American, AYCE, Brunch

Pranzo at Vivace ($45/pp Brunch @ Park Hyatt Aviara Resort) – Carlsbad, CA

I’ve wanted to visit this brunch place for ages now. It isn’t the typical Sunday brunch buffet where you have all these different stations you can go to for food. Instead, here at Pranzo, while the variety of stations are available, you are given the opportunity to order one entree (per person) to partake during the brunch. I loved that. I’m so used to losing my mind trying to get my money’s worth at ANY buffet so this concept of ordering an entree really appealed to me.

So the guy (I honestly have to give him a nickname for this blog) knew I wanted to try this place out so he made a reservation one Sunday afternoon.

Pranzo, meaning lunch in Italian, is located in the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort in Carlsbad. They offer this brunch only on Sundays in their Vivace restaurant.

It was pretty empty that day which surprised me b/c when I tried to get a table few months back, they were completely sold out for a good three weeks. Maybe my new guy reserved the entire place for me. Hmmm. Nahhhh…

We choose a table by the indoor fireplace.

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Our server came over with the menu.

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– Pranzo menu $45/pp

Sorry for the horrible pic. There’s a choice of 7 entrees. They haven’t updated the menu on their website unfortunately. But there’s a decent variety of entrees you can choose from: Veal Bragiole, Rigatoni, Wagyu steak, Sea Bass, Baccala, Pork Belly, and Gnocchi.

You also get a choice of one side dish per person: caramelized cauliflower, baked tomato stuffed with risotto, roasted potatoes, and summer vegetables.

We didn’t put in our order right away b/c I read somewhere that you should take your time sampling their brunch stations before you even think about placing an order.

The dessert station was right behind us and my date really really really loves dessert. So I’m putting those pics up first right now.

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– Dolce Bar

They had a good amount of desserts to sample. More pics of the items later on in this post.

Artisan Salumi Bar:

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– Prosciutto station

THIS is one of the reasons I was excited to try this place. I love prosciutto. And it was amazing to see someone slicing it fresh for me.

Unfortunately, the prosciutto didn’t taste that great. It tasted almost ‘stale’ or old to me. I’m used to Prosciutto de Parma which tastes so lusciously fatty and porky. But this prosciutto really lacked in flavor and texture.

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– Variety of meats and cheeses

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– variety of salads and fresh bread

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– Freshly made Mozzarella

The guy making this was soooo incredibly nice. He showed me how they made the cheese here. You add the curds to the hot water (that’s infused w/ basil!), let the curds slowly melt, then you take the melted curds and stretch the heck outta ’em, form into a smooth satiny ball, and then put in ice bath.

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– flake sea salt and extras you can add to the mozzarella

This wasn’t just normal sea salt. They were beautiful flakes of sea salt that tasted truly like ocean mist to me. And their aged balsamic vinegar was so wonderfully sweet and tart.

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– slice of the fresh mozzarella and fresh ricotta

The mozzarella tasted ‘ok’ . I was sad that it didn’t taste amazing, especially after seeing the guy put all that work into making it. The mozzarella tasted a bit rubbery and bland.

My guy liked the fresh ricotta but it was a bit too ‘tangy’ for my taste. But it looked delicious on a fresh piece of bread though.

Crudo Bar:

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– Kumiai Oysters, shrimp, Skuna bay salmon and octopus salad

There’s someone there to actually shuck the fresh oysters for you. The only issue is that there’s no cocktail sauce or horseradish. They have a mayo based sauce you can use for the oysters and the shrimp.

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– Skuna bay salmon

They slice it fresh for you and sprinkle sea salt and fresh lemon on top.

Unfortunately, we didn’t like this salmon. Sounds silly but we would have preferred this to be served w/ soy sauce and wasabi. The salmon didn’t taste the best of quality to me.

Here are our plates of food from the stations:

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The crudo bar man was able to track down some fresh horseradish for me. And it helped me enjoy the oysters alot more. My guy opted to put a jalapeno slice on his oysters.

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– Wagyu flat iron

This was my entree. It was prepared a perfect medium rare. But, augh I hate these ‘but’ in this post, I didn’t like the steak. It was under seasoned and a bit chewy. I’ve always heard that if you *want* to ask for A1 sauce for a steak, the steak must suck b/c a good piece of steak doesn’t need *any* type of steak sauce (and I LOVE A1 sauce so I’m not hating on any other A1 lovers out there).

