Sunday, April 29, 2007

Vivande in SF: Now, That's Italian!

Vivande in San Francisco is a renowned Italian restaurant that has the whole package. When it comes to the “big four” -- atmosphere, quality, price and service – this place excels at every level. From the homemade pasta to the killer desserts, there’s something for everyone at Vivande.

The word, “vivande” had not been used extensively in the Italian language since the 14th century until Carlo Middione chose it for his business in 1980. From the Latin “viva”, or life, the word basically means prepared food.

Carlo Middione is the Chef/Owner of Vivande Porta Via – the first eatery to introduce the European concept of prepared take-out food to San Francisco in 1981 in a bustling Italian-style gastronomia also housing a popular Cafe. Well regarded as a restaurateur, Middione is considered an authority on authentic Italian cooking. His book, The Food of Southern Italy published by William Morrow & Co. in 1987, was the first American cookbook to focus upon the regions south of Rome. It won the coveted Tastemaker Award in the category of International cooking in the same year (this award is now known as the James Beard Award), and it has remained a classic. Another book titled La Vera Cucina featuring exceptional, lesser known dishes from all over Italy was published in June of 1996 by Simon & Schuster.

Middione's popularity as a television personality won him a 40-week half hour solo-host series, Carlo Cooks Italian, first aired on The Learning Channel in 1994. It came to the San Francisco Bay Area on BAY-TV, Cable Channel 35, in 1996 and was shown consistently for more than two years. It can still be seen on satellite TV. He has appeared as a guest of Jeff Smith on the Frugal Gourmet, of Lorenza de'Medici in the Tuscan Table Series on PBS; The Microwave Master; and soloed in 1993 on an hour long pilot special which led to the series Carlo Cooks Italian.
In the late 1970's Middione appeared as a "regular" on the Channel 7 A. M. San Francisco morning show with Jack Hansen and Nancy Fleming for 3 years. Carlo was featured regularly as stand-in for Narsai David, host, on the popular KCBS radio show about food news and call-in discussions about food and cooking.

Known best for its unique artisan cooking, superior quality ingredients and products, Vivande has been able to build an enviable reputation as a destination eating place, a one-of-a-kind shopping experience, and a tourist attraction located in the residential heart of San Francisco.
Vivande is a restaurant and a deli in one. You can sit down and eat or order prepared foods to go. Within six months of opening its doors, Diner's Club magazine ranked Vivande in San Francisco "among the ultimate deli's of the world", along with Peck's in Milan, Fauchon in Paris, and Dallmayr in Munich; bringing acclaim to San Francisco and establishing Vivande early on as a tourist destination.

Vivande was the first San Francisco restaurant to use only Italian extra virgin olive oil in its kitchen since 1981. They also make their own fresh pasta daily from durum, semolina flours, and egg. They grind, season, and stuff our own fresh pork fennel sausage as well – without any preservatives. Vivande makes all of their own fresh pastries and traditional Italian cookies and baked savories in-house as well. They even candy their own orange and lemon peel, and squeeze fresh lemons by hand for their salad dressings and desserts so as not to include the bitter taste of the white pith under the zest.

In June of 1998 Vivande received the prestigious L’Insegna del Ristorante Italiano from the Italian government as a true Italian restaurant abroad using authentic Italian foods, products and recipes to present a classic Italian style of eating. Vivande was one of only 18 restaurants in the U.S. to receive the award that year, and the only one in San Francisco. In 2004 Vivande was included in a special Zagat survey of America’s top 1800 Italian restaurants.
Vivande is located at 2125 Fillmore Street in San Francisco. Their phone number is: 415 346-4430.Their Web site is:

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