Restaurant Review: Riviera by Fabio Viviani in Fort Lauderdale
Disclosure: I was invited to dine at Riviera by Fabio Viviani in exchange for this post. All opinions here are my own.
If the name Fabio Vivani sounds familiar, it’s for a good reason. Hailing from Florence, the Italian chef appeared on the fifth season of Top Chef and came in fourth place. The «Top Chef Fan Favorite» also competed in «Top Chef: All Stars» in 2010. Other creds include starring in «Life After Top Chef» in 2012 and being the the host of Yahoo web series Chow Ciao, where he won a Webby Award for “Best Web Personality/Host”.
Currently, one Chef Viviani’s newest venture is Riviera by Fabio Viviani, an Italian restaurant located inside Fort Lauderdale Beach’s Hotel Maren. I dined there and confirmed that the food is as excellent as the decor and beachside views. Read below to learn more about my experience.
BENTLEY ($16) Fig Infused Old Forester 100 Proof Bourbon, Averna Amaro, Demerara, Bitters
One of the most popular drinks on the menu, this is a must-have. It’s smooth and classy, much like a, well, Bentley (minus the lavish price tag). For those that love Old Fashioneds and don’t want something too sweet, this is your new go-to beverage.
GRILLED BONE MARROW ($17) Balsamic Onions, Citrus Gremolata, Panna Cotto
This was actually my first time trying bone marrow, but I still had high expectations. Spolier alert: they were exceeded. This dish had a smokey taste with a gooey texture (probably not the most polite choice for a first date, but oh well). The spices and oils used were akin to a chimichurri and when pared with the fresh, crispy bread was, how do you say, *chef’s kiss*.
SQUID INK LUMACHE ($36) Frutti Di Mare, Mussels, Clams, Shrimp, Calamari, Heirloom Tomatoes, Garlic, Parsley, Polpa Di Ricci
A modern twist on the traditional linguine usually found in frutti de mare, this dish was one of my favorites. Instead, lumache pasta was used. Small and shell shaped, it perfectly captured the juices of the sauce. This dish was hearty and had an equal seafood to pasta ratio. Although filling, it wasn’t too overwhelming and definitely left room for dessert.
PORK CHOP MILANESE ($35) Citrus, Arugula, Blistered Tomatoes, Yukon Potatoes, Grana Padano
This wasn’t my dish, but of course I had try a bite. Crunchy and lightly fried, this would be a great suggestion for fans of schnitzel. The potatoes were just the right amount of cripsy and popped in your mouth with every bite.
CHOCOLATE E NOCCIOLA TORTE ($12) Espresso Whipped Cream, Dark Chocolate Sauce
Rich and decadent, this ended the night on a sweet note (pardon the pun). The torte has the consistency of a mousse and cake, making each multilayered bite creamy and delicious. The expresso whipped cream and crumbled sugar bites packed even more fun flavor to this dessert.
Pro tip: Pair this one with a cappuccino. Trust me.