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– Local Stripe Sea Bass

This was my guy’s entree. It was prepared really nicely. The skin was crispy and the flesh of the fish was moist. We weren’t blown away by this dish but we weren’t disappointed either.

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– Baked tomato stuffed w/ risotto

My guy (honestly, i gotta come up with a nickname, this ‘my guy’ thing is getting redundant and silly) ordered this b/c our server said it was the special of the day. But, augh, this wasn’t very good. It tasted like wedding food to me – mass prepared and not very fresh.

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– Caramelized cauliflower

FINALLY!!! The winning dish of the day. Sad to say as there was quite a bit to sample that day. But this dish was delicious all the way. I loved the hint of anchovy and garlic in the olive oil.

Onto the dessert which is what he was waiting for the entire time. He told me that he’s a dessert freak and that he, at every buffet, needs to try every single dessert item being offered. I thought he was joking but nope. This dude likes his desserts.

Dolci Bar:

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So the desserts were just ‘ok’. I asked the server if they made their desserts in house and she said yes. But we felt the desserts tasted pre-made or store bought or was out sourced. The cannoli was the worst in this bunch though – tasted incredibly stale and the cream filling was way too sweet.

Was it worth the $45/pp. I think so. It’s a fun experience but I don’t know if I would return. Though the food wasn’t impressive, the concept of Pranzo is. So I think if mom or sis wanted to try it out, I’d take them.

Here’s a few pics of the hotel and their landscape. It was a beautiful afternoon so it was fun strolling their grounds before we left.

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Pranzo at Vivace
Park Hyatt Aviara Resort 
7100 Aviara Resort Drive
Carlsbad, California 92011
Phone: (760) 448-1234 

10 thoughts on “Pranzo at Vivace ($45/pp Brunch @ Park Hyatt Aviara Resort) – Carlsbad, CA

  1. How about DLD (dessert-loving-dude) or dessert monster? lol jk. The indoor fireplace looks like it’d be uncomfortable right now. But I’d imagine it to be so nice and cozy in the wintertime.

    That sucks that the food wasn’t too impressive. I hope the dining room was at least romantic lol.

    1. Hi Miss Kim,

      Love your suggestions on the nicknames 🙂

      The fireplace wasn’t the most romantic that day b/c it was so warm outside. But I agree with you that it would be great in the wintertime.

      Have a great week –

  2. Hi Faye, even though the food wasn’t the best, I could feel your happiness on your date with this guy! 😉 Maybe you could call him Mr. Unstrike (although readers who missed your last post would probably be super confused…). Love the anchovies for the caramelized cauliflower… I gotta try that at home!

    1. Hi Jinxi,

      Mr. Unstrike!! Hey – not bad!! Thanks for the kind words – I’m really happy and it’s nice to see that others can sense it too. If you ever try to make the caramelized cauliflower, let me know and make sure you post the recipe!

    1. I think you might like it b/c of the uniqueness of Pranzo. BUT – not sure if you’d love the food per se. Regardless, I think you’d enjoy it 🙂

  3. I’ve seen posts about this place before and I’m terribly intrigued with these cheese and meat stations. I’m sorry to hear it was all totally mind blowing though, but I guess it still is a buffet…. just a really fancy buffet! Maybe if you got there right when they opened the doors it would all taste a bit fresher. I’d like to go sometime! I can’t tell Jake the price though haha.

    Maybe you could use the guy’s initials in your posts? In any case, how sweet of him to take you here! It does sound like he really, really digs those desserts. I’d want to try one of everything, too, haha.

    1. Hi Mary,

      The meat and cheese station was ok. The mozzarella station was totally cool and I can only imagine how good your pics would be of this place. But yeah, don’t tell Jake the price! You gotta keep it a secret from him or else he’ll freak – shhhhh!!

      I’d be curious to see what you thought of the desserts. Hopefully you’ll get a chance to try this place soon.

    1. Hi Kirbie,

      I’d bet that Pranzo won’t compare to your trip to Italy 🙂 It’s a fun experience if you are up for it – but I think you’d be disappointed w/ the food. BUT – the whole concept is fun and the hotel is really beautiful – so might be a fun date for you and Mr. K one afternoon 🙂

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