Cafe Reviews

Tomaso Maggiore's Vivo! Ristorante Offers Refined Italian Dining in Scottsdale

Few are surprised that, in less than half a year, Vivo! Ristorante has established itself as one of the more refined dining spots in town. Its pedigree helps: Vivo! is the latest offering from Phoenix restaurateur Tomaso Maggiore, creator of Tomaso's and a long list of other local restaurants. After decades of managing popular Italian eateries, Maggiore, who opened Vivo! last fall at Lincoln Drive and Scottsdale Road, knows a thing or two about modern Italian cuisine, and has established himself as one of the best chefs in the Valley. His menus are intelligent, authentic, and light, his creativity built around tradition and tempered by good taste.

Maggiore's latest restaurant specializes in seafood, pastas, and wood-­fired pizzas. Its more original conceits include a mozzarella bar and a handful of daring entrées (like eggplant torte, slices of eggplant baked with cheese fondue, and squid­ink "black" pasta with seafood). Upscale yet inviting, patterned after old­-time, uptown supper clubs, Vivo! features a wraparound bar that separates booths from tables in a single large, open room. I like that Maggiore keeps his restaurant open during the no man's man's land between lunch and dinner, and that his wait staff has just enough attitude to suggest they know their stuff.

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Robrt L. Pela has been a weekly contributor to Phoenix New Times since 1991, primarily as a cultural critic. His radio essays air on National Public Radio affiliate KJZZ's Morning Edition.
Contact: Robrt L. Pela