The all new VIVO! Restaurant features fine Italian cuisine in a trattoria style setting. Chef Roberto Donna, introduces his favorite dishes from his native Torino, Italy - "These will be original country dishes made with top ingredients. Just like the dishes from Torino." Dishes homemade pastas, woodburning oven pizza and rotisserie chicken as well as regional items such as poached eggs served over soft polenta and roasted double cut pork loin chop with citrus sauce.

The interior design of VIVO! ristorante is simplistic and modern surrounded by subdued hues of yellow and blue with paintings by local artists. Currently on display is a collection of mixed media and acrylics from artist Anne Marchand. The main dining room seats up to 64 guests. Chef Roberto Donna has resumed his much anticipated wine dinners at VIVO!


1509 17th Street,
NW Washington, DC 20036
Tel: (202) 986-2627
Fax: (202) 986-4019

Hours of Operation:
Monday-Thursday, 11:30am-10:00pm
Friday & Saturday, 11:30am-11:00pm
Sunday, 5:00pm-10:00pm
For information about upcoming wine dinners, private parties or reservations,
please contact our private party manager, Erika Williams at (703) 276-1319.


" I want to lick the plate," my friend whispers across the table at VIVO!, which opened in November, still a member of the Donna empire. Too bad my pal's order of creamy polenta, enriched with melted, mildly nutty fontina cheese and set off with a perfect poached egg, is out of my reach, or he'd have some competition. But I'm busy carving into a rotisserie chicken; scented with garlic and rosemary and partnered with delicious wrinkled roast potatoes and a fluff of greens, the bird is vanishing before his eyes. This is the kind of deeply satisfying Italian cooking turned out by former I Matti chef Ivan Escobar that keeps people packed in like Lifesavers on a Saturday night.

I was eager to embrace VIVO!; its stretch of Dupont Circle desperately needs a restaurant whose cooking doesn't taste like it came out of a package. Still, like the date who asks for your number but then fails to call, this spare storefront can be unpredictable. One day, I return to the office raving about the lusty, house-made pork sausage, arranged around wilted fresh spinach; the next visit, I'm apologizing to my guest for its saltiness. Anchovies spread with parsley sauce taste as if they, too, passed through a salt mine on their way to the table, while raviolini stuffed with roasted meat and vegetables go down both tough and dull. A special of saffron-tinged risotto with grilled shrimp is decent enough, but at $21.95, I want a better story to bring home-the kind of story I get later, in a lunch of hand-made agnolotti, light pillows of pasta fattened with spinach and ricotta in a lovely, smooth mascarpone cream sauce.

There's more to admire. VIVO! is among a handful of places I think about when I'm hungry for blistered, thin-crusted pizza from a wood-stoked oven (an oven that brightens the setting with its flames). I'd also head in this direction for a grilled lamb steak, thin but succulent and accented with oregano and garlic. Minestrone, a soup of the day, is merely pleasant, but its deep, slanted yellow bowl is so attractive, I start rethinking my kitchenware. Who cares if Elvis is singing in the background? The walls showcase a changing display of original art and the waiters endear themselves with their graciousness, even when the courses are slow coming to the table. Give me some more of that egg-topped polenta, and VIVO! starts living up to its translation: Alive!

Partial reproduction of a review originally reported by Mr. Tom Sietsema in The Washington Post, 2000.



Cured Pork Meat from "Salumeria Biellese NY" with Vinegar, Preserved Onions and Gurkins, served with Garlic Bruscetta
Homemade "Tomini" Marinated in Olive Oil, Crushed Hot Pepper, and Green Sauce served with Salted Preserved Anchovies with Garlic, Parsley and Toasted Bread
"Il Carpione Misto" Small Veal Milanese, Zucchini and Onions Marinated in a Sweet Vinegar Sauce
Rolled Stuffed Roasted Pepper in a Sauce of Garlic, Olive Oil and Anchovies
Mixed Field Greens with a Dressing of Olive Oil, Red and White Balsamic Vinegar

Homemade Agnolotti filled with Roasted Ground Beef served in a Sauce of Rosemary and Butter, Sprinkled with Freshly Grated Parmesan
Homemade Pasta Pillows Filled with Ricotta and Spinach in a Marscarpone Cheese Sauce
Spaghetti tossed with Seafood in a Pizzaiola Sauce
Homemade Pappardelle with a Ragu of Pork Rib and Onions Simmered in Tomato Sauce, Napoli Style
Ricotta Marscarpone Dumpling in a Light Tomato Sauce

Roasted Double Cut Pork Rib Loin with Citrus Sauce and Oregano served with Potato Puree
Cotoletta of Veal Milanese Style served with a side of Fresh Tomato Basil Salad
Roasted Veal Shoulder with Shallots, Mushrooms and Herbs
Wood Burning Rotisserie Chicken Scented with Garlic served with Roasted Potatoes
Grilled NY Steak Marinated in Herbs, Oregano, Onions and Garlic served over Arucola
Grilled Homemade Pork Sausage and Pork Ribs Marinated with Red Wine, Onions and Herbs served with Sautéed Spinach
! Check our Blackboard for Daily Specials Including Pesce (Fish) and Dolce (Dessert) Items

Special Events and Wine Dinners for 2001 at VIVO!

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