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When George Makkos, who shares the ownership of Terrace on the Park, took over the longtime Bayside favorite Cafe on the Green, I knew the restaurant would be in professional hands. And with Billy Pappas running the place, it has exceeded all my expectations. Now they have tweaked the menu with some new dishes and a wonderful player piano.

On a recent cold night I entered Vivaldi and was instantly warmed by the glow from the fireplace and the melodious sounds of the piano playing favorites from the ‘50s. The bar was filled and my formers who were there waiting for me were biting into a crispy pizza Margherita (pizza was just added to the menu from $11 to $13) and sipping on their drinks. It was hard to pull them away from the cozy bar.

We made our way into the main dining room that seemed to have a golden glow from the muted lighting to the warm dark woods and soft beige golden walls. We were ushered to a square table for eight that I like because it’s great for conversation. And near us was another round table that accommodates 12 people. Across the room there were well-spaced, candlelit tables covered with white tablecloths. I loved that the staff offered me a black linen napkin so I wouldn’t get white threads on my black slacks. The attention to detail here began the moment I sat down.

Although there is a well-stocked crispy crusted bread basket to nibble from, I wanted to sample one of the new appetizers. We ordered the pizza special and it was loaded with sausage, peppers and onions on a thin, crispy crust. It was mouth-watering and delicious.
We also sampled and shared a succulent burrata with pepperonata, which was firm on the outside and soft on the inside. We were wiping the plate to get every last taste. Next time we will order more than one. My favorite.

Marinated grilled octopus served with chick pea salad and yogurt with an olive purée was so good we immediately asked for another order.

The night we were there, there was a perfectly prepared linguini with half of lobster fradiavolo on the menu. The portion was so big we all shared it.

There are classic Italian dishes with my all-time favorite chicken scarpariello presented with a bountiful plate of sausage, onions, cherry peppers and thickly cut fried potatoes. There is also a classic chicken parmigiana, as well as chicken or veal marsala.

There are multiple fish choices and we had the black sea bass with sautéed bell peppers and broccoli rabe embellished with a light garlic olive oil. It fell off the fork and was a big hit as we each asked for a bite.

What’s good about having a few friends who are willing to share their food is that I can sample multiple choices from the well-priced menu.

Of course the ending is as delicious as the beginning. Being a group of women we had the crispy apple tart topped with vanilla ice cream and asked for seven forks! But we added a sampling of little donuts that came out of the kitchen almost too hot to eat with a raspberry jam dip! Delicious!

With the piano added in the bar and live music on Thursday night it’s a great place to go for a small bite by the fire or a wonderful meal. Vivaldi has also added a brunch on Sundays for $24.95, offering a mouth-watering choice of lobster omelet frittatas, lemon ricotta pancakes and much more.

Try Vivaldi for lunch, brunch or dinner Tuesday through Sunday. You will love every bite served up by the warm and welcoming staff.

Vivaldi
201-10 Cross Island Parkway, Bayside
718-352-2300
Complimentary parking and wheelchair accessible

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