Ars vivendi – disputable way of life


The name Ars Vivendi – or better said way of life – sounds promising, especially when an italian is concerned. With high expectations we enter the restaurant on Holsteinische Strasse in Wilmersdorf on a Friday lunchtime. The establishment is unpretentious, newspaper reading gentleman, couples and other guest who seem to be regulars, sit at tables with red checkered tablecloths. An eye catcher is the opulent display cabinet, that shows the kitchens repertoire: a wide selection of antipasti, cheese and coldmeat specialities and the homemade pasta, the restaurant is known for. Spaghetti, Tagliatelle, Ravioli with Ricotta and boletus or zucchini filling – all is produced right here. Proven by the machine next door the chef handles every now and then. So far it is inviting. The daily food is written on a straightforward blackboard, there is no printed menue, and sounds good. From the small selection of fish, meat and pasta dishes we choose Cannelloni with Cime di Rape, a typical apulian vegetable, as well as Ravioli in butter with salvia. So far so good.

It doesn’t take long for the dishes to arrive, but then follow a range of akward situations that remind of satire. To begin with we now order the drinks, we hadn’t been asked for until now. Also bread has to be ordered specifically. In the meantime we realise that the Ravioli are not al dente, but al dentissimo and uneadable so my companion returns them. The white wine and mineral water is pure wine and therefore has to be corrected too. My Cannelloni are tasty, though only lukewarm and have been eaten by the time the definately unskilled waitress comes back with the less soft cooked Ravioli. She has forgotten the fork and has to return to get it. Altogether minor incidents, but amounting, so the pleasure of the meal is affected.

We ask ourselves why the chef doesn’t help his waitress obviously uncapable of coping and rather rummages about with his pasta creations in the background. Anyway, we look for consolence in a good dessert! Maybe they have a nice Panna Cotta, or Tiramisu? Or a Zuppa Inglese? No, zero. „Unfortunately we have no dessert, just a couple of biscuits“, says the young italian waitress.Whilst we settle for a coffee the chef mumbles something along the lines of „today there is a jinx on it…“ and leaves. What a way to manage a crisis, certainly not appropriate to reassure your customers. „Usually it is quite good“, asserts a guest and in the evenings nicer anyway. Well, it will have it’s reasons apart from the low prices, that this place has so many regular customers. Maybe we will find out next time and also understand why this place is called Ars Vivendi.

Ars Vivendi
Holsteinische Str. 8 / Wilmersdorf
U-Bhf Güntzelstrasse, Blissestrasse or Berliner Strasse


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