It’s had several reincarnations but Vivaldi has got it right.
The beloved Cafe on the Green was a go-to place for fine food, wonderful ambiance and a warm welcome from operator Joe Franco.
Now, it’s Billy Pappas at the door and around the room mingling with patrons. The site overlooking the Throgs Neck Bridge is in good hands once again.
They recently opened for lunch and I was so happy to be there. As I got out of my car and walked up to the front door I couldn’t help but smile at the beautiful landscaping surrounding the building and the gorgeous flowers at the front door. They set a tone as I walked inside and was greeted by the hostess.
The handsome bar is enhanced by the stone fireplace and warm woods and banquettes used in the open area of the dining room. The room is very inviting, but we chose to sit in the larger dining area adjacent to the large terrace. It was filled with sunlight and overlooked the beautiful gardens and weeping willow tree on the adjacent golf course.
But I know Vivaldi’s greatness is the food, which sings. I began my meal with the best fried calamari I have ever eaten. The chef has enhanced the crispy fish with caramelized onions and a wonderful blend of spices. I also liked the roasted red peppers in a tangy marinara sauce.
Of course there are salads. I liked the combination of ricotta salata with red onions, olives and mint in a lemon vinaigrette. And the tasty tomato soup with basil and topped with crusty croutons had a lovely texture.
The bread basket is not to be ignored. It is served with a rich olive oil for dipping the crusty bread. I kept nibbling because it was irresistible.
For the main course there was an outrageously delicious dish of spicy lamb sausage with sun dried tomatoes, pine nuts, spinach, tomato and pieces of feta. It ignited my palate and I enjoyed each bite.
For pasta lovers there is a must-try rich ricotta gnocchi. And the catch of the day is prepared as you request it. There are also chicken and vegetarian dishes.
Of course no meal is complete without dessert and we had a sampling of several. Vivaldi has its own pastry chef and he should be given an Oscar for taste and presentation. The Italian cheesecake melted in my mouth but I relished the small, warm donuts that had a raspberry sauce for dipping. Of course there is a chocolate treat in their hazelnut torte. What a wonderful way to end a delightful meal.
I can’t wait to sample their new Sunday brunch. They are open every night except Monday for dinner. See their specials for ladies on Thursday nights.
Try it, I know you’ll love it!
201-10 Cross Island Parkway, Bayside
Major credit cards accepted
Open seven days
Saturday & Sunday brunch 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Accepts Credit Cards
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