It feels like we are back in Chicago.
This is my first thought upon entering La Vi. Reclaimed wood, rustic metal touches, and industrial style lighting are mixed with more modern touches, such as velvet-upholstered chairs. It’s the same look that characterizes much of Chicago’s up and coming west side where the trend of fashioning old industrial building into new posh eateries is on the rise. However, being situated in the heart of Rome gives new meaning to this trend, since most of Rome’s popular restaurants and bars still have the old-world feel of decades past. Upon further inspection I notice the original arched ceilings of the building on the ground floor and beautifully frescoed ceiling on the first floor, something you would be hard-pressed to find in Chicago. Additionally, stepping out onto the first floor terrace instantly pulls you back to reality and reminds you that this seemingly out-of-place restaurant and bar is actually right in the heart of Rome.
Located on Via Condotti next to the recently renovated Palazzo Fendi, La Vi is perfectly situated. Enjoy a refreshing lunch, post-shopping aperitivo, or a dinner of Italian specialties with a unique twist that have made La Vi so popular among locals and tourists alike. La Vi stands for latte and vino, (milk and wine), antipodes that characterize the restaurant’s philosophy. “Dairy as a ‘way of expressing’ our sweetness: all desserts are made by us. Vineria as the moment where friends find themselves sipping fine wine and enjoying our signature dishes”: (translated from La-vi.it).
The restaurant spans three levels and includes an outdoor terrace on the upper level. The main floor of the restaurant is known for its intimate spaces where one can cozy up on the chairs and couches in the orange room or enjoy a romantic dinner in the lounge. The lower level is the Vineria Bistrot, where one can select their wine of choice from an array of options that line the walls on custom-made metal shelves; before indulging in Roman classics such as Cacio e Pepe, made even better with the addition of shrimp and a touch of lime.
On a recent visit, I headed straight for the terrace on the first floor that overlooks Via Condotti to enjoy one of La Vi’s signature cocktails. Arriving just before happy hour, my husband and I had the terrace practically to ourselves and we were able to enjoy a rare moment of silence amongst the hustle and bustle of Rome. Like its food, La Vi takes it cocktails very seriously, reinventing classics dating back to the 1950s. La Vi’s mixologist, Mattia de Angelis, was born and raised in Rome but uses inspiration from his travels to dream-up sure to please drinks. A few of his unique creations include:
Lychee, lime juice, Aperol, lychee liqueur and rose syrup
Lime juice, honey, fresh mint, Cuban rum, and homemade white vermouth aged in chestnut barrels
Biancosarti, sugar, lemon, Saint Germain, and rosemary
Roses Tea Punch
Lemon, oleum saccharum, Jamaican rum, rum Spanish, English rum, rose liqueur, liqueur, and mango tea roses
Lime, honey and mint shaken, and topped off with ginger beer
I didn’t have to think twice about my selection: the Chinese Aperol; as a traditional Aperol Spritz is one of my favorites drinks and I’m keen to try La Vi’s variation on it. My husband chooses the In Stile Rob Roy: a combination of Scotch whisky, vermouth rosso, and Amaretto di Saronna. We thoroughly enjoy our drinks as the sun begins to set and the world passes us below. As we prepare to leave, I am reminded of the sign that greets you as you walk up the stair to the 1st floor: ricordo disorridere sempre! (Always remember to smile); La Vi’s personal motto as well as it goal, to make sure every customer leaves with a smile on their face.
La Vi is located at Via Tomacelli, 23. Open daily 11:00-2:00am for lunch, a buffet aperitivo and dinner. For more information visit La-Vi.it
Via Tomacelli, 23
Tel 06 45427760