While Italy is a smidge too far for a weekend getaway, you can certainly whisk your taste buds to a romantic Italian retreat while visiting the shops tucked away on Metropolitan Avenue.
Taste the tide with grilled octopus, catch a crackle from the hearth with Mediterranean-infused pizzas and grab a glimpse Tuscany with scratch made pastas and gelato. The upscale, but not stuffy, Italian spot is ideal for almost any occasion… and you’ll never leave unsatisfied.
This is Vivace Charlotte.
Upon arrival, my date and I were tucked into a corner booth where we could oversee the entire ground-floor mezzanine.
The ambiance was energetic, bustling with animated conversations and celebratory clinking of sparkling swills. There was an undeniable millennial buzz flowing throughout the space; a younger generation of professionals dressed in their Sunday finest, relishing the best of brunch before the work week. The restaurant is spacious and accommodating, with a maximum capacity of roughly 150 guests.
Since brunch isn’t complete without a boozy beverage, we opted for their seasonal Summer Affair (Hendricks Gin, St. Germain, Lime, Cucumber and Mint) alongside a crafted mocktail (watermelon, soda water and fresh lime juice) to start. Vivace also offers a bottomless Mimosa and Bloody Mary Bar, which was a very popular choice amongst the crowd.
Our Antipasti course was a playful fusion of signature favorites and flavors.
Each dish was absolutely breathtaking and cooked to perfection.
Crispy potatoes, bacon, parmesan and oreganata. The starchy spuds have a nice crust and pair exquisitely with crispy Brussels sprouts that are intensified with a hint of honey. This dish is so popular, guests can find it offered at both brunch and dinner.
Applewood smoked duck paired with goat cheese, arugula, fresh tomatoes and caramelized onion served over fresh baguette slices. This was an off-menu item that they are testing for one of their sister locations. Each ingredient carefully complimented the others, creating an appetizing mix that mingled between succulent and garden fresh.
STEAMED PEI MUSSELS:
Roasted tomatoes, shallots, garlic, white wine, brown butter and crostini. Simple and unfussy, tender morsels of maritime are emerged in a traditional broth that’s intended to dip with a house made crostini.
The Insalata and Zuppa collection was straightforward and familiar.
We unquestionably gravitated towards the Chopped Caesar and Lobster Bisque, both dreamy staples of elegant European cuisine. The tender salad was quite pleasing, as it was charismatically covered with scratch made dressing, white anchovies and parmesan frico. The bisque was thick and creamy, marrying a silky tomato base with luscious lumps of fresh lobster.
For our main entrées, we chose to sample two of Vivace’s house made pasta specialties.
Both dishes were exceptionally flavorful comfort food recipes, each surrounded by a rich sea of tomato sauce, fresh parmesan and herbs. Both plates were piping hot, bursting with intense flavors and served in generous portion sizes.
PENNE ALLA VODKA:
Sun-dried tomato vodka cream sauce, sautéed shrimp, caramelized onions and rosemary. This… this is the pasta of dreams, as cream on carbs is one of the ultimate satisfactions in Italian dining. Balanced with succulent shrimp and aromatics, this entrée would satisfy anyone’s decadent pasta cravings.
Spicy house tomato sauce, onion, guanciale, pecorino, bucatini and meatball. In my own personal opinion, bucatini is notably the best-of-the-best when it comes to long pastas (it’s a thick spaghetti-like pasta with a hollow center). This dish is all kinds of delicious… an undeniable upgrade from mom’s spaghetti and meatballs.
Some things simply always put a smile on your face, and for me, that’s a well executed dessert menu.
It was an impeccable way to end our meal and even though my date and I were stuffed to the brim, we finished the entire course (and practically licked our plate clean). We paired this course with one of their signature cocktails, the Barrel Aged Peach Old Fashion (Elijah Craig Small Batch, peach, Angostura, and cherry garnish).
This seasonal dessert was absolute heaven, effortlessly intertwining pillows of mascarpone and espresso-soaked ladyfingers. It was an immaculate way to showcase the sweetness of strawberries in a non-conventional fashion.
GINGERSNAP COOKIES STUFFED WITH VANILLA GELATO:
A wonderfully simple dessert that was executed flawlessly. Gelato is made in-house, as well as the ginger confections. It was definitely of the tastiest twists we’ve ever had on an ice cream sandwich.
TRADITIONAL CHOCOLATE CAKE:
One bite of this sinful cake and we now know where to cure our chocolate cravings. The fudgy frosting engulfed a moist center that was effortlessly melt-in-your-mouth perfect.
The modern décor mixed with decent menu prices and attentive service makes for a supreme choice when picking a place to dine.
This establishment is perfect for a trendy brunch with friends, intimate date night or simply any occasion where mouthwatering carbs are a priority. Thank you to Executive Chef David Lucarelli, his team and Gwen Poth Communications for allowing us to review Vivace Charlotte. We had a fantastic dining experience and cannot wait to return.
PIN FOR LATER:
Vivace Charlotte is located at 1100 Metropolitan Avenue, Building E, Suite 100 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
This restaurant review also appears in the October/November issue of Luxe Lifestyle Magazine (pg. 72 – 75).