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Vivere

View Map71 W. Monroe St., Chicago
Tel: (312) 332-4040
Fax: (312) 332-2656
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Editorial Review of Vivere

From the moment you pass under the ornate marquee reading "Chicago's oldest Italian restaurant," it's clear that minimalism is not on the menu. Vivere, the Jordan Moser-decorated space on the first floor of Italian Village, takes you to the inside of a giant caramel roll: spirals, swoops and golden-brown hues are simply everywhere. No surface has been left without ornamentation: Mirrors are flanked with stage curtains, mosaic tiles form swirling patterns on the floor and colorful paintings adorn the walls.

The menu shares the decor's flare for drama; lucky for us, showy ingredients include a saffron-infused white wine and cream sauce and a braised wild boar ragu. The tonno con pure di piselli pairs seared ahi tuna with a sweet pea puree and carrot-leek salad. Meat-and-potato types will love the veal chop seared on iron, served with a lemon-scented cannelloni bean puree.

If choosing only one of the menu's dishes ($14.50-$33.95) is simply too distressing, try the chef's five-course tasting menu for $70 per person. Whatever you eat, leave room for wine: The Italian Village restaurants have won the Wine Spectator Grand Award every year since 1984.

Average cost: $21-$30

Centerstage Reviewer: Jennifer Berg

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Hours

lunch 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Monday-Friday; dinner 5-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 5-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday; Sunday by appointment

Directions to Vivere

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