Dined at new downtown restaurant, Vivere, last nite. Remarkably good Italian. Shared an appetizer of two very light polenta cakes in a sauteed porcini mushroom sauce. Excellent indeed. Main courses were paparedelle in a venison & mushroom cream sauce and linguini in a fennel sausage red sauce. Both unusual, properly prepared & exceptionally tasty. Tiramisu for dessert -- enough for 2, flavorful, fluffy, beautifully presented. Room is lovely, a bit formal, with artwork in abundance. Service terrific. All in all a great first experience.
Located in a minimall at the SW corner of 1st & Hope, Vivere is perfect for pre-Music Center dining. Downsides: 1. BYOB (Although this may be a bonus for some, like the Grubs.) No license yet. 2. Somewhat overpriced: pastas in $12 - 20 range, entrees $20 - 30, tiramisu was $6.75. AFTER eating, however, prices seemed less out of line.