I have heard a fair amount of opinions about Convivio—overall most have been positive. It’s in Carmel, so we don’t often do a family dinner night up there, but we finally decided to give it a try. We had a reservation, but were a little early. They thought we would have to wait awhile for our table, but as it turned out, we didn’t, which was nice (a pet peeve of mine when they take your reservation but then seat you late).
It’s a nice looking, busy place with a menu that is certainly more appealing that most Italian places in the Indy area. They also make all their pasta by hand, which is pretty awesome too. It’s a pretty large menu so it takes a bit to go through it. We decided to start with the fritto misto ($12), which included not just calamari, but also shrimp, octopus and zucchini. It was served on top of a marinara sauce and with lemon wedges. It wasn’t bad, but there was nothing that made it stand out from others, except that it included more types of seafood than you normally see. The octopus was quite good and remained tender. The shrimp however were a bit tough. I probably liked the zucchini the most of all of it, because it was nice and tender and a nice seasonal veggie (it was still summer when we were there).
The other appetizer we had was very good—and something you don’t see very often around town—the crostini Toscana ($9.95), which was grilled slices of bread topped with chicken liver pate. It was something we ate a fair amount in Tuscany, where it is extremely popular and we were happy to see it on the menu. The kids weren’t really into it, but hubby and I really enjoyed it. The pate is really earthy and rich, but this one wasn’t over the top and the lightly dressed arugula from underneath eaten with it was perfect.
For main courses, hubby and I ordered a pasta and a pizza to get to try both. We had the rigatoni funghi salsicca ($18.95) and the porcini pizza ($14). The pasta was a bit heavy, but tasty, and the homemade pasta was great. The sauce on it was a creamy sauce and it had wild mushrooms, pancetta, goat cheese, sausage and Parmesan cheese. It was very heavy on the sausage, which overpowered everything else a bit. I would have enjoyed more mushrooms and a little lighter sauce. I was hoping for a little more tanginess from the goat cheese than I tasted.
The pizza highlighted the mushrooms more, which I enjoyed (hubby and I both love mushrooms), but again was a little heavy on richness. It had Porcini mushroom spread, Taleggio, Parmesan, and mozzarella cheeses. We both really enjoy the distinct earthy taste of Porcinis, which are also rare to see on local menus, but I got more cheese than anything on this. The crust had a nice flavor too, but needed to be crisper.
My daughter had the gnocchi al telefono ($17.95), which were very large pillows of gnocchi served in a fresh tomato basil and sauce with mozzarella. She seemed to like it fine, but thought the gnocchi were a little bigger than she normally likes.
The star of the meal though was my son’s steak, which was a special. We tease him about ordering filets a lot, but he beat us all this night. He ordered a roasted filet that was flavored with rosemary, topped with Gorgonzola, and served with roasted potatoes, asparagus and mushrooms. I’m not sure how they did it exactly, but the roasted flavor on it was amazing—including on the veggies. And you could really taste the rosemary and blue cheese. If we went back and they had this, we’d probably have to get at least two of them to share. It makes me more intrigued to try more of the meats on a future visit.
And although not everything we had were winners, I do think we will return to try other things. Like I said, I would like to try more of the meat dishes and I am still impressed with the fact that they make all their pastas in house. I would like to try some of the other options in that area too.
Have you been? What did you have that you loved?
11529 Spring Mill Rd #300,
Carmel, IN 46032
P.S. Their website says they're opening another location in Zionsville soon.