If a chef from Florence, who worked in several of Italy’s most prominent restaurants, and arrived in Cincinnati via the Savoy Hotel in London, does not qualify the Via Vite as an authentic Italian restaurant, then the definition of “authentic” needs to change.
Cristian Pietoso has been the chef here since opening day in 2007, and eventually took ownership in 2012. He comes from a family of chef’s, and it shows in the way he designs his menu, sources and prepares his food, and treats his patrons. Perhaps that is why USA Today recently ranked Via Vite #5 on its list of Top Ten Restaurants in Cincinnati.
Via Vite’s location is great, right in the downtown business district of Cincinnati, on picturesque Fountain Square. There is a great second floor outdoor dining terrace overlooking the square, which we took advantage of during our visit, enjoying a warm spring evening.
In many instances a waitperson can make the difference between a good meal and a great meal, and at Via Vite ours was the best. David was very attentive without “hovering,” knew the menu inside and out so was able to make excellent suggestions, and anticipated our every need.
Our table started with a crispy gnocchi appetizer, which was a great beginning, with tasty sauce and fresh Italian bread. I followed that with a pepper soup, which was very flavorful – rich, with just the right about of cream to give it a nice texture.
For an entrée I was tempted by both veal and the pork shank. And the pork loin one of my companions ordered looked awfully good.
In the end, I took a chance on the scallops, fully aware that we were hundreds of miles away from the nearest ocean. They were delicious, and perfectly prepared. The best scallops I have experienced west of Massachusetts. High grades also went to the salad.
A dinner companion with deep oenophile credentials selected our wines, and his choices did not disappoint. The white (Le Rive Gavi Del Comune Di Gavi) was crisp and clean, while the red (Isole e Olena Chianti Classico) was flavorful without being overpowering.
By the end of the meal we were sated and could not be swayed by the dessert descriptions proffered by David. All in all an excellent meal made better by top-notch service and good company.
520 Vine Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202