Sister restaurant to Salt Lake City Italian staple, Cucina Toscana, Vivace opened its doors in January of 2012. Vivace is located right next door to Cucina, on the corer of 300 South and 300 West. I have eaten at Vivace a few times now – and the food has always been great and fresh. This past visit, however, was probably the best. The service was fantastic (we have had service issues in the past), the food was delicious, and our experience was lovely.
We had purchased Vivace’s recent Living Social deal. I have experienced, more than a few times, servers and restaurants who seem to treat you as second-class diners once you have purchased these deals. In fact, our most recent dining experience at Cucina Toscana was one of those. But, not at Vivace. The fact that we were customers coming in with a deal was welcomed and our server was more than happy to go over our options and treat as like full-paying customers. It was very much appreciated.
We started with a few appetizers – which were both terrific. Gamberetto alla Griglia (grilled shrimp, pickled beet salad, burrata, pistacchios, arugula, and wild herb honey $12) and the Pettini (scallops, blood orange, fennel, with a blood orange gelée $12). The grilled shrimp were super flavorful and cooked to perfection and the beets, buratta, and honey that accompanied the shrimp made the dish interesting and well-rounded.The scallops were cured, not fully cooked, delicate, nearly paper thin, and melted in your mouth. I would suggest both of these appetizers – we all loved them.
For our entrees, we had three different dishes: the Pasta Special (pene pasta, light creme sauce, fresh peas, pancetta $15), Maloreddus alla Norcia (fresh porcini, Creminelli sausage, tomato, and truffles $22), and the Scottadita (grilled lamb chops, eggplant agrodolce, potatoes, salsa verde $32).
The Pasta Special was fairy basic. Originally, it was also supposed to come with roasted red peppers, but we all know how I feel about those. The sauce was very light and the flavor was great. I would have liked to have seen the pancetta make more of an appearance, however. It was chopped very very fine and for the first few bites I forgot that it was even supposed to be a part of the dish. Overall, however, I did enjoy this pasta special.
The Maloreddus alla Norcia was full of flavor. The Creminelli sausage was spicy and rich and the mushrooms went perfectly. This pasta has boisterous bang and is quite intense, but delicious. Be ready for a kick.
The Scottadita (lamb chops) were also pretty great. The eggplant agrodolce, potatoes, salsa verde on the side were my favorite part. Such a great array of flavors for a side dish. The lamb did come out cooked well done, when it was ordered medium rare (on the rare side). But, Vivace fixed this problem quickly, bringing out a perfectly cooked chop on a side plate and leaving the chop that was overcooked – which, of course, got eaten by everyone in our party. It was the perfect way to handle the problem, and overall, we were happy with the dish!
But let’s talk about dessert. Everyone at the table agreed that the pana cotta might be the best we have had. It was light, creamy, and not too sweet. Definitely a must try for those who love a good pana cotta. We ordered TWO.
Last, we enjoyed some fantastic bread pudding. It was the perfect opposite of the pana cotta; dense, bold, and rich. It was delicious. I like my bread pudding piping hot, so I would have enjoyed this one a bit hotter (it was mildly warm) – but the flavor and texture was great. Dessert was certainly a highlight.
I would invite you to take an evening out and check out Vivace. I think they are only getting better and better and we really enjoyed our entire experience with great friends and great food. Also, they have an amazing patio that you MUST get to before the warm season is over. Check them out for lunch or dinner!