a few friends that had fried it out in the past but they were only able to try a limited selection of the menu, as the menu tends to cater to sharing with large groups, so we planned to do justice to the menu that night!
Service is attentive and polite, and dinner is set in a large open dining area with plenty of dark woods and grey tones punched up with a line of red bar seating at the stainless steel shiny open kitchen showcased at the back.


The menu definitely is geared towards large groups sharing... eating dinner here for one or two would be difficult unless you're planning on packing lunch home.  Prices are on the higher side in terms of portion size served.  We ordered what we thought would be enough for a group of seven (and we usually over estimate!) with the help of our waiter and still had tummy room after the meal.

the APPYs
First out was a nice complimentary dish of olives, olive oil and some thick bread for dunking.  Loved the sweet little orange colored olives.  *Makes a mental note to hunt them down later*

Next out was the Polpettini - Oven baked meatballs, crushed plum tomatoes, grana padano, olive oil.  The meatballs were quite tender, and we made them disappear quickly.

The Calamari Grigliato - deep fried calamari, red peppers, lemon zest, grilled lemon, spicy tomato sauce was enjoyed by all.  The calamari was lightly battered, fried to a bite-tender perfection. Mmmm!

Next out was the full sized plate of pasta: Linguine, fresh market vegetables (our case it was Brussels sprouts, carrots), crispy parmigiano, white wine, focaccia crumbs.  Our server told us it was a big plate that would serve us all... there was 7 forkfuls of pasta so we all had a taste - simple and tasty.  The serving size was surprisingly small in comparison to other Italian restaurants in the city.  If you were dining alone, a single guest could order this for dinner!


the ENTREEs

The Branzino - baked Chilean sea bass with tomato relish, grilled grapefruit was cooked to perfection. Moist and amazing.  You didn't really need the tomato relish or the grilled grapefruit as the fish was the star.  Sadly, this dish could have served as an entree for two and we wished we had ordered two as it was delicious!

We ordered a mixed grill platter to try out most of the meat entrees they offered: Arrosto Misto - family style mixed grill with beef, lamb, free range chicken, De Rose Brothers Italian salsiccia.  Didn't realize the picture was blurry until I got home.. whoops! The close ups are ok though :)


The Agnello - local lamb rack, toasted pistachios, smoked olive oil, Cyprus sea salt.  The lamb is cooked to a nice medium rare, though it could have been improved by using baby lamb or a longer marinade as the lamb was a bit too gamey.  We thought the pistachios were going to be a crust on the lamb but it was just a light sprinkle on top.


We enjoyed the De Rose Brothers Italian salsiccia.  Juicy, with a mild bit of heat, these little sausages disappeared quickly.


The Pollo di Mattone - free range chicken, sweet orange, citrus glaze, baked stuffing was a bit run of the mill.  The lean half chicken is lying atop a mound of stuffing.  Didn't really taste much of the citrus glaze, chicken was a bit dry so wasn't all too memorable.


The Filetto di Mazo - beef tenderloin, crispy prosciutto, balsamic reduction, red onion jam, lemon marscapone was tender and cooked to a medium rare.  There was 2 pieces of crispy prosciutto atop some red onion jam (we thought were beets at first glance) and a small scoop of lemon marscapone.  I love beef... and it was tender, but like the chicken, not super memorable.


Here's the results of the meat platter carnage:


the DESSERT

We were going to order the tiramisu because you can't finish a proper Italian meal without tiramisu... Vivo kindly comped this massive fishbowl glass of tiramisu for the birthday guy.  Its deceivingly massive.  They crammed about 8-10 servings of a rich and indulgent tiramisu inside.


the VERDICT

Overall, though there were some hits and misses, this Italian restaurant with a focus on sharing plates family style is great for large groups.  Prices are on the higher side, so if you're planning to try it out, call up friends so you can try out more dishes.

Vivo Ristorante

Address 18352 Lessard Rd NW, EdmontonAB
Phone (780) 756-7710
Hours Open for dinner only daily
Vivo Ristorante on Urbanspoon
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