Fabio Vivani's Firenze Osteria in North Hollywood/Toluca Lake will close Thursday as it undergoes a complete transformation with a new owner. Firenze plans to reopen in late fall.
Vivani, the charismatic Tuscan-born chef who was a star on Season 5 of Bravo's "Top Chef," is planning on staying in place, and is creating a brand new menu. While still Italian in its roots, Viviani's new menu will be more modern, featuring locally sourced and seasonally focused ingredients.
A décor renovation is also underway. When Firenze reopens it will include a live-music venue among its tables. The restaurant also plans on showcasing the work of veteran and emerging artists on its stage.
The osteria's revamp may be a welcome change for diners around L.A. Los Angeles Times restaurant critic S. Irene Virbila reviewed Firenze in 2009, and was left with a lackluster impression.
"What I didn't expect was a menu so conventional it reads like a tourist trap," Virbila said in her review.
Though she was less than impressed by the food at Firenze, Virbila praised its staff for superior service, calling it "some of the best I've had in the San Fernando Valley."
Firenze Osteria, 4212 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, (818) 760-7081, www.firenzeosteria.com