Thursday, December 17, 2015

Vivo Italian Kitchen Review (Universal Orlando CityWalk)

It's no secret that my favorite of Orlando's "big three" theme parks is Universal Orlando. As a devoted Harry Potter fan, Universal totally won me over with their truly breathtaking recreations of the Wizarding World. However, another feature I really love about Universal is CityWalk, a collection of shops, eateries, and night life venues that ensure a day at the park truly turns into an experience.

Since I have been away from Orlando for months, I was way overdue for a trip to my favorite park, especially since my annual pass is expiring early next year. Once my plane touched down in Orlando, my dad and I headed of for a night of wandering around the park and grabbing dinner. After seeing some positive reviews of Vivo Italian Kitchen online, we decided to try it out, as I have been on a gluten-free pasta kick lately. 

Although the restaurant was moderately busy, my dad and walked right up and were seated right away. When our waiter came out, I let him know my dietary restrictions and he said he would let the kitchen know and code my dishes as an "allergy order." The menu is really misleading because it does not mention gluten-free options anywhere, but it turns out that most of the pastas can be adapted to gluten-free with gluten-free penne noodles as well as several of the entrees, salads, and other offerings. 

Of course when gluten-free pasta is on the menu, I pretty much focus on that section exclusively. When dairy is also introduced as a co-allergen, more offerings are off limits, but there was still plenty of choices. The bolognese, arrabiata, linguine and clams, and squid ink seafood pasta can all be made gluten and dairy-free. Others, too can be adapted but I cannot remember which. I asked about the eggplant alla norma, but was cautioned away because of a shared fryer for the eggplant. I like it when the waiter is knowledgeable enough to know cross contamination hazards. Because the order is an allergy order, the chef would prepare mine separately to make sure the pasta is safe.



I ended up ordering the arrabiata pasta. The noodles were a perfect al dente and the rich tomato sauce was amazingly flavorful and spicy- but not ridiculously so. Shallots added a distinctive onion-y flavor that enhanced the pasta, promoting it above typical tomato sauce pasta. The pasta itself, cooked to al dente was delicious and overall the dish was not as sodium-packed as other restaurant's gluten-free pastas can be at other restaurants. The dish was excellent and portioned nicely so that I could have made two meals from the serving. 



Overall, my dad and I were both really satisfied with our orders (he is a gluten eater). Our waiter was informed and made ordering an easy process, which is definitely a compliment in the food allergy world. I am glad I can add Vivo to my ever-expanding list of safe restaurants at Universal Orlando, and look forward to returning with family and friends to enjoy a nice dinner and excellent people watching from the restaurant's patio. 


The Basics

Address: 6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819
Cuisine: Italian
Ideal For: Dinner
Price: See menu prices here
Accessibility: Wheelchair accessible
Special Features: Make reservations in advance on Univeral's website (click here)

Disclaimer: This review is based upon the information I have at the time of the review and does not reflect changes in ingredients or availability of items. Please contact the restaurant directly for up-to-date information and feel free to contact me with any questions or comments. I was not compensated for this review and it is a reflection of my personal opinion.


Vivo Italian Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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