Review: Via Vite

The theme for this week seems to be “Restaurants where we’ve had small meals at but really want to write up right.” Or maybe we just wanted lots of OpenTable points. My motives are not always altruistic.

Terry and I have been to Via Vite once before– we got their late night menu after the Over the Rhine Christmas concert in December. He had a pizza, I had a lobster roll. The pizza had olives and capers and was right up Terry’s (and probably Vudutu’s!) alley. The lobster roll had a light dressing and was served on good quality bread. I desperately wanted to get back, but it took us a while between travel, shows and weddings.

Friday night– our first Friday night to ourselves in a good long while– we decided to go to Via Vite. Via Vite is owned by the Pietosos, who also own Nicola’s in Over the Rhine. This restaurant, with its gorgeous view of the square and beautiful interior– with a wall of wine!– is a bit downscale from the award-winning Nicola’s. If you were to classify it on a “restaurant motivation scale”, Nicola’s would be an 8 (“I really want to impress someone but I’m not on the coasts”) and Via Vite would be about a 4 or 5 (“I want a nice dinner out, I don’t want to pay a ton for it, and I don’t want to eat at a major chain”).

Their cuisine is italian– lots of pasta. We skipped an appetizer– just weren’t in the mood, as we’d been drinking at Mr. Pitiful’s for a bit beforehand and figured our entrees wouldn’t take too long to come out. And they didn’t!

I got the tortellini in vodka sauce– one of my favorites. It was full of tomatoes and cream and olive oil, and the tortellini were very good and plump, but not overfilled. I would definitely order this again.

Terry got the halibut special and a side of polenta. The polenta was great– very rich with parmesan, good parmesan– and probably my favorite part of the meal. The halibut was tender and perfectly cooked, and swimming in a lemon-cream sauce on top of spinach. Yum! I had a bite or two, and really liked it, but Terry wasn’t nearly as impressed as I was.

For dessert, we split a chocolate panna cotta. I love the wiggly, giggly, gelatinous-ness of panna cotta, though I only had a couple of bites. It was chocolatey, but not too chocolatey. Just right.

It’s a great place to take a date, people watch, or visit after an event downtown. I’ve heard that it is popular in the same way Nada is– great space, great location, not as great foodwise as their “big brother” restaurants– and see the point. But for pretty good, fairly traditional italian that will impress your date? Via Vite’s a great bet.

Via Vite on Urbanspoon

  • Jackie Danicki

    Via Vite is astonishingly good value for money if you want a nice lunch downtown. The “cup” size of their seafood stew – containing loads of great calamari, mussels, fish, octopus, and more – costs $5 and comes in a bowl. It’s quite a large serving. You also get bread with dipping oil and balsamic, gratis. You’d struggle to have a more lovely lunch downtown. I highly recommend sitting on the terrace upstairs.

  • UncleRando

    I love Via Vite…I typically go every Friday for happy hour with a group of friends. It makes for a great way to start off the bar hopping night.

    I also did a little article specifically on Via Vite’s happy hour specials. You can find that here:
    http://www.urbancincy.com/2008/04/happy-hour-friday-via-vite.html

  • Julie

    Jackie, I look forward to lunch there this summer. I also look forward to more tortellini alla vodka. Mmm.

    UncleRando, thanks for the link! I’ll check it out.

  • liz

    hahaha, i love the “restaurant motivation scale.” i also love panna cotta. yum!

    i agree, via vite is a really nice atmosphere. i think it totally does what it sets out to do as a restaurant and what more can you ask really?