Italian cuisine, like a bodybuilding champion, is defined by its robustness, its pure ingredients, and its ability to bench-press elephants strung together by steel wire. Flex feasting muscles with today's Groupon: for $30, you get $60 worth of food and drink at Vivo, located in the West Loop.
Vivo brings Randolph Street Market District diners Italian cuisine that's simple yet high quality, like the relativistic wave equations of Ettore Majorana. Begin your tour of Vivo's dinner menu with the wood-grilled asparagus and roasted peppers appetizer ($8) or the bruschetta starter ($8) before opting for a pasta entree, such as the rigatoni ($17) with Italian sausage and peas or the gnocchi ($17) with parmesan cream and black-truffle essence. Carnivores wishing to break in their new teeth will make molars merry with the grilled lamb chops ($35) with sautéed spinach and roasted potatoes, whereas old-timey deep-sea explorers can safely remove copper diving helmets for consumption of the wood-grilled Atlantic salmon ($28) with vegetables, or sautéed sea scallops ($30) with sautéed spinach and mashed potatoes. Vivo also offers ravioli, fish, and meat entrees that change daily. An extensive wine list includes both domestic and international labels.
Vivo expands the relaxed elegance of its menu to its décor, with exposed-brick walls, soft lighting, rustic wood floors, and wine bottles stacked along the wall like firewood. If you find yourself dining with a Windy City mover and shaker like Oprah or Bing Crosby, you may have a chance to sit at the highly sought-after, velvet-curtain-surrounded, private dining table in Vivo's converted elevator shaft.
Time Out Chicago says:
- This sexy eatery was the first to brave Randolph Street, so we're not about to argue, especially when it comes to its rustic Italian food. Golden housemade gnocchi is doused in a creamy, earthy truffle sauce; tuna fillet is dressed up with a lively combo of balsamic and mint...
- The food was really delicious. Hard to choose from menu selections, they all sounded good. Very attentive wait staff without being overly attentive. He knew the menu and shared personal favorites. – OpenTable user who dined on 04/10/2010
- There’s an industrial chic vibe at play here---exposed brick walls, stacks of wine bottles, butcher-papered tables and a 16-foot ceiling---and it works well. You can dress your best (or not) when dining here; almost anything goes. – Gayot