Restaurant: Vivo Trattoria
Neighborhood: Arundel Mills/Hanover, MD
Architecture/Ambiance: While it has a cool, industrial and rustic look, it's hard for me to appreciate it as much as buildings like the Bagby Building and others in Baltimore City. I really like renovations of old spaces. That being said, it is really nice and has an authentic Italian feel.
Service: Over the top. I know that I'm being treated as a guest*, but it seemed like everyone was well tended to. All servers were incredibly friendly and helpful. It was pretty busy at 8pm on a Thursday, but no one appeared to have to wait long to be seated and served.
Food, food, food: We started with two apps, the calamari and the mozzarella bruscetta. Steve was a big fan of the calamari (and he gets it everywhere he goes, so he's learned a lot about it), and the bruscetta was a generous portion.
For our main dishes, we both opted for pizzas -- prosciutto and pear (pignolia, fig vincotto, gorgonzola dolce, sage) for me and tre carne (crumbled sausage, meatballs, pepperoni, fresh mozzarella) for Steve. I loved the cheese, fig, herbs, and prosciutto on mine but the pear was a little off. (I ate the leftovers for lunch the next day, so definitely not bad by any means!) Steve liked his and was only able to finish about half because it was so hearty.
I was a little disappointed in my wine, the Fire Road sauvignon blanc (Marlborough 2012). New Zealand sauv blanc is my go-to wine, but I probably should've done Italian, considering the restaurant. It just wasn't my favorite.
I couldn't turn down dessert, so I ordered the chocolate tart, which was amazing. It was so decadent and rich; I was savoring every bite. Steve's vanilla ice cream, while delicious, definitely paled in comparison.
Biggest pro(s): Free parking! There's an open lot as well as a free garage. The pizzas are a good size and the desserts shouldn't be skipped.
Biggest con(s): It's in Arundel Mills. (See: Would I go back, below.) I think that people assume it's associated with the casino, but it's not. The area is really cute with a few other restaurants and shops.
Would I go back? Yes, if I'm in the area, and I'd definitely encourage others to go. We tend to stick with the city because we can take Uber and Lyft anywhere we need to go without losing our parking space. (If you live in a city, you understand.)
* Yep, at no cost. Yep, opinions are mine and I tipped.