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Top Chef-testant Fabio's Firenze Osteria: 'Clichéd Italian'

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Fabio Viviani (Photo via Bravo TV)
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Today's Food Section of the LA Times brings a somewhat scathing review of former Top Chef contender Fabio Viviani's North Hollywood eatery Firenze Osteria. The recently opened Italian restaurant created quite a stir before it even opened, thanks to Viviani's on-screen sizzle--enough allure to merit a 5-star pre-opening review from one Yelper who had never even eaten there.But S. Irene Virbila ate there three times to craft her review, and she has not been so generous with the stars. In fact, she grants Viviani's restaurant zero stars, and points out the celebrichef's noticeable absence from the premises on a weekend night with a packed dining room, the menu "so conventional it reads like a tourist trap," the overly-dim lighting, the "lazy and banal" wine list, and dishes that range from average to awful.

It's not all grim, though at Firenze Osteria. Virbila finds the service to be "some of the best [she's] had in the San Fernando Valley," and lauds a housemade cannoli. That's it? Pretty much. It seems the draw for diners is the "touch of fame and glamour from the camera-ready Viviani," whom she spotted just one visit out of three, working the room with Hollywood air-kisses. Virbila reminds us that if you want to see Viviani, you might do better catching him "signing cookbooks at BookStar in Studio City from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Saturday." Ouch. That's less sizzle and more, well, burn.

We want to know: Are you planning to check out Fabio's Firenze Osteria? Does a review like Virbila's change your mind?