Plumes of fragrant steam swirl above bowls as waiters deliver hefty portions of paella to red-linen-topped tables inside Vivo Tapas Lounge. In the paella, clamshells, shrimp, mussel shells, and pearly scallops pop amid a heap of golden saffron rice. The eatery’s paella complements a list of hot and cold tapas, all of which exemplify the restaurant's Zagat rating of very good to excellent food. On small tapas plates, chefs arrange tiny patties of spanish tuna or mushrooms stuffed with onions, bacon, pine nuts, and mozzarella cheese. After meals, the crowd can get to their feet and dance the night away amid colorful beams of light and exposed-brick walls. Sheer curtains cordon off private seating with tufted, high-backed banquettes for VIP parties and laid-back tax audits.
Backed by the 60-piece human melody machine of the Johann Strauss Orchestra, conductor and violinist André Rieu enchants audiences with an evening of swooning in their seats and dancing in the aisles. A violinist since the age of 5, André radiates his lifelong love of classical music to the audience with celebratory renditions of beloved pieces. As Rieu interacts with the audience, the air fills with kaleidoscopic balloons, lilting tenors and sopranos, and special surprises, which may include a John Philip Sousa séance or an explosion of confetti fired from the tubas.
Like other Mediterranean cuisines, Portuguese food is deliciously heavy on olive oil, garlic, onions, and wine. But unique to this cuisine is its intercontinental flair; in many dishes, you'll find Asian rice, African peppers, and cinnamon, cloves, and ginger from India. Portugal's globe-spanning history has brought all of these influences together, and PortuCale Restaurant & Bar does all of them justice with a seafood-heavy menu that features six varieties of shrimp alongside specialty meat dishes such as braised portuguese steak.
The space itself is festive and distinctly Mediterranean—think dark wood furnishings set against exposed brick. Bartenders make pitchers of sangria and keep 20-year-old port wines on hand to ensure that the atmosphere matches the liveliness of the decor. They also sell fine cigars that guests can smoke on an outdoor patio that's reminiscent of a medieval courtyard.