London Eateries – Vivo bravo, bravissimo!
OK so to be honest, I’m ordinarily not a big fan of Italian restaurants – being from the carbs are the enemy school of thought and thinking all Italian food revolves around bread and pasta – so I took this review with a sense of trepidation. To ensure a fair jury however, I decided to take along a friend that is both half Italian and used to live there, so if I had to munch around the plate he could give the authentic review. Well, I have to say that my palate has been awakened and THIS is the place to go if you want a waist friendly foray into authentic Italy.
Well, I have to say that my palate has been awakened and THIS is the place to go if you want a waist friendly foray into authentic Italy.
Vivo is a restaurant, bar and bakery which is fully immersed in Italian culture, sprit and love of food! The restaurant itself encompasses a large deli counter, seating space of benches and smaller private tables and upstairs roof terrace – which is PRIME summer space on the stretch of Upper Street I can imagine. The deli counter displays all of the food on offer under glass so you can see what you are choosing. The counter is arranged from the heavier end of Italian cuisine, such as meatballs, parmigiana and lasagne, then charcuterie and cheese, a VAST array of salads and then patisserie, pizza by the wood oven, then breads and pastries near the door for those express visitors in and out for their daily coffee and sweet start.
The décor is modern, classy, light and clean with beach colours and dark/pale granite minimalism throughout – not over fussy and giving the place a spacious feel although not an overly big restaurant. There is a cocktail bar at the end of the restaurant too, which is also exceedingly modern looking and refined.
OK so importantly, to the food and drink. We started with some aperol spritzers which were moreish and classically executed. Whilst we perused the menu we munched on some fat juicy olives brought by our friendly Italian waiter – added for authenticity I’m sure 😉 ! So up we went to the counter to order. We plumped for the meatballs on the Waiters recommendation and the parmigiana di melanzane, followed by some charcuterie, successfully avoiding the dreaded carbs, thankfully.
I have to say, and this is no word of exaggeration, that these meatballs were the BEST I’ve tasted EVER!! In fact they were so good I’d gladly eat them every day of the week until my button on my pants was no more. They were SO well seasoned, tasty, ENORMOUS and gloriously encompassed in a silky tomato sauce.. thick but not too sick and neither acidic or sweet without being bland – perfectly balanced. AMAZING. The parnigiana was another significant portion and so very tasty. Maybe a little too much cheese for me but my companion certainly didn’t seem to think so as he wolfed the lot down before I could barely get 2 forkfuls in. A truly satisfying, comforting and authentic feast.
I have to say, and this is no word of exaggeration, that these meatballs were the BEST I’ve tasted EVER!!
We next had some charcuterie cuts and cheese – which were again fresh, great choice of both and flavoursome. This was accompanies by some bits of antipasti on the wooden board It was served on. Following these courses my waist was straining, but the cakes looked so magical we had to try. I plumped for the chocolate bomb which was very rich but gorgeous to share and my companion the traditional dessert of cannoli. The cannoli was light and full of cream, a lovely end to a great experience.
We accompanied the meal with the Italian white which was dry and fruity – much better than most house whites I’ve had locally and the service was impeccable and friendly throughout.. Yes – brilliant. It totally is Italy outside of Italy I couldn’t recommend highly enough and I am sure a place to go on a summers eve so get it in your diary for next year and in the mean time – get down to those meatballs!
It totally is Italy outside of Italy I couldn’t recommend highly enough and I am sure a place to go on a summers eve so get it in your diary for next year and in the mean time – get down to those meatballs!
The all day dining concept is made up of a delicious Italian menu. With everything from freshly baked ciabatta and focaccia, Italian savoury pies, authentic pizzas, salads and other delicious treats and sweets straight from Italy. Coffee is also a main focus of the menu, but the drinks certainly do not disappoint. Delicious wines, Prosecco, Italian beers, spirits and cocktails complete the extensive drinks menu to satisfy any taste. During the aperitivo hour in the early evenings guests can enjoy complimentary snacks with their drinks! The open air roof terrace is definitely a lovely spot in the summer, so be sure to check out Vivo.
The all day dining concept is made up of a delicious Italian menu. With everything from freshly baked ciabatta and focaccia, Italian savoury pies, authentic pizzas, salads and other delicious treats and sweets straight from Italy.
Vivo, 57-58 Upper Street, Islington, N1 0NY, 020 7424 5992
Heart London Magazine 5 * Rating
Emma, Heart London Magazine