The buzz emanating from diners on a scorching Friday night hinted at why Free Press readers voted it their favourite restaurant, and soon, we were about to find out why.
Vivo has been a mainstay on the Doncaster restaurant scene for around 10 years and so after recently being crowned joint winner of this title’s Italian Restaurant of the Year what better excuse to sample what it has to offer.
The former Park View Cafe is only a short walk down Bennetthorpe from the town centre, perfectly located for those wanting a meal after a visit to Cast or the races.
We arrived slightly before our 8pm reservation to be shown straight to our table. The menu features a wide range of traditional Italian dishes and specials, inspiration for many hailing from Sardinia.
I opted for bruschetta. You know what to expect from this simple starter but the sweet and tart flavours combined a treat for a real tasty option. My partner went for pepper stuffed with bolognaise and cheese which was wolfed down. The basket of home-made crusty bread was equally enjoyed.
Although the range of pasta and pizzas were tempting, we both opted for a main off the specials board - me lamb shank and him ribeye steak.
The lamb was a joy; tender pieces just fell off the bone whilst the giant ribeye looked amazing. The nods of appreciation as it disappeared from the plate was proof enough. Both mains came with their own portion of veg - with the sweet taste of butter the distinctive hint of tarragon coming through the potatoes and carrots.
Good old traditional tiramisu was the choice for dessert. It tasted perfectly fine but was let down by presentation - appearing to have been transferred into separate ramekins for service.
Long gone are any traces of the former greasy spoon the building once was - Mediterranean orange and red cover the rustic walls as do nods to the family-run restaurant’s Italian heritage. While Vivo’s Secret Garden, at the rear of the restaurant, looks a great place for groups looking to book their own private, semi-outdoor dining area.
There are certainly cheaper restaurants, our bill including a bottle of wine coming in at round £85, however, the quality of food, not to mention more than generous portion sizes, great traditional surroundings and first-class service make Vivo a great place to enjoy fresh, great-tasting Italian food.
As many Free Press readers can testify.
* Vivo, Bennetthorpe, Doncaster, DN2 6AA
Tel. 01302 363131