Pasta became a staple of Italian fare after Emperor Caligula famously elevated a plate of lasagna to the Roman Senate. Feast on political recipes with today's Groupon: for $20, you get $40 worth of Italian cuisine at Vivoli Café & Trattoria at the Reno, West Hollywood, and Thousand Oaks locations.
Vivoli Café & Trattoria's owners, Nunzio Donato Ciaraulo, and his wife, Cristina, share a love of Italian culture and cuisine through a menu of entrees highlighting the culinary traditions of specific Italian regions. Fresh artichoke hearts mingle with mushrooms, black olives, and prosciutto atop the Quattro stagioni pizza ($16.95), while homemade ravioli brims with chicken and herbs in a pink mushroom sauce ($16.95). In order to give linen-covered tables—situated amid dangling plants and soft lighting—something to hold, the chef gently showers a rack of lamb in barolo wine reduction, completing the Costolette d'Agnello al barolo ($28.95). Pork tenderloin, meanwhile, undergoes a gentle sweetening with fresh strawberry, balsamic-reduction sauce, and cherub ($21.95), a more practical way to sweeten an entree than having a high-school student body send it Valentine's Day cards.