Universal Orlando CityWalk is in the midst of being transformed from a tired, ho-hum entertainment complex into a hub for outstanding and unique dining experiences.
Located just beyond Starbucks and the still under-construction Cowfish restaurant, Vivo Italian Kitchen is the latest original concept to open in CityWalk, bringing fresh Italian flavors amidst a comfortable, contemporary setting. The temperature inside is wonderfully low, keeping patrons cool away from the hot Florida sun.
But heating up inside is the open kitchen where chefs can be seen expertly preparing dishes, including creating fresh pasta on site all day long.
Vivo features a menu filled with Italian favorites, like chicken parmesan, veal marsala, osso bucco, and gnocchi.
A meal at Vivo begins with a simple bread service, warm and ready for dipping in high quality olive oil that needs little beyond some fresh ground black pepper to be enjoyed.
The drink menu features an array of wines and specialty cocktails, such as the bellini seen below, along with sodas and non-alcoholic drinks.
The Tuscan Bean soup is a heartier version of the traditional pasta fagioli, adding a bigger variety of beans, more vegetables, buttered bread for dipping, and topped with a thin slice of crisped pancetta. It’s served piping hot and is hearty enough to practically be a meal unto itself.
Appetizers are hard to choose with so many delicious sounding items on the menu, but a house recommendation are the large meatballs, served three to a plate, topped with crisped basil, small slices of cheese, and a hefty helping of thick marinara sauce. The meatballs are moist and tender, easily devoured and quite filling.
Also delicious are the fontina stuffed risotto croquettes, crispy on the outside and gooey in the center.
A variety of antipasto, salads, cold cuts, and cheeses are delightful as well.
Vivo’s fresh pasta is a must try when it comes to the entrees. Servers are quick to explain which of the menu items feature the restaurant’s freshly made pasta, including the pasta of the day. On opening day, it was short rib ravioli. On the second day, fiochetti with gorgonzola and pear, walnuts, brown butter and salt.The fresh pasta is incredibly thin, but packed with flavor, cooked perfectly al dente and tasting like it’s made to order. The braised meat inside melts, making this dish easily eaten.
For dessert, Vivo features classic Italian dishes with a twist, such as the sfringi – a combination of cannoli and eclair that works together well. Soft cream-filled pastries are topped with rich, thick ricotta-based cannoli cream, served four on a plate for sharing.
Absolutely everything tastes great at Vivo Italian Kitchen, with an entire menu of outstanding options to choose from. Even the pickiest Italian food aficionado will walk out satisfied from this latest unique restaurant concept for Universal CityWalk.
More photos from Vivo Italian Kitchen at Universal Orlando CityWalk:
(Photos by Michael Gavin and Ricky Brigante)