We had a chance tonight to sample Vivo, the new Italian (pasta) restaurant in CityWalk, and we came away impressed. The flavors were fresh and authentic, with no detectable corners cut on the quality of the ingredients or shortcuts in the preparation, and amazingly the price points barely had any kind of “tourist premium” built into them. For the flavor you got, the prices were eminently reasonable.
Dinner was preceded by fresh bread, still warm from the oven and about as fresh as they make it. The olive oil on the table provided a good sop, but it needed salt since there was no balsamic vinegar or herbs to mix it with.
We had a basic side salad (“misti”) which offered unusual bitter crunches with its more-rare vegetable selection. As served, the dressing was the second (and only other) letdown of the evening; it was heavy on oil and light on flavor. Oddly, this too picked up enormous flavor simply by sprinkling some table salt in it. At under $4 and filling the plate, this one is a no-brainer we will get again.
The antipasto platter ($11) provided three meats, including a divine prosciutto, a few cheeses, some crunch garlic bread/crouton mashups, and a glass jar of olives and pickled vegetables. We found the olives to be astounding; they alone will guarantee our return to this restaurant. You can get just those for $4 if desired.
We also had the pomodoro ($12), which was a lot of food for the price, and it ranked right up there with some of the best pasta you’ll find on a plate. We will need to return again and again just to sample all the pasta dishes.
We did get 15% off the bill by using our Universal Premier annual pass–this was a nice touch and kept the meal even more affordable. But these prices were already not bad.
The decor is busy-chic. If a designer with an industrialist bent had a child with a lover of large-print wallpaper designs, the offspring might lay out something like Vivo. The vibe is busy and noisy, but those ceilings and accouterments everywhere make for noise that bounces around and masks itself at the same time. The net effect is one of controlled aural chaos, and it’s pleasant to be in (perhaps especially at the end of a long theme park day).
If you find the dining room too crowded, the bar at the front can seat you, and you can order from the full menu right here at this bar.
Vivo is currently open only for dinner (they may stay open as late as 11pm on weekends). They plan to open for lunch hours as well by mid-July.
Menus and prices: