Here’s a perfect example of a restaurant that’s been around forever, one that I’ve driven by about 100 times but NEVER eaten at. For my first culinary adventure I ventured out to Vivoli on College Street with 4 of my besties for some good ol’ Italian eats. Vivoli boasts being a trendy-chic combination of a restaurant, pizza bar, café and rooftop patio. The famous wood-burning oven adds authenticity to their pizza and the glowing embers make the atmosphere warm and cozy. Along with a heated roof-top patio which plays Latin, funk, house and lounge music, Vivoli seems to have all the ingredients for the perfect night out.

We arrived for about 8:00 on Friday night without reservations since they don’t take them after 7. We lucked out with parking – green P around the corner and street parking. Being a party of 5 we didn’t have much trouble getting a table after a short-lived game of musical chairs. The advantage of this College street hot spot is the multitude of options for an after dinner drink or dancing escapade.

On the Menu:
Pitcher of Sangria
Insalata di Vivoli – baby spinach, raddicchio, mixed berries, toasted pecans, goat cheese tossed in a bittersweet ice-wine dressing
Grilled Calamari – grilled calamari marinated with garlic, parsley and XV olive oil
Linguine Genovese – with chicken in a fresh basil cream pesto sauce
Rigatoni Contadina – with chicken and mushrooms in a white wine cream sauce
Piccante Pizza – Pomodoro, mozzarella, Italian sausage, garlic, roasted red peppers and hot peppers
Dulce de Leche Cheesecake – traditional South American style caramel cheese cake on graham crust topped with chocolate

In one word, the food was FLAVOURFUL, you could literally taste each of the ingredients they listed in their descriptions. After a week from hell all I wanted was a big glass of Sangria and unfortunately was a little disappointed – tasted watered down and not enough fruit! The Insalata di Vivoli’s combination of sweet berries and sour dressing was a perfect way to start, the dressing was fabulous and anything with goat cheese makes my day. Calamari seems to always be a fan favourite when it comes to appetizers and I’ll always take a nibble if someone orders it. I’ve learned my lesson – MUST BE BREADED. The grilled texture just doesn’t work for me. Of the two pasta choices I was a fan of the Rigatoni Contadina over the Linguine Genovese. As hard as I try, I just can’t seem to enjoy pesto. The white wine cream sauce and mushrooms weren’t too heavy and made a perfect companion to the chicken and pasta. The Piccante Pizza was by far the prize winner in my books, although as long as there’s Italian sausage involved it usually wins me over! (mmm love me some Italian sausage lol). It had a great kick to it, hence being dubbed the Piccante, the crust was just thin enough and baked to perfection. The manager was hospitable and seemed to take kindly to 5 girls laughing, giggling and gossiping in the corner so before we knew it a tray of 5 shots (Swedish Berry shots?) was making its way to our table. After a quick toast we put in the order for the waitress recommended Dulce de Leche Cheesecake. GOOD LORD – caramel topping, cheesecake center and graham cracker crust. I usually find cheesecake on the heavy side of desserts (probably because I order it all to myself) so sharing it with 4 other people was a brilliant idea. Needless to say, walking to the car was somewhat painful and trying to fit into a dress the next day was a struggle. PURE INDULGENCE.

On the menu NEXT TIME:
Bruschetta (just for you LF)
Agnalotti – pasta stuffed with butternut squash in a basil sauce
Annalisa Pizza – pomodoro, goat cheese, Italian sausage, diced tomatoes Apple Caramel Cheese Cake (we were so sad NM)
Must experience the rooftop patio

Address: 665 College Street
Parking: Green P around the corner/Street parking if you’re lucky
Dress: Casual/Dressy
Price: Average
Ambience – 8/10 (cold by the door and the rooftop had an odd smell to it)
Service – 9/10 (the no reservation policy could mean long waits on weekends, free shots can always make up for it!)
Food – 10/10 (no complaints when it came to the food, drinks, 2 apps, 3 mains and a dessert was the perfect amount for 5 people to share)

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