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Enjoy Amazing Food at Vivo Italian Kitchen in Universal

Enjoy Amazing Food at Vivo Italian Kitchen in Universal

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If you are looking for delicious dining when you visit Universal Orlando or the Orlando area in general, it doesn’t get much better than this. Head to VIVO Italian Kitchen for a relaxing meal after a day at the parks!

VIVO Italian Kitchen

Cowfish exterior from a distance citywalk
Credit: Kate

VIVO Italian Kitchen is a full-service restaurant that offers authentic Italian meals in a sleek setting. The restaurant is not unique to Universal Orlando; you can also find a Universal Hollywood location. This is great news for visitors to both coasts!

If you have been following along lately, you may know that I (Kate) have been having a hard time finding great Italian Food to enjoy while visiting Central Florida Theme Parks. Disney struck out for me with both Tony’s Town Square and Mama Melrose’s Italian Kitchen.

View of CityWalk from Cowfish at night
Credit: Kate

I didn’t expect to find anything drastically different in terms of Italian dining in Universal Orlando. However, VIVO Italian Kitchen was a pleasant surprise!

While advanced reservations are generally a great idea for City Walk dining, my travel party was relying on walk-up availability at VIVO Italian that evening. For those who are accustomed to Disney, know that Universal is a bit more relaxed. We were pleasantly surprised to find a table for 5 was available with only a short wait.


CityWalk way to cowfish
Credit: Kate

You will find VIVO Italian Kitchen at Universal CityWalk, the “epicenter of awesome” in Universal Orlando. It is very close to the entrance to CityWalk, so finding it is easy.

Regardless of whether you park your own vehicle or take a bus, you will have to go through security before you can head to CityWalk. Once you finish your journey down the moving walkways, head under the “Welcome to Universal Orlando Resort” sign. You will see it where the buildings start curving to the left.

If you are arriving via boat, you will be dropped off at the dock, which is also close by. Just head away from Universal Studios, and you will find it as you near the exit to the moving walkways. It is next to NBC Sports Grill & Brew Restaurant and near The Cowfish.


Picture of Vivo Italian Kitchen
Credit: Kate

VIVO Italian Kitchen feels a little sleeker than most restaurants in City Walk. On the night we were there, it was a mixture of theme park goers and patrons enjoying business dinners.

It is elegant, yet fun, and it would make a great restaurant for a date night, a rest day, or even a celebration. You will not feel overdressed in a nice outfit, but theme park clothes are also acceptable.

Bread Service

Picture of Vivo Italian Kitchen bread
Credit: Kate

I am happy to report that VIVO Italian Kitchen is one place where complimentary bread still exists. So many restaurants seemed to have phased such things out.

The bread is served piping hot and fresh. It is warm, soft, and delicious. It reminds me more of white mountain bread than some of the bread you find in Italian restaurants, but I loved it nonetheless.

Primi (Appetizers)

Picture of Vivo Italian Kitchen ricotta ball
Credit: Kate

If you are going to pick just one thing at VIVO Italian to enjoy as an appetizer, make it the Fried Ricotta. Move over fried mozzarella, you have met your match. This dish is rosemary lemon ricotta lightly breaded and fried, house made tomato sauce, basil, and ricotta salata.

Each plate comes with several fried ricotta balls. There were enough to share around our table, but I could have easily enjoyed more!

I have never thought to fry up some ricotta, but whoever did is a genius. And, the lemon adds just the right notes. You may find yourself dreaming of this dish.


Picture of Vivo Italian Kitchen pasta
Credit: Kate

Out table ordered a number of different pasta entrees. And, all of them were very good to outstanding! If you like, you can watch the chefs create this homemade pasta in the open kitchen.

The Cappelletti is romano cheese stuffed pasta spinach, tomato concasse, chili flakes, garlic, basil. The dish was a hit! It tasted fresh and delicious.

Picture of Vivo Italian Kitchen pasta
Credit: Kate

Our server recommended the Trottole Pasta. This is made with: trottole pasta, house made fennel sausage meatballs, broccolini, red pepper flakes, oven-dried tomatoes, chicken broth, and Romano cheese. It was indeed a hearty dish, full of flavors.

Since it was such a big dish, there was plenty to take back to the room. If you want you could easily split this dish, especially if you enjoy bread and appetizers first.

Picture of Vivo Italian Kitchen muscles
Credit: Kate

Another member of the party ordered the Squid Ink Seafood. This is served with shrimp, clams, mussels, calamari, white wine, basil, and black spaghetti.

It was a delicious dish, chock full of seafood. If you are going to eat it, not only do you have to be in the mood for seafood, but you need to be hungry!

Piatto Principale

Picture of Vivo Italian Kitchen short rib
Credit: Kate

I asked our server for a recommendation, and he suggested the Short Rib. This dish is made with saffron risotto, asparagus, and Parmesan.

It is not a particularly photogenic dish, and at first sight I did wonder whether it would be good. However, my speculation was put to rest quickly.

This is a delightful dish. The short rib was fork-tender. The saffron risotto and asparagus complemented it perfectly. It is one of the best Italian dishes I have had on a trip to a theme park. I would not hesitate to order it again on a return visit.


Picture of Vivo Italian Kitchen drink
Credit: Kate

Lastly, VIVO Italian Kitchen has an array of alcoholic beverages for those who would like to partake. Of course, they also serve mocktails for those who want something snazzy without the alcohol.

We tried some of the Specialty Cocktails. I had the Aperol Spritz, which is Aperol, Fantinel Prosecco, club soda, and an orange wheel. It was sweet, light, and delightful.

Picture of Vivo Italian Kitchen drink
Credit: Kate

One of the other members of my dining party had the Local. This concoction is St. Augustine vodka, fresh lime juice, agave syrup, fig, and strawberry jam. This was another solid choice.


City Walk at Night Escalator Universal
Credit: Kate

Overall, I would not hesitate to visit VIVO Italian Kitchen at City Walk. It is the best Italian food I have had in a theme park setting so far.

Sure, you can probably find fantastic, and certainly superior Italian at a local place closer to home. But, if the craving strikes during your visit to Orlando, this is a great place to go, especially if you want to enjoy a stroll around City Walk while you are there.

Using a Travel Agent can help you navigate the ins and outs of planning! I am here to help! Please fill out this form and put my name (Kate) in the Special Request box.

